So, how important is Inulin? Should you go out of your way to ensure you include it every month? week? meal? minute?
The simple answer is that it is all relative to who you are and how metabolically deranged you are.
Someone who grew up in the Amazonian rain forests and never had access to any modern or processed food probably will get it incidentally on a daily basis. If put into some form of weird experiment, they would probably be able to flourish indefinitely given, so long as the remainder of their diet remained unchanged.
The simplest way to put it, is that Inulin is the inverse of sugar. The leaner, fitter, and better functioning your digestive and hormonal systems are, the more sugar you can handle and utilize for health and performance.
The oppositte is also true. The worse you look, feel, and preform (to steal Robb Wolf’s expression), the less you sugar that can go into your system.
For Inulin the opposite is true. The healthier you are, the less potent the effects will be because you are already closer to well than sick. If you are metabolically deranged, have some issues, and are looking to lose body fat than increased Inulin consumption will have a benefit.
Provided that you do all of them together.
Like we said yesterday, doing one thing right does not off-set doing ten things wrong.
If you are eating Paleo, you will get plenty of the good stuff (no matter what chemical it is) from the meat, vegetables, and spices you eat.
That’s the beauty of it. You can become a full blown orthorexic and track the amount that you eat and obsess over food quantities. Of you can have a life, eat well and rest assured that the natural diet of the human species provides above adequate nutrition for all categories.
One of the greatest things I have ever done
To be honest with you, this brisket is a greater accomplishment that anything I have done in the last two or three years.
Its sort of a sad commentary on my life, but I’d easily make this my last meal if I had to.
It all started with a 4lb Grass-fed, Grass-finished Angus Brisket from US Wellness Meats and reading the River Cottage Meat Book by a person so food obsessed that I look like I was born without taste buds by comparison.
The most shocking thing is that this is fairly simple to do, it just takes a lot of waiting and a little backwards planning.
Starting it up
Easy to start, just put the brisket into the pan. Than cut up a large onion and a large sweet potato and spread them around the roasting pan. Next, add some thyme and rosemary spread evenly across the meat and vegetables. I also cut up and added two small carrots that I had left over. Allowing some of the vegetables to touch the meat will help add some variety and differing flavors and textures to the meat. Some people will scoff at this and insist on segregation, and while that will lead to a more uniform taste I think it is boring.
Next add the garlic. I smashed three cloves, added some sea salt, and minced it, and spread it across the pan.
I added the meat to an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees and left it for a half hour. I did something a little unconventional here. On one of my obsessive compulsive checks I noticed that the potatoes and onions were crisping a little faster than I wanted to and that the fat from the brisket was not rendering as fast as I thought it would. So I added a teaspoon of rendered bacon fat to the potatoes at each end. This turned out to be a good decision adding some fat and variety to the starches in the dish.
After the Sizzle
After an hour, I lowered the heat to 300 degrees. Before putting it back into the over I added 2 cups of homemade beef stock. A cup and a half may have been a little better, but I was still worried about the potatoes drying out. I covered it with tin foil and let it roast for 3 hours.
Thank god for responsible roommates, because I went to Crossfit Inception to coach in the evening while this was roasting. Luckily, I had a roommate willing to endure my insanity and take the pan out of the oven while I was gone.
This provided me not only the ability to make a fancy meal, but it forced me to let the meat rest for a half hour before eating it. This rest allows the meat to reabsorb all of the moisture that it lost during the cooking process and makes it much, much juicer than if you ate it straight out of the oven.
I would set you on fire if you stood between me and this brisket
The result was perfect. The meat was butter knife tender, the potatoes had the right mixture of moist and crispy.
This brisket makes about five full meals for me. Which means about six to seven for people with a normal appetite.
Nutrition data for 1 serving (obviously estimated because I would never let science get its hands on my beloved brisket):
Is Inulin magic?
Pretty simple article, see you tomorrow.
But seriously, inulin is just one of the probably thousands of chemicals that you need to survive. Inulin does have some undeniably good properties, but it seems to be the on the verge of being touted as the next diet break through. Its simply not that case. It never is the case.
Think of it from an evolutionary perspective (novel since this is a Paleo site), how could any one micronutrient, macronutrient, or chemical compound be that important in isolation?
Humans are successful because they can adapt to a multitude of environments. Dependency on any one element would have prevented humanities successful migration and colonization of the planet. Think of water and oxygen in its gas form. Now think about how many human colonies live under water or the population of the Arabian desert. Water and oxygen do not have a substitute and therefore are a limiting factor to human expansion.
Inulin as a chemical compound is found in a wide variety of foods, but the absorption quality, availability, and concentration would have varied greatly from location to location and time period to time period. While garlic and onions may be common in modern southern Europe, but when that region was covered in ice cap I do not think they would have been that available.
I am not trying to knock Inulin here, but it is a great example of how modern medicine tends to focus on a single chemical, compound, pill, or product (pomegranate or acqi berries). While Inulin is important to healthy living, it is not a cure all or even cure diabetes. A holistic, balanced approach is much more appropriate for whatever your goals are.
Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Pandas are endangered because they can only eat bamboo, if humans relied that heavily on Inulin for optimal survival than desert and arctic regions could not have been settled by humans.
I think everyone can agree that Inulin has a lot of decidedly good properties and should become a larger part of your diet. Which in itself presents a problem of where does it come from and how do I eat these mystical vegetables. Well the answer is that you already are eating a lot of it if you are eating Paleo.
Wikipedia lists some sources of inulin that are not necessarily that high in inulin nor that common.
the list of prebiotic canada is a little bit better:
Natural Sources of Inulin
Inulin is naturally present in many different foods. Some every day foods, such as asparagus, leek, onions, banana, wheat and garlic are sources of inulin. Higher concentrations exist in herbs. Dandelion root, elecampane root and chicory root all have large amounts of inulin. Chicory root is the most common source of inulin due to its extremely high concentration as well as its similarities to the sugar beet. The methods used for the extraction of inulin from the chicory root are comparable to the extraction of sucrose from the sugar beet. This allows for similar equipment to be used, making it easier for chicory root producers to cultivate inulin.
The list of everyday foods is sort of misleading. Its accurate, but it’d be the same as listing coca-cola as a source of Vitamin A. Yea, its in there but its not a good source of it. So eating wheat (anti-nutrients), bananas(too much sugar to get the effect), and even asparagus (inefficient) is less than ideal.
The parts on spices is awesome to see. Another article to have a well-stocked and often used spice rack. Especially garlic which probably deserves its own post one day.
The best places to get Inulin are from more dense vegetables that don’t end in “otato”. These can be used in many of the same way as starches cooking wise, but have less of a blood sugar spiking result.
Its not that they do not and that Inulin is a magical anti-starch or a natural cure for diabetes, its simply has less of a negative impact than starch.
For those of you still confused, but with good SAT scores; Inulin is to starch what a Larabar is to a snickers. Its still not perfect or even great, but its much better
I like to stay on topic as much as I can (which I fail at about 90% of the time), but this has got to stop. Thanks to the yellow journalism Tracy Anderson and her fitness method has become growingly popular. I’ve ignored most questions about her or easily dismissed them with laughs. I really enjoyed the http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/ and 70s Big post on the topic.
Than I read this article from the BBC that I saw linked on a facebook post. It has to stop. 700 calories a day is not a fad or a starvation diet. It is starvation.
I can honestly can sympathize and/or empathize with people who want or need to loose massive amounts of body FAT. Weight means nothing more than how much earth’s gravity pulls on you. Thats it. Nothing more. Fat means a hell of a lot. Fat stored in the adipose tissue of your body comes with a whole slew of health and survival implications.
Tracy Anderson’s “eat less than if a UNICEF food bag in Somalia was your grocery store” plan is not a diet. Diets can be right or wrong or somewhere in between. They all have an ideal of health and reason behind them.
The Tracy Anderson plan will kill you. Not in a “melodramatic” smoking causes cancer kind of way, but in a you will die of the affects of starvation kind of way.
I’m not going to comment on her exercise plans (children with learning disabilities could try less and do better), but her way of eating does cause major and immediate health problems. The article, which is some sort of a stockholm syndrome-esque positive review openly admits this.
It immediately reminded me of all of my worst Ranger School experiences. I understand enduring hunger hallucinations in order to prepare for the worst case scenario in war. This is enduring the same type of torture indefinitely in order to look like a skeleton in a bikini.
Its wrong. If you put yourself in a position of authority and convince people to do things that are going to kill them you should be liable.
Starvation diets do not work. There has never been a Miss USA winner from a starving country. No one cares what you weigh, they care what you look like. More on this later. Post some comments to help keep the rant going