Dear Mark: Unraveling a Stress Ball, Fiber for Plant-Hating Tot, Offal with Grains, and Exercising with a Cold

PatésFor today’s Dear Mark, we’ve got a four-parter. First up is one from a woman in her mid-30s trying to recover from a three-year bout of chronic stress — and all the metabolic fallout that entails. Are there any supplements to help with her situation? Second, what do you feed a picky kid who hates vegetables, hates fruit with peels, and needs more prebiotic fiber? I give a quick list of ideas for getting things moving again. Third, are traditional foods like haggis and liver pâté worth eating if they contain non-Primal ingredients you’d usually avoid? Are the nutrients found in offal really that important? And finally, I help a reader figure out whether she should be exercising while sick.

Let’s go:

Dear Mark,

I understand first-hand about the nasty effects of chronic, long-term stress. For three years, I had a stressful job I absolutely hated, and it negatively affected my sleep, my weight, my alcohol consumption, everything. I was a constant ball of anxiety who was gaining probably a pound a month, almost all around my waistline.

I left that job about five months ago and have moved on to something better. My weight has stabilized (heavy, but stable), I sleep better, and I’ve basically quit drinking. I also gained some muscle mass in all that extra weight, and now I can do 5×5 chest press with 60# dumbbells (I’m a 5’5″ female in my mid-30s.)

I have a couple questions, though, that I haven’t been able to find a solid answer to anywhere on the internet, and I’m hoping you can help.

Approximately how long will it take to undo the internal effects of all that stress? In other words, how long before the metabolic damage from the constant cortisol/adrenaline bath is reversed, and my system recalibrates itself?

Are there any supplements I can take, or activities I can practice, to help encourage the healing process?

Thank you,


The good news is that recovery from chronic stress can happen fast. You just have to break the cycle.

The bad news is that you have to break the cycle. You have to break out of the dreaded “stress loop,” where you stress out about something going on in your life, stress out about how bad you’re feeling because of the stress, and stress out some more about what all that stress is doing to your physical health. From your email, it seems you’ve progressed to the “stressing about stress” stage.

A large amount of stress is caused by how we approach and think about stress, especially among the health-conscious. You’ve left the job and thus removed the primary stressor, but the way you handle stress and compound its effects internally probably remain. So, first, be sure to read the post I did awhile back on changing your relationship to stress. As you’ll see, if we can perceive stress as a “good thing” that helps us meet a challenge head on, our physiological response to it changes for the better.

Supplements? Certainly.

Supplements help us handle unprecedented environmental situations our naked physiologies aren’t equipped to handle. Vitamin and mineral supplements help us deal with the low nutrient food and depleted soils our ancestors never did. Antioxidant supplements help us deal with oxidative damage wrought by industrial pollutants, food-borne toxins, and the demands modern life places upon us. The amount of chronic stress we deal with today is also unprecedented and evolutionarily novel, and stress-reducing and mitigating supplements can help deal with it.

In fact, to battle my own ongoing struggles with chronic stress, one of the first supplements I put together was Primal Calm, a blend of adaptogens and anti-anxiety nutrients designed to mitigate some of the effects of stress and improve your ability to roll with the punches. It quells stress in the short term while teaching your body to be more resilient.. Primal Calm has:

  • Phosphatidylserine: If there is one supplement I’d recommend for its immediate stress mitigating effects, this would be it. The body doesn’t make much of it (and we don’t get much from our diets), but stress depletes what little we have. Since we get so much stress these days and it’s vital to the healthy functioning of nerve cell membranes, you could probably use some. PS works on both mental and physical stress, improving mood and blunting cortisol after physical exercise.
  • L-Theanine: Found most abundantly in green tea (especially matcha), L-theanine reduces anxiety and attenuates the rise in blood pressure associated with stress. It also increases GABA levels (GABA is the same “chill out” neurotransmitter targeted by Xanax and liquor) and increases brain wave activity in the alpha frequency, improving relaxation without inducing drowsiness.
  • Magnolia bark: This is one of my favorites. Magnolia bark also enhances the activity of GABA receptors in the brain and reduces stress hormones. In post-menopausal women, magnolia bark reduces anxiety and stress levels, and it’s even helped people lower body weight by reducing “stress eating.”
  • Rhodiola rosea: Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen, meaning it helps normalize your stress response. It essentially improves your ability to handle stress. If you’re lagging, it’ll bring things up. If you’re freaking out, it’ll bring you closer to baseline.

You can also grab these supplements individually, of course, along with any of the others mentioned in my previous series on stress-reducing teas. Ashwagandha, for example, is a powerful adaptogen with the ability to normalize stress hormones in adults suffering from chronic stress after just 60 days. But give Primal Calm a look. I think you’ll find it really effective.


My 3 year old son frowns at all vegetables (no fibers there). He also dislikes eatable peel on fruit and veggies (no fibers there either!). And for the next two years we live in China so forget whole wheat bread or pasta. Looking at what I manage to get into him he basically doesn’t eat any fibers… which is also becoming clear when he goes to the bathroom.

But he loves rice. So I’m thinking brown rice. High in fibers, but also high in anti-nutrients. So, would you say that the benefits of the fibers in brown rice outweigh the negatives of the phytates?

Many thanks,

Christine (Swedish reader, now living in Guangzhou)

You’re right to think about this. A healthy, diverse population of gut bacteria is important in childhood, arguably moreso than in adulthood because the immune system is still developing, and gut bacteria need fiber (and other nutrients that act like fiber) to eat, go forth, and prosper.

Okay. So I’m just going to rattle off a few options for you to consider. More than a few, actually. And then you can take all the suggestions and see what your kid will eat.

Brown rice is relatively (but not astronomically) high in fiber, and there’s evidence that a mere half cup of brown rice per day can improve the gut biome in adults (a toddler would need about a quarter of that), but there’s another good rice option to consider: parboiled rice. Parboiled rice is partially cooked, then allowed to cool, then packaged for sale. This increases the resistant starch content (PDF). As you may have already learned from previous posts on the subject, resistant starch isn’t a fiber but acts like one. It’s good food for your gut bacteria, and toddler gut bacteria can degrade it.

Resistant starch flours can help. Raw unmodified potato starch, banana flour, plantain flour, and/or mung bean starch (should be readily available in China) are all easy ways to get some prebiotics into your kid’s diet.

Does he like potatoes? Cooked and cooled potatoes contain lots of resistant starch. I bet he loves French fries (what kid doesn’t?). Cutting up cooked and cooled potatoes into strips and lightly sautéing them produces delicious fries with extra resistant starch. Sweet potatoes are good here, too.

Dates are an option. High in fiber and delicious and kids seem to love them. Yes, they’re also loaded with sugar, but that’s offset by the minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients which make them a whole food with different physiological effects than an equivalent amount of pure sugar. Plus, an active toddler doesn’t need to worry about the carbs in fruit. Another benefit: the texture of the skin coupled with the fleshy tenderness of the fruit makes them dead ringers for severed zombie toes. Some kids dig eating zombie toes, so consider that angle if he initially balks at a proffered date.

Will he eat nuts? They’re great sources of prebiotic fiber. Almonds and pistachios in particular can really help the gut bacteria flourish.

There are tons of examples of edible, fiber-rich plants that are neither obviously vegetable nor come with “peels”: mushrooms, berries, winter squash (butternut, acorn, kabocha), leeks/onions/garlic, and jicama.

Jerusalem artichokes/sunchokes? Call them fartichokes and he might succumb.

Fruit flesh contains fiber, too — it’s not exclusively in the peels — so any peeled fruit is certainly better than none.

Smoothies can make anything work if he absolutely refuses to eat any of this stuff. Just get a good blender. Something like a Vitamix or a Blendtec, the kind that can make smoothies out of smartphones. I imagine your son is weird about textures in foods (many kids are), and a good strong capable blender is necessary for rendering unrecognizably smooth everything that enters its confines. Include some kefir or yogurt, which should also improve the bowel movements.

Good luck! I imagine our readers will have a ton of recommendations for you in the comment section (hint, hint).

Hi Mark,

I’ve recently been trying to incorporate more organ meats into my diet, with only limited success. I cannot abide most organ meats on their own (even the much loved combination of liver and bacon I find unpalatable, alas) and haven’t had any success hiding them amongst my meals.

Fortunately, I have found some types of offal I enjoy; traditional recipes such as haggis, black pudding, faggots and liver pâté. Unfortunately, most of these are made with added and non-primal ingredients, such as oatmeal in haggis and black pudding, or (sometimes) breadcrumbs in faggots.

What is your take on these sorts of foods? Is it worth eating them for the benefit of the organ meats? Or is it better to stay away from the ones with added ingredients?

Many thanks,

Alessa, UK

First choice: Stay away from the ones with added, non-Primal ingredients and lovingly embrace the ones without those ingredients. If better ingredients are available, I’ll always choose those.

Second choice if the first isn’t available: Eat them anyway. It’s worth eating them for the organ benefits, even if they have a few breadcrumbs (unless you’re sensitive/allergic to gluten) or some oatmeal (ditto).

Breadcrumbs don’t worry  me too much. As offal is a supplemental food rather than a staple, you wouldn’t be eating something like a faggot (the traditional UK food containing heart, liver, pork belly, herbs, and sometimes breadcrumbs) often enough that the breadcrumbs would pose serious issues. That goes out the door, of course, if you’re celiac or gluten sensitive. But most other people with generally healthy guts can probably handle a few breadcrumbs every other week if it means they’re also getting liver and heart.

You could also do a whole lot worse than the oats in haggis. Oats aren’t the worst grain. While the oat protein avenin appears to have some of the same problems as gluten in certain sensitive individuals, it doesn’t appear as if the problem is widespread or as serious. For example, kids with celiac disease produced oat avenin antibodies at a higher rate than kids without celiac, but neither group was on a gluten-free diet. When you put celiacs on a gluten-free diet, they don’t appear to show higher levels of avenin antibodies. It’s a familiar story: once you remove gluten or any other foods or behaviors that exacerbate leaky gut, other proteins become less problematic. The leaky gut is the main issue, and gluten just happens to be good at making guts leaky in almost everyone.

Liver pâté is probably your best bet. It’s usually made with butter instead of vegetable oil, it rarely contains any grains (I don’t see how it would improve the taste or texture), and since it’s to be eaten infrequently, one can more easily justify spending the money to obtain grass-fed or pastured liver pâté.

And finally, fork over the money for the best, freshest offal you can find because offal, particularly liver, breaks down quickly after slaughter. If you can nab a flash frozen lamb, beef, or chicken liver from the farmer who raised its former owner, there’s a good chance it’ll be sweet and smooth, rather than bitter and grainy. That’s the liver glycogen talking. Get a really good, sweet one and you can eat it sliced raw, sashimi-style.

Quick question, Mark: I have been under the weather this week – just slightly, but still so. I have been working out regardless, as I just needed the energy boost. However, I feel like perhaps it has left me needing more rest than my schedule allows. What is your advice on working out/exercising while nursing a cold?

I am 39 and have been following the Primal Blueprint lifestyle for about a year and a half.



In this case, the conventional view is righter than not: don’t exercise if your symptoms are “below the neck.” That means fever, chills, fatigue, sensitive skin that’s painful to the touch, diarrhea, vomiting, aches — any symptom like that means exercise should be avoided.

If your symptoms are “above the neck” — stuffy nose, headache, sore or scratchy throat — feel free to exercise. Just keep it lighter than you would otherwise and avoid exercise altogether if the symptoms are really intense, even if they’re “just” above the neck. You don’t want to be a stuff-nosed mouth breather with a ball of pounding pain for a head in the gym. That isn’t good for anyone.

If you’re unsure of where your symptoms fall, err on the side of caution and skip the tough workout. Instead, go for a walk. Do some stretching or mobility exercises. Try VitaMoves. Grab a yoga video off YouTube and try it out. Stuff like that is safe and helpful for recovery.

That’s it for today, folks. If you have anything to add that might be of service, add your comments below!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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62 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Unraveling a Stress Ball, Fiber for Plant-Hating Tot, Offal with Grains, and Exercising with a Cold”

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  1. I’ve gotten a bit better with resting when sick, but I still try to push it a bit too far sometimes. My kids eat white rice and they also really like dates. As a rule they are into raw veggies over cooked, and will eat a lot more fruit than veggies.

  2. I find if I have a cold coming on I find it’s best to go straight to bed. Sometimes that will abort the cold all together but it often lessen the severity.

    1. Agree. I don’t exactly stay in bed, but I do take it easy if I don’t feel good. That includes a lot of extra sleep. I once went from being slightly under the weather to being really sick when I tried to exercise with a cold. The body needs all it’s energy to fight off the bugs. Stressing it further hurts more than it helps and can definitely delay recovery.

      1. I use the surf test. If I feel better after surfing, I’m not that sick. If I feel worse after, then back off. Because if surfing makes you feel worse, you must be really sick

        I also always hit the Gan Mao Ling and Yin Chao Chinese patent herbs at the first sign of any distress. They have saved my butt so many times. They are almost a miracle pill. My whole family takes them.

        1. My family rarely gets sick, but it sounds like the Chinese herbs you mentioned are worth having on hand. Amazon carries them, if anyone else is interested. Thanks, Clay.

    1. For me, offal is, well, awful. I don’t like the taste, texture, or even the idea of it. The exception is pâté, which I do enjoy on occasion. IMO, a good pâté just seems like a more civilized approach to the eating of organ meats, to say nothing of being more palatable.

    2. I love offal. I like the strong flavors. I worry I may be eating liver too often. OD’Ing on vitamin A. Trying to alternate more between calf and chicken liver.

      1. 1/4 pound of liver once a week is pretty safe. How much are you eating?

        1. Where do you come up with that data that only “1/4 pound one a week is pretty safe”? I’ve been primal for a couple years and for the past year I’ve been eating a pound of either beef or chicken liver per week. Normally a pound will last me 3 meals so I eat about a1/3 of a pound per meal for 3 days in a row.
          I’m very active and it makes me feel super energetic after eating it. I know by experience that at least up to a pound a week is fine to eat.

        2. Thanks. I read that the gov’ts published upper, tolerable daily limit is 10,000 IU per day, or 70,000 IU per week. 1 pound of liver per week is 242,000 IU, 3+ times the upper limit. I also understand that too much vitamin A suppresses vitamin D. Can anyone confirm?

        3. Yeah Id be careful with too much liver. I used to buy it in a pack, which came as about half kilo/1 pound packs, so I just used to cook it up and eat it for 3 days, maybe once every couple weeks.

          Then I read Jaminets book and saw the amount I should be eating.

          I now just buy a single serving portion from the meat counter which is just what I want/need for the week, and it is also a lot nicer than the pre-packaged crap.

          One other thing you have to be wary of, is that ruminant (i.e. lamb and cow) liver is also a good source of copper. Don’t want to be eating too much of that either 😉

        4. Jaminet also touches on your question about vitamin A supressing vit D. It’s not that it supresses vitamin D, but that you probably need a higher intake of vitamin D if you have a high intake of A. Apparently it is a fine balance to get between the two vitamins, as more of one or the other inhibits gene expression, and causes a host of problems, including lower bone density and higher cancer rates.

          So hence the reasoning behind the 1/4 lb per week of liver vs. 4x that. If youre also eating loads of egg yolks and veg with carotenes in, then you will be getting more vitamin A from them too.

        5. I guess you can read and believe what you want. Jaminet also says 20-30% of your daily diet should be carbs to include rice. Rice is a grain so it doesn’t even belong in a primal diet. I’ll keep eating my pound of liver per week and live happy and healthy. By the way I’m 54 years old and can do 10 muscle ups, 30 pull ups, run a mile in 7 minutes and haven’t even had as much as a cold in two years since I started living the primal lifestyle.

  3. In regards to fiber supplement. Konjac root powder has been used in Asia for centuries as thickener and bulking agent. I like to dust a little over cut pineapple to make a fiber glaze out of the juice. It has the positive effect of balancing the sugar spike from fruit and my gut bugs love it.

  4. Don’t know if it will help the people in the UK, but U.S. Wellness Meats has fantastic mixed Offal ready to eat. Braunchweiger, Liverwurst and Head Cheese. I just put some Dijon mustard and sliced jalapenos on them and they are delicious. Go to the website and check ’em out.

  5. Great questions today. Really interested in supplements to help with stress. My wife has a particularly stressful situation (stays at home with 3 kids AND works full-time from home as well). Needless to say she is STRESSED. Might look into some of these supplements to help her out.

    1. Supplements? How about a babysitter once a week? Sounds like mom needs a day off! (Or even just half of one!) Not to mention a day of pampering, or a little time for herself and a quiet cup of coffee or tea.

  6. Sashimi-style liver? That’s aggressive. I’d stick with the pate and adding organ meats to meatloaf and burgers.

  7. The reader going to China from Sweden can experiment with glucomannan fiber as a source–it’s in konjac flour-based LC pastas, as well as available in granular form for use in sauces, gravies, and bread doughs as a thickener. I have bread and bagel recipes that I use it in, but there are other choices: cake/muffin/bagel recipes, cheese sauce recipes, it can be added to meat loaf/meatball recipes, etc.

    My husband also needs extra fiber, and is allergic to psyllium husk powder, so I Googled “recipes containing glucomannan”, and got quite a few good, usable recipes from various LC chat rooms.

    Other terms for this fiber:

  8. Mary, rest and let your body heal. You’ll be that much better when you can pick back up and you’ll be able to pick up sooner.

  9. When I was a kid I couldn’t stand apple peels either. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. The peels of many foods are bitter. Even my parrots peel everything including grapes, apples, corn and nuts. They won’t eat any peels on any food item so maybe they know something we don’t.

  10. Thanks for the reassuring info on oats & Celiac! I have been avoiding even GF oats for a while now, but I used to love oatmeal with butter & salt for breakfast in the wintertime. Maybe I’ll give it a try again one day… it’s major comfort food for me.

    And as it happens I’m having my favorite offal dish for lunch today: broiled chicken livers on an arugula salad with tomato & avocado. I get a craving for this dish every couple of weeks. Nobody else in my family enjoys it, though, so I’m not sure it would be of any help to the liver-haters out there.

  11. My vitamix was absolutely irreplaceable when my son was a tot!
    He wouldn’t “eat” his fruits & veggies, but he would drink them. I had absolutely no qualms about hiding whole fruits and vegetables in a smoothie.
    Find the flavors your son likes & then play with the ingredients until you’re both satisfied: you with the contents & him with the flavor.
    I have made smoothies including almond butter, shredded unsweetened coconut, berries, oranges, bananas, apples, carrots, pineapple, spinach, and cucumbers (not all at once, of course).
    Good luck. My picky eater is much better about it at age 9. Just keep presenting the whole foods & one day he might surprise you. ????

  12. A note on working out while sick. I’ve been monitoring my HRV for a couple of months now and got sick a couple of weeks ago. Nothing major, just a slight common cold. Whoa, my HRV dropped like a rock. Both my blood pressure and resting heart rate increased as well. I interpreted that to mean my body was diverting its energy to heal myself so I decided to skip the workouts.

    1. I agree. True fact: Jack Lalanne died of pneumonia and he had it for about a week before he died but he worked out for 2 hours every day while he had it. He also worked out the day before he died. Who knows if he let himself rest while he has been sick he may have lived to see a century.

  13. Great questions and answers and the one on stress management, couldn’t have been asked at a better time.

    Alessa – I just cooked offal for dinner and you are welcome to give my recipe a try; you maybe in for a pleasant surprise.


    200 grams grounded beef heart
    1/4 cup chopped red onion
    1 chopped ripe tomato
    1 chopped red bell pepper
    1 – 2 TBS coconut oil
    2 TBS grounded cumin ( a must)
    salt and black pepper to taste
    1/2 cup cream of coconut
    1/4 tsp turmeric
    pinch of grounded red hot chili
    A handful of chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley

    Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pane and add the onions. Once they become translucent, add the chopped tomato and bell paper and cook until they soften. Add the ground beefs’ H. and spices and cooked on mid heat for about 15 minutes or until the meat grays out (stirring occasionally). Add the coconut cream and cooked for another 15 minutes or until the liquid thicken. Transfer to a dish and sprinkle the parsley on top. Bon Appetit!

    P.S. I ran out but a pinch of curry powder would add another flavor.

  14. The working out with a cold question is a big one at the moment everywhere for obvious reasons. If it’s above the head you could and below the neck best to avoid is a great rule of thumb. Id also be careful with jumping into high intensity even when you feel better. The day you feel symptom free you can still have a suppressed immune system for 2-3 days. So you might not want to go super high intense still during those days. You just don’t want to kick yourself while you’re down.
    People always ask me for a number one tip to get fit and it is; during this time of year wash your hands when you leave the gym! And actually all year round..

  15. Sometimes feeling under the weather is the body’s way of telling us to take a break! I understand the desire to push oneself, especially in the modern American culture, where if a little is good, more must better, but not when you’re sick! Especially among Primal/Paleo-minded folks, where (I think) most of us recognize that the biggest health bang for the buck comes from diet and not exercise. You can go a few days being a little more sedentary and resting more than usual and you’re not going to jeopardize your health or physique. (Provided, of course, the downtime isn’t accompanied by a few family-sized bags of chips or cookies, hehheh.)

    Exercise is helpful, yes, of course — as much for the psychological boost as for anything it does for the body. But really, sometimes it’s best to take a rest day. (Or four!) Maybe go for a slow walk if you want some fresh air (bundle up if it’s cold where you live), but don’t push yourself to do something that will end up compromising your health even more. Take care of yourself!

  16. Maybe the child with a slow gut doesn’t actually need fibre. The Inuit did not usually eat any veggies in their traditional diet….just meat and lots of fat. And insoluble fibre just damages the gut lining, causing mucus to be released. Maybe the child needs more healthy fats….butter, ghee, coconut oil, avacado, olives, fatty lamb chops etc.

  17. When my son was little he would only eat some veggies, like peas, frozen. Even now he prefers his blueberries that way. Grapes are pretty fun frozen as well.
    Overall just keep putting one small taste of whatever on your child’s plate…eventually they do at least try the new foods, and often discover they actually like them.

    1. One of the best ways to get your kid to try new foods is send them over to a friend’s house for dinner on a regular basis. My daughter’s friend’s parents are from Honduras and El Salvador and the mom makes complete traditional meals from scratch…even the corn tortillas. Great stuff. My daughter will eat stuff there that she wouldn’t touch if we made it.

      I talked to the mom and thanked her for feeding my daughter so often. She said she likes having my daughter over because her own children are more adventurous with food if my daughter is eating with them.

      A big win for everyone.

  18. I’m really curious with what you folks are eating liver pâté. I lack the imagination to eat it with anything other than bread or crackers.

    1. Coco, pate is really yummy with veggie sticks, especially carrots.

      1. Thanks! I knew I would feel silly but I had to ask! It’s an especially good idea because I have a hard time eating raw vegetables alone.

    2. Mostly just raw veg — sliced radishes, fennel bulb, celery, carrots, Napa cabbage (the white, crunchy, thicker parts). Maybe bell peppers in summer. And then, there are always grain-free crackers, but if you make your own, from, say, almond or coconut flour, they’re usually too crumbly to stand up to pate.

      1. Thank! I’ll try with carrots I think. I really appreciate the fact that you listed winter vegetables. I don’t like to buy produce out of season but that makes it really limited in the winter. I can’t eat vegetable sticks made out of beets or rutabaga! (or even onions).

  19. Instead of extra fiber, try getting the boy to eat more saturated fat, such as bacon, eggs and grassfed meat drippings. They are delicious and seemm to do the same job.

  20. I am sick of hearing people calling organ meats “offal”! And there are more organ meats than just liver. Kidneys are delicious. So are hearts and tongues. And not only zombies like brains. Have you ever had Pennsylvania scrapple? The most delicious of organ meats, if you ask me, is the sweetbread, which is the culinary name for the pancreas. A veal sweetbread is an incredibly mild and nutty delicious tidbit. If you want to cook these special delicacies in an appetizing manner, look to the classic French recipes! Kidneys Madeire…. Mmmm! Sweetbreads Grenobloise… etc…
    As to the kid who won’t eat vegetables, how about sweet potato fries? And parsnip fries? And broccoli with melted cheese and cream poured over it?

  21. Mark, your take on fiber has been great. i couldn’t think of more good tips. But I can think of one more: flax! Delicious nutty/oaty taste with load of fermentable fiber.

  22. I have two kids who pass their colds between themselves and with my Wife. I’m the lucky guy who hasn’t had a cold for about three years and I’m not really sure why? I rest, eat reasonably well, weight train and run. Could be one, two or a combination of those things I suppose. Great post as usual Mark.

  23. The concerned woman asking a question about stress management probably deserves a posting of its own.

    From her symptomatology, it sure sounds like she was suffering Stage 2 of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. As was I. 5 years of chronic high level stress. By the time I asked my holistic doctor if I was suffering from AFS, I was starting in to Stage 3 (cortisol high but getting ready to crash).

    Finally, my body started to crumble. First to go was the gut. Turns out cortisol rules the roost in the abdomen. It was cortisol’s failure to properly up-regulate IgA that ignited 3 separate H. Pylori infections. Luckily I don’t think it got to the point that I got ulcers.

    Then there was 12 months of diarrhea. Then there was severe fatigue. Sleeping 15 HRS a day and I was still exhausted. A simple interval work out flattened me for 2 weeks. Then I lost all ghrelin response. Wouldn’t eat for 3 days. While I did not put much fat on the abdomen (cortisol does that btw), the memory loss was stunning. During the period just before AFS was confirmed and treatment started I can’t remember people’s names that I worked with.

    Now I am suffering from high homocysteine levels because cortisol scavenges just about all the vitamin B9 (folate) you have such that methylation cycle #3 stops functioning. High levels of this is either correlative or causitive for ‘sticky blood (platelets)’. That means stroke or CHD. It does not help to be heterozygous MTHFR C677T wherein you only successfully convert 50% of the available folate into its methylated form (part of cycle #3).

    Supplementing heavily with Krill oil, methylated forms of vitamin B9 and B12 has gotten the homocysteine levels down to normal but the aspirinworks level is still off the chart. These are available at

    For cortisol control, there is a product called CalmCP sold by neuroscience on their web site, Link is below. Banaba is the key ingredient.

    Here are some very good links on AFS.

    It really is crucial to get aware about this stuff. It is more common than some believe and it is also highly mis-diagnosed, which is a real shame.

    This isn’t about having a stressful day, this is the result of chronic levels of stress and the destruction that it can wreck your body.

    From what I understand, I am now a prime candidate for dementia/Alzheimer’s when I get older! Lovely!

    And it does not go away quickly. Months after the stress stimuli has been stopped, the cortisol still thinks it is running away from the sabre-tooth cat. From Dr. Kalish, it can take 12-24 months to get your cortisol levels into the normal range, and that is only if your body has not started to crash. Then a lot longer.

    I am a year into it now, and my cortisol, while significantly down from where it was, is still just outside the healthy band, with a PM spike that has us still concerned (I am a night owl by habit).

    Folks, I hope this helps for those of you who suffer from this.

    I can say this. I think it was my pseudo-primal diet that may have saved my life here.

    Links: (I just sent this to a work colleague who I think has AFS)

    This is what my doctor ‘prescribed’ (it is over the counter – non-prescription)

  24. Just made a “paté” which is really Chopped Liver using grass-fed bison liver. Very simple recipe.

    1 pound liver
    2 pounds onions
    1/4 pound butter
    salt and pepper

    Melt the butter in a pan. Sauté coarsely chopped onions in the butter until transparent but not too soft. Then sauté the liver lightly in the butter. I prefer that the liver is a bit pink inside. Overcooking exaggerates the liver flavor.

    I then use the meat grinder attachment on my mixer, but one could use a food processor. I use the larger diameter insert because I like a bit more texture in my chopped liver. Grind together the onions and the liver and add back in any butter left in the pan. Mix thoroughly and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    I took this to a Paleo party last week served three ways: as the stuffing in 1. baked Baby Bella mushroom caps, 2. cocktail tomatoes halved with the seeds removed, and 3. organic celery sticks.

    Several people who don’t like liver told me they liked this.

  25. I just ate my cousin’s raw deer liver this weekend and was amazed at how sweet the fresh-out-of-the-deer organ was! So delicious. I wonder how fast it breaks down. I put it on ice and froze it 24 hours after the kill and I hope there is still the same taste when I thaw it.
    My family also scolded me for risking parasites. Does anyone know the calculated parasite risks for wild game?

  26. Re: offal, I can only speak for (cow or bison) liver, which I don’t like. The breakthrough was freezing it, and then grating some of it into (usually) ground beef, such as hamburgers, meatzza, and so on. If you get the right proportions (start small), you won’t taste it.

  27. In China, you’ll be wanting to give your kids Jujubes, as they’re the only locally produced dates available in China that don’t have added sugar!

  28. To the mom with the toddler. Arrange fruits and vegetables in pictures on the plate-faces, sailboats, a sun etc. worked for us! Also you don’t have to eat the peel to get fiber. The inside of an apple or pear also has fiber.

  29. This is in reply to Roger on your previous comment about Dr. Jaminet’s book and your take on rice. First off, you do know who wrote the forward for his book don’t you….. Your primal guru Mark Sisson, and second, Mark himself mentions many times and even has an article speaking about how safe rice is and even WHITE rice the black sheep of the family is actually quite nutritious. Also in regards to your comment about getting 20-30% of your daily calories from carbs, why is that a problem? Especially if those are whole food carbohydrates. Carbs do not make people fat or sick. Too many calories make people fat. Now before the calories in calories out cult slams me for this, I am speaking mainly in the context of energy balance which not only has Mark agreed with in a specific podcast but so does Dr. Jaminet. Now if you feel fine eating the way you eat then sure, go ahead, enjoy it and live life. But do you know if you would feel the same or even better eating 20-30% of your daily calories from the safe starch carbohydrates Jaminet approved in his book? Since you clearly don’t eat that way then probably not but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Since your 54 “and can do 10 muscle ups, 30 pull ups, and run a 7 minute mile,” I would be willing to bet that you could benefit from more carbs in your diet, but hey that’s just my opinion. You could probably do more than that if you added in some safe starches. Lastly, just to clarify, what makes Jaminet’s evidence based research any less valid to “read and believe” as you put it than Marks?

  30. This is a timely post for me! Thanks, Mark! My 17 month old cries every time she needs to poop because she won’t eat much other than meat and eggs! It’s super frustrating to me, and it’s so painful for her. She does like potatoes, I guess I need to up the amount she eats.

    I once tried making a smoothie with my food processor but it left a ton of little green chunks that she spit out. I guess I need to invest in something better.

  31. To the mum going to China – kids can be ridiculously fussy but Guangzhou is quite cosmopolitan. You can get most stuff and Hong Kong is a short train ride away and they have US style supermarkets, delis and a Marks and Spencer! My little one went from eating everything veggie to eating nothing and is now back to eating most things. We used to make frozen smoothie lollies, they went down well. Freeze lychees and let him peel and eat Dinosaur eggs. Sesame seed chicken nuggets…. chicken pieces dipped in egg and rolled in sesame seeds before baking. They go great with fries made from potato, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip… Deep fry stuff. I found he would often eat veg if there was some kind of high fat/salt included. You could try tempura style vegetables dipped in egg and panko breadcrumbs before deep frying. Mine loved deep fried courgette flowers from our plants. Hide veg in things like bolognaise sauce. Make a big batch of tomato sauce but pack it with carrots, squash, egg plant etc.. then blend it and add meat. Make mashed potato, add other veggies and tuna, make into patties, dip in egg and sesame or panko and fry until golden. Serve with tomato pasta sauce out of a jar (as if it were ketchup). Make cakes with veg and better flours. Muffins with carrots, courgettes, parsnips, squash and sweet potato. Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall’s new recipe book is gluten and dairy free. It includes a really easy chocolate kidney bean cake recipe which my house loves. They’ve eaten all of it on the three occasions I’ve made it – once covered in avocado chocolate mousse! HTH!

  32. I’ve noticed when eating beef kidney sometimes that it tastes or smells sort of like pasta water.

  33. I was a cross country runner in high school and as I’m sure Mark would understand, missing a day for sickness just wasn’t an option. I’m just thankful it didn’t happen as often, or as intensely as other people on my team. But what was interesting to me, was that when I was sick, and we had some rather intense track work scheduled, I noticed that my symptoms were pretty much completely eradicated. That’s actually the main reason I don’t normally back off the intensity of my exercise when and if I feel under the weather.

  34. Hello friends, I read this blog and got beneficial knowledge about food and health.I want to know what is the best fiber food for teenagers.If there is any recipe please share it for me.

  35. As to offal, I suggest the old Pennsylvania Dutch “scrapple.” I can get it in my frozen meats section of the store. I used to avoid it because it does have some corn meal and wheat flour in it. I’m much less the purist these days.

    The ingredients, in order, pork stock, pork, pork skins, corn meal, wheat flour, pork hearts, pork livers, pork tongues, salt, and spices. It’s quite peppery.

    A 2 oz serving – right……. I eat about five ounces with my eggs…..has 120 calories, 70 of them from fat. Total carbs is 7 grams, so it’s not like eating a loaf of bread.

    Slice and fry to deep brown on each side. Yum, three or four times a week!