Dear Mark: Why No Soy in PK Teriyaki, What Slackline to Buy, and Type 2 Diabetics and Keto

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions.

First, why did I leave out soy sauce from the Primal Kitchen® No Soy Teriyaki Sauce? Second, what slackline do I recommend beginners buy? And third, is keto safe for people with type 2 diabetes?

Let’s find out:

Hey Mark,

How come you didn’t use soy sauce in the new teriyaki?

The response to our new Primal Kitchen No Soy Teriyaki sauce has been overwhelmingly positive. I can’t blame them. The stuff is tasty. But, like you, a few have wondered why we chose to omit the soy. After all, the soy in traditional teriyaki sauce is soy sauce—a fermented product—and I’ve spoken positively about fermented soy in the past. I support the consumption of natto, a fermented soybean product with the highest vitamin K2 density of any food out there. Miso’s pretty excellent. Even tempeh is better than un-fermented soy. And traditional soy sauce fermentation is so thorough that several different gluten assays are unable to detect any gluten present in the finished product, despite wheat being a vital ingredient. Why not include actual soy sauce, or at least tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), in the PK teriyaki?

First of all, I make this stuff for you guys. For the people who’ve been there from the beginning. For the people who got into this Primal/paleo stuff because they had unexplained rashes, weird weight gain, gut issues, even though they were eating the conventionally “healthy” diet. And many of you (as many of you have told me over the years) have figured out that you have intolerance issues with soy—even if it’s fermented to high heaven. The last thing I want to do is exacerbate an autoimmune issue, especially if the ingredient in question isn’t really necessary.

And two, I knew I could make something tasty and unique without soy. I didn’t need it. Maybe it’s not exactly like teriyaki sauce you’ve known and loved. For one thing, it has far less sugar. But it’s really, really excellent. It serves the same purpose as teriyaki sauce. It even manages to give the appearance of sweetness (at least, if your taste buds haven’t been deadened by decades of sugar baths) without really having any added sugar—just balsamic vinegar. Soy simply wasn’t necessary.

Believe me: we tried different formulas that included soy sauce. They were fine, sure, but they weren’t necessary to get the result we wanted. And so we left it out. Why not leave out a potential allergen, one that a disproportionate number of our customers seem sensitive to? It was a no-brainer.

There are plenty of decent teriyaki sauces out there (although you might have to whip it up yourself to limit the sugar). Ours is just unique.

I certainly feel that procrastination is a mechanism of self-defense. After a long day of “mental work”, when I come home it’s not that “I’m tired” is more “I need to decompress”. One of my go-to phrases: “I’ll do it in the morning”. I still haven’t gotten myself one of those slacklines… is there a particular one you recommend?

I’ve always loved the Gibbon slacklines. The basic one is more than enough for most people.

A few beginner tips I always give to newcomers:

  • Focus on standing on one leg. Get comfortable there. Then spend even more time on one leg before trying to take steps.
  • Use trekking or ski poles to get comfortable. If you aren’t making any progress at all, there’s no shame in using a small help.
  • Know that the line won’t swing out from under you when you take a step. It feels like it will, but it won’t. Trust and have faith (kinda like life).
  • Let your arms swing where they may. Keep them fluid (like a gibbon), not rigid.

Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged. The first couple hours on a slackline is really humbling for nearly everyone. I have a long history of board and “balance” sports (snowboarding, standup paddling, etc), and my first time on the slackline I could barely stand up. Your leg will wiggle more than you ever thought possible. Keep going. Even though it won’t feel like you’re making progress, you are. Your brain is taking notes, drawing new paths between neurons. It’s learning. Giving up gives your brain the message that this task is too hard for you, and it’ll stop learning.

Is Keto dieting ok for us type II diabetics?

Most signs point to “yes.”

Type 2 diabetes has been described as a disease of carbohydrate intolerance. If that’s right, then removing or severely restricting the thing you’re intolerant of seems logical. What happens when you do that?

Very recently, a large study came out that supports the use of keto in this population. Two groups of type 2 diabetics were placed either on a very low carb ketogenic diet or a standard diet for two years. The ketogenic group:

  • Lowered their HbA1c.
  • Reduced their diabetes medication usage.
  • Lost visceral body stout.

The control group experienced none of these benefits.

Furthermore, 55% of the keto group reversed their diabetes and 18% went into remission.

I’ve heard some people make the point that because keto doesn’t necessarily give a type 2 diabetic the ability to eat a huge baked potato and have normal blood glucose, it’s not really a “cure.” Maybe. But would you say the same thing to an alcoholic who no longer drinks? Is sobriety not a viable treatment for alcoholism because if the alcoholic took a drink he’d fall off the wagon? No. That’s ridiculous.

That’s it for today, folks. Pleased 4th to all my U.S. readers out there. Delight in a safe and healthy holiday weekend.

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References:

Cao W, Watson D, Bakke M, et al. Detection of Gluten during the Fermentation Process To Produce Soy Sauce. J Food Prot. 2017;:799-808.

Athinarayanan SJ, Adams RN, Hallberg SJ, et al. Long-Term Effects of a Novel Continuous Remote Care Intervention Including Nutritional Ketosis for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes: A 2-Year Non-randomized Clinical Trial. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019;10:348.

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