Month: November 2016

Is Dark Chocolate Paleo? 

Dark Chocolate photo

For years, people have touted the benefits of dark chocolate as a great reason to indulge one’s sweet tooth. And who doesn’t love an excuse to take a few extra squares of the sweet treat? With chocolate being such a pervasive (and delicious) part of modern society, it would be great if it was good for us too! Does dark chocolate have some worthwhile health benefits, or does it sport enough toxins to convince us to keep it out of our Paleo lifestyle?

What Is Dark Chocolate?

It’s important to make a distinction between dark chocolate and its close relative, milk chocolate. What makes dark chocolate “dark” isn’t that it’s a different color, and it’s not that it somehow has more chocolate in it. Dark chocolate is dark because it contains more cocoa solids than other chocolates and also has no added milk. Oftentimes little to no sugar is added to dark chocolate (depending on what kind you get), as compared to the large amount of sugars found in standard milk chocolate.

Is Dark Chocolate Healthy?

What does all that mean for you? Well, it means that paying attention to what’s inside the cocoa solids in dark chocolate is going to tell you a lot about whether or not this sweet is a Paleo player or a no-go. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that dark chocolate causes migraines, and scientists tend to link that to the caffeine content of the solids. However, studies looking into this have shown no correlation between dark chocolate and headaches. On top of that, cocoa content varies between pieces of chocolate, regardless of what the label says—this is a natural consequence of more natural foods.
On the other hand, dark chocolate has quite a few nutrients we should be paying attention to, like:

  • Flavanols, which have been shown in multiple studies to reduce oxidative stress caused by glucose. In other words, flavanols (and especially epicatechin, found in dark chocolate) keep your cells functioning the way they should, stopping deterioration and significantly lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Soluble fiber, or fiber that slows digestion by turning to a gel-like substance, is abundant in dark chocolate. Studies show that cocoa’s soluble fiber in particular is a powerful tool for reducing blood pressure.
  • Cocoa polyphenols, which have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, this study showed an inverse association—that is, chocolate consumption goes up, heart disease risk goes down.

It seems like dark chocolate could do a lot of great things for us, but there’s also concern regarding the reports of chocolate-induced migraines. So how do we come down on this delectable treat?

What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?

Mark Sisson says: “Dark chocolate’s great, the perfect storm of flavor, flavonoids, and fat. It tastes really good, comes loaded with polyphenols, and cocoa butter is a great source of saturated and monounsaturated fat. And the truth is that you should probably be eating dark chocolate on a semi-regular basis because the stuff is pretty dang good for you.”

Chris Kresser says: “There’s nothing wrong with dark chocolate (with greater than 75% cacao content); in fact, it’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods available.”

So Is Dark Chocolate Paleo?

Yes!

Dark chocolate is a great addition to the Paleo lifestyle, but be sure you know what you’re buying. Aim for at least 75% cacao content, but get as close to 100% as you can tolerate. You can actually get 100% cacao, which is called chocolate liquor, though it’s (obviously) not very sweet. Organic is a great way to go when considering your dark chocolate as well.

Issue No. 41

Is Juice Paleo?

Juice photo

Juice was a staple of my childhood. Now, with bills and loans and life in general, I long for the time when my toughest choice during the day was whether to take a purple juice box or an orange one. As I grew older, I switched from juice boxes to bottled juice like V-8, trying to read the labels and see if juice was a good choice for me. It can all be kind of confusing—this one says it has no added sugar! So then maybe it’s good for me, right? Should I omit juice altogether, or can I encourage everyone to incorporate it into a healthy, even Paleo, lifestyle?

The first thing to realize is that the word “juice” is a rather vague term. It can be the liquid from a squashed-up orange, or it could be a liquid in a box that we don’t really know where it came from. You’ve got grape juice in cartons, vegetable juice in bottles, and juice you can squeeze yourself at home. So already, we’re seeing lots of variety that we’ve got to take into consideration.

Is Juice Healthy?

You can probably guess that heavily packaged juice, like the kind that comes in little boxes, isn’t going to be the best for us—it’s got lots of toxic ingredients, including corn syrup. But what about juices you make yourself?

Let’s take a look at an apple. We’ve got a great source of vitamin C here, and of course fiber is another good benefit. Then we’ve also got an antioxidant called quercetin, which has been shown to act as an anti-inflammatory and cancer preventing agent. These are some nice, healthy nutrients that apples can provide, so bottom’s up with the apple juice!

But hold on a second. It turns out that most of these nutrients have vanished somewhere between the apple and the juice. Why? They’re in the skin. When you juice, you’re often extracting the sugariest, least nutrient-dense part of the fruit for consumption. The fiber is gone, because you don’t have the actual fibers of fruit any more, and anything in the skin doesn’t make it into your drink. And if you’re not getting that fiber, all the sugar (fructose) from the fruit isn’t being slowed down as it goes through digestion.

Looks like you haven’t really escaped the curse of too-sugary juices after all. But still, there are all these great health benefits in these fruits! So do you drink juice to get some of the nutrients, or do you avoid juice even though it’s made from real fruit?

What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?

Chris Kresser says: “Fructose-sweetened beverages like…juice cause metabolic problems when calories are in excess, and studies have shown that people are not likely to compensate for the additional calories they get from such beverages. [However] I don’t think there’s any basis for avoiding whole fruit simply because it contains fructose.”

Mark Sisson says: “Juice is ultimately a higher sugar, lower nutrient version of its produce sources. Calorie for calorie, for example, you’ll take in more sugar drinking apple juice than you would eating the apple itself. Juice…is just not an adequate substitute for the real/whole source.”

So Is Juice Paleo?

No.

Juice may seem like a great source of nutrients, but because of the high sugar content and because many of the nutrients remain in parts of the fruit that don’t make it into juice, you’re better off just eating whatever product you were going to make juice out of. Beats cleaning the juicer anyway, right?

Issue No. 42

Are Eggs Paleo?

Eggs photo
Photo by Jorge_Brasil

Strangely enough, I grew up in a farming community without eating eggs very much. They were always around, but I saw them as a “grown-up food.” My dad would make beautiful-looking over-medium eggs, and I’d think wow, I can’t wait to graduate to the one, the only—eggs with an unbroken yolk. Eggs have been a hugely important part of the human diet for thousands and thousands of years; we don’t have the luxury of snatching up dinosaur eggs any more, so we’re left to chow down on other popular options—quail eggs in Asia, ostrich eggs in Africa, and chicken eggs in lots of places around the world. If they’re such a popular option, there must be some nutrients in there worth having, right? Can we fit these into a healthy Paleo diet?

Are Eggs Healthy?

It does seem that nutrients are something that eggs have in spades—the yellow color of the yolk comes from beta-carotene. This nutrient is an antioxidant that helps you maintain a healthy weight, and it also helps to prevent cancer (especially skin cancer). Omega-3 fatty acids, another great nutrient in eggs, help your body to deal with inflammation; this means you’re less likely to have allergies, and your risk for heart disease goes down. Some studies also indicate that you can reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s by ensuring that you have enough omega-3s. And we can’t forget the vitamin E in eggs! Vitamin E keeps your cell membranes healthy, and since your whole body is made up of cells, that’s kind of a big deal.

Of course, there’s always the negative side of the coin too. We’ve probably all heard someone’s mom shout, “Don’t eat that raw cookie dough!” Why? Because eggs carry the risk of salmonella. And you may also have heard that the cholesterol and choline naturally occurring in eggs aren’t the best for your arteries. These studies are still being hotly debated, so for now, let’s check and see how eggs fit in according to the experts.

What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?

Mark Sisson says: “In recent years, eggs have come under considerable fire for their high cholesterol content, with many suggesting that they could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, a…study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined no such link and even went as far to say that regular egg consumption may actually prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attack. So, there you have it. Eggs really are egg-ceptional. Some might even consider them egg-cellent and still others would even go as far to call them eggs-quisite (ok, we promise we’ll stop now!).”

Chris Kresser says: “There’s absolutely no reason to limit your consumption of eggs to three to four per week, as recommended by ‘heart-healthy’ nutritional guidelines. In fact, consuming two to three eggs per day would provide a better boost to your health and protection against disease than a multivitamin supplement. Eggs truly are one of nature’s superfoods. It’s important, however, to make sure that you buy organic, pasture-raised eggs. Studies show that commercially-raised eggs are up to 19 times higher in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.”

So Are Eggs Paleo?

Yes!

Eggs are a great way to get many of the nutrients you need every day. Be careful when buying eggs, though, because whatever antibiotics or toxins the bird has received will pass through the egg to you. Check out your product and make sure you’re aiming for pasture-raised.

Issue No. 42

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

Transforming dinner into restaurant-quality. The coconut milk make the soup creamy with a smooth texture.

Print Recipe
Coconut Curry Chicken Soup
Instructions
  1. Saute the chicken in the coconut oil in a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. When the outside of the chicken has all turned white, add in the coconut milk and the chicken broth and mix well.
  3. Add onions and cook 3 minutes more.
  4. Add in the carrots, celery, and tomatoes.
  5. Add in the ginger and curry powder. and corn starch.
  6. Add garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice.
  7. Cook on medium about 3 hours in your slow cooker.
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Paleo Avocado Tuna Salad

Tuna is always an easy and healthy choice for a Paleo-on-the-go snack or meal. The problem with tuna is the fact that I love mayo with it! I try to have Paleo Mayo ready for the week, but sometimes the Paleo mayo making does not happen. This “Tuna Salad” is what I try instead. I love the creamy avocado with the tuna.

Give it a whirl and let me know how you like it!

Print Recipe
Paleo Avocado Tuna Salad
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Gluten free, Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Gluten free, Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Scoop out some of the avocado from the pitted area to widen the "bowl" area.
  2. Place the scooped avocado into a medium-size mixing bowl.
  3. Mash it with a fork.
  4. Add the tuna, cucumber, chives and garlic to the mixing bowl. Pour lime juice over. Stir it all together until everything is well mixed.
  5. Scoop the tuna into the avocado bowls. incorporate with some chili slices.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
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Paleo Spaghetti & Meatballs

Having your old-school favorite, spaghetti and meatballs, may be quite challenging for Paleo enthusiasts. Worry no more with this Paleo Spaghetti & Meatballs recipe.

Print Recipe
Paleo Spaghetti & Meatballs
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian, Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian, Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. For the squash and sauce: Preheat the oven to 392 degrees F and place a rack in the oven.
  2. Rub 1/2 tablespoon of the oil on each cut-side of the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the squash cut-side up on a baking sheet and roast until fork tender, about 1 hour.
  4. Cool the squash for at least 10 minutes.
  5. Scrape the tines of a fork lengthwise along the flesh of the squash to pull out the long, thin strands.
  6. While the squash cooks, make the sauce.
  7. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick saucepan set over medium heat.
  8. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent.
  9. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, and chili.
  10. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. For the meatballs: Combine the ground beef, chopped onions, salt, pepper, garlic and egg in a large bowl.
  13. Form about the meatballs.
  14. Place the meatballs in the sauce and simmer until firm to the touch and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  15. Top with chopped scallions.
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Paleo Almond Pancakes

Top these perfect pancakes with toasted almonds and fresh berries.

Print Recipe
Paleo Almond Pancakes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, mix together eggs, almond milk, honey, almond flour, coconut oil and salt.
  2. Heat a large pan or griddle on medium heat and add some oil to lightly coat pan
  3. Pour pancake batter onto the pan or griddle, making sure there is enough space between each pancake.
  4. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until edges start to brown.
  5. Gently flip pancakes and cook for an additional 4 minutes or until edges brown.
  6. Serve with some extra honey for breakfast.
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Paleo Egg and Vegetable Scramble

Try this easy and colorful way to perk up your plate of scrambled eggs.

Print Recipe
Paleo Egg and Vegetable Scramble
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add peppers and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are brightly colored but not too soft, about 6 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in eggs. Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or spatula, until eggs are cooked.
  4. Serve with chopped chives.
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How to Overcome a Sedentary Lifestyle 

You may find yourself living a sedentary lifestyle, without even realizing it. Are you stuck in the same daily routines? For the majority of us, those routines include spending hours in sitting in a car or bus, then sitting at a desk, only to leave work and spend more time in the car. If you and your family are anything like me and mine, by the time you get home in the evening and complete the rituals of homework, dinner, and bath, it’s time for bed. What is missing in these habitual routines?  The great outdoors.

Take the time to look around you and think about how much time you and the people around you spend outdoors. A whopping 93% of people’s time is spent indoors in one way or another. In theory, you may think that a quick daily trip to the gym is all that your body needs to stay healthy. But the truth of the matter is, your need to get up and move isn’t just about exercise. Some of the side effects of living a sedentary lifestyle, can include, chronic fatigue, inability to lose weight, irritability, and excessive stress.

People, more specifically our body’s, are meant to be active. As we evolve as a race, technology is evolving with us, seemingly causing us to become more stationary and far less active. The effects that a sedentary lifestyle can take on our overall health, are risky and more than enough reason for us all to get up and get moving.

1  Heart Disease

Less movement, equals less blood flow. This gives fat in your body the opportunity to set still and increase your risk of a clogged artery in your heart, which may lead to coronary heart disease and increase your overall risk of cardiovascular disease.

2  Lack of Circulation

A lack of movement can leave you with bad circulation. Bad circulation can lead to blood clots, swelling, and pain.

3  Concentration

Though sitting down at your desk when you need to work may seem like the ideal circumstance for optimal concentration. Sitting for too long can lead to a lack of blood flow to the brain, ultimately leading to the inability to concentrate.

couch photo

 

4  Bone and Muscle

Even with daily workouts at the gym, you still may not be doing enough to keep your body up to optimal physical health. Once again, our bodies are meant to be active and that mean for more than an hour a day. Bone strength and muscle mass will eventually see a negative effect from your sedentary lifestyle.

How to Get Up and Get Moving

If you have taken the time to realize that you need to put a stop to your sedentary lifestyle, then you need to start taking the steps to get out of your normal habits.

  • Start by setting yourself reminders to get up and take a short walk. Set up several throughout the day and go for a relaxing stroll. Instead of ordering lunch in, take the time to walk to a local lunch spot or take a quick stroll through a local garden or park.
  • If you work closely with co-workers often, try scheduling a working meeting. Chances are they need to get up and out of the office to. If all you are doing is talking through things, a stroll is a good environment to get the thought processes motivated.
  • Try implementing other workouts into your daily gym routines, such as, take a local yoga class that Is hosted in the park or trade in that weekend movie date for a bike ride.
  • Take the kids for a walk in the evening rather than setting down to catch up on your DVR. Chances are they could use the outdoors time as much as you and it’s a great way to burn up the last of their built up energy for a good night’s sleep.

Starting small is always the first step to making a lifestyle change. Even if you can only implement one new habit at a time, it is still a start worth making. Eventually you will start to feel more energized, more focused, and overall, healthier than ever!

Bunless Burger

Bunless burger is an easy to make for a quick dinner during.

Print Recipe
Bunless Burger
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash and peel potato. Slice it 1 cm each slice.
  2. Mix ground beef and seasonings in a medium bowl.
  3. Form into palm size patties. Use the size of your potatoes to judge how big your burgers should be.
  4. Heat a grill pan to medium.
  5. Place potato slices on grill pan.
  6. Add the burgers. Top them with fresh herbs.
  7. Grill burgers about 4-5 minutes per side or until they've reached your desired doneness.
  8. Layer sweet potato with some herbs, burger, avocado slices, sprinkled with some lemon juice, sliced red onion or other favorite toping.
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7 Health Benefits of Fenugreek  

Fenugreek is a plant in the Fabaceae family that is cultivated worldwide and its seeds are commonly used in cooking and medicinal purposes. Fenugreek seeds have a smell and taste similar to that of maple syrup. The leaves are also commonly eaten in India as a vegetable. Fenugreek is one of the oldest cultivated herbs known and is commonly grown around the world. Fenugreek is rich in vitamins and minerals and has many health benefits.

1  Menopause and PMS

Fenugreek has been used throughout history to aid in the relief of symptoms caused by menopause and PMS. Fenugreek has estrogen like properties that are believed to alleviate hot flashes, mood swings, and mood swings.

2  Increased Milk Supply In Nursing Moms 

According to, Home Remedies Web, fenugreek has been shown to increase milk supply by more than 500% in a time span of one to three days after consumption. The recommended dose to aid in milk supply is one 500mg capsule 3 times daily. It is believed that the oils found within the fenugreek seed is responsible for this effect on lactation.

3  Inducing Labor

One of fenugreeks oldest uses is to induce labor in pregnant women. Fenugreek is believed to be a natural way to stimulate uterine contractions in order to induce labor.

4  Increased Breast Size

Yet, another, of fenugreeks estrogen like properties, is the ability to increase breast size. Fenugreek is used in both teas and supplements to balance the hormones of women seeking to naturally increase the size of their breast.

5  Lower’s Blood Sugar and Cholesterol 

According to, Herb Wisdom, fenugreek contains an amino acid that is believed to increase the production of insulin in the body when blood sugar levels are high. It is believed that higher blood sugar levels can lead to a decrease in the amount of sugar that stays in the body. In many of the studies that were performed, the fenugreek was also shown to reduce the cholesterol levels in the test subjects.

6  Digestion 

The high fiber and antioxidants found in fenugreek are extremely beneficial for digestion. Fenugreek works to eliminate toxins from within the body. It is typically used in herbal tea to relieve indigestion, stomach pain, and constipation.

7  Heart Burn

It is believed that a small amount of fenugreek seeds added to your meal will coat the lining of the stomach and intestines; providing relief from heartburn and other side effects associated with excess stomach acid.

Photo by Zak Greant

Does Green Coffee Extract Really Help with Weight Loss? 

Green Coffee  photoGreen coffee extract is exactly as it sounds, a supplement extracted from green coffee beans for the purpose of making weight loss supplements’. Green coffee beans are simply unroasted coffee beans, when roasted the coffee beans lose their chlorogenic acid value, which is believed to be the compound responsible for weight loss properties. As with other fad weight loss supplements’, the interest in green coffee as a weight loss supplement skyrocketed after being mentioned on national TV for its weight loss properties. The big question is; does it really work or is it just another weight loss trend that is too good to be true?

Do the Claims Have Any Real Standing? 

If you scan an isle of diet pills and supplements, you are sure to fine a ton of weight loss supplements that claim to be the miracle solution. Green coffee extract is sure to be right there among the others. While the claims that green tea extract can aid in weight loss have only been vaguely studied; the studies that have been don’t aren’t exactly a strong suit for the argument of if it being that the miracle weight loss supplement that it has been made out to be.

According to, the National Library of Medicine, the original study that was cited when green coffee extract made its claim to fame on nation TV, was retracted as of July 2014. The original study stated that test subjects showed significant reductions in body weight, body mass index, and overall percent of body fat; as well as a small decrease in heart rate. All results were noted to be found with no significant changes to diet over the course of the study. It was concluded that the results were consistent with human and animal studies and a meta-analysis of the efficiency of green coffee extract in weight loss. The results showed that green coffee extract may be an effective nutraceutical in reducing weight in adults and may be an inexpensive means to preventing obesity.

According to, Fox News, the article was retracted due to the authors being unable to validate the claims that were being made. The retraction of the original study doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no benefit on weight loss from green tea extract; it does, however, mean that there isn’t enough evidence to support its sudden claim to fame. Green coffee extract, is by no means, an instant miracle weight loss supplement that will answer all of your weight loss needs. While it may still be healthy and beneficial, it is extremely important to speak with your primary care physician before starting any over the counter medications and supplements.

It is believed, that this is one of the main reasons that the evidence based on the above study was retracted. Green tea extract received an instant overnight boost in popularity just by being mentioned on an acclaimed television show. For that reason, people began rushing out to purchase it based on the one study noted. While it is believed that green coffee extract can be beneficial for weight loss, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and high blood pressure; there is still no research supported evidence to validate any of the popular claims.

The Benefits of Hemp Protein Powder 

Hemp Protein Powder  photo
Photo by beckstei

Hemp protein powder is derived from the ground up seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seeds contain fats and proteins that are essential to your body’s overall health and wellbeing. Hemp protein powder is meant to be used in the traditional ways of any other protein powder. Feel free to add it to your morning smoothie or shake for a healthy boost. You should always consider purchasing organic hemp protein powder to avoid any chemical additive that may have been used to extract the protein from the seeds in processing.

Due to the illegal nature of growing hemp seeds inside of the US, hemp protein powder is imported from other areas of the world, such as, Canada, china, and other countries where hemp is not considered illegal or to have negative dietary effects. While hemp protein powder does contain minimal amounts THC, it is still closely related to marijuana, which remains illegal in the majority of states.

The Benefits

Hemp protein powder is believed to be full of all the essential proteins your body needs. A one ounce serving of hemp protein powder contains a whopping 14-grams of protein. Hemp protein powder contains complete protein, full of every amino acid. Without the required amino acids your body would fail to complete necessary task, such as repairing damaged muscle tissue. The fact that hemp protein powder contains all of the essential amino acids makes it extremely popular, no other plant protein contains all amino acids.

Though hemp protein powder doesn’t contain as much protein as other available sources, such as soybeans, it is easily digested. It doesn’t contain any oligosaccharide or trypsin inhibitors, which tend to reduce the amount of protein absorbed and cause bloating. It also contains globulin edestrin, a plant protein that allows it to be better digested. Hemp protein powder is extremely versatile and can be easily accommodated into anyone’s diet without much thought. It is high in zinc, iron, copper, phosphorus, B vitamins, and magnesium; making it an extremely beneficial dietary supplement to add into your routine.

Hemp seeds are not genetically modified and are a great way to promote a healthy living environment; it requires no pesticides or herbicides to cultivate. Many feel that hemp can meet a global need for locally-grown renewable food source, that can be grown in even some of the harshest conditions. Hemp protein powder is likely to be seen rising in popularity as more and more health benefits come to light.

Photo by Brian Tomlinson

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