In part one, the history, health claims, and many other properties of apple cider vinegar were covered. Read on to learn how to use apple cider vinegar, get valuable recipes, and learn how to decide if you should include it in your daily regimen.
How To Use It
When starting to use apple cider vinegar, it is best to try a small amount, about half of a teaspoon. Many bloggers have noted that a straw may be best in order to avoid potential acidity to teeth. There are many different ways to take apple cider vinegar, and the most common is to buy the organic, unpasteurized variety.
If one is to purchase apple cider vinegar tablets, they should be wary. As in many supplements, the quality of tablets will vary widely. One 2005 study compared different brands and found that the ingredients weren’t the same as was listed on the outside packaging. That is a pretty scary thought. Cathy Wong, ND, notes that when chemically analyzed, the products may have just been acetic acid, not apple cider vinegar.
This makes one question whether to buy the tablets at all. In fact, it is probably much better to incorporate apple cider vinegar as a part of a recipe, or to simply “take a shot” of it. As is becoming increasingly obvious, however, apple cider vinegar is not the health tonic that many claim that it is. I would use it sparingly, and the recipes below include it in just that way.
Here are some simple recipes to get you started on incorporating apple cider vinegar into your regimen, should you choose to. Note that, on its own, apple cider vinegar doesn’t taste very pleasing, especially at first. Hence, the importance of these recipes.
1½ Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 small clove garlic, minced (½ tsp.)
2 cups grated carrots
½ red apple, diced (½ cup)
¼ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped dried cranberries
1 tsp. agave nectar or honey
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1. Combine cider vinegar and garlic in small bowl. Let stand 15 minutes.
2. Stir together carrots, apple, green onions, parsley, and cranberries in large bowl.
3. Whisk agave nectar and oil into cider vinegar mixture. Add to carrot mixture; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and chill 2 hours, or overnight. Serve salad on bed of spinach leaves.
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
5 teaspoons garlic salt
1 cup cider vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Place chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with garlic salt, then pour vinegar over all.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes or until chicken is browned and cooked through, and juices run clear.
2 tablespoons apple juice (or substitute apple cider)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Pour the apple juice and vinegar in a small bowl, add the salt and several generous turns of black pepper, and stir to dissolve the salt. Whisk in the olive oil and use immediately.
Note: These may be slightly “un-paleo”, but were far too interesting to leave out. Remember: they’re still cookies. Enjoy very moderately.
1 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 ripe bananas
1/4 ripe avocado (about 1/4 cup)
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
4 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup chocolate chips, Enjoy Life dairy-free kind
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients, coconut through salt.
3. In another larger bowl, add in the remaining ingredients, mashing the banana and avocado with a fork. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing well. Make sure to work out any clumps of coconut flour.
4. Spoon out about 2 tablespoons of dough and form into a ball, placing it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Continue this process until you’ve created all of your round cookies. *I like my cookies slightly doughy in the middle after baking. If you want more of a cooked cookie, press down the tops slightly, flattening them out.*
5. Bake cookies for 20 minutes, or until golden browned.
1 Tbs. Apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. water or apple juice
Comparison To Kombucha
Another popular fermented substance in the Paleo world is kombucha. Kombucha brewing requires a “mother” as well. Kombucha comes from a SCOBY, which stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Similarly to apple cider vinegar, it has acetobacter. Kombucha gets its flavor from the vinegar, which is fermented from the alcohol. This is also similar to apple cider vinegar. Also, there is very little, if ANY scientific basis for drinking kombucha. This is, again, similar to apple cider vinegar. A further comparison is made on another blog.
Note again, that there is little scientific evidence supporting a similar substance. This is an overarching theme in many of the purported “super-foods” and “detox” products. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these substances won’t work, but it should make you quite a bit more skeptical about them. Remember that marketing plays a significant role in consumers buying preferences, and that science doesn’t. You should always try to correct for this, if you wish to be economical and healthy.
There is no question that if one were to follow an “orthodox” Paleo diet, apple cider vinegar wouldn’t fit the bill. Cavemen likely did not have this substance, and it is not a “real” food. If one were to truly wonder if there is a Paleo way to get apple cider vinegar, it would be by eating apples, which is a different venture entirely. Since the Paleo concept is really just a framework and starting place, it is really not worth your time and effort to worry about apple cider vinegar being Paleo or not.
I would be much more concerned about the need or logic behind taking it. Do you need help with blood sugar control? Do you have GERD? These would be the questions to focus on. Paleolithic humans didn’t have roads, computers or coffee, either. And yet we don’t worry about those things, do we? Worrying about apple cider vinegar being Paleo or not is simply avoiding the important topics and questions.
Since I almost-always look at things from a strictly scientific perspective, I am on the fence about apple cider vinegar. As Mat Lalonde, organic chemist Ph.D from Harvard University, has pointed out, apples have the lowest nutrient density of any fruit. That is but one starting place that shows flaws in the logic of using apple cider vinegar on a routine basis.
Some of the best scientific studies on this substance, are flawed and not necessarily translational to humans. And those are the best studies. Here are a few examples:
“Cider vinegar induced a significant reduction in weight gain in animals treated with 0.51 ml/kg while others showed no significant differences in weight gain.”
That study can be read here, and was performed on mice.
“These results indicate that apple cider vinegar improved the serum lipid profile in normal and diabetic rats by decreasing serum TG, LDL-c and increasing serum HDL-c and may be of great value in managing the diabetic complications.”
This study can be read here, and was performed on rats.
“This small study show that vinegar delays gastric emptying in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients with diabetic gastroparesis. Clearly, a larger, randomized trial involving a greater number of patients would be needed to validate the findings of this pilot study.”
This study is available here, and was performed on humans.
Based on these and other findings, I would say that apple cider vinegar is an important substance to try if you have digestive issues, or perhaps diabetes. Otherwise it may not be worth your time or effort to experiment with it. Could the only mechanism of action be the acetic acid? In all likelihood, yes.
While scientific data on apple cider vinegar is very limited, and not very convincing, anecdotal evidence is a different story. In cases like this, it is often best practice to do an “n=1” experiment, and try apple cider vinegar individually, and see how your body responds to it.
The best method of use seems to be using a straw, as chronic exposure to acid will likely not be favorable for your teeth. You can also incorporate or try some of the many recipes available, only a few of which were included in this article.
What do you think about apple cider vinegar? Have I debunked many of the health claims? Let us know in the comments!
Be sure to check out Apple Cider Vinegar: Part 1!