Is It Primal? – Paleo Bread, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, Psyllium Fiber,
and Other Foods Scrutinized
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: The
Definitive Guide to Stress, Cortisol, and the Adrenals: When ‘Fight
or Flight’ Meets the Modern World
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
Not Primal (unfermented soy), but it doesn't appear very threatening.
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
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
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.
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.
the rest of the article
to Lew's recent podcast with Mark Sisson
July 24, 2012
© 2012 Mark's Daily Apple
Best of Mark Sisson