Paleo…. could it be for you?

As the paleo challenge is winding down, you are most likely feeling better than you have ever felt, seeing great results in the gym, and finally have developed a routine to prepare food so you are not starving all week. So, what to do post challenge? Do you stay paleo? or go back to the way you were eating before? I came across this blog today with this same title “Paleo… could it be for you?” and I thought I would share her advice on deciding what to do post challenge.

Here are some tips and advice to help get you started.

Make the commitment-Are you truly ready to take on a nutrition or health challenge? Do you have any major events coming up like weddings or holidays that could sabotage your efforts? It is much harder to make healthy decisions when faced with too much temptation. I started mine at the end of September and it finished right before Thanksgiving. Going into the holiday season having already lost weight was motivation for me to keep it off and maintain my eating habits.

Establish a splurge rule-The old saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” unfortunately applies here. If your “cheat days” consist of alcohol, poor food choices, AND desert you are setting yourself up to fail. If you add-on top of that the fact that you didn’t exercise….well, that’s a recipe for gaining weight. When I cheat or splurge I typically pick ONE of the above items. I even remember doing this while on my honeymoon more than 8 years ago. Each day I decided if it was going to be a “drink what I want” or an “eat what I want day”. We went to one of those superinclusive resorts in Jamaica where you needed zero money and were not allowed to tip. It would have been very easy to indulge everyday. These days I would rather eat healthy and have 1-2 glasses of wine as my splurge.

Limit alcohol-Alcohol is nothing more than a bunch of empty calories. And quite frequently drinking alcohol goes hand-in-hand with poor food choices (think appetizers & drinks). I made a personal rule a while ago where I limit my drinking to social occasions only. As a mom of 2 small kids, unfortunately our social life isn’t that exciting. If I am not hanging out with friends I typically don’t drink. I was getting into the habit of having a glass of wine or two with dinner most days of the week. Not only is that a ton of extra calories that my small frame can’t handle, but I didn’t like it when my 3-year-old took her cup at dinner one night and said “Look Mommy my wine.” And ultimately I work too hard at the gym to blow it on alcohol.

Get family on board-If you are committed but members of your family are not, it will make your life harder. I remember when I got into the bad habit of having ice cream 2-3 times a week after dinner. I would see Brent serve himself a bowl of post-dinner ice cream and want some just because I saw him with it. Now mind you Brent is almost 6’2” and maybe weighs 180 pounds. He can afford to eat a huge bowl of ice cream every night and he won’t gain weight. I had to tell him that he needed to stop doing this every night in front of me. Ultimately I stopped buying ice cream every time it went on sale and that took care of that! (See sometimes is it nice when you are the one in charge of the food shopping!) Remember there is strength in numbers so get the entire family on board. Educate them as to what you are doing and why and how it is a good idea for everyone to get healthier even if not everyone needs to lose weight.

Clean Your House-No I don’t mean mop the kitchen floor! Get rid of the junk! If it’s not in the house you can’t eat it. (See ice cream example above.) If you must have certain temptation foods in your house then at least make them hard to access. For example, I put my favorite dark chocolate covered almonds either on the highest shelf or I put them in freezer in my garage. It’s one thing to mindlessly grab a handful because they are there. It’s another thing to get out the stool and climb to get them. Lately though I just haven’t been buying them. When they are not in the house I don’t crave them.

Have healthy foods readily available-“Fail to plan; plan to fail” is one of my favorite quotes. Meal planning & food prep at the beginning of the week will save you time, money, and calories. Taking the time to meal plan and prep foods for the week increases your success with staying on track and not giving in to take out or quick fixes. Sunday is my prep & plan day. We have a dry erase board in the kitchen that is used as a central place of communication; weekly meals, to-do lists, grocery list, and reminders are put there. When we make dinner we cook more than enough to ensure there will be leftovers for lunch. This allows for the assembly line that is lunch making to occur with speed and ease! It also helps me to not eat the same salad every day. If I do make a salad, I make 2 at a time so I have one ready to go for another day that week. Lately I have been buying meat specifically for lunches. I have been alternating between chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, and steak tips. I cook this all at once and use it for my salad (which lately has been broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, & shredded cabbage as my base). Or I dice it up and add some paleo mayonnaise and cubed sweet potatoes and take it as my breakfast.

Some examples of quick foods in my fridge:

Baby carrots, pre-packaged shredded carrots, broccoli slaw, cabbage, multicolored peppers, a variety of fruit, nitrate free deli meats, cooked chicken, steak, or pork, coconut milk yogurt, whole milk yogurt and string cheese for the kids, shredded coconut chips, & hard-boiled eggs.

Cook in bulk-I know I make lots of jokes about my big butt freezer in my garage but really I am not kidding. My theory is “Go Big or Go Home” when it comes to cooking and baking. If I am going to spend my time cooking, I am at a minimum, going to double the recipe so I have some to freeze for later. Let’s face it, life is busy and my life is busy too. In addition to being a wife and mom, I have a full-time teaching job, I just completed my 4th marathon this past Sunday, I CrossFit 3-4 times a week, I am co-owner of this awesome blog, and I soon will be working as a part-time massage therapist. Oh yeah, and I also have friends and family and a social life to fit in too. So yeah there are weekends that we are so busy with commitments that we don’t have time to do a perfect meal plan and grocery shop. That’s the real world-plain & simple.When this happens I don’t stress because I know that I can pull meals out of my freezer that week.

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Paleo Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

3 cups Sifted Almond Meal (plus a little extra for rolling)
½ tsp Kosher Salt
½ tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
¾ tsp Ground Cloves
½ tsp Ground Pepper
1/3 cup Honey
2 Tbl Liquid Coconut Oil
1 Egg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together (almond meal, salt, spices and baking soda).
In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together (honey, oil, almond extract, and egg).
Create a crater in the center of the almond flour mixture.
Pour the completely mixed wet ingredient mixture into the crater.
Using a fork, start stirring the wet ingredients into the dry from the inside out.
Keep stirring until you achieve an even consistency.
Roll the dough into one large ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.
Dust a pastry board with some almond meal.
Place the chilled dough on top of the almond meal and dust all sides thoroughly.
Using a rolling pen, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 -1/8 inch thick.
Cut out the gingerbread men and place on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Re-roll the leftover dough after you’ve cut out all the cookies and repeat the process above.
Remember that when the dough gets sticky, simply dust with more almond meal.
Bake for 13-14 minutes.

Let cool for about 5 minutes, then enjoy!

Time: 45 minutes prep; 13 minutes bake

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16 Tips to Help You Handle The Holidays

Tip #1. Take your own food to a gathering.

Don’t just show up – make your own food to take to family gatherings! Not only do you ensure that you have good, wholesome paleo food to eat, but you just may convince others to give paleo eating a shot. Especially after they try some delicious gluten-free, dairy-free pies and bread-free stuffing.

Tip #2. Send notice of your dietary preferences ahead of time.

Send recipes to whoever is cooking so you can still eat and enjoy your meal. Make the traditional dishes paleo. Let whoever is cooking know so they won’t be offended if you’re not eating what is provided–with a reminder that you don’t expect them to change what is being made to accommodate your diet. (then do #1)
Tip #3. Be the host.

Host! Offer to host this year and I bet no one will even notice the white flour yeast rolls (I like to call them disease rolls) are missing! There are so many yummy paleo goods there’s no way this Christmas will mean missing out in holiday goodies.

Tip #4. Remind yourself of how bad non-paleo food makes you feel.

Stop, breathe and realize how bad you will feel if you go off the range and eat non-paleo. I drink a large glass of water walk away and distract myself. Sometimes it works, sometimes I falter. Bottom line do your best and don’t beat yourself up.

Tip #5. Plan ahead.

Shop early for ingredients in order to be prepared ahead of time. My suggestion for surviving a paleo – or any – holiday is to be involved in planning the menu for dinner. By being one of the people planning the menu, you are able to ensure that things you can eat and will enjoy will be in good supply, and that there will be fewer of the trigger foods that you are trying to stay away from. You can also ensure that your family is getting foods they enjoy and aren’t being deprived at the same time.

Tip #6. Don’t have non-paleo food available.

Make up paleo food that you like for yourself (and others.) As usual have your fridge filled with cooked, or cut Paleo foods. Make up some Paleo treats so that when everyone is having dessert at the end of the big turkey dinner…you can too! If I’m having family for any of the Holiday dinners everyone will be pure Paleo…it’s never been an issue as there are so many amazing recipes out there. Start your new Family Favorites!

Tip #7. Eat before you go.

My favorite holiday paleo tip is have a big nutritious paleo breakfast — especially if you’re going to a feast later. There is nothing that makes me so grateful, even-tempered and unlikely to fall into a SAD pecan pie as a belly full of protein and good fats and veggies.

Tip #8. Make smart choices, relax, enjoy.

Enjoy your family and don’t stress about food, make smart choices, but don’t deprive yourself. Choose the protein-rich foods at a party, like meats and eggs.
Tip #9. Make it a fun challenge.

Buy everything beforehand and make meals a challenge to create a fully paleo creation.
Tip #10. Respect others food preferences.

I found that my non-paleo family members aren’t extremely fond of paleo desserts, so one survival skill I’ll remember is that the food is not all about me. They will want to enjoy traditional pumpkin pie; and I can have an alternative, in addition to that.
Tip #11. Bake extra.

I’ve found in the last few years that the key to keeping our family on the paleo track is to do a little extra baking. There always seems to be some suitable main dish and veggie alternatives that are paleo (or near enough) but the sweets are another story! I make sure I make a few extra batches of muffins or coconut truffles or at the very least a container of dates on hand so when we’re tempted by the extra “goodies” we can eat something that’s much better for us and won’t have so many unwanted side effects!

Tip #12. Communicate your needs clearly.

I think the most important tip to surviving the Paleo Holidays is communication. In our house, we decided to stay home with just our immediate family because that way I had total control over what was being served. I know this doesn’t work for everyone (and it doesn’t work for Christmas with our family) so a person/people need to be very upfront about what their needs are. Don’t judge what others are choosing to do, and expect that they won’t judge you. Make enough to share, but be firm on what you will be eating. Be kind and loving. Have a plan ahead of time for when you are faced with foods that aren’t so good for you.

Tip #13. Set goals.

Even though we’ll travel to our family’s home and I won’t be totally in charge, my primary goal is to avoid gluten (1st) and sugar (2nd). I’m taking a couple of side dishes and a Paleo bread loaf so I don’t feel so left out and tempted to graze the dessert table!

Tip #14. Prepare mentally.

During the holidays, stick to your guns and do what you know is right for your food choices (AKA paleo) regardless of comments from friends or relatives. It’s very difficult to fight the tide (or to row up-river), but whenever I do it I am happier and feel better about myself and my food goals – regardless of comments from my mother or my aunt or my friends. They all have their varied opinions about my eating choices, but they don’t live inside my body. So, I choose to not let the hoopla of the holidays spoil my inner-self nor what I am fighting so hard to achieve.

Tip #15. Exercise in the morning

I survive by running the local Turkey Trot first thing in the morning. Then I’m much more able to say no to non-paleo temptations because I’m feeling so good from racing!
Tip #16. Offer paleo substitutions with a non-paleo ‘essence.’

When I am craving something sweet, I drink hot tea. It keeps me occupied. If I choose a “sweet” flavor it usually does the trick. And this is so easy to do in the winter, when it’s freezing outside!


Gray Area Foods

The idea behind a paleolithic diet is that you avoid foods that cause gut irritation and foods that cause hormone imbalances and insulin sensitivity issues. This means avoiding all grains, legumes and dairy products as well as refined sugar, processed food chemicals and modern vegetable oils. But there are some foods are not clearly safe or unsafe. You may choose to include or to avoid these foods in your implementation of paleolithic nutrition. Many advocates of paleolithic nutrition suggest cutting out all gray area foods for a month or two, then adding them back in one at a time and see how they make you feel. They become especially important factors if you are suffering an auto-immune disease or a history of poor gut health.

Here are the main culprits (although there are others, so look for future posts):
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds do still contain small amounts of gut irritants (in this case, saponins) and anti-nutrients (in this case, phytates, which inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals). The phytate content can be minimized by soaking nuts and seeds overnight (then drying them in the oven at low temperature or in a food dehydrator) before eating them. Most nuts and seeds also contain more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids (ratios ranging from 1:3 to 1:10), which isn’t helpful as we strive for a 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in our diets.
Goat Dairy and Dairy from Pasture-fed Cows: Dairy products are blacklisted for two reasons. They can irritate the gut in some people and they also cause a spike in your insulin disproportional to the amount of sugar in milk (even cheese, which is mostly protein and fat, spikes your insulin). Both of these are reduced in goat dairy and in dairy from pasture-fed cows, many people can tolerate these quite well. Another bonus to dairy from pasture-fed cows is that they contain Conjugated Linoleic Acid and more omega-3 fatty acids.
Nightshades (Peppers, Eggplants, Tomatoes and Potatoes): Vegetables in this family contain small amount of poisonous glycoalkaloids (like tomatine, solanine and chaconine). Depending on your lineage, you may or may not be sensitive to these chemicals (if you have any native american ancestry, you are probably okay). A way to minimize your exposure is eat the ripest version of the vegetable (ripe tomatoes, red bell peppers, etc.). Also, potatoes seem to be especially problematic, so many paleo dieters avoid potatoes even if they include the other nightshades in their diet. If you do want to eat potatoes, peeling them gets rid of most of the glycoalkaloids.
Eggs: Yes, eggs can be a problem for some people too. A chemical called lysozyme in the egg white can form globs of molecules in the gut and sneak things across the gut lining that shouldn’t be able to get into your blood stream. Isn’t it strange to realize that egg yolks are the healthy part of the egg? (Especially when you eat omega-3 or free-range eggs). Paleo dieters hate to give up eggs, so I suggest only doing this if you have a diagnosed autoimmune disease.
Caffeine: This is a touchy subject for me because I know that I should give up coffee (at least for a month or two to see how I do), but I just don’t want to. The issue with coffee and other caffeinated beverages is that it increases your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Most of us are trying to reduce stress, not increase it, so large amounts of caffeine are just not useful. In a perfect world, we would all get enough sleep that we would wake up refreshed and the thought of a double americano with heavy cream would never cross our minds. If you can stomach the idea of giving this up, I suggest doing it. Otherwise, do what you can to minimize your caffeine intake. You could try decaf (which has about a quarter the caffeine of regular coffee) or stick with tea. It also helps to drink coffee black because the fat in heavy cream can increase how quickly the caffeine gets into your blood stream.
Alcohol: After watching my childhood dog get completely drunk from eating rotting plums left on the ground after dropping from our plum tree, I feel confident that our paleolithic ancestors probably consumed some alcohol in the form of fermented fruit. The issue with alcohol is always dose. Ethanol is a toxin and it increases your blood triglycerides (increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease). You don’t need to cut alcohol out, but do try and stick to one or two drinks at a time, no more than a couple of times per week… or less. Also, be aware that most beer contains gluten. Spirits generally don’t and wine (especially red) has some great antioxidants in it (reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease!). If you are having issues with sleep quality though, I suggest cutting alcoholic beverages out completely, at least for a while.

With all of these gray area foods, I suggest considering them as possible culprits for continued health issues as you experiment with paleolithic nutrition. Maybe it’s too overwhelming to cut them out at first. Maybe you feel great even when you eat them. Maybe you want to consider a one month trial of omitting them from your diet to see how you feel. I personally do better without nuts. And I have a strong suspicion that I should give up caffeine. This is one of the many aspects of paleolithic nutrition that is completely individual.

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Are You Eating These Important Supplemental Foods?

Today I’d like to talk about supplementation. No, not vitamins. I’d like to take a look at supplemental foods – multivitamins provided in whole food form by mother nature (often aided and abetted by cooks, cheesemakers, farmers, ranchers, shepherds, and the like). In my estimation, there are a few absolutely essential supplemental foods that we should be eating.

Most of you are probably eating a few of these foods regularly, and some may be eating most of them, but I’d wager that none of you are eating all of them on a regular basis. Check the list, see what you’re missing, and adjust accordingly.

Egg yolks

Egg yolks are number one in my book. The way they blend effortlessly with other foods and even enrich them, and (if you get a really pastured one) provide unparalleled taste and mouthfeel when eaten straight out of the shell can’t be praised enough. The vitamin A, choline, folate, selenium, iodine, and omega-3 (again, if you get pastured) are rather nice, too. Eat egg yolks every day, just don’t smoke ‘em. Yes, that was a double reference to both the egg yolk/cigarette study and Dr. Dre.

Liver

Since every animal comes with but a single liver, it’s tough to get more than a few ounces if you’re sharing with everyone else in the group. Good thing liver is the most nutrient-dense food on the planet, so nutrient-dense that eating more than a half pound to a pound a week is probably overkill and will net you an excessive amount of certain nutrients.

Seaweed

Seaweed is green vegetation that’s been marinating in mineral-dense seawater for its entire life, and when you eat seaweed, you get the best source of iodine, plus magnesium, manganese, iron, and tons of other trace minerals that you might be (probably are) missing out on. Some of the healthiest traditional cultures consider seaweed a staple food, and essentially every group of coastal people utilized sea vegetables in their diets. Sprinkle kelp or dulse flakes on food, make broth using dried kombu, eat seaweed salad when you go out to eat sushi, roll up avocado and meat in nori wraps – the possibilites are many and delicious.

Turmeric

You might have read my old post on turmeric, thought, “Huh, interesting,” gone out for Indian that night, and never thought about it again. That’s a mistake, in my opinion, because turmeric is delicious and a true health food. It and its primary bioactive component – curcumin – have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-lipid peroxidative, blood lipid-improving, and anti-carcinogenic in human studies. Contrary to popular belief, turmeric doesn’t just go with Indian food. I often sprinkle it liberally on my eggs, meat, and vegetables, and I even make a tea out of it. So no, you have no excuse not to use more turmeric more often. Add black pepper to increase the benefits.

Bone broth

It can feel like a chore to make, but it’s really not. Get bones, cover with water, heat, strain. It only seems like a big job. Once you get going, though, it’s easy enough. Make it a routine, to make it even easier and ensure that you have bone broth on hand at all times. Just be sure to clean those pots right away; dried, obliterated skeletal matrices are tough to scrub off of stainless steel pots. As for the benefits, bone broth is a good source of minerals and gelatin. If you’ve been pounding the muscle meat, balancing the amino acid methionine out with some glycine from gelatin is advised, since methionine metabolism depletes glycine. Gelatin also improves joint pain and sleep quality. I hate the former and love the latter, so I make and drink bone broth.

Bone marrow

Bone marrow is an interesting one. It’s plainly obvious why humans and their ancestors have been seeking it out for millions of years – it’s fatty, calorie-dense, and delicious – but its nutritional value beyond macronutrients is a bit more murky. In a previous post on bone marrow, I tried to divine the specifics and came to the shaky conclusion that since marrow is actively involved in bone and connective formation and resorption, we can effectively think of it as an organ and thus assume it to be nutrient-dense. I think that still holds. No, there are no studies or nutritional databases to confirm this, but I’m going to go out on a limb and propose we consider bone marrow to be an important supplemental food.

Shellfish

Over a year ago, I told you guys to start eating shellfish. Did you? Well, consider this another notification that shellfish, particularly oysters and mussels, should be a regular part of your diet. Why oysters? Just four medium sized Pacific oysters supply a smattering of B-vitamins (including over 1000% of daily B12), 1200 IU of vitamin A, a third of daily folate, almost 7 mg of vitamin E, 3 mg copper, 280% of daily selenium, and 33 mg zinc. That comes with 18 g protein, 4 g fat, 1.5 g omega-3, 0.1 g omega-6, and 9 grams of carbohydrates. Why mussels? They’re also rich in B-vitamins, selenium, zinc, and protein, but also come with good amounts of magnesium and manganese. Other shellfish are also good, but probably not as important as oysters and mussels.

Tiny whole fish with heads and guts

Anytime you can eat the entire animal, you should. Heck, if they were able to genetically engineer bite-sized cows, I’d be all over that (assuming they were grass-fed, of course). Until then, tiny fish with heads and guts will do the trick. I’m talking sardines. I’m talking anchovies. I’m talking smelt. I’m talking any of the fish running between a half inch and six inches long. Any longer and the guts will begin to stand out in your mouth. But if you keep to that sweet spot, you’ll get the brains, the glands (all of them), the organs, the bones, the fermenting algae, krill, and assorted sundry microscopic marine goodies tiny fish like to eat, in addition to the omega-3s and protein, without adverse flavors. Oh, and because they’re tiny and low on the food chain, tiny fish will be largely free of the heavy metals other, larger fish tend to accumulate.

Red Palm Oil

For the PBer who fears almonds and other nuts and seeds for the omega-6 content, vitamin E is scarce in the diet. Some would argue that vitamin E is only there to prevent oxidation of omega-6 present in foods, and there’s something to that. But still: dietary, full-spectrum vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, and red palm oil is the richest source of the full-spectrum variety. It’s also a good source of CoQ10, another powerful nutrient. Oh, and it tastes good (once you get used to the unique flavor). Go for African palm oil instead of Southeast Asian, because the former isn’t produced on the backs of dead orangutans.

Brazil nuts

Selenium, selenium, selenium. This essential little mineral is woefully absent from most people’s diets, and it’s a shame: selenium is vital for thyroid hormone production, the manufacture of endogenous antioxidants, and sex hormone production. Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium. Many of the previously listed foods are going to get you plenty of selenium, but brazil nuts are nice to keep around for those days when you haven’t been eating your lamb kidneys, mussels, and anchovies. Just pop two or three brazil nuts and you’ll have more than a day’s worth heading straight to your gastrointestinal tract. Easy peasy. Go for the ones in their shells if you can, since those are going to be fresher than the shelled nuts.

Purple/blue foods (sweet potatoes, berries, vegetables)

As I’ve said before, bright colors in plants often indicate the presence of potent polyphenols – bioactive compounds found in plants. No bioactive color has been more studied and lauded than the blue/purple anthocyanins, which are linked to anti-inflammatory, anti-atherosclerotic, and anti-carcinogenic effects and can pretty much be found in any blue or purple fruit, vegetable, or tuber. So, Okinawan sweet potatoes are great sources. Blueberries, raspberries, currants, purple grapes, and blackberries are great. Red lettuce, radicchio, and purple cabbage, cauliflower, kale, tomatoes, and carrots are also rich with anthocyanins. If it’s purple or blue and edible, it’s probably worth eating.

Fermented food

Since modern medicine is steadily unearthing new connections between the gut microbiome and a host of health and disease states, we know we should pay attention to our gut flora. I can’t tell you to go eat dirt and stamp around barefooted in parasite-ridden water (even though both may theoretically have their benefits), but I can tell you to eat a mix of fermented foods. You’ve got your yogurts, your kefirs, your sauerkrauts, your kimchis, your (aforementioned) nattos, your beet kvasses, your kombuchas. Benefits include more numerous and more bioavailable nutrients, new nutrients, new genetic material for your gut flora to acquire, and membership into a tens of thousands of years-old fermented food appreciation Meetup group with billions of members from every culture that came before us. In other words, gut flora is important, everyone who’s anyone regularly ate fermented food, and you should too.

So, how’d you do? Does this look familiar to you? Are you eating these foods, or are you missing out? Let me know in the comment section, and be sure to mention any foods I might have missed. Thanks and have a great day!

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/are-you-eating-these-important-supplemental-foods/#ixzz2nAKtIhZV


Paleo Baking?

Does baking with Paleo ingredients adhere to The Paleo Diet?

The Paleo community has been trending towards an obsession with creating bakery style foods with “Paleo” ingredients. Recently, on a trip to my local grocery store I noticed an advertisement for Paleo bread. While it is great to see that eating “Paleo” is maintsteam, it is rather oxymoronic to read an advertisement for “Paleo Bread.” You can find anything from Paleo bread to Paleo pastas to, dare I say it, donuts! That’s right, a donut that is supposedly fits into the “Paleo” paradigm. It’s great to see the tremendous spur in culinary creativity amongst Paleo evangelists, but there also comes a point when the health benefits of The Paleo Diet are compromised. When individuals simply replace their whole wheat bread with almond flour Paleo bread, the nutritional value is questionable. In all likelihood, our hunter gatherer ancestors did not have access to whole wheat bread or almond flour bread. Both breads are processed foods and are a far cry from what our natural human diets would have consisted of during the Paleolithic era.

The two most common flours used in Paleo baking recipes are almond flour and coconut flour. Let’s break it down: Most recipes call for one or more cups of almond flour. One cup of almond flour is equivalent to roughly 90 almonds. Excessive nut consumption can cause a wide array of problems for people trying to achieve results following The Paleo Diet. The primary concern with almond flour is that it contains extremely high amounts of inflammatory PUFAs, or omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The standard American diet already has a disproportionately large amount of PUFAs and consuming large amounts of almond flour could surely prevent your body from reaching a healthy equilibrium. A diet that is high in PUFAs can result in slowed metabolism, impaired thyroid function, and depletion of antioxidants in the body.

Cooking or baking almond flour results in a process known as oxidization. The PUFAs found in almond flour are not stable at high temperatures, but rather are the least stable of all the fats. Saturated fats are the most stable. When heat is applied to a PUFA, the double bond is easily broken and the PUFA becomes an oxidized fatty acid. In other words, oxidized fats are equal to free radicals and free radicals cause cell damage.

If you are going to be baking anything, coconut flour is your best bet. It is comprised mostly of medium chain saturated fatty acids, which are much more stable under high heat. Also, the majority of carbohydrates in coconut flour are fiber. People with digestive issues, like leaky gut, should avoid both coconut and almond flour altogether, as both flours can cause irritation in the gut.

The basic premise and goal of The Paleo Diet is to eat as close to nature as possible. In reality, a hunter gatherer would have not been able to cook up Paleo pancakes or bread, regardless of the type of flour used. Processed foods were completely out of the picture. The key here is moderation. A coconut flour based pastry on occasion is obviously better than eating the common alternative, which typically is loaded with gluten and vegetable oils. As long as you stick to consuming The Paleo Diet in the way that it was meant to be followed for the majority of your meals, a little dessert here and there should do you no harm.

Read more from The Paleo Diet here


Curb Your Hunger

It can be challenging at first to curb the carbohydrate cravings and hunger that arises when you are adjusting to a Paleo lifestyle, especially during the holiday season. By following the tips below, you can successfully ward off hunger that some people experience when transitioning to The Paleo Diet.

Breakfast

As the old saying goes, “breakfast is the most important meal of day.” This statement is especially true for people leading a Paleo lifestyle. The high-paced life of the average American frequently leaves little time for preparing a hearty breakfast first thing in the morning. Allocate an extra 30 minutes of your morning to cook a breakfast that will boost your energy levels for the entire day.

Scrambling vegetables, cage-free omega-3 eggs, and uncured pasture raised bacon or sausage is a quick and hearty meal that will provide adequate nutrients to keep you fueled throughout the day. If you’re getting tired of bacon and eggs for breakfast consider having salmon with avocado and fresh berries to get your day started on the right foot!

Order The Paleo Diet Cookbook for a collection of breakfast alternatives.

Up Your Protein and Fat Intake

Carbohydrates are digested quickly in our bodies. Excessive carbohydrate consumption often results in a surge of glucose levels throughout the blood stream and an eventual post-carb “crash.” Fat and protein are digested at much slower rates.

Protein consumption also promotes the formation of the peptide PYY, which is known to reduce hunger and aid in weight loss. If you come down with hunger pangs around lunch time, consider adding extra grilled chicken to your garden salad, or a couple of hard boiled eggs to up your your protein and fat intake.

Snacking on nuts in moderation throughout the day will also help to up your consumption of healthy fats.

Carbohydrates for Athletes


If you regularly engage in aerobic and or anaerobic activities you may feel fatigue from inadequate carbohydrate intake. Grains, sugar, and white potatoes are not recommended on The Paleo Diet, but there are plenty of other fruit and vegetable carbohydrate sources that can boost your athletic performance by restoring your muscle glycogen levels.

Sweet potatoes are commonly recommended by many experts within the Paleo community because they slowly release carbohydrates into your body, thus preventing any significant alterations in blood glucose levels. Recent studies show that fruit smoothies also are rich carbohydrate sources that have little adverse effects upon our blood sugar levels. Turnips, parsnips, squash and zucchini also are great options to include in post workout meals. Bananas are inexpensive and high in potassium and carbohydrate. For a quick and easy pre-workout or post-workout snack consider bringing a couple ripe bananas to the gym.

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