Neo-Agutak: “Eskimo Ice Cream”

UPDATE: Melissa has given this dish a great name: “Neo-Agutak,” after the Inuit dish Agutak or “Eskimo ice cream.”

Eating certain foods during a fast can increase its health benefits.

In the book we recommend coconut oil and fiber-rich calorie-poor plant foods. Our reasoning is:

  • Short-chain fats in coconut oil make the fast more ketogenic. Ketones have benefits for immunity, neuronal function, cancer suppression, and HDL production. They also reduce glucose requirements, making the fast less stressful.
  • Fiber in plants may be digested by gut bacteria to butyrate, a beneficial short-chain fat.
  • Anti-microbial plant compounds help fight gut pathogens and biofilms, shifting the balance of power in the gut toward commensal species.

Good food choices during a fast include green leafy vegetables, which are highly nutritious; traditional herbal spices, like oregano or turmeric, which have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity; and berries, which are rich in antimicrobial compounds.

What I Ate During Today’s Fast

Baby spinach, cranberries, and coconut oil.

First, I put a layer of baby spinach in a bowl:

Next, I add cranberries and coconut oil:

Then, I heat them in the microwave for a few minutes. After the coconut oil has melted and the spinach shrunk, I add more spinach and cranberries. You can also add spices to taste. Then, another few minutes in the microwave so that most of the cranberries burst their skins, and let it cool. It will look like this:

This bowl has about 125 carb calories from a half-pound of cranberries, about 500 fat calories from coconut oil, and a host of gut-cleaning pathogen-disabling plant compounds. It tastes great (I think), and makes a passable Christmas decoration!

I started eating this about 1 pm. I had eaten 3/4 of it by 4 pm, when I added 3 egg yolks. It was finished by 6 pm. This was my only food before dinner.

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75 Comments.

  1. I actually tried to make ad hoc Agutak a while ago – I wish I had known about this version though, first. As reindeer tallow and seal oil are in, well, short supply at the local Miami Beach Whole Foods, and Crisco is a defo no-go for me, I went with lard instead, and in lieu of the seal oil used coconut oil. A bunch of the recipes for Agutak I had previously found included powdered mashed potatoes which seemed gross, and a bunch had nuts & berries, so I went instead with frozen blueberries sweetened with some Stevia. Honestly, by the time I was done with the endless hand-mixing & -mashing, it looked so vile, I felt ill just looking at it. So I promptly stashed it in the freezer to try & figure out if I could salvage it. My husband actually had the cojones to sample it, and he visibly shudders any time my adventures with he’s dubbed the “Lard Pie” come up. It’s still sitting in the back of fridge, and I’m thinking of maybe trying to transform it into a form of pemmican. These cranberries from your recipe might work, too, provided I can stomach even working with it again. I normally love sat fat & cook with lard/tallow/butter/c.oil all the time, so I’m not sure what it was about the Lard Pie that so turned my stomach. Anyway, stay tuned.

  2. I’ve looked into the question quite deeply (the physics, the chemistry, the debates within chemistry), and the only effect of microwaves on molecules is to jiggle them gently and gradually heat the material that they’re in. In conductive materials like foods, they cause tiny oscillating electric currents, which cause some additional heating by electric resistance.

    The effects on food are the result of heating, period. If there’s overheating in spots, then that will do whatever overheating does.

  3. Paul, do you think this would be just as effective using other berries and other greens?

    I ask because just now we don’t have spinach in our garden but do have chard, tatsoi, mustards, raab, kale, collards, turnip greens. And in the freezer we have quantities of our own blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.

    I did just manage to get some organic cranberries being sold for Thanksgiving and have been heating them with a little water till they pop and mixing in some coconut butter. It makes a nice little pudding type thing that I keep in the fridge. I eat a spoonful or two either for a dessert or as you do here in the latter part of a fasting period.

  4. Paul:
    do you think a small amount of super dark chocolate (90%)
    cacao which is very bitter could be added to coconut oil for
    maintaining the fast?
    I need a little something different to cut it as coconut flavor alone can
    become overwhelming to me sometimes.
    but I really want to optimize my fasting hours and am willing
    to bite that coconut bullet if need be.
    thanks, L

  5. Hi L,

    Yes! Dark chocolate is never amiss.

    You might want to check out this recipe: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=2599.

    Best, Paul

  6. I wonder if you have a reference for only being able to burn ~25 carb calories an hour? ( http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=1296#comment-9869 )

    As a cyclist, I’ve been lead to believe that for longer duration races you need to consume ~100 GRAMS of carbs per hour to avoid bonking. That would be significantly more.

    For example, see this page: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/triathlon/avoiding-the-bike-run-bonk.aspx

    Thanks

  7. Hi Phillip,

    That’s for a sedentary person. It can go much higher during intense exercise.

  8. Hi Paul,
    Are you using coconut oil that tastes like coconut or the flavorless kind? It makes a huge difference in recipes. The flavorless kind works well in cooking and the coconut-tasting one in baking or dessert-like concoctions for me.
    Thanks

  9. Hi Helen,

    We generally use the extra virgin kind (tastes like coconut) but also have the refined (flavorless) variety. And we use coconut milk too. So some of each.

  10. JB, lots of people have done the identical test and seen no effect. Including us. Physically, it’s just not possible for microwaves to denature water. It can kill bacteria, but nobody has shown that plants need probiotic bacteria from water.

  11. Hey Paul,

    Quick question about ketogenesis in general:

    I have read basically everywhere I looked on the internet that consuming more than ~30g carbohydrate (give or take for the individual) will pull the body out of ketosis.

    Is this not the case, if you are still in ketosis by 6pm?

    Also wondering what other kinds of things can be eaten on a ‘ketogenic fast’.

    Thank you!

  12. Hi Aaron,

    There are two ways to induce the creation of ketones. One is starvation, in which ketones are generated from fats to substitute for glucose. The other is by flooding the liver with ketogenic substrates, in which ketones are created as a way to export energy from the liver.

    In general, I think starvation is unhealthy – it’s fine for a temporary, brief fast, but over extended periods it is health impairing.

    So I recommend inducing ketosis by eating a lot of MCTs or short-chain fats, perhaps with some leucine or BCAAs. This way you can induce ketosis even if you’re eating a significant amount of carbs – much more than 30g.

  13. You might be interested in this organic dextrose: http://www.breworganic.com/organiccornsugardextrose1lb.aspx
    Erythritol also makes a good sugar substitute – better than xylitol, which can upset digestion, or other dangerous products such as Splenda and aspertame.
    I unplugged my microwave 15 years ago and don’t miss it at all.

  14. Hi Paul,

    Is this Neo-Agutak: “Eskimo Ice Cream” something you only include on a 24hr fast. On your fasting post you give examples of protein restricted fast and ketogenic fasts. For the Protein restricted, you talk about including foods like bone broth soup and maybe some eggs and shellfish and potatoes. Is shellfish, eggs, bone broth, coconut oil, potatoes, and eskimo ice cream foods that you only need to add during a 24hr fast or do you add that during a 16hr fast as well. How come “90%” of people should undertake a protein restricted fast. Should I not eat eskimo ice cream since it’s a ketogenic fast food. Lastly, do you think caffeine is a good idea on an empty stomach? I get jittery unless it’s after a meal. Thanks paul.

    • Hi William,

      My thinking on fasting has evolved somewhat, also it is often a therapeutic intervention and different diseases call for different fasts. A coconut oil product like Neo-Agutak is ketogenic and can substitute for a lack of glucose; ketogenic fasts are suitable for neurological conditions. But for ordinary intermittent fasting, I wouldn’t eat this, or anything else, except fluids and maybe salt and a potassium-containing vegetable like a tomato.

  15. Hey Paul forgot to ask you one more question. You said that you know practice total fast on religious fast day such as a 64hr fast. Do you still eat fasting foods or do not eat any food period. What do you think about doing one 24hr fast a week and the rest 16hr fast? Thanks

    • Hi William,

      I think it’s generally optimal to do a daily fast, as the daily food intake entrains circadian rhythms which is beneficial. You can make the fast more stringent by making the daily fast longer, eg 18 hours or 20 hours instead of 16 hours. I do longer fasts once a year during Lent/Triduum for religious reasons more than health, although there might be health benefits to a once-a-year long fast.

  16. Hi Paul,

    This looks very yummy, and plan to try it when I get some baby spinach. Constipation has always been an issue with me. I’m interested in trying this bowl of “gut-cleaning compounds” but I am a little nervous. So I figured I will try a small portion first and see how my gut handles it. Kinda like going slow with the Vitamin C. I now go to the bathroom every day, but it’s still a small amount compared to how much I eat.

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