Health

Benefits of Clove Oil

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Clove oil is extracted from clove buds, flower buds found on trees in the Myrtaceae family native to Indonesia. Clove is most commonly known in its ground form as an Indian spice.  Clove oil has historically been used for the treatment of many illnesses, the most popular being oral care. But as essential oil’s gain popularity and homeopathic remedies become all the rage, you may find yourself questioning what else clove oil can be used for?

1.)  Stye

A stye is an inflammation on or around the eyelash, you may experience pain, swelling, and irritation to the eyes. A stye is typically quite visible and easy to diagnose. Clove oil can be used to treat the eye and reduce the irritation and pain. Simply apply a small amount of clove oil directly to the stye, avoid getting the clove oil in your eye as it may cause irritation.

2.)  Ear Ache

Living with an earache can be difficult and painful; clove oil is believed to relieve both the pain and fight off infection. It is suggested that by placing a drop of clove oil in the ear canal, you can have near instant relief from an earache.

3.)  Insect Repellent

Clove oil has become a popular ingredient in insect repellent, especially insect repellant made completely of essential oils. Clove oil can be combined with other essential oils or diluted to use by itself. Do not apply clove oil directly to the skin, rather use a diluting oil or rubbing alcohol at a 1:10 ration of clove to a diluting agent. You can then place your homemade repellant in a spray bottle or roller ball for convenient use.

4.)  Dental Health

Due to the germicidal content in this type of oil, it is most commonly known for its uses to relieve dental pain. Clove is believed to be an effective way to relieve toothaches, cavities, sore gums, and bad breath. According to, Organic Facts, caution should be used when using clove oil to treat oral problems. Too much clove oil or no diluting it properly may lead to burns inside of the mouth.

5.)  Candida

Candida is the most common cause of fungal infection, such as athlete’s foot. Many varieties of candida fungal infections are harmless, but if the immune system is compromised, candida can cause dangerous disease. Candida is most common in the intestines and throat, which are well treated with this oil. Clove oil cannot eliminate candida overgrowth, however, it can be used in mild to moderate cases to manage the growth of candida, according to enatural healing.

Green Tea Extract, Can It Really Help with Weight Loss?

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What Exactly is Green Tea?

Green Tea, Similar to black tea and Oolong tea, is made from Camellia Sinensis. The difference between these widely popular teas is the process in which they turn into a tea. Oolong tea and black tea are created by fermenting camellia sinensis, for different time periods. Green tea is made from the same leaves, however, with no fermentation process. Instead, the leaves are pan-fried or steamed and then quickly dried to prevent oxidation. The tea is then made by steeping the tea leaves, like with most varieties of tea available. The different types of green tea available are a product of different crops. Different growing conditions and cultivation processes can result in different types of green tea, according, Wikipedia.

Why Use Green Tea Extract?

Let’s face it, tea is widely popular as, especially in Asian culture. It can frequently be found paired with sushi as well as in bubble teas. Matcha tea is believed to be one of the healthiest varieties of drink available, but not everyone is up for its acquired flavor. If this is the case, you can easily purchase green tea extract. Green tea extract has all of the health properties of drinking your daily dose of green tea, in many cases, it may be even more potent. Green tea extract is believed to have an array of health benefits, ranging from killing cancer to aiding in weight loss, or just giving you a good old fashioned daily dose of caffeine. Not to mention it is packed full of antioxidants.

Green Tea Extract for Weight Loss

There is a vastly larger chance that if you were to read the ingredients label on a bottle of weight loss supplements, that you would find green tea extract listed. You can even purchase specific “green tea” weight loss supplements. Green tea extract is believed to increase metabolism, though it is still considered skeptical as to whether or not the increase in metabolism is due to the green tea itself or the amount of caffeine that it contains.  However, the majority of people who use green tea extract as a weight loss supplement report results. It is recommended that you always consult a physician before starting a weight loss supplement. You should also be aware of any extra additives that may be in the green tea extract or supplement that you choose to use.  Pure green tea extract can be purchased in liquid form and taken orally or added to food that you consume, such as smoothies. It is also readily available at health food stores in capsule form, to be taken daily to aid in weight loss.

Green or Matcha extract has become widely popular for its believed health benefits, especially the benefits that it may have on weight loss. The combination of antioxidant’s and caffeine are believed to greatly boost energy and metabolism, as well as providing you with many other health advantages’ from the same supplement. Tea is the perfect option for someone who is already on their weight loss journey and is looking for a little boost. It is also a great caffeine replacement for coffee and soda drinkers looking to cut out their surgery habits.

A Guide to Mindful Eating for a Healthy Weight

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Maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t mean that you have to go jump on every diet bandwagon that comes in and out of popularity. Diet fads are always coming and going, but all you really need to do to maintain a healthy weight Is to keep mindful eating habits. Being aware of everything you put into your body is the quickest way to keep yourself on track.

Stay aware of what you are eating

One of the best ways to keep yourself on track is by staying self-aware and holding yourself accountable. Start out by keeping a food diary. Writing down everything that you eat and drink; at the end of the day look over everything you ate and how many calories you took in, along with how many calories you burned for the day. This will help keep you self-aware, and before you know it you will begin thinking through everything you eat before you eat it.

Think Before You Eat

When something looks delicious and is tempting you; take a moment to think it over.

  • Are you really even hungry or does it just look good?
  • Is it healthy or something you will regret later?
  • Have you splurged yet today?
  • Is it an emotional need that I can meet in a healthier way?

Thinking before you eat will help you make healthy eating options. Moderation and self-awareness are always key. Keeping a mindful food cycle means always considering how much, why, when, what and how often you are eating.

Don’t Make Your-Self Miserable

Being mindful of what you eat doesn’t mean that you have to restrict yourself to the point of being miserable. If you continuously limit yourself and never indulge, even in the slightest, eventually you will reach a breaking point. Binge eating and overindulging to recover from a diet fad disaster is far worse than the occasional mind-full indulgence.

Make Time for Food

With so many things distracting us from food, convenience food is taking over. But convenient food is rarely ever healthy food. Take the time to eat healthy meals and snacks. Put down the cell phone or whatever you are working on, sit down and consciously enjoy a meal rather than shoveling it in behind a screen.  Make it a point in your home to sit down at the table to eat dinner every night, without distraction. Take the time to think about what you are eating, where it came from, what’s in it, and how much you are eating.

Health Benefits of Turkey and Uses

It’s Turkey time again—time when you sit down with family, watch a football game if you’re so inclined, and pass the food with all the fixings but what are the health benefits of turkey? Front and center in the biggest food celebration of the year is turkey, the nearly ubiquitous Thanksgiving meat. Around 7 billion pounds of turkey (that’s 10 Empire State Buildings!) are produced yearly in the US, so if you’re a fan of the bird, you’re in luck. You can thank Sarah Josepha Hale, writer of the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb, for convincing Abraham Lincoln that America should have an official turkey day.

Contrary to popular belief, though, it’s not the tryptophan in turkey that makes you sleepy. This is a widely believed myth. In reality, you get sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal because you simply ate too much. The overindulgence in carbs and sometimes alcohol contribute to blood sugar spikes that tire your body out. But that doesn’t mean that a big serving of turkey is bad for you! In fact, turkey (in moderate portions, of course) is a great source of many nutrients.

Why is Turkey Good for You?

  1. Vitamins. Turkey contains lots of vitamin B6, which improves immune function and supplements the body’s key systems. Vitamin B6 deficiency is relatively common.
  2. Selenium. The selenium found in turkey carries a whole host of health benefits—too many to discuss—but among them are noted improvements in Alzheimer’s patients, better management of diabetes, and less incidence of benign tumors. Many people are deficient in selenium, and if fish (another great source) is not one of your favorite foods, turkey is a great alternative.
  3. Tryptophan. This chemical isn’t responsible for making you sleepy—in fact, it helps to balance blood sugar (which is the actual source of the sleepiness problem; you just don’t get enough turkey compared to everything else you eat on Thanksgiving). Tryptophan is an amino acid that produces serotonin, a mood stabilizer. It improves mental health and immune function.

Those are just a few of the great things about turkey. But before you go out and buy packages and packages of turkey meat to snack on every day, there are a few things you should know. Buying packing turkey deli meat isn’t a good choice—it’s often loaded with sodium and is extremely processed, so there are many things besides actual turkey meat hiding in there. Slow-cooking or baking a fresh turkey is the way to go. But how do you know that your turkey is fresh?

How Do You Choose Good Turkeys?

  1. Don’t believe your grocery store’s “fresh” label without asking the butcher when the turkey was actually prepared. Many stores label their turkeys as “fresh” even though they were packaged 9 months or more ago!
  2. Turkeys that are raised and then sold the same day or the day after they are harvested have a more intense flavor and better texture than frozen turkeys, so if you have a local butcher or meat shop, that will likely be your best bet. Local turkeys are also much less likely to have been given antibiotics and a grain-based diet.
  3. Choose turkey meat that is supple. Grainy or excessively firm meat should be avoided.

Turkeys are a great, nutritious meal anytime, but they really shine during the fall season. Remember that on average, you can plan for about a pound of turkey per person. This season, make sure turkey is on the menu and share it around!

Article by: Carrie Ott

Photo by Mike_fleming

Why Alcohol Is Paleo?

Why is alcohol Paleo? The basic premise of leading a Paleo lifestyle is to remove all processed foods and eliminate toxins from your body. This being said, alcohol is technically not paleo; it is both heavily processed and a toxin. A lot of people who have made the switch to a paleo lifestyle, do so more in a new aged way. The first thing that they alter the original paleo diet is the allowance of alcohol consumption. But under what premise do they convince themselves that alcohol should be considered Paleo or at least a part of their paleo lifestyle despite the toxins in it?

Socialization

Typically speaking, the hardest part of eliminating alcohol from your life completely, is your social life. Going out to have a drink with friends or having a bottle of wine when you are gathering with family for the holidays, is about so much more than consuming alcohol. It has become a part of our natural bonding process. Many people find that when they switch to a paleo lifestyle, it can have an adverse effect on their social life. Going out to eat or to dinners with friends becomes a challenge. Choosing to leave the alcohol in their diet gives them their means of socialization and relaxation with the ones they cherish most.

Choosing the most “Paleo” Alcohol

While choosing to continue to consume alcohol, even after making the switch to a paleo lifestyle, may seem like you are throwing caution to the wind and ignoring the toxins going into your body; people still tend to search for the lesser of the evils.  Beer is easily at the very bottom of the list of items that could ever be considered paleo. It is made from barley, hops, and wheat; a big paleo don’t.  While wine makes a more compelling argument for its paleo qualities. After all, it is made from fruit. Wine is considered to be the closest thing to paleo alcohol but similar to beer, it is fermented with sugar and starch, typically found in fruits. Spirits like vodka and whiskey, are also put through a fermentation process involving grains and are then distilled. The biggest issue with spirits is the amount of gluten found in them. While the distilling process removes a great deal of the gluten, this would still be a major issue for someone who switched to a paleo lifestyle for the purpose of being gluten-free.

Possibly the most popular alcohol option for paleo lifestyle is hard cider. It is fermented and typically made from pears and apples; it is also available gluten-free. Hard cider is the one alcohol that is considered to be paleo, though some hard ciders are not. You should always read the label and check for added sugar of the brand on hard cider before purchasing it. Hard cider is also available in organic options and sugar-free option. While hard cider is made from paleo-friendly ingredients, it is still a toxin. Alcohol is not only bad for your liver, it is addictive, can cause your body to prioritize detoxification over nutrients, can affect your blood sugar, and it is dehydrating.

Is Alcohol Really Paleo Friendly?

The bottom line is that; alcohol is not paleo in any form. Though some forms are far better for you than others, it is still toxic to your body. Choosing to consume alcohol even though it doesn’t meet paleo guidelines is completely a personal choice. But if you are focused on healing your body from the inside out and only putting what’s good for you into it, it’s a toxin and toxic for your body and health just like processed snack foods that you have probably been dreaming about for some time. The question is, Is it worth it to you for the sake of socialization?

Foods High in Omega-3 

Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids have long been discovered to be an essential part of our diets. Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to have a role in fighting off many illnesses and diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, inflammation, developmental disabilities, and atopic diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids are most commonly known for being found in fish and fish oil supplements but are also present in many other natural food sources. Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of your daily diet that the human body does not produce on its own. Below is a list of foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Flax Seeds and Flax Seed Oil 

Flax seeds contain 7483mg of omega-3 fatty acid per tablespoon. Though flax seeds are higher in omega-3 fatty acids than other foods, the omega-3 fatty acids in flax seeds are not as easily converted by the human body. While flax seeds are still a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, your body will not absorb the full 7483 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Salmon 

Fish is, overall, the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. Some fish, such as salmon, contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids than others. Salmon is also an easily accessible fish that can be cooked with ease. Many other types of fish also contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, such as mackerel, sardines, white fish, anchovies, and herring. Fish remains the most popular source of omega-3 fatty acids, both when consumed from fish or fish oil supplements.

  • Walnuts 

Walnuts are the only nuts that are considered a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts contain approximately 2,664 mg of omega-3 per ¼ of a cup. While walnuts may not be your favorite snack, it is important to remember how versatile of an ingredient they are. Walnuts are easy to include in your daily diet, sometimes without you really even noticing. Some great ways to sneak in this healthy little nut is by adding them to homemade granola, use them in pesto, or even ground up for a pie crust.

  • Chia Seeds 

If you haven’t heard of chia seeds, you should check out my previous post on their benefits! Chia seeds are an up and coming superfood that contain 2,457 mg of omega-3 fatty acids in one tiny tablespoon. Chia seeds also contain a great deal of protein and other essential nutrients. Chia seeds are extremely easy to fit into your daily diet; they are most commonly added to smoothies for an extra protein punch.

  • Leafy Greens 

While leafy greens don’t contain as much omega-3 as the other mentioned foods, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth pointing out. Leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, watercress, Brussel sprouts, etc. are not only a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids but also an ideal source of fiber!

Noticing that all of these foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids allows us to consider just what we are putting in our bodies and the benefits to reap from them.

Is Oatmeal Paleo? 

Oatmeal photo

Don’t take away all of my breakfast foods!

Most of us have sampled some sort of oatmeal creation in our lifetime, whether it’s cookies, oatmeal in the morning, or a family recipe for baked oatmeal squares.

In fact, many people tout oats as one of the best breakfast foods for you. Should we follow along and grab a bowl of oats every day, or should we be a bit more cautious about adding oatmeal to our daily Paleo lifestyle?

What Is Oatmeal?

When you think of oats, you probably don’t think of true oats. You likely envision something called “rolled oats,” which are the most common variety.

In their original form, the cereal grain oat is called a groat, and you’re most likely to find it in horse feed (though sometimes people still eat it for breakfast). It’s still got the bran—that husk part of the plant—and it’s largely untouched between harvest and consumption.

Rolled oats, on the other hand, are groats that have been steamed and rolled out, with the bran removed.
This is the kind you’d eat in oatmeal; they look like little ovals with a straight line down the middle.

Is Oatmeal Healthy?

Oatmeal definitely has some desirable qualities. Rolled oats are high in manganese, which helps the blood to clot and regulates metabolism, and you can also find a good helping of phosphorus, which plays a part in keeping our bones strong and healthy.

Because of the fiber levels, many folks also encourage consumption of oatmeal because they say it reduces serum cholesterol levels.

However, in the end, oatmeal still isn’t very nutritious in the grand scheme. When compared to most classes of Paleo foods (seafood, meats, veggies, nuts, etc.), grains fare very poorly, just like all other grains. That’s not a reason never to eat a food, but it’s a good reason not to make it a staple of the diet that you eat every day.

In addition, like most other grains, if you have any sort of gut issues (leaky gut, dysbiosis of microorganisms, IBS, bloating, etc.), then oats tend to exacerbate those problems and prevent full healing. There are a variety of possible reasons for this. Among other things, oatmeal is also being studied as a dietary contributor to inflammation.

In addition, the phytates contained in oats partially inhibit the absorption of minerals through the intestinal tract. What that means for you is that your body can’t absorb many of the nutrients in oats because they’re bound to phytic acid.

In the end, oats are not the worst thing you can eat by any means, and if you’re quite healthy, then you may tolerate oatmeal perfectly well. But it’s not an ideal food.

What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?

Amy Kubal says: “If you are asking [if a food is Paleo] because the food is something that you ‘want’ someone to tell you is okay to have even when in your mind you know it’s not paleo – don’t ask. This often applies to…oatmeal.”

Mark Sisson says: “Oatmeal is a perfect example of the essentially tasteless, but oddly comforting food that’s difficult to give up (judging from all the emails I get). It’s tough to explain, because it’s not like oatmeal is particularly delicious. It’s bland, unless you really dress it up. Better than wheat, worse (and more work to improve) than rice. There are numerous other food options that are superior to oats.”

Is Oatmeal Paleo?

No.

However, oats are not as bad as wheat, and eating them every once in a while isn’t going to cause much harm for most people.

But why bother? There are a lot of other, better options you could be eating instead of oatmeal (try sweet potatoes if you want starch!).

Issue No. 40

Is Ghee Paleo?

More specifically, why is this edible amazing?

I didn’t grow up exposed to a lot of foods that you might consider to be traditionally non-American. (Whatever that means, but you get the idea.)

Ghee is certainly such a food.

In fact, when I first read about it, I didn’t even know how to pronounce it. Gee? Jee?

I had no idea, except the vague understanding that people seem to spread it on things.

What Is Ghee?

Turns out that this ingredient is, in some sense, butter. But it’s not butter in the way most Americans are used to it.

Ghee is a type of clarified butter. That means that this soft solid is what you get when you take butter, evaporate the water out of it, and then filter (or “clarify”) it to remove the milk solids. (For ghee—as opposed to other clarified butter—the milk solids are also simmered with the fat to create a caramel and nutty flavor.)

The result is a nuttier, clearer-looking version of butter that is very stable at room temperature. Yes, this food has been around for a long time—in India, it’s commonly used for cooking and also medicinally, and it has been used for thousands of years.

Is Ghee Healthy?

Recent studies into ghee are still few in number, but they’re growing by the day. What scientists have discovered so far is that it does decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease; antioxidants present in the ghee are a big part of this healing effect, as they help protect the body against oxidative stresses. In fact, scientists are beginning to discover an inverse correlation between this type of butter and heart disease—those who eat more of this type of butter tend to be less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease. On top of that, consumption of it does not alter your body’s serum levels. Because of this, researchers have claimed that this butter is a beneficial addition to the diet.

However, many people are worried about the saturated fat content present in this food, and they say it should only be consumed in moderation because it does not contain many of the nutrients present in actual butter. Paleo experts can sometimes be torn on whether or not to use ghee, but there does seem to be an overall consensus.

What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?

The Whole9 Team says: “The only way we can recommend eating butter is if it comes from a humanely raised, grass-fed, organic source, and you take the time to clarify it. There are no major downsides to butter produced in such a manner, and we can happily recommend you use your clarified butter or ghee as one of your (varied) added fat sources. (Just so you know, ghee and clarified butter are similar but not identical; ghee is heated longer, until the milk solids brown. That imparts a richer, smokier flavor into the butterfat.)”

Mark Sisson says: “Animal fat has been unjustly demonized and there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Make sure the ghee you buy comes from pure butter, and butter alone; some brands combine vegetable oil with butter to make their ghee.”

So Is Ghee Paleo?

Yes!

This is a great thing to add to a Paleo lifestyle. Try tossing your veggies in it! As Paleo experts have warned, though, be careful to get your ghee from a reputable source to ensure that it isn’t mixed with vegetable oil. You want nothing but pure butter in there! Making ghee at home is a great way to save some money, too.

Issue No. 40

Is Corn Paleo? 

Corn photo

If there’s one near-irresistible temptation when watching a movie, it’s to go and grab some popcorn. In the warm months of summer, who can resist the call of corn on the cob at the barbecue? Or perhaps your Thanksgiving meal just can’t go on without a big scoop of creamed corn. Regardless of how it’s eaten, there’s no doubt that corn is a big part of the standard American diet. If there’s so many different ways that people eat corn, there’s got to be some sort of health benefit in the little yellow kernels, right? Or should we be trying to push corn off the Paleo plate?

I remember that when I was growing up, my life was dictated by corn. In fact, our household timeline revolved around corn, because I was raised in a largely Amish community. Early in the year, “Is the corn planted?” and later, “How’s the corn going?” That was our timeline in that tiny town. Biking down the street took me past acres and acres of cornfields, and this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise—corn has been a staple in American society since the colonial days.

Is Corn Healthy?

Some of the most well known health benefits of corn include its fiber and its levels of phosphorus and vitamin B3, which assists in the DNA repair process. As a water-soluble vitamin, B3 (also called niacin) is a valuable ingredient for our bodies, and we use it to convert food into energy. That’s important, right?

But on the other hand, corn’s also sporting some not-so-good features. Many people don’t realize it, but corn is NOT a veggie! Somewhere along the line it started being called such, but we need to acknowledge it for what it is—a grain. Paleo has had a history of rejecting grain-based food, and corn has many of the same toxic properties that prompted this reaction from the Paleo standpoint. A single ear of corn could have upwards of 15 grams of sugar, and corn contains a storage of phytates worth noting.

Phytates are toxins that affect how bioavailable nutrients are after you eat them. In other words, when you eat, you’ve got lots of nutrients hanging around in your intestines waiting to get absorbed so they can do their awesome things. But if you consume phytates like those present in corn, the phytates will bind to those nutrients, keeping them from being absorbed. That’s no fun for anybody.

Are the health benefits of corn enough to outweigh the grain-based toxins?

What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?

Mark Sisson says: “We’ve told you countless times but we’ll tell you again. CORN IS NOT A VEGETABLE IT’S A GRAIN!! Our advice? Treat this GRAIN like any other GRAIN in your diet and bump it to the bottom of your shopping list!”

The Whole9 Team says: “Based on the science as we understand it today, and our vast clinical experience with the tens of thousands of people who have completed our Whole30 program, we make some general recommendations as to which food groups may make you less healthy—including grains….Don’t include grains of any kind. This includes…corn.”

So IS Corn Paleo?

No!

There are no health benefits in corn great enough to exceed the damage to your body by consuming this grain, and any nutrients remaining are in danger of binding to the phytates, preventing them from being absorbed. There are lots of great places to get nutrients in the Paleo lifestyle, so choose something else and leave no space on your plate for corn!

Issue No. 41

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 a lot 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

How to Overcome a Sedentary Lifestyle 

You may find yourself living a sedentary lifestyle, without even realizing it, so how do you overcome a sedentary lifestyle? 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!

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