5 Tasty Vegetables To Enjoy Before Winter Is Over

Guest post was written by Helen Sanders (Author Bio after the article)

With the end of winter soon approaching, it’s the perfect time to make the best of the amazing seasonal vegetables still available.

Our Paleo ancestors ate the food that was in season and nothing more. However, nowadays most food can be bought out of season, which although convenient, has been found to be less nutritious (source).

So before spring arrives, let’s have a look at 5 tasty vegetables to enjoy before winter is over!

1.) Brussel Sprouts

Harvested from September through till late February, Brussel sprouts with their miniature cabbage appearance and distinctive taste are a fantastic addition to any meal.

My father used to say that sprouts tasted better after the first frost of the year, and it appears that this is true! Vegetables produce sugars when exposed to cold and this provides Brussels with a sweeter taste! (source).

They are also a good source of protein and iron are full of Vitamin C (source).

New Ways to Enjoy: Try crispy garlic sprouts as a light meal on their own. Cut the sprouts in half, fry over a medium heat until the edges are browned, then transfer to a baking tray. Sprinkle with crushed garlic and roast for 25 minutes.

2.) Pumpkin

The pumpkin (or winter squash) stands out as a symbol of winter with its popular use as a jack-o’-lantern at Halloween. Grown between October and February, they are one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene (source) an antioxidant which may help in preventing cancer (source).

Sometimes its versatility is overlooked and just cooked as a soup or a pumpkin pie, but it can be more exciting than that!

New Ways to Enjoy: Most Paleo diets do not include potatoes, so use the Pumpkin to make spicy fries! Peel and seed the pumpkin and cut into fries. Pop in the oven on a baking tray at 400 degrees sprinkle on a little Sriracha for spiciness and roast for 30/35 minutes.

3.) Leeks

Although leeks can continue into early March, they are at their best between November and February. They are the same family as onions and garlic, but with their own mild distinctive flavour.

They contain high levels of Vitamin K which helps strengthen bones and promote a healthy heart.

Often, only the bottom white stem is enjoyed and the rest rejected, but this is a waste! Instead finely chop the green leaves to create a perfect light seasoning to sprinkle over your meals, somewhat similar to a spring onion taste.

New Ways to Enjoy: Add sliced leek (including the leaves!) to an omelette and season to taste. It provides a gentle yet satisfying edge to the meal instead of an overpowering onion.

4.) Turnip

The humble turnip is often overlooked by its much more glamorous cousins the carrot and the radish. But it is a beautiful winter vegetable available October through to late February. As long as you are not restricting your carbohydrate intake, it can form an excellent part of a Paleo diet.

One possible reason behind its lack of popularity is that some people, through a genetic inheritance, find them incredibly bitter. The turnip contains chemicals which react with a gene in the human body which makes those with the gene find them utterly disgusting! (source)

Its bulb root is high in Vitamin C and the leaves in Vitamin A. So no part of the turnip should be discarded!

New Ways to Enjoy: As a Paleo alternative to a roast potato side, peel and quarter the turnips and boil in a saucepan for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and roast in the oven for further 20 minutes with a little salt. Dress with finely cut and lightly boiled turnip leaves.

5.) Kale

Kale is a member of the cabbage family, but whilst the cabbage is available throughout most of the year, Kale is usually at it’s best between late October and the first week of March. For people wanting historical accuracy, Kale is thought to be the closest vegetable variety to the original wild cabbage! (source).

It is extremely rich in vitamins, however, care must be taken as all of the nutrients are drastically reduced during boiling, except for Vitamin K (source).

New Ways to Enjoy: To preserve most of the natural benefits of kale, instead of boiling, stir fry for just 5 minutes on a high heat with a little garlic and chili for a delicious accompaniment or light meal.


Although it may be cold and miserable outside and everyone is looking forward to the approach of Spring, don’t waste the opportunity to enjoy these 5 tasty Winter vegetables before it is too late! They are healthy, in season and it will be a few months yet until they are available again!

Helen Sanders is chief editor at Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.

7 Reasons You Should Be Eating Local, Raw Honey

The many uses and benefits of honey have been a hot topic and growingly popular among the newest health trends. As with most things, if its available in your area, choosing local raw honey is always the best choice. Local raw honey has so many benefits that the sweet liquid sold in supermarkets doesn’t even begin to compare to. Once you have tasted honey that is harvested close to home, the teddy bear jar on the shelf will never tempt you again! Raw honey is the most beneficial because it has not been subjected to a vigorous pasteurization process. Pasteurization kills the majority of health benefits that honey provides.

1.)  Allergy Relief

One of the most popular uses of local raw honey is to treat allergies. Local raw honey will have the tiny amount of local pollen that triggers allergies. It is believed that a tablespoon of local raw honey a day, purchased as close to home as you can get it, will build up your immune system to local allergens.

2.)  Probiotics

Local, raw honey is a good source of probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that benefit your gut and intestines. Good bacteria are an essential part of your gut working properly and promoting healthy digestion.

3.)  A Sore Throat and Cough Relief

Having a jar of local, raw honey on hand during cold and flu season is the best way to naturally combat all of the ailments that are soon to come. A spoon full of honey work to both soothe a scratchy sore throat, by coating it and as a beneficial cough suppressant.

4.)  Sugar Substitute

While there is no doubt an array of different alternative sweeteners available, local raw honey is the one that doesn’t leave you guessing about a nutrition label. Honey is a perfect sweetener for anyone trying to cut out refined sugar and the best part is you know without a doubt where it comes from, how it’s made, and that there are no chemical additives!

5.)  Treating Minor Cuts and Sores

Raw, local honey doesn’t resemble the liquid amber found in stores. In fact, it Is more of a creamy texture than a liquid at all. This makes it an easy and natural salve to apply to minor burns and sores. A thick layer of raw honey acts as an antibiotic ointment; it can kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.

6.)  Antioxidants

Local, raw honey is a great source of antioxidants! Just a spoonful a day is enough to raise the number of antioxidants in your blood and keep your body fighting off free radicals that are associated with cancer and other serious illnesses and diseases.

7.)  Sleep

Honey at bedtimes has been linked to a good night’s sleep. Honey encourages the natural release of melatonin in the body, the sleep hormone. Melatonin also helps to increase immunity and the rebuilding of tissue while you are asleep. A bedtime honey routine can help you fall asleep faster and wake up fresh and rejuvenated the following morning.

Is Peanut Butter Bad for You?

Peanut butter is more than likely the most popular nut butter, whether you are buying it prepackaged, fresh ground or grinding it yourself; it’s a hit with just about everyone who doesn’t have a peanut allergy. It isn’t any secret that peanut butter is a good source of protein, but is it bad for you? No, it isn’t bad for you at all but that doesn’t mean its Paleo either. Obviously, like everything else, you shouldn’t eat an entire jar in one sitting. But in moderation it’s is a fairly well-balanced food option. 

How Processed is Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter ranks pretty high, as a healthy option, on the excruciatingly long list of processed foods that are readily available. Unlike the majority of other foods, peanut butter doesn’t go through a vigorous process of processing and pasteurization. Generally speaking, peanut butter is simple; Its ground peanuts. That’s not to say that there aren’t any additive’s, such as sugar. But the list is relatively low.  You simply need to check the label of the peanut butter of choice. Unlike other processed foods, peanut butter doesn’t lose all of its nutrients during processing. In fact, studies have shown peanut butter loses less than 5% of its nutrients due to processing.

However, cashew or almond butter would be even more reasonable when it comes to Paleo. Peanut butter is technically not considered Paleo. This article merely allows individuals to see what peanut butter has incorporated within.

Nutrients in Peanut Butter

While a tiny portion size of 2 tablespoons can make it extremely easy to overindulge, with a little self-control peanut butter can be a great healthy snack or addition to your meal. The first thing to take into consideration is how many added ingredients are in your peanut butter; the less the better. Remember, all it takes to make peanut butter is peanuts. Also, if you are eating a “Low-fat” variety, chances are it has more sugar in it and the same amount of carbohydrates. Instead, opt for a natural or fresh ground. You may have even noticed that many markets and grocery stores have added the option of grinding your own peanut butter right there in the store, just like you would coffee.  Once you have found the proper peanut butter for you, the health benefits are pretty impressive.

  • A good source of vitamin E and vitamin B-3. Vitamin E wards of inflammation in the body and cell communication.
  • A serving has 4.4 milligrams of niacin; niacin helps your cells produce energy, as well as, cell development.
  • Also a good source of magnesium and copper; one serving contains approximately 15% of the daily recommended value of magnesium and 21% of daily recommended copper.
  • Each serving contains 188 calories, 7.7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat, and 6.9 carbohydrates.

While Paleo Living does not endorse that peanut butter is official “Paleo” we understand an individual who may not be able to get ahold of almond or cashew butter. Whatever the reason may be, this article is to show what peanut butter could offer.

So, in conclusion, peanut butter is not the best choice. Nor is it considered paleo.

Is It Paleo? Deli Meat

When it comes to convenience, it’s tough to beat deli meat.

Ham, turkey, salami, prosciutto, roast beef, and dozens of other options are sold in almost every grocery store, and they require no preparation whatsoever to eat.

Traditionally, lunches and sandwiches rely heavily on such cold cuts, but there are a ton of popular news articles that paint these meats as incredibly unhealthy.

Are Deli Meats Healthy?

There are many reasons bandied about as to why deli meats may be unhealthy. I’ll quickly look at them one by one:

  1. Nitrates and Nitrites. Nitrates and nitrites are often used as preservatives in deli meats. And somehow, it’s become “common knowledge” that nitrate contribute to cancer and heart disease. Luckily, that isn’t the case. Check out Chris Kresser’s article for a full explanation as to why, but the short answer is that the science just isn’t there, and most nitrates come from either vegetables or our own bodies anyway.
  2. Oxidized Fats and Heterocyclic Amines. When many foods are exposed to high temperatures, either the fats or the combination of sugars and proteins start to change and create compounds that are harmful to humans. And this is potentially the case for some processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, etc. However, most deli meats are cured rather than cooked, and those that are cooked are usually cooked at a low temperature.
  3. Low-Quality Animals. This is something that can’t be overlooked, particularly in the U.S. Most deli meat is not made from animals that were fed natural diets or taken good care of. Much of the deli meat that you can buy is of a lower quality as a result, but probably no lower than much of the raw meat you could buy at the same grocery stores.
  4. High Sodium. This is another common critique of deli meats, and it’s not completely off-base. The thing is, overall sodium intake is less important than the sodium-to-potassium ratio, but since deli meats are high in sodium and not in potassium, that’s not a good thing, health-wise.
  5. Additives. The worst part about deli meats is often not the meat itself – it’s what’s added to the meat. For instance, many deli types of meat contain things like gluten, processed sugar, artificial flavors, and other additives. Eating foods containing these ingredients may be more than a little risky.

The good news is that some deli meat comes to us free from terrible additives and possibly even from humanely-raised animals. And it’s this sort of meat (which looks more like actual meat) that Paleo experts generally agree can mean the difference between a yucky food and a great snack.

What do other Paleo gurus say?

Nell Stephenson says: “Nix those oh-so-common options that we see in any random grocery store, like good old Oscar Meyer Bologna or Buddig Chicken and investigate which if any meats are available to you that truly do fall within the parameters of Paleo. [Aim for] an ingredient panel such as ‘Ingredient: turkey.’ That’s what you’re going for, and if there’s anything else included, do your best to pass on that brand until you find another.”

Mark Sisson says: “My general recommendations are to stick to the quality stuff, with ingredients you recognize. Eat moderate amounts. Use it as a garnish, trail food, with cheese (if you do dairy), or as a topping on other dishes. Buy from trusted suppliers if it’s cured and in sausage form; if it’s straight up turkey breast or roast beef, make sure it comes from a single slab of real animal.”

So is deli meat Paleo?

Yes, but be cautious.

Make sure to look for meat that does not contain the additives mentioned above. Try not to make deli meat the center of your diet.

The best deli meat has a visible grain or streaks of real fat from the source. It’s even better if your deli meat comes straight from a single animal. If you cannot find this quality deli meat, it may be best to cook your meat at home and slice it yourself. That way, you can guarantee its ingredients.

Issue No. 35

Is It Paleo? Panko

One comment I often get from people who are just starting to clean up their diets is that they miss crunchy foods.

And it’s true.

When you cut out all chips, crackers, cookies, and other grain-driven foods, the only crunch you’re generally left with is raw veggies and some fruits.

The answer to today’s “Is It Paleo?” is going to be pretty obvious, but it’s worth talking about because it’s easy to forget just how many foods are made from processed ingredients that wreak havoc on our bodies.

What is Panko?

Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb with an unorthodox origin.

Panko (meaning “bread child”) starts out as a hunk of, well, bread. After it’s left to rise multiple times, it gets flattened with a metal weight and then electrocuted. That’s right—panko is electrified bread. Shocking (sorry – pun intended).

After it’s been zapped, it’s cut into small pieces and then passed through filters that reduce it down to the small, jagged pieces everyone knows as panko.

It sounds pretty awesome—who gets to say that they eat electrified food very often? However, there are a few things to keep in mind before we make a final decision on these Japanese breadcrumbs.

Is Panko Healthy?

First, it’s important to remember that, just like regular breadcrumbs, panko crumbs are made from grains.
In particular, panko is sometimes noted for its acrylamide, a compound that forms when grains are cooked at high temperatures (can you get much hotter than straight electricity?). The World Health Organization (WHO) itself released a report saying that acrylamide is a “public health risk.” Some dangers cited included degenerative nerve changes, tumors, and hormone issues. In addition, WHO labeled acrylamide as carcinogenic (cancer-causing).

It is, of course, also important to recall the more common reasons why those following the Paleo diet go grain-free.
Remember that grains generally contribute to inflammation, gut issues, and all the diseases and disorders that arise from inflammation and gut issues (like heart disease). Also, the toxins in grains (such as gluten) damage the gut lining and make it difficult for our bodies to absorb nutrients.

Not surprisingly, Paleo experts have come to a consensus rather quickly about what to do with panko.

What do other Paleo gurus say?

Kelley Herring says: “Panko is bad news when it comes to your health.”

Marla Sarris says: “Is panko Paleo? NO.”

Is Panko Paleo?


All of the toxins of grains can still be found in panko.

Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives. If you’re trying to bread something in true Paleo style, try almond flour or ground pork rinds.

Issue No. 36

Is it Paleo? Flaxseed

Have you ever tried to do something that you thought would take five minutes, only to realize two hours later that it would probably take five days to do properly?

Well, let’s just say that analyzing flaxseed in detail would probably take that long, and neither you nor I would be particularly better off for it.

Are Flaxseeds Healthy?

I’m not 100% sure why this is the case, but researchers have done a lot of studies on flaxseeds, flax meal, and flax oil.

Worst of all, the results are all over the place and are generally inconclusive.

What that means is that flax probably isn’t as bad as some people think, but there are definitely reasons to not consume too much (at the least).


The primary concern with flax is that the fats in flaxseeds are polyunsaturated, which means that they can be oxidized quite easily and quickly, which in turn can lead to a lot of damage in your body.

Whole flaxseeds can protect themselves against oxidation. However, that means that they also protect themselves against being digested. That’s a twofold problem. First, you won’t get much benefit from eating whole flaxseeds. And second, if you have any pre-existing digestive issues, flaxseeds may aggravate the problem.

Flaxseed oil and ground flaxseeds can both be digested, but they’re very easily oxidized. And that’s a big problem.


A couple studies, including this one, have demonstrated that increased ALA (alpha-linolenic acid, one of the primary fatty acids in flaxseed) has been shown to increase the risk of prostate cancer.

That research is a bit uncertain, but it’s there.

Lower Testosterone

If you’re wondering, this is not generally a good thing for men OR women. You want your body to regulate testosterone and estrogen on its own, not under the influence of any food that over-regulates.

However, flax seeds appear to lower testosterone.

What Do Other Paleo Gurus Say?

Mark Sisson: “If you’re a vegetarian or unable to get your hands on animal sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, a seed like flax might be a decent option, but for this grass-fed-meat-eating, fish-oil-swilling, antioxidant-rich-vegetable chomping audience, I don’t see why flax needs to be part of the dietary equation.”

Robb Wolf: “I’d never really had problem with flax seed, the usage of flaxseeds because the amount of Omega-3s that you get from that are small and if you just handle them properly (like grinding them fresh), use them immediately, don’t cook with the stuff, then you should be good to go.”

Are Flaxseeds Paleo?

Flax is not very Paleo.

Whole flaxseeds probably aren’t that bad, but they aren’t digested well in any event. Ground flax goes rancid very fast, and flax oil even faster.

Flax doesn’t have nearly as much going for it as mainstream experts believe since the omega-3s are not converted very well to active forms of omega-3.

I wouldn’t avoid a dish just because it contained flax, but I certainly don’t seek it out.

Issue No. 37

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

raoyi163 / Pixabay

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

geralt / Pixabay

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.

Is Yogurt Paleo?

NeuPaddy / Pixabay

If you go to the dairy section of any grocery store, you’re likely to see rows and rows of yogurt—Greek, plain, flavored, snack-size, and more—lined up like stout little soldiers waiting to be put into someone’s cart. They come in greens, blues, reds, and more, in any flavor you can think of. But what on earth is yogurt anyway? And should we be eating more of it?

If you’re wondering how yogurt-makers get their yogurt to be, well, a lot gooier than milk, they do it through fermentation. The discovery of yogurt was likely an accident because people in Central Asia in about 6000 BC would milk their cows and then carry around the milk—all warm and fresh—in sacs made of animal stomachs. The milk would go sour, and yogurt was born! Thankfully, yogurt today doesn’t go through a few rounds of incubation in an animal stomach before making it store shelves; it probably wouldn’t be as popular.

When people talk about how great yogurt is, they most often cite the calcium content (it’s made from milk, after all) and the trendy term “probiotics.” Probiotics, in a nutshell, are the little bacteria in your intestines that help you out when you digest food and fight off the baddies. They’re shown to reduce inflammation and improve immune function, so supplementing with them is a great idea. These bacteria can be found in yogurt, so it’s a great addition to the diet, right? But many who follow a Paleo lifestyle don’t tolerate dairy. Now what?

What do the Paleo gurus say?

Nell Stephenson says: “Personally, the resulting effects of eating dairy (congestion and bloating) render it not something I want to include.   In the event that a situation arises when I feel I need to eat some probiotics, such as a few years ago after I finished a course of antibiotics for a case of swimmer’s ear, I prefer a top of the line capsule not sourced from dairy or soy.

If you are someone who makes the choice to include some dairy in the form of yogurt in your diet, at the very least, be sure to use a brand that is really just yogurt.   All too often, we see yogurts that are really nothing more than a usual concoction of low-fat or fat-free milk, gelatin, artificial sugars and flavors and no probiotics!”

Joel Runyon says: “Is yogurt Paleo? The short answer—no. Generally speaking, yogurt is not considered Paleo. The main reason that yogurt is not paleo is that it is a form of dairy. Almost all dairy is off limits for the following reasons: Dairy consumption has been linked to the development of many diseases in humans, including some very serious and chronic such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, [and] the quality of dairy that is widely available today is usually very poor. It is filled with added sugar and comes from sick cows that have been mistreated and given hormones and antibiotics.”

So is yogurt Paleo?


It’s best to avoid yogurt because although it’s got some probiotics in it (sometimes…), they’re not nearly enough to justify the consumption of inflammatory dairy, especially when you risk exposing yourself to the antibiotics and other toxins in the milk the yogurt was made from.

Article by: Carrie Ott

Issue No. 57

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

Do Sardines Have Health Benefits?

One question some people have asked is if sardines have health benefits, especiallyy linked towards the paleo diet.

One of my most vivid memories of elementary school is of sitting in one of our incredibly cramped, 20-person classrooms and eating lunch with friends. They’d be munching on zebra cakes and I would, with an excited smile, pop the lid off my little bin of sardines.

Apparently the smell of fish was less favorable to the 8-year-olds than the sweet aroma of those zebra cakes, because more often than not, I’d look up from my sardines to find myself sitting all alone.

What are Sardines?

I think part of the problem was that no one really knew what a sardine was—a small, whole fish also known as a pilchard. Belonging to the herring family, sardines are rather tiny, oily fish that you can buy fresh or in a can.

Because people tend not to eat whole animals anymore, the sardines were probably a bit off-putting to my classmates. Yet how I loved them so!

Are Sardines Healthy?

The truth of the matter is that sardines are a very resilient fish, and their size is a big factor in whether or not they are toxic.

Sardines are quite small, which means that they tend not to absorb the same amount of toxins as larger fish. In fact, the Environmental Defense Fund lists sardines as some of the least-toxic fish you can eat.

Their mercury content is low, and these little fish are packed with not only a huge helping of omega-3s but also more than 100% of your daily recommended serving of vitamin B12! Vitamin B12 is responsible for keeping nerves and blood cells healthy, and it’s also extremely important for making DNA, so getting a whole bunch of it certainly isn’t a bad thing!

In addition, sardines are packed with vitamin D, which is one of the easiest nutrients to become deficient in nowadays—with people spending so much time inside, getting this vital nutrient from the sun is becoming harder and harder. Thankfully, sardines are one of the best foods for boosting your vitamin D.

Because sardines are low in toxicity and mercury, packed with nutrients, and cheap to boot, it seems like they may be a good addition to a Paleo lifestyle.

What do other Paleo gurus say?

Mark Sisson says: “As for those species that offer both high omega-3s and low toxin risk, here are some budget-friendly samplings: light tuna, anchovies, sardines, Atlantic herring, and Atlantic mackerel. These species are generally wild caught. Because they’re tiny and low on the food chain, tiny fish [like sardines] will be largely free of the heavy metals other, larger fish tend to accumulate.”

Sébastien Noël says: “The next time you’re passing through the canned fish aisle, look a shelf above the cans of salmon, and consider the sardines as well. They’re convenient as a quick snack to throw into your purse or car, and…they provide a lot [of] nutrition.”

Are Sardines Paleo?


Sardines are a great source of many vitamins and minerals with very little toxicity. They’re small and cheap, and while you can eat them out of a can, be sure to choose wholesome varieties—sardines in water or olive oil are better than sardines in, say, mustard or soybean oil. Be sure to check ingredient labels, and enjoy your little fish! It’s okay, you can eat the bones too.

Issue No. 38

Is Beer Paleo?

Almost anywhere you go in the world, one thing you’re likely to be able to find is beer, but is beer paleo?

In fact, that’s one of the beer’s largest draws—it can be fun to try to sample as many exotic varieties and microbrews as you can find.

What Is Beer, Anyway?

Beer is one of the oldest drinks in human history, dating back more than 7,000 years to ale, its most ancient form. In fact, some historians credit the making of beer as humanity’s first step toward technological advancement, since water wasn’t always safe to drink.

For the most part, beer is made from fermented barley. And unlike a drink like whiskey, beer isn’t distilled, so it still contains many of the proteins and other components of the food that is fermented.
Increasingly, there are beers made from other fermented foods, but still, the great majority is made from barley.

Is Beer Healthy?

Believe it or not, there are possible health benefits to beer.

Beer has a big tendency to bring people together in fun social settings, and there is little doubt that hanging out with friends, relaxing, and laughing are all extremely healthy activities. And there is also no arguing with the overwhelming evidence that beer is chock full of B vitamins, particularly B3, B6, and B9, because of the yeast content.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that barley—which constitutes most beers—brings the same damage to our guts as we could expect from other gluten-containing grains like wheat. That means inflammation, disruption of gut flora, and all those nasties that arise from the gluten content of beer.

In addition, hops (a standard beer ingredient) is a huge source of phytoestrogens—the same toxin that makes eating soy not such a great idea because of the way the chemical reacts with our estrogen receptors.
Most importantly, however, we can’t forget about the alcohol. Alcohol is, plain and simple, a toxin, and the effect of alcohol on the brain is irrefutable.

So we’ve got some nice B vitamins in beer, but we’ve also got some toxins to worry about; where does that leave us?
Well, as far as researchers have learned, the evidence tends in one direction. Studies show that beer can do some strange things in our bodies, like making us more prone to passive overeating (when we eat way too much because it’s just there) and disrupting our natural sleep cycles. Beer has also been shown to increase the chances of developing multiple types of cancer, too. And it’s fairly well known that alcohol can have a negative impact on the liver.

It seems, then, that beer isn’t such a friendly drink after all, and Paleo experts tend to agree.

What do other Paleo gurus say?

Mark Sisson says: “Overall, beers are pretty unPrimal. But if you can drink them without ill effect, I don’t think the occasional glass or bottle will do you much harm. Celiacs and gluten-sensitive should definitely steer clear, or opt for wine, cider, or other choices.”

The Paleo Mom says: “[If you’re working on autoimmune issues] make sure to stay away from any grain-based alcohols though, especially beer and ale which contain gluten. Alcohol is not good for anyone dealing with leaky gut issues. However, an occasional drink…is probably okay. Cooking with alcohol is also probably okay for most people, even if you don’t tolerate an actual drink. But once again, I do urge caution as you experiment to find where your individual line is.”

Is Beer Paleo?


Beer is not Paleo, but remember that quantity and quality are also key here. Non-alcoholic gluten-free beers (they do exist, though they’re rare) are fine, and an occasional sip here and there isn’t going to decimate your body. However, one of the dangers of beer is that it is addictive—more so than marijuana, studies say. So because the negatives outweigh the positives by a longshot, why not just avoid beer and go for a nice, relaxing cup of your favorite Paleo drink?

Issue No. 38

Photo by Miss Dilettante

Is Tuna Paleo?


Until 2013 (when salmon surged ahead), tuna was the second-most popular seafood consumed in the U.S. and it’s not only in the U.S. that tuna is a favorite, so what’s the deal is tuna paleo or not?

If you’ve ever been to a sushi restaurant, you’ve likely noticed that some of the most common cuts of sashimi are maguro and toro—in other words, types of tuna.

Fish is regularly touted as a very nutritious food, but it’s also common to hear warnings about certain seafood, including tuna.

So should you regularly consume tuna?

Is Tuna Healthy?

The main concern I hear about tuna is its mercury content.

Mercury poisoning is a scary thought, and we’ve all heard about the dangers of playing with old thermometers. Studies have shown that in rats and other animals, a diet excessively high in mercury can lead to stunted growth, deformed limbs, and mental disease.

However, the mercury concern in tuna (and in fish in general) is very much overstated, except in certain circumstances.

I won’t go into a great deal of detail in this article, but the short version is this: No good studies have ever shown any problem with eating seafood “high” in mercury other than a few species of shark and whale, or fish from polluted areas. The reason that these certain cases exist is that mercury’s harmful effects occur when it is in excess of selenium. And for almost all seafood (including tuna), selenium is higher than mercury.

If you want to read more on this issue, check out Chris Kresser’s great article.

On the other hand, tuna has many nutritious qualities that make consumption a great idea. It tends to be high in omega-3s, which are great anti-inflammatories that have shown tendencies to reduce heart disease and high blood pressure, in addition to calming down allergies and asthma.

Even better, tuna is rich in selenium, a nutrient that helps to normalize our bodies—it regulates our thyroid and hormones, assists with DNA synthesis, and protects our bodies from oxidative damage and infection.

And just generally, tuna is very dense in vitamins and minerals, something that we should frankly care a lot more about in our foods.

What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?

Robb Wolf says: “Maintaining adequate levels of selenium can protect us from mercury toxicity by binding to mercury as well as protecting us from oxidative damage. On top of that, the fish consumed by humans (except for the Mako shark and possibly some species of whales) contain more selenium than mercury. This makes it safe to get all the positive health aspects associated with eating fish 1-2 times per week.”

Mark Sisson says: “Tuna is tasty, especially the steaks, and it’s a decent source of omega-3s, but the mercury content can’t be ignored. Avoid if you are pregnant, nursing, or a small child, and don’t make tuna of any kind a daily staple. Look for troll and pole-caught tuna over longline-caught tuna, as the former tend to run smaller and accumulate fewer contaminants than the latter.”

Is Tuna Paleo?


Issue No. 39

Photo by nedrichards

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