How To Go Primal With Food Allergies and Restrictions
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: Reheat
and Eat – Frozen Primal Meals
Over the past
couple months, I've steadily been accumulating questions from readers
with food allergies and food restrictions looking for assistance.
They are all interested in giving the Primal Blueprint lifestyle
an honest shot, but because they can't eat certain foods, many of
which enjoy an (real or imagined) exalted place in our community,
they need help. Can it be done without eating red meat? Can it be
done as a vegetarian? Can one eat Primal without eating land animals?
Can a person succeed without tree nuts? Without coconut products?
essential? Can a vegan
succeed on this eating plan? Are these nothing but minor
speed bumps on the road to Primal, or something more serious?
Let's find out.
to tree nuts…and they are such a big part of the Primal
Blueprint diet. Is it possible to still succeed on the plan in
a healthy way without eating nuts?
I actually wouldn't say that tree nuts are "a big part" of the eating
plan, but rather supplementary garnishes to be added as desired/tolerated.
They aren't essential. Many people who are just starting out with
this stuff turn to nuts as their go-to
snacks, because they're low-carb, high-fat, and relatively convenient.
This gives nuts the allure of essentiality. They are not. Nuts make
a fine snack, sure, but they also tend to run pretty high in omega-6
fats. While there's nothing wrong with some whole foods-based linoleic
acid from time to time – eating
a walnut is not the same as quaffing rancid seed oil, after
all – making nuts a "big part" of your diet will likely result in
a lopsided omega-3:omega-6
ratio. Over reliance on nuts is a common problem faced by many
a Primal eater, and it's one you'll never have to worry about. Be
Since you can't
tolerate them, you simply don't add them to your routine. That's
fine, and you won't be missing much. You certainly won't be missing
anything that you can't get from other foods. In fact, I'd wager
that you'll be much better off than the tree nut-tolerant person
who can't seem to stop himself from tolerating five handfuls of
nuts every single day. Because they're so energy-dense, what begins
as an innocent post-lunch snack of filberts can easily turn into
a full-fledged meal rich in omega-6s.
is allergic to almonds. Is there another flour I can use in my
Coconut flour is probably going to be your best option, but it's
nothing like almond flour. Coconut flour is far drier, with far
more fiber and far less fat than almond
flour, so you can't substitute coconut flour 1:1 for almond
flour without getting a very different final product. Luckily, I
did a post
on coconut flour a couple years ago, and the comment section
to that post contains several reader recipes. If you look around,
you'll find that the Primal recipe blogosphere is quite fond of
coconut flour. Sure, you need to add a couple extra eggs to account
for the drier texture (but more eggs
are great!), but coconut flour doesn't pack quite as a big of a
caloric whop as almond flour. Baked goods made with almond flour
can really add up fast, especially if they're sweetened and delicious;
using coconut flour in your pancakes instead of almond flour means
you won't be eating 1500+ calories in the form of a half pound of
ground almonds, several eggs, a couple tablespoons of butter, a
banana, and honey without really even realizing it.
potato flour, or potato
flour are also options. They are higher in carbs than either almond
or coconut flour, but they are largely free of possible irritants
or other grain lectins.
If you're not worried about the carb load, these can be used.
Here are a
few links to various flours: coconut,
to bananas and avocados. What are good substitutes for these in
Well, it depends.
If you're talking replacements for guacamole or frozen bananas dipped
cacao dark chocolate, I have some bad news for you. It ain't
gonna happen (they aren't that good anyway).
But if you're
trying to replicate the textural enhancements provided by the aforementioned
forbidden foods, you have options. In smoothies, a creamy texture
can be achieved via yogurt,
frozen fruit, and/or coconut milk (use the cream and omit the water,
if possible) infusion. And this may sound odd, but frozen macadamia
nuts tossed in a smoothie provide a buttery texture that, while
not perfectly analogous to that of a frozen banana or avocado, stands
up well on its own merits. In a Primal baked good, unsweetened applesauce
can replace mashed bananas. If you're missing the fat content of
the avocado, both olive
oil and macadamia oil contain similar amounts of monounsaturated
Oh, and I lied.
Guacamole and chocolate dipped bananas are definitely that good.
I have been
intermittently following a Primal lifestyle, but have had difficulty
transitioning my household to it because my husband is allergic
to coconut, in all it's forms. As DH has recently (today, actually)
been diagnosed as having high cholesterol and borderline high
blood pressure, and he has difficulty regulating his blood sugar,
finding a substitute that would allow for greater implementation
of a Primal lifestyle has taken on a measure of urgency; he is
only 34, and I would like to have him around and healthy for several
more decades I will be consulting the forums for information,
and re-scouring the historical files on MDA – however, any direct
assistance that can be provided would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
are popular with this crowd, they are not essential. Yes, they taste
good and provide healthy medium chain saturated fats, but so do
oil and dairy
fat. Both can be worthy replacements. If your husband wants
the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) for which coconut
is popular, he could always try MCT oil, made up of pure medium
chain triglycerides extracted and refined from coconut
oil. I had a funny
experience with MCT oil, and I prefer coconut oil, but it's
a perfectly reasonable, completely refined alternative stripped
of all vestiges of its coconut past that should be tolerated by
those allergic to coconuts (but be careful and introduce very small
amounts; I'm talking a quarter teaspoon at a time, just to be safe).
As for palm oil and dairy fat, go with grass-fed
dairy fat and unrefined
red palm oil, and you get extra vitamins and nutrients along
with your medium chain triglycerides.
think "no coconut" is a deal breaker.
I am allergic
and/or intolerant to eggs and dairy and coconut (in addition to
wheat, soy, yeast, etc.). Do you think it is possible for me to
go Primal in that circumstance?
likely be forced to go "strict" Primal, what with no dairy and no
coconut flour baked goods bound together with eggs, but I think
that's actually a blessing in disguise. Sticking to meat, vegetables,
fruit, and nuts will keep you honest, and it'll keep you away from
any potentially problematic foods (even the ones that most Primal
eaters readily and happily accept) that can add up rather quickly.
Check out Robb
Wolf's autoimmune protocol, which restricts dairy, eggs, nightshades,
wheat, soy, and all the regular neolithic foods. Since plenty of
people thrive on that way of eating, and you're just avoiding eggs,
dairy, and coconut, there's no reason you won't succeed.
not eating yogurt or kefir or some other fermented
dairy, which is how many people work fermented foods in their diets,
you should look into lacto-fermented
vegetables, like sauerkraut,
kimchi, or pickles.
the rest of the article
March 8, 2012
© 2012 Mark's Daily Apple
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