Month: September 2016

Should You Eat Raw, Local Milk? 

milk photoYou may have never given milk much thought, we have trained from a young age that milk is good for you. But have you heard the many recent controversies of raw milk? Raw milk is as pure and natural as it can get. Rather than being sent to a plant to be pasteurized and monitored by the FDA, then off to a bottling factory; Raw milk is simply straight from the cow, to a bottle and to the refrigerator. Raw milk lasts for approximately 7-10 days, which is around the same time period as the milk we purchase from the grocer last once we get it. The difference is that the pasteurized milk we purchase last longer than that, it just uses up a great deal of its 2-3-week shelf life being processed, bottled and shipped all over the country.  With fresh raw and local milk, there is no need for a longer shelf life with no travel time needed.

Have you ever been on the freeway and see a truck with a huge tank containing milk? That’s right, our milk that we are consuming is traveling around in a truck that could easily be mistaken for an oil tanker. Think about that the next time you pour yourself a glass of commercial milk. In recent years, local raw milk has become a hot topic, that up until then was only for the bravest of souls. But now, you can even find a black market for raw milk “dealers”. Raw milk still remains illegal or limited in the majority of the country, making it quite hard to obtain for most people, especially if you don’t live in a rural area. But what is the big fuss over milk? Is one that much better for you than the other?

Pasteurization Kills Healthy Bacteria

When milk is exposed to the “Pasteurization” process, the milk is heated to kill all bacteria and pathogens, including the beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and raw fat.  According to, Farm Aid, raw milk has been accredited with reducing asthma, allergies, digestive health, and other health benefits to those who consume it through childhood. These benefits are seemingly due to the lack of pasteurization and the consumption of good bacteria and pathogens. Though pasteurization is in place to help keep people safe by making food safer for consumption, many people are very much against the pasteurization process. Milk isn’t the only healthy food that loses a lot of its good for you properties before hitting the store shelves, honey, for instance, is always best purchased locally and raw. But it doesn’t have the same risk factors as raw local milk.

The Risk of Drinking Un-Pasteurized Milk

While seeking out the healthiest, most unprocessed foods have become growingly popular; most people won’t even consider kicking pasteurized milk. Instead, people are purchasing and consuming organic milk. Un-pasteurized milk has its risk, that’s why we have a pasteurization process, to begin with. While the benefits of some of the good bacteria and pathogens could be immense, you also need to take into account that without pasteurization, you also have the bad bacteria and pathogens. The most common being E. coli and Listeria, which are killed during pasteurization. Foodborne illness is nothing new, but the big question is, is raw milk too risky?

According to the CDC, data studied the number of outbreaks from 2007 to 2013 showed that there were 81 outbreaks due to the consumption of raw milk. The outbreaks resulted in 979 illnesses and of those 73 people were hospitalized due to their illness. The majority of the illnesses were caused by salmonella. Out of the 78 outbreaks from raw milk, 59% of the people sickened were children under the age of 5. Young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are far more likely to become sick from consuming raw milk. Their immune systems typically aren’t strong enough to fight the bacteria and pathogens found in raw milk.

Should You Be Eating Raw, Local Milk?

The decision to leave pasteurized milk behind you and set out on the hunt for local raw milk shouldn’t be taken lightly. Generally speaking, yes, it is just milk, but there is risk involved that should all be considered. If you are considering making the switch, be sure to do your research. The majority of contamination in raw milk comes from the farm and the milking process. Something as simple as a handler’s hands or equipment not being properly cleaned before milking could mean an outbreak of illness caused by the milk produced.

If you are choosing to make the switch you should always be sure you know where the milk is coming from. Seek out high-quality milk from grass-fed cows and be sure that the environment is sanitary. In some states, where raw milk is legal, there are procedures in place; farms that have passed inspection, certification and testing may sell their raw milk. In many areas, it is still illegal for them to even advertise the sale of raw milk, while in others you can occasionally find it in limited grocery stores.

As with everything, the choice to switch to raw local milk will involve weighing out the risk. While it is true that consuming raw milk can be risky if you turn on the news today, chances are you we see something about contaminated food making people sick; and chances are whatever food that is, is from a factory where it has been processed or even pasteurized. Some would say that you have just as much of a risk getting ill from pasteurized milk as you do getting sick from local raw milk. The reality is, it is a gable regardless of the choice you make. Both could just as easily make you sick. Choosing raw local milk could prove to be a beneficial part of you and your family’s diet. It could just as easily turn out to be too extreme for you. Choosing to make an informed and well-researched decision will help guide you to the answer of whether you should be eating raw, local milk.

Do Raspberry Ketones Really Help With Weight Loss?  

Raspberry ketones are a chemical found in raspberries and other fruits such as kiwi, grapes, peaches, and apples. Raspberry ketones can also be found in some vegetables and tree bark. Raspberry ketones are most popularly used as an ingredient in cosmetics, a skin treatment for hair loss, and as a flavoring agent in foods. It has gained recent popularity as a weight loss supplement after being mentioned on a popular television show. After its national debut, people started seeking out raspberry ketones in any form of supplement they could find available. Raspberry ketone supplements are most often not made or produced from raspberries. Instead, raspberry ketones found in supplements are synthetically made.  The question is, does this really help with weight loss?

What do Raspberry Ketone Supplements Claim They Do for Weight Loss?

The majority of raspberry ketone supplements have the same general claims for weight loss. The supplements are supposed to do things, such as burning stored fat, decreasing blood sugar, increasing adiponectin levels, boost metabolism, and appetite suppressing. Each different supplement has a different set of claims and uses, depending on the brand and dosage.

The Results

Studies have shown some results from raspberry ketones in lab rats and mice but in high dosages. Test results for raspberry ketones on humans are limited and the few studies have had varying results.  According to, Authority Nutrition, humans would have to consume around 100 times the recommended dosage to see similar results to rats and mice used in studies. Even then, the test subjects did not lose weight, they simply gained 5% less weight when gorging on an unhealthy overfill of food.

Should You Try Raspberry Ketones for Weight loss?

The truth of the matter is, no one has any evidence that raspberry ketone supplement’s yield any weight loss results. It is believed that most weight loss results from raspberry are more than likely from other additives in the supplements’. Most supplements contain not only raspberry ketones but also caffeine, ginger, and many other additives that are believed to help with weight loss. While the FDA has approved raspberry ketone supplement “Generally Safe”, there isn’t very much research backing their safeness or effectiveness. There is also a great deal of concern surrounding the fact that some raspberry ketone supplements are advertised as “natural”, when in fact they are artificial simulations of authentic raspberries. This is because real raspberry ketones are both extremely hard to harvest and expensive.

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Is V8 Paleo?

V8 Juice has been a persistent presence on grocery store shelves since 1948. Regarded by some as a convenient way to “drink your vegetables” when you’re on the go, it’s sometimes questioned as Paleo-friendly due to its nutrient makeup, packaging, and the fact that it is a processed food. Let’s start by deconstructing a can of V8.

What Is V8 Vegetable Juice?

V8’s original version is comprised of mostly water and tomato concentrate, along with a reconstituted vegetable juice blend that includes the concentrate of eight vegetables: beets, celery, carrots, lettuce, parsley, watercress, spinach, and tomato. However, the (not so) raw truth is that tomato juice comprises around 87% of the total drink, making it less of a “vegetable juice” and more of a tomato juice (from concentrate). It also contains a fair amount of sodium, with 650 mg of it in an 8 oz. serving, for the original version. Its manufacturer, Campbell’s, has also produced several renditions of the drink that include Spicy Hot, Lemon, Picante, Roasted Chicken, Low-Sodium, and Organic versions.

The juice has also undergone pasteurization, which can help increase the lycopene content of the tomato juice. Lycopene, which is naturally found in tomatoes (and their products), has some health benefits, including lowering the risk of cancer.

Unfortunately, most of the V8 available is packaged in cans lined with BPA (short for bisphenol A), a commonly used chemical in food packaging that some studies have linked to health problems. While Campbell’s has announced a move to phase out BPA in its can linings, it has not announced a timeline for when the changes will take place. V8 cans are not yet sporting labels indicating the BPA is gone.

Is V8 Healthy?

V8 is a vegetable, but mostly tomato-based, processed juice. Paleodietary advice leans away from processed foods. Unless made from fresh (hopefully organic) produce, most juices in their store-bought, packaged versions would seem to register as a Paleo fail. That, coupled with the fact that BPA-lined cans are still the delivery method of choice for the manufacturer, the odds seem stacked against it being a suitable Paleo food.

However, on the other hand, some Paleo/Primal experts give V8 the green light as acceptable. They advocate that because it’s relatively low in sugar, short on offending ingredients and relatively lower in carbs than fruit juice, it’s fine – but that fresh veggie always trumps the can.

What Do Other Paleo Gurus Say?

Neely Quinn says: “You don’t often find vegetable juice in stores (besides V8, but that doesn’t really count because it’s pasteurized, not organic, and full of iodized salt). But you can sure juice your own vegetables at home. Veggies are way lower in sugar than fruits, and chock full of nutrients.”

Mark Sisson says: “(It’s) Primal – it doesn’t contain added sugar or weird ingredients – but it doesn’t replace actual vegetables.

First, (there’s) the imbalanced sodium/potassium ratio. I have nothing against salt, but it’s fairly well accepted that an imbalance between sodium and potassium intake is one of the factors involved in developing hypertension.

Second, seeing as how V8 100% vegetable juice is actually 87% tomato juice (from concentrate), it’s more accurate to say V8 provides all your tomato juice needs in a can. Which is totally fine, but it’s not an effective replacement for your celery, spinach, beet, carrot, lettuce, parsley, or watercress needs. I’m actually a fan of tomato juice, even the pasteurized, reconstituted type. Rather than render it nutritionally void, pasteurization actually increases the lycopene content of tomato products (including juice). V8 is great for tomato juice, not ‘vegetables.’

Third, V8 appears to contain traces of BPA, perhaps because the cans are lined with it (though a type of baby formula had more).”

Melissa Hartwig says: “(Both Clausen pickles) and V8 are fine. Those additives aren’t encouraged, of course, but they’re not one of the three (MSG, carrageenan, and sulfites) specifically prohibited on the Whole30.”

Is V8 Paleo?

Yes – with a caveat.

V8 can be called “Paleo-in-a-pinch.” Dubbed as acceptable by several Paleo/Primal voices, it’ll do when fresh, whole veggies aren’t available. Yes, it’s Paleo. However, it shouldn’t be made a staple source of vegetables or nutrients for anyone trying to adhere to a Paleo regimen. With suspect packaging methods (for now), processed origins, and the fact that it’s fairly high in sodium make V8 an occasional veggie-based drink to use when you’re short on time and looking to occasionally change-up your beverage choices.

Issue No. 37

Photo by PRMF

Is Diet Soda Paleo?

soda photo
Photo by GoodNCrazy

Want to cut back on calories?

Drink a diet soda.

Want to get away from sugar?

Drink a diet soda.

People have been debating over the health effects of the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas—sucralose, stevia, and aspartame—for quite a while now.

So should you use diet soda as a way to curb not-so-wholesome sugar cravings, or should you avoid diet soda forever?

What is Diet Soda?

Supposedly, the first diet soda was a no-sugar ginger ale called No-Cal, created in 1952. It was intended for diabetics, not for people on a “diet,” and it didn’t sell all too well because of that.

But from that moment on, the idea was in the market and other large companies jumped on the bandwagon. Royal Crown Cola created Diet Rite, which is still popular today, and Coca-Cola created Tab, which was later replaced with Diet Coke to help customers associate the drink with the Coke brand name.

From 2000 and after, companies really diversified their diet products, and it all led to the dozens of diet sodas we see on our shelves today.

Is Diet Soda Healthy?

The main concern about diet beverages is in their artificial sweetener content.

Aspartame has come under fire recently because of its phenylalanine content—scientists have proven that some people’s bodies cannot process this component of aspartame. This may occur in people who have phenylketonuria, a genetic disorder, as well as pregnant women who naturally have higher blood levels of phenylalanine.

In addition, other researchers warn that aspartame, along with many other artificial sweeteners, are “excitotoxins”—that is, compounds that overstimulate the brain.

In addition, consumption of diet soda is known to disrupt your body’s natural ability to regulate potassium levels, and diet colas have been associated with the risk of low bone density, especially in women. This means that bones are more fragile and prone to osteoporosis.

There are a lot of studies showing that folks who drink diet soda are the most likely to gain and retain fat over time. However, these studies aren’t able to point to any specific causal mechanism, since they’re all observational studies.

In the end, the long-term consequences of drinking diet soda aren’t fully known. It may turn out that diet sodas have a relatively little downside, but most of the current evidence points toward some problems.

For most folks, I find that drinking diet sodas tend to lead to sugar cravings and bad decision making. Once someone is able to give up these drinks, they usually start eating better overall and craving less sugar. And that’s a huge upside.

What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?

Chris Kresser says: “Cutting out these beverages [sodas] should be the first step…and can also help with shedding excess weight and reducing high blood sugar – both issues that further contribute to hypertension. And don’t think switching to Diet will help either since artificially-sweetened beverages also contribute to hypertension.”

Mark Sisson says: “If you’re a dedicated diet soda addict, maybe experiment with slowly eliminating it from your diet. Drink a bit less than usual and see how you feel. Try to save your 80/20 allowance for something a bit more fun, like maybe a high-quality full-fat ice cream or a hunk of super dark chocolate (which actually has some nutritional merit, like good dairy fat). I’m gonna say that ideally, you ditch them altogether, mostly because they seem to reinforce bad habits in most people and because the long-term effects aren’t fully known.”

Is Diet Soda Paleo?


The negative effects (actual and potential) of diet soda on the body far outweigh any possible health benefits (if any).
If you’ve been using diet soda as a way to satisfy your sugar cravings, try weaning yourself off the beverage by replacing it with other sweet options like fruit (or go cold turkey if you can).

Issue No. 39

Photo by m01229

9 Small Things You Can Do to Lose Weight 

Setting out on a weight loss journey can be far more intimidating than it truly should be. Signing up for a year-long gym membership filled with fees or a diet plan that purely takes the joy out of your day to day life, aren’t your only options. If you are just fed up with your weight or even just looking to maintain a healthy weight; the small things can always make a difference. It may not seem like something as simple as taking the stairs can make a difference, but remember that all of the small things add up over time! The most important part of benefiting from small changes in your day to day life is to stay committed and consistent. Opting to take the stairs once a month is likely to only give your ego a boost for that one day rather than affect your overall fitness level. Make a plan and stick to it; Start out with just one little change at a time, when it has become natural to you, add in another small step. Over time, the benefits of your simple changes will start to show through to a healthier you!

stairs photo

1  Take the stairs 

Opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator is a no-brainer and is more than likely the easiest workout to commit to. Taking the stairs is a free workout with no equipment needed and is a great way to build up leg muscle. Even if you have a gym membership, climbing the stairs daily can help the transition to harder leg workouts at the gym a breeze.

2  Avoid Going Out to Eat 

Going out to eat and picking up takeout have become a normal occurrence in the hectic day to day lives of most people. But the reality is, it just isn’t very good for you. Even if you are going somewhere with the intention of ordering something healthy, temptation will be everywhere. Cooking a healthy dinner at home will give you control over everything you put into the dish and the portion size that hits your plate.

3  Workout During Commercials  

If you are feeling the guilt from curling up on the sofa to watch your favorite reality show rather than hitting the gym; customizing a workout that you can do during commercial breaks is a great idea. It gives you time to indulge in TV and do it guilt free. The average TV show has approximately 15 minutes’ worth of commercial breaks; if you watch two shows a day and workout during all of the commercials, that’s your 30 minute recommended daily workout!

4  Sit On a Ball at Work 

You may be thinking “but I work in a respectful office” on this one, but that is exactly the point! Trade out your office chair for a yoga ball. Sitting on a yoga ball at work all day can give you the ultimate multitasking ability! Trading out your chair for a ball will allow you to burn up to 350 calories a day, just from doing the same thing you have been doing every day already! It is also really good for your spine alignment and posture.

5  Use a Pedometer 

A pedometer is a tiny device that counts how many steps you make a day. You can buy one to clip to your waste, a bracelet, and even download them to your smartphone. Using a pedometer is about more than just counting your steps, it is about motivating yourself. Set a goal for how many steps you think you can walk in a day, start out slow and then increase it. At the end of the day take note of how many steps you took. Not only will you be burning calories, but you will also give you a sense of accomplishment when you reach your goal and continuous motivation.

6  Avoid Drinking Carbohydrates  

Of a 2,000 calories recommended daily diet, how many of those calories do you think you are drinking? If you, like so many others, love coffee, soda, tea, and alcohol, then you probably consume at least one or more of these a day. If you truly only indulge once a day, than you are probably on the right track; but as for the rest of us, we are wasting our allotted calories and carbohydrates on empty calories and carbs. If you feel like this could be you, start out slow by keeping a diary of what you ate and drank all day. Continue to do so and write down the calories and carbohydrates for everything you can. At the end of a day, calculate how many empty calories you drank vs. from healthy foods you ate. Once you see how many calories and carbohydrates you are drinking in rather than eating a healthy snack with vitamins and protein, you will start to hold yourself accountable and be more aware of what you are putting into your body!

7 Avoid Sugary Foods 

This may seem like the hardest thing ever, I mean let’s face it, sugar Is in nearly everything! Avoiding sugar has more benefits than just weight loss and is a change you should consider making, even if you aren’t looking for a dramatic weight loss. Sugar contributes to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and the list just keeps going. Even if you start out small, like substituting the sugar in your coffee or tea for honey, will make a difference in the long run!

8  Get Plenty of Sleep 

Research has shown that when you are short on sleep or staying up late at night, there is an increase in how much snacking and overeating you do. Your brain needs sleep to and when you are short on it, you start to crave junk and overeat. Not to mention, if you are getting less than the recommended amount of sleep, you are less likely to work out the following day. Sleep is vital for energy and a healthy lifestyle.

9  Prepare Snacks

Snacking can easily be a downfall, if snacks are not prepared ahead of time. It’s easier to grab a bag of chips than to make a healthy snack.. the solution? Prepare those snacks ahead of time. Cutting up vegetables like bell peppers (in a variety of colors), wash off fruit or box up those leftovers for the next time your stomach grumbles.

How to Set up A Space for Meditation 

meditation photo
Photo by Moyan_Brenn


When you close your eyes and envision the perfect meditation space you may be instantly taken to a Zen garden filled with statues and serenity. Chances are, this serene place doesn’t exist in your hectic daily life, nor does it fit into your “I don’t have a million dollars for a Zen Garden” Budget. But that’s okay! Creating your own meditation space doesn’t have to be inconvenient or expensive. You simply need a quiet, somewhat serene environment that will allow you to focus and breath, even if only for a short time a day.

Choose a Space

The first thing that you will need to decide, is where you intend to build your meditation space. Ideally, in a perfect world, a garden or spare room that can be dedicated solely to meditation would be wonderful. But if this isn’t an option for you, don’t fret. Seek out a space in your home that you can steel a corner from or that is peaceful enough that you could easily sneak away to, without interruption.

If you are looking to create a meditation space at work, chances are you’re limited to the confines of your office. Creating a meditation space at work is still an option, even if you are limited on space. Choose an area on the floor, maybe by a window, where you will be secluded from the stresses of work. Little things, such as clearing away your work, or laptop before you begin meditation may help you to clear away the stress of the workday and get it off your mind while you are meditating.

Decorate Your Space

Find the line between decorating a space and simplicity; while you need some things to make it feel like your surreal space, clutter and excess stuff are not likely to provide you with positive energy and a relaxing area. Instead of opting for many things, choose a few small things that complete the space for you.

  • You will need somewhere to sit, whether it be pillows, a yoga mat, omeditation photor a blanket, designate it for meditation. If you are creating a space at home, you may opt for cushions in soothing colors, while at work, it may prove easier to unroll a yoga mat and remove it when you are done.
  • Create an altar that can hold a few simple things that are symbolic to you. Anything that is of emotional or spiritual value to you can be placed on your altar. Consider a small statue or a bamboo plant.
  • If you are creating your space within another space, purchasing a small chest, storage ottoman or just a pretty box to place your things in when you are finished could be a good option. For instance, in your office, you could store your yoga mat and altar items for easy access. When you are ready to meditate pull them out. You could also use the box or chest as your altar; drape a pretty scarf or piece of fabric across the top and use it as the altar table.
  • If you are looking for more privacy, consider purchasing a privacy screen. Privacy screens are typically lightweight and easy to move around if you need to put it away or against a wall when you aren’t meditating and will give you the privacy you desire when you are meditating.

Photo by Moyan_Brenn

Think These Oils Are Healthy? Think Again! 

Choosing a healthy cooking oil can be a hard decision to make; especially when there are so many on the market and at some point or another, each and every one has been marketed as the healthy alternative. But what should you truly be looking for in a cooking oil? One of the first things you should take into consideration is what you plan to cook and what cooking method you are using to prepare it. Secondly, you should consider the oils fat content, specifically, fatty acids. Generally speaking, there are typically three classifications of fatty acids and each oil contain all three of them, however, it is classified as the fatty acid that it contains the highest percentage of. The three types of fatty acids are Saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated; each oil has different nutritional properties and the different types of fatty acids and content levels also affect each one’s cooking ability, according to, WebMD.

  • Saturated fats are most commonly solids when they are at room temperature, making them easier to spot. High levels of consumption of saturated fats have been linked to high cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease.
  • Polyunsaturated fats are different from saturated fats and can be distinguished by their liquid form. Polyunsaturated fats will remain in liquid form, even during refrigeration. In comparison with saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats have been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels, which in turn will show a reduction in the risk for heart disease.
  • Monounsaturated fats are slightly more challenging to spot. They do remain in a liquid for when stored at room temperature, but upon refrigeration, will appear cloudy as a partial amount of the oil begins to solidify. Monounsaturated fats have also been shown to reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

Are your healthy oil choices really the healthy option?

How many healthy oils have you purchased? And how many of them are truly the healthiest option for cooking oils?

Grape Seed Oil

Grape seed oil has made its name as a healthy oil simply by being rich in vitamin E and being a polyunsaturated fat. But it isn’t the healthy oil that it has been chalked up to. Grape seed oil is extracted from the grape seed, as the name would imply. It has become a way for winemakers to use up the bulk supply of grape seeds they are left with during the winemaking process. The oil is extracted from the seeds using chemicals and high heat. The grape seed was originally considered healthy due to the high volume of nutrients found in the grape seed. The problem is, that all of those nutrients aren’t found in grape seed oil. The chemical processing causes the oil to lose the nutrients, including all of the antioxidants. Grape seed oil is composed of 10% saturated fat, 16% monounsaturated fat, and 70% polyunsaturated fat. Similar to other seed and vegetable oils, grape seed oil is high in omega-6 and low in beneficial nutrients.

Canola Oil

While it is true that canola oil is one of the healthier options in cooking oil, many are concerned by the extreme amount of processing that it endures before reaching the supermarket. Due to its refined state, canola oil doesn’t contain the antioxidant’s that other otherwise healthy oils do. Most canola oil is genetically engineered. If canola oil is the healthiest cooking option for you, you should seek out organic canola oil to avoid the over processing and be sure that it is certified organic canola oil that you are purchasing. Some other concerns of consumers are that canola oil causes diseases; there is no scientific proof that canola oil causes any diseases what so ever. Canola oil has a relatively neutral flavor, that won’t have an ill effect on the foods that you are cooking in it. It also has a rather high smoke point, similar to vegetable oil, that makes it much more ideal for frying or cooking at high temperatures without burning and giving your food a rancid flavor. Canola oil is considered a monounsaturated fat, it is made up of 62% monounsaturated fat, 31% polyunsaturated fat, and only 7% saturated fat.

Vegetable Oil

What exactly is vegetable oil? I mean the term “Vegetable” isn’t very specific. Vegetable oil is a triglyceride extract that comes from plants and is defined as plant-based oils that don’t solidify. Vegetable oil is chemically extracted from seeds. While soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, and grape seed oil are all technically “Vegetable Oil’s”, generally speaking when people mention vegetable oil they are talking about oil found in the supermarket that is simply labeled “vegetable oil”. For many decades, vegetable oil has been labeled as a heart-healthy oil, leading consumers to believe that it is good for them. Vegetable oil is a polyunsaturated fat, which led to the belief that it is heart healthy, but it is also considered to be one of the unhealthiest fats readily available to consumers. Vegetable oils contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which can be harmful to one’s health when they are consumed in an excessive manner.

Soybean Oil

Soybean oil is extracted from soybeans by heating them and then chemicals are used to extract the oils. Soybean oil is very commonly found in processed, pre-packaged foods. Similar to other seed oils, the majority of nutrients that can be found in soybeans will be lost by the end of the extraction process. Soybean oil has a high smoke point, making it appealing to those who are looking to cook at a higher temperature. It is also more on the affordable side from some other oil choices. These factors make it appealing to consumers, without considering what the oil really contains.

Corn Oil

One of the biggest consumer concerns with corn oil is that it is made from different crops of corn all over the world, including, GMO’s. There is no evidence yet as to what GMO crops that have all been treated with more and more chemicals and pesticides, will have on the human body and organs as it works to break down the oil. Corn oil is considered a vegetable oil and similar to the others has lost its natural nutritional value by the time it reaches our tables.  Corn oil also has high levels of omega-6, which can prove to be unhealthy in large amounts, such as that contained in oils.

Vegan Butter Substitutes

The initial fear of what a vegan butter could contain is almost self-explanatory. It can’t be butter or dairy at all, so that pretty much takes “natural” out of the equation. Vegan butter substitutes can be found in many forms, a common one being good old margarine.  While even margarine as a vegan supplement will need to be purchased as 100% dairy free, as most margarine still contain a trace amount of dairy; most margarine is still made of extremely processed soybean oil and are hydrogenated. Just because it has a vegan label on it, doesn’t make this form of soybean oil any healthier than liquid soybean oil. It still has an extremely low nutritional value and is high in omega-6. Not to mention, the added processing that it has gone through to be used as margarine in a solid form.

Is Kefir Paleo?

As recently as three years ago, I had zero idea what kefir was.
You may or may not be in the same boat, but I couldn’t even pronounce the word. (If you’re wondering, it’s pronounced kuh-FEER.)

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a type of carbonated dairy product that has been around for a very long time. Evidence shows that people have been fermenting drinks for thousands of years (around 5000 BC for the Babylonians), and kefir is one such drink.

Heralded around Europe and Asia for its healing properties in centuries past, kefir can be made from the milk of any ruminant (any animal that does not completely chew the vegetation that it eats, including goats, cows, sheep, and other milk-producing animals).

Because kefir is fermented milk, it is slightly sour tasting; the carbonation comes from the special blend of bacteria that is put into the milk to culture it.

Is Kefir Healthy?

The bacteria forms special colonies, and as a result, is one of the most powerful probiotics in the world.
And by now, you’re probably aware that the health of our gut bacteria is critical to our overall health—from helping us sleep better to aiding in weight loss, healing the gut, and preventing allergies.

On top of its impressive probiotic properties, also has a good amount of vitamin K2, one of the vitamins most often missing in the American diet. Among other health benefits, vitamin K2 aids the processing of calcium and helps ensure that it ends up strengthening bones rather than getting deposited where it doesn’t belong (like the arteries).

Other studies have shown that kefir helps to calm an overactive immune system. Kefir lactobacilli, a rod-shaped bacteria in kefir, helps to tell your immune system to “stand down” against things that aren’t really threats (like pet dander and dust) that cause the stuffy nose and watery eyes we get with allergies.

But Isn’t Kefir a Form of Dairy?

As you probably know, many people argue that a Paleo diet should exclude all dairy. From my perspective, this doesn’t make sense, as I’ve pointed out before. Dairy is super-nutritious, has helped sustain many very healthy civilizations, and is particularly healthy when raw or fermented.

However, even though I support the consumption of raw and fermented dairy, I still advise everyone to remove dairy completely from their diets for at least 60 days before re-introducing raw and fermented dairy (like Kefir). If you don’t perform this sort of elimination, then it’s likely that you’ll never really know how your body reacts to dairy, and many people don’t react well to any dairy.

If, after such an elimination, you find that fermented dairy doesn’t cause you any gastro-intestinal discomfort or any signs of inflammation (stiffness, arthritis, acne, etc.), then you probably want to consider some of the powerful benefits that it can add to your diet.

What do other Paleo gurus say?

Mark Sisson says: “People have been eating fermented foods for thousands of years willingly, and even longer accidentally. The evidence shows there’s definitely something to it, and I think it can be a vital part of a healthy Primal Blueprint diet. If you can tolerate dairy, go for full-fat Greek-style yogurt…[and] kefir is another possibility.”

Chris Kresser says: “Kefir is a great source of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and a variety of other unique compounds that can greatly contribute to your overall health and wellbeing. I highly recommend including this nutritious superfood in your diet.”

Is Kefir Paleo?


Personally, I can’t stand it. I just hate the taste.

But if you like it and can tolerate it, then kefir is a great addition to your diet. But do pay attention to whether or not you are dairy-intolerant. If you cannot consume dairy, the health benefits of kefir no longer outweigh the inflammation you’ll cause by adding it to your diet.

Issue No. 36

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Are Whole Grains Paleo?

If there’s one characteristic that most modern diets share, it’s the push for whole grains.

Major organizations like the Mayo Clinic and the American Diabetes Association insist that opting for whole grains is a more nutritious, heart-healthy option for managing weight and insulin resistance.

However, we know that most diets have gotten a few things wrong…

What is a Whole Grain?

When a cereal grain (wheat, corn, barley, rye, etc.) is growing in the field, it already counts as a “whole grain”—that is, it has all of its parts intact. The parts of a grain—the bran (skin), germ (seed embryo), and endosperm (the germ’s food source)—are all kept together when they are harvested and turned into food.

This is different from refined grains, where only the endosperm remains. If you think about refined grains, then, you’ll notice that we’re not eating the actual grain (the germ) at all!

Are Whole Grains Healthy?

Many whole-grain proponents claim that whole grains are healthy. They believe that these foods are full of nutrients and fiber and should be the bulk of our food.

They often point out that when we eat refined grains, we’re missing out on some of the nutrients that were stored in the germ and bran—both of which are removed in the processing of grains. The Whole Grains Council provides a chart showing the nutrients lost when whole grains are refined.

However, there are a few things that these proponents are not talking about:

  1. Whole Grains are Still Low in Nutrients. I’ve written about grains extensively before, so I won’t go into too much detail. However, grains are relatively low in vitamins and minerals when compared to almost every other food group: vegetables, meats, seafood, nuts, and even fruits. You can find people who disagree, but this is a factual matter. If you go to the USDA database and start plotting a number of nutrients in grains against most other foods, grains come out way behind. This is probably the worst thing about grains. Since they typically comprise the majority of foods that modern humans eat, that means they’re crowding out a lot of more nutrient-dense foods.
  2. Grains Contain Phytates. Phytates are little binding molecules that occur naturally in many plants. They’re not particularly bad for humans, but what they do is they prevent our intestines from absorbing various minerals that are contained in grains. So even the nutrients that are in grains aren’t really absorbed very well.
  3. Grains Also Contain Lectins. I’ve also written previously about lectins. At their worst, lectins like to bind to the intestinal lining, making it tough for our intestines to do their jobs of absorbing what should go in and pass on what should be kept out. Some lectins are worse than others. Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA) is a lectin in wheat, and it’s one of the worst. WGA can trigger and exacerbate leaky gut, lead to insulin resistance, and contribute to a lot of other inflammation-related issues.
  4. Prolamins are the Worst. Apart from WGA, lectins aren’t terrible if you don’t already have leaky gut, and phytates are bad, but only with respect to preventing absorption. On the other hand, prolamins (another type of protein in grains) tend to cause the most problems. The most famous prolamin is gluten. Even though around 1% of the population completely cannot tolerate gluten, sources show that a more significant number—around 30%—are sensitive to gluten even if lab tests show a negative celiac diagnosis. We know this because we can find anti-gliadin IgA in their stool. That’s an antibody that only enters the intestines to protect (yes, protect) you from threats that it senses. In addition, all humans produce zonulin in response to eating gluten, and zonulin leads directly to the leaky gut by regulating the opening and closing of the tight junctions between your epithelial (intestinal) cells.

Any organization promoting whole grains really isn’t looking at the whole picture – often by choice.

What do other Paleo gurus say?

Mark Sisson says: “Is there a good reason for anyone (with access to meat, fruit, and vegetables, that is) to rely on cereal grains for a significant portion of their caloric intake? The answer is unequivocal, undeniably no. We do not need grains to survive, let alone thrive. In fact, they are naturally selected to ward off pests, whether they be insects or hominids. I suggest we take the hint and stop eating them.”

Robb Wolf says: “[Scientists say that] by shunning dairy and grains, you’re at risk of missing out on a lot of nutrients. Once again, this statement shows the writer’s ignorance and blatant disregard for the facts. Because contemporary ancestral diets exclude processed foods, dairy, and grains, they are actually more nutrient (vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals) dense than government recommended diets such as the food pyramid.”

So are whole grains Paleo?

A Big No.

Whole grains contain some of the most damaging anti-nutrients we can consume, and most people consume them multiple times every day.

Some Paleo experts even go so far as to say that if there was just one food recommendation they could get everyone to follow, it would be to remove these grains from their diet entirely.

So, when it comes to whole grains, make sure to fill up your plate with something else and just say no.

Issue No. 35

6 Ways to Use Almond Oil for Glowing Skin  

Almond oil has been used as an age-old remedy for a large number of skin conditions and is renowned as an essential carrier oil. There are two types of almond oil available, bitter almond and sweet almond oil. Bitter almond oil is toxic and is made from bitter almonds and is not intended for ingestion; while sweet almond oil is made from everyday almonds and has many uses, especially for skin ailments. Sweet almond oil is frequently used as a carrier oil for homeopathic remedies using other essential oils that need a carrier oil that is gentle on the skin in comparison to the added oils. Check out these great benefits of treating your skin with almond oil.

1  Dark Under Eye Circles almond photo

Almond oil, like its counterparts IE: everything almond based, is nutritious; your skin benefits from nutrition just like the rest of your body. There is no need to waste money on expensive creams or surgery to treat under eye circles, simply massage a small amount of sweet almond oil into the skin around your eyes daily. Almond is believed to be the best natural remedy for dark circles and it is safe, inexpensive,
and chemical free!2  Natural Make-up Remover 
This oil works as the perfect make-up remover; Not only is it chemical free and all natural, it effectively opens up the pores and helps to remove makeup from not only the top layer of skin but also the pores.

3  Moisturizer  

Almond ads a boost of natural moisture to your skin, without the worry of it clogging your pores. The oil is quickly absorbed into your skin for a soft worry free complexion. It can also be used for other moisturizing purposes, such as, dry hands and feet.

4  Scalp Health  

Almond is a great, natural, treatment for a healthy scalp. It works to moisturize the scalp, helping to eliminate dandruff, itchiness, and promote healthy hair growth. This oil can also reduce scalp inflammation that has been caused by chemical treatments and high heat styling.

5  Age Defying Skin 

Many believe that treating your skin with almond-based oil can help maintain an ageless appearance. Many people simply massage almond oil into the skin in order to reduce the signs of ageing, including, wrinkles and crow’s feet.

6  Protects Against UV ray’s 

Almond contains a great deal of vitamin E, which is believed to be the source of its skin protection properties. As this oil is used as a natural sunscreen to protect against harmful UV rays, minimize skin damage, and minimize skin tanning.

Photo by HealthAliciousNess

Toxic Dust in Your House

toy photo

Toxic Dust Sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi film, but this dust is probably in your house!
identified 45 potentially toxic chemicals in household dust samples from homes in 14 states, which could potentially expose people to toxins… in their own home!

Where do these chemicals come from?

  1. furniture
  2. carpets
  3. drapes
  4. electronics.. including cell phones
  5. toys

“Indoor dust is a reservoir for consumer-product chemicals,” Zota said (one of the researchers in the study). “Many of the times when these chemicals are added to consumer products, they’re not chemically bound to the products. They can migrate out of the product and into the air or dust,” she explained.

The 26 studies analyzed did not evaluate is these toxins are causing health problems; however, exposure to this degree should cause concern.

“Some of these chemicals are associated with serious health outcomes,” Zota said, “particularly children’s health.”

The American Chemistry Council, which represents the chemicals industry stated, “The mere presence of a chemical does not significant risk to human health. Assessing health risks depends not only on understanding which substances are present in something like dust but also on the actual amount, route, duration and timing of exposure to those substances. Most of this important information is missing in this study.”

Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, the chief of occupational and environmental medicine for Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y. , stated that “these potentially harmful chemicals in homes has been known for some time and should cause concern.”

“Each of us tends to spend the vast majority of our lives indoors,” Spaeth said. “That includes sleeping and most of our daily life.”

“Continual exposure to these dust-borne chemicals means that even substances that are quickly flushed from the body, like phthalates, continue to be replenished by our indoor environment, he said. “Other chemicals, such as flame retardants, tend to accumulate in the body, increasing the health risk… To what extent these chemicals are in our bodies or affecting our health are open and important questions.”

Scary Statistics

  • 90% or more of dust samples had 10 harmful chemicals known as the cancer-causing agent called TDCIPP, a flame retardant. TDCIPP is found in baby products, furniture, and other household items.
  • 100% of dust samples had DEHP, a phthalate thought to interfere with hormones in the body. Guess what? They are also linked to reproductive and developmental health issues, including IQ declines and respiratory problems in children, she said.

Classes of Dangerous Chemicals Found in Dust

  1. Phthalates — the chemicals found in the highest amounts in the dust samples. Phthalates, which soften plastics and act as solvents, are used to make cosmetics, toys, vinyl flooring and other products.
  2. Phenols — used in cleaning products and other household items — were the second-most common chemical class found in dust, followed by flame retardants and highly fluorinated chemicals used to make nonstick cookware, the study found.
  3. Highly fluorinated chemicals, such as PFOA and PFOS, which are found in cell phones, pizza boxes and many nonstick, waterproof and stain-resistant products. “These chemicals have been linked to problems of the immune, digestive, developmental and endocrine systems.”

What Can You Do For Your Home?

Zota and Spaeth said you can reduce your exposure to household dust by:

  • Wash hands frequently. Small children often put dust-covered fingers and hands in their mouths.wash 
    wash hand photo
    Photo by jar []
  • Vacuum carpets frequently using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter, and wet-mopping hard surfaces.
  • Buy Safer Household Products. Using online consumer tools to buy furniture without flame retardants or stain guard, or toys that are phthalate-free.
  • Opening windows. Allows fresh-air circulation.

“These kinds of simple measures can really make a difference,” Spaeth said.

The study findings were published Sept. 14 in Environmental Science & Technology.

SOURCES: Ami Zota, Sc.D., assistant professor, environmental and occupational health, George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, Washington, D.C.; Kenneth Spaeth, M.D., MPH, chief, occupational and environmental medicine, Northwell Health, Great Neck, N.Y.; Sept. 13, 2016, statement, American Chemistry Council; Sept. 14, 2016, Environmental Science & Technology

Photo by sk8geek

Why the 5-second rule might be out the door?

watermelon photo
Photo by rremundo

Many people have rules about dropping food on the ground including the ever-famous “5-second rule.” Drop food on the ground, as long as, you pick it up in 5 seconds then it is still “good” to eat.

A new study that was recently published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology states: the food is already contaminated with bacteria!

“The five-second rule is a significant oversimplification of what actually happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food,” said study lead researcher Donald Schaffner, a professor and extension specialist in food science.

“Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously,” he said in a Rutgers news release.

The deciding factor in bacteria contamination is Moisture. Bacteria use moisture to move, so the more water associated with the food, the faster the contamination.

“Transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food appears to be affected most by moisture,” Schaffner said.

Which foods fared the best and the worst in the study?

Not surprisingly, watermelon has the most bacteria. Last on the list was gummy candy.

Another factor for bacteria? The floor.

Food dropped on the carpet had fewer bacteria than tile or stainless steel. Interestingly, wood floors varied with contamination.

So, you might want to think twice about eating that slice of watermelon after accidentally dropping it on the floor.


Is Chicken Paleo?

chicken wings photoAh, those chicken wings—as a staple of the American diet, you can find them nearly everywhere: from restaurants to family get-togethers to big-game Sundays. Health-conscious people are eager to tout the goodness of chicken as an alternative to red meat and as a delicious source of protein. But is chicken really all that nutritious, or does it have toxins that should make Paleo dieters wary?

Chickens are raised in a variety of ways throughout the country, with the most common suppliers of chicken growing grain-fed farmed birds in large quantities. These chickens are raised quickly on a predetermined diet and health plan that includes medications and little exercise. Other sources of chicken give the bird free range and allow them to scavenge, feeding themselves on bugs and whatever else they can find. These birds are markedly different from the chickens produced by large companies, and all of this difference can make it difficult to decide if chicken really should be a Paleo choice.

So, is it Paleo?

Chicken meat varies greatly in its nutritional profile depending on what sort of chicken you’re eating. Toxins abound in non-pastured chicken meat; these chickens were raised on a diet of grain and were given antibiotics to keep them healthy because of the insufficiency of their diets. Needless to say, eating an antibiotic-laced chicken will have some negative consequences for you, too. In fact, this study explores how arsenic is used to help chickens to grow quickly. Arsenic is that mineral used to make glass and wood preservatives. And if the chickens are getting arsenic, you probably are too.

On the other hand, chickens raised in pastured farms are rich in vitamin E and folic acid, which helps to prevent anemia and increases the gut’s ability to absorb nutrients. Chickens that are not on a grain-based diet also have a much healthier omega-3/omega-6 ratio, which enables our bodies to process these fatty acids much more efficiently—the way nature intended. Many pastured chickens are antibiotic-free and will be labeled as such.

Because chicken seems to be a nutritious option if it’s bought from the right source, Paleo experts agree that chicken is a great part of a Paleo diet. Despite its nutrition benefits and versatile uses in all sorts of recipes, experts do caution that chicken is only a great option if it is not grain-fed and if it is antibiotic-free. Go with pastured or organic if possible, and if not, at least aim for meat with as little fat as possible.

What do the Paleo gurus say?

Mark Sisson says: “Breeding, feeding and other poultry farming standards result in animals that scarcely resemble each other, let alone taste the same. [Pastured] is the label I suggest looking for, but don’t be surprised if the search presents a challenge. If conventional is all you can afford or have access to it’s better than no meat at all. Just eat the leaner cuts, since toxins concentrate in fat.”

Sarah Ballantyne says: “[If you have to buy conventional instead of organic or pastured], limit consumption of chicken and other poultry, which probably has the highest omega-6 fatty acid content of any of the conventionally produced meat and poultry.”

So Is Chicken Paleo?


Because of its great nutritional value and very few toxins, Paleo experts agree that chicken is a great addition to the Paleo plate. Be cautious, however, of what sort of chicken you buy; if you cannot afford or find pastured or organic chicken, choose the meat with the least amount of fat and limit your intake, as conventional chicken does come from birds that have been medicated.

Issue No. 29

Photo by wattpublishing

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