Tag Archives: fish

Memorial Day Paleo Grilling Marinade | The Paleo Diet
With Memorial Day just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your menu.  What better way to prepare a Paleo-approved feast than to cook your meats over an open flame, just like our Paleolithic ancestors may have done?

While a simple, grass-fed rib eye works perfectly, it’s fun, tasty and healthy to add some zest by way of marinades, too.

Commercially available preparations that are suitable to a Paleo, clean-living approach are few and far between.  Most are laden with corn syrup, stabilizer gums and artificial sweeteners, coloring and flavorings. Another common offender found in bottled marinades is soy.  High in antinutrient content, soy is often added because it contains glutamic acid, which acts a chemical tenderizing agent.  A definite must-skip!

Making marinades at home is the way to go.  Cost effective, quick and easy to execute, it can be as simple as throwing a few of your favorite ingredients into your food processor and whizzing up a delightful flavor profile.

Here are a few Paleo grilling marinade ideas that will cater to everyone, whether you prefer fish, savory meat or a hint of sweetness with your protein.

No need to choose just one for your holiday barbecue; since they’re so fast to prepare, you can serve all three!

FISH

pan-seared-250866_1280

The key to marinating fish is that less is more; plan on a maximum of half an hour for most fillets and possibly up to an hour for hearty steaks like salmon.  Even though we avoid acid such as vinegar when following a Paleo diet, even citric acid found in lemon, limes and oranges could actually cook the fish before it even hits the grill!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • Juice from ½ freshly squeezed Meyer lemon
  • 1 1⁄2 
tablespoons honey
  • 1” fresh ginger root
  • 3⁄4 
teaspoon paprika*
  • 1⁄2-1 
teaspoon fresh ground black pepper*
  • 1 
pinch crushed red chili flakes*
  • 6 
garlic cloves
  • 4 
scallions, finely chopped

Instructions

1. Combine all but scallions in food processor

2. Whiz to combine until uniform consistency is reached

3. Allow cool to room temperature then spread onto flesh side of skin-on wild fish

4. Place in bowl and allow to rest for 30 minutes prior to cooking in grill basket

5. Scatter scallions on top and enjoy!

SAVORY MEAT

Memorial Day Paleo Grilling Marinade | The Paleo Diet

While olive oil is clearly one of the healthiest fats we can consume, cooking it at a high temp such as on the barbecue can cause it to oxidize, creating free radicals.  Rather than risking it, swap it out for a Paleo grilling friendly fat like duck fat, which can sustain higher temps!

Ingredients

  • Juice from two freshly squeezed limes
  • 3 Tablespoons duck fat
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, preferably fresh squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper*
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Hungarian paprika*
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 teaspoon thyme

Instructions

1. Combine all ingredients in food processor and combine until a uniform consistency is reached.

2. Spread throughout over grass fed meat of your choosing, cover, and allow to marinate 12 – 24 hours.

3. Be sure to bring to room temperature by removing from the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking time; cooking proteins that are too cold will result in uneven cooking.

A LITTLE BIT OF SWEETNESS

Memorial Day Paleo Grilling Marindates | The Paleo Diet
Looking for a little bit of sweet with your savory?   No need to smother on the ketchup or dollop on the jelly. This marinade does the trick all on its own, thanks to a little bit of orange!

Ingredients

  • 1 navel orange, juiced, plus one teaspoon zest
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
  • Juice from one freshly squeezed lime
  • 1 jalapeno fresh, seeds removed*
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

1. Combine all ingredients in food processor and combine until a uniform consistency is reached.

2. Spread throughout over grass fed meat of your choosing, cover, and allow to marinate 12 – 24 hours. Also works well with pasture raised pork.

3. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

*Pepper and pepper products should be avoided by anyone following a Paleo Autoimmune Protocol


5 Tips for Eating Paleo on a Budget | The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet is sometimes dismissed as elitist and only for those who can afford daily prime mignon. This criticism stems from a wider misconception that Paleo is “meat-only” or “meat heavy.” Indeed, the Paleo diet does include appreciable amounts of animal foods, but eating Paleo doesn’t require eating the most expensive varieties of animal foods. Our ancestors were extremely efficient, eating animals and fish from nose to tail, leaving nothing wasted. We can and should emulate this approach, not only because it ensures balanced nutrition, but also because it’s more economical.

So, if you are trying to make Paleo work within the confines of a limited budget or you have several hungry children to feed and wonder whether you can afford a Paleo lifestyle, here are five key tips for minimizing food expenses while maximizing nutrition and deliciousness.

1. GET A SLOW COOKER

You might have one in your garage or closet. Market research firm NPD Group estimates that 83% of Americans own slow cookers (also known as crock pots), but only half use them regularly.1 In the UK, slow cooker sales rose 55% between 2012 –2014.2

Not only is slow cooking extremely delicious and convenient, it’s also very economical. A slow cooked stew might require six to eight hours, but its electricity costs are comparable to those of a light bulb. Electric ovens, on the other hand, are more energy intensive, averaging between 2 and 2.2 kWh. Slow cookers average around 0.09 kWh, according to the Centre for Sustainable Energy.3 What does this mean? In the US, the national average electricity cost is approximately $0.12 cents per kWh. Operating the oven for one hour, therefore, costs around $0.25, whereas operating a slow cooker for eight hours costs only $0.09.

2. SAVE WITH LESS EXPENSIVE CUTS OF MEAT

Another advantage of slow cooking is that tougher cuts of meat become naturally tenderized. You wouldn’t want to cook oxtail, skirt, flank, shin, or chuck steaks on the grill, but slow cooked for hours, these cuts are outstanding. They typically have more fat and more cartilage. Bone-in cuts also have marrow. All these elements add flavor and depth to your stews. Many cuts of lamb and pork are also incredible slow cooked, and aren’t marked up nearly as much as other cuts of meat. You can easily cut your meat costs by 50%+ compared to the more expensive, quick-cooking cuts.

3. EAT THE ORGANS

The irony of organ meat is that despite being the most nutrient dense foods by far, they are typically also the most inexpensive. Liver, for example, might cost you around $5 or $6 per pound. By including organ meats in your diet, you’ll save money while greatly boosting your nutrient intake.

4. ORGANIC VS. CONVENTIONAL

Some often balk at paying $3 for that organic avocado when the conventional one costs only $1.50. While we strongly recommend buying organic produce, if you have a limited budget, the Environmental Working Group offers their excellent Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, showing which fruits and vegetables to always buy organic and for which conventional is probably adequate.

5. SMALL, OILY FISH

Sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and other small, oily fish are relatively inexpensive, delicious, and easy to prepare. Fish is a vital component of the Paleo diet, and you can still meet nutritional requirements and enjoy fish without buying expensive wild salmon or wild sea bass. These fish are rich in omega-3 and won’t break your bank. But, buy them fresh, not preserved in cans.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

REFERENCES

[1] Carter, N. (February 25, 2009). Slow cookers have evolved over the decades. The LA Times.

[2] Weatherill, E. (October 4, 2013). Slow and pressure cookers find favour. The BBC.

[3] Christie, S. (November 22, 2013). ‘How much cheaper is a slow cooker than an oven?’ The Telegraph.

Seafood Mercury Concerns Subside Amid New Research | The Paleo Diet

Fish and other marine life have been integral to human diets since the Paleolithic era. Some researchers even speculate that these foods “made us human” by enabling the rapid expansion of grey matter in the cerebral cortex. For three million years of evolution during the time of Australopithecus, brain capacity remained constant, but then curiously doubled during a one-million-year period between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens.1 The reasons for this great expansion are not entirely known, but increased dietary omega-3 from fish and shellfish was likely involved.

Fish consumption remains critically important today, but comes with complications unimaginable to our distant ancestors. Industrial pollution has greatly increased environmental mercury, much of which ends up in oceans and lakes, and finally, in small amounts, in the bodies of fish. In higher amounts, mercury is toxic and is especially problematic for developing babies. For years, the FDA was advising pregnant women to limit their fish consumption during pregnancy, but last year, they issued a draft revision encouraging prenatal fish consumption.2 This draft, which will eventually replace their previous recommendations, reflects a growing awareness, seen in the scientific literature, that fish is essential for developing babies and contains nutrients that limit, or even counter, the potentially harmful effects of mercury.

Recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a new study, representing 30 years of research in the Seychelles, is one of the longest and largest population studies regarding seafood and mercury.3 The Seychelles is a nation of islands clustered together in the Indian Ocean, where residents consume 10 times as much seafood as do Europeans and Americans, making it an ideal place to study the long-term impact of mercury exposure via seafood. The researchers concluded that high fish consumption by pregnant mothers, as much as 12 meals per week (the FDA recommends three), does not cause developmental problems in children.

To the contrary, fish is extremely beneficial for development, and contains special nutrients that protect against mercury. Lead author Dr. Sean Strain explained, “This research provided us the opportunity to study the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids [PUFAs] on development and their potential to augment or counteract the toxic properties of mercury.”4 Mercury is thought to damage the brain through oxidation and corresponding inflammation. Fish are rich in omega-3 PUFAs, which prevent inflammation, as opposed to omega-6 PUFAs, which promote inflammation. This was reflected in the study whereby children of mothers who had higher omega-6 blood levels performed worse on tests designed to measure motor skills.

This study builds upon an impressive body of research conducted by Dr. Nicholas Ralston and colleagues at the University of North Dakota. Ralston has demonstrated that selenium also protects against mercury toxicity and that foods with relatively higher amounts of selenium with respect to mercury, pose neither developmental nor neurological risks based on mercury toxicity.5 “This may explain,” Ralston says, “why studies of maternal populations exposed to foods that contain Hg [mercury] in molar excess of Se [selenium], such as shark or pilot whale meats, have found adverse child outcomes, but studies of populations exposed to MeHg [methylmercury] by eating Se-rich ocean fish observe improved child IQs instead of harm.”6

The vast majority of commonly consumed fish and shellfish contain far more selenium relative to mercury and many have significant amounts of omega-3 PUFAs. This means that fish and shellfish, two important components of the Paleo diet, should not be limited nor discontinued based on mercury concerns. Whether for pregnant women, babies, children, or adults, we encourage you to keep seafood on the menu.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

REFERENCES

[1] Bradbury, J. (May 2011). Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA): An Ancient Nutrient for the Modern Human Brain. Nutrients, 3(5). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257695/

[2] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (June 2014). Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know. Draft Updated Advice by FDA and EPA. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm393070.htm

[3] Strain, JJ, et al. (January 2015). Prenatal exposure to methyl mercury from fish consumption and polyunsaturated fatty acids: associations with child development at 20 mo of age in an observational study in the Republic of Seychelles. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101(1). Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2015/01/21/ajcn.114.100503

[4] University of Rochester Medical Center. (January 21, 2015). Fatty acids in fish may shield brain from mercury damage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150121144835.htm

[5] Ralston, NV and Raymond, NJ. (November 2010). Dietary selenium’s protective effects against methylmercury toxicity. Toxicology, 278(1). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20561558

[6] Ibid, Ralston.

Selecting Seafood for Health and Sustainability | The Paleo Diet

There’s no question that seafood is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and that it should form an integral part of the Paleo Diet. But seafood doesn’t thrive in polluted waters, overfished waters, or in habitats damaged by fishing gear. So to get the good without the bad—and to ensure we have it for years to come—we need to know which species have the holy trinity of seafood: sustainable, safe, and nutritious.

Sustainable

Sustainably caught fish may seem like a nice-to-have, but it should really be on par with nutrition for importance when selecting seafood. Not only do we want our food to be harvested or caught in its highest nutritive state, we want that to continue indefinitely. It hasn’t always been that way, but more and more fisheries are making sustainability a reality by considering the health of ecosystems and fish populations as well as their profits. Seafood Watch® makes science-based recommendationsfor sustainable seafood.1,2,3 Here’s their current list of best choices, good alternatives, and choices to avoid.

Selecting Seafood for Health and Sustainability

The seafood recommendations in this guide are credited to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation ©2014. All rights reserved.

Download the PDF

Safe

In the seafood world, mercury, dioxins, and PCBs are the usual suspects when it comes to contamination. They’re not normally features of a “healthy and abundant stock” which is a fundamental criterion for sustainability1—so if you’re choosing sustainable, you’re likely choosing safe too. In addition, SeafoodWatch® posts health alerts if there are specific concerns for human health from a fishery.

Mercury, however, is a changing story. Mercury accumulates in fat tissues of large, long-lived predatory fish or shellfish, ultimately ending up on our dinner plates. We’ve been cautioned to limit these species in our diets, but surprisingly, that’s not the whole story. Mercury readily and irreversibly binds to selenium,4 which means that as long as the fish you’re eating has more selenium than mercury, your body won’t actually be retaining the mercury you ingest. And since the oceans are full of selenium, most ocean fish are perfectly safe to eat.5,6 Simply avoid shark and limit swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel or use this infographic to moderate your consumption . Also keep in mind that in freshwater, mercury and selenium levels vary greatly with the composition of the surrounding soil. Check with your local authorities for health alerts.

Nutritious

Fish are great sources of vitamins and minerals as well as protein, but the biggest benefit from eating fish is the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.7 Anyone who’s had king salmon and a haddock fillet can tell you, however, that all fish are not created equal when it comes to fat—and they’re not all created equal when it comes to omega-3 to omega-6 ratios either—and that matters! Here’s some nutritional data from the USDA for some popular fish and shellfish.6

Sustainable Choices in SeafoodSustainable Choices in Seafood

Highlighted numbers in the first four columns are amounts greater than 1 g/100 g; highlighted numbers in the last column are the fish with ratios greater than 5. A few things jump out.

  • Total fat isn’t everything: the number of fish hitting 1 g/100 g decreases as we move from total fat to polyunsaturated fat to omega-3s.
  • Atlantic mackerel, chinook salmon, herring, swordfish, and Bluefin tuna have high total fat and great omega-3/omega-6 ratios.
  • Only farmed Atlantic salmon has more than 1 g/100 g of omega-6s.
  • All but tilapia have an omega-3/omega-6 ratio greater than 1.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a relationship between total fat and the omega-3/omega-6 ratio. There are high fat options with low ratios (Atlantic salmon) and high ratio options with lower fat (squid).

Sustainable + Safe + Nutritious

So can we have our fish and eat it too? Yes! There is an impressively wide array of sustainable options to choose from, and we can assume that they’re safe choices, not only because they’re sustainable, but because they’re high in selenium. Many of those sustainable options are also fatty fish with great omega-3/omega-6 ratios (anything above 1 is great). SeafoodWatch® compiled their “Super Green List” based on these criteria, but let’s look at the poor performers to compare.

  • Atlantic salmon: not sustainably caught, high omega-6s, ratio close to 1
  • Bluefin tuna: great fat profile, great ratio, but not sustainable
  • Tilapia: sustainably farmed, but lower in fat, ratio less than 1
  • Sharks: more mercury than selenium, not sustainably caught

The bottom line: while some seafood looks good in the nutritional breakdown, from a sustainability standpoint, some species may be better than others. So, eat your recommended portion of omega-3s, but choose options that tick all the boxes for your health as well as the ocean’s.

Andrea MooreAndrea Moore has dipped her toes in a lot of ponds, lakes, and oceans over the years. She has adventured around the world doing odd jobs and studying biology, languages, and sailing.

Now surprisingly settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Andrea’s still up to a bit of everything as a marine biologist, a writer, and an editor, living the Paleo lifestyle.

fix-logoFix.com is a lifestyle blog devoted to bringing you expert content to make your life easier. From products, to food, to fishing, to projects, we’ll be providing you with a daily fix of content from our experienced and knowledgeable team of writers.

 

REFERENCES

1. Monterey Bay Aquarium. Developing Seafood Watch® Recommendations. Version: January 23, 2014.

2. Monterey Bay Aquarium. Seafood Watch® Criteria for Aquaculture. Accessed: September 5, 2014.

3. Monterey Bay Aquarium. Seafood Watch ® Criteria for Fisheries. Version: March 31, 2014.

4. Ralston NVC, Ralston CR, Blackwell 3rd JL, Raymond LJ. Dietary and tissue selenium in relation to methylmercury toxicity. NeuroToxicology 2008;29(5):802-11.

5. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.

6. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27. Version Current: August 2014.

7. Kidd PM. Omega-3 DHA and EPA for cognition, behavior, and mood: clinical findings and structural-functional synergies with cell membrane phospholipids. Altern Med Rev 2007;12(3):207-27.

Paleo Red Snapper with Zucchini and Fennel Seeds

Perfect for a busy midweek Paleo dinner, this lovely dish takes but 5 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook. Red snapper is a deliciously reliable whitefish that takes on a flakey texture when cooked. In addition to reducing the risk for heart disease, regular consumption of fish for omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in preventing, treating, or improving a wide variety of diseases and disorders, including but not limited to virtually all inflammatory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorders, periodontal disease, many types of cancers, psoriasis, insulin resistance, type 1 and 2 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.1 If you prefer to use other whitefish, like cod, halibut, and bass, they too work great with this recipe.

Paired with the sublime flavor combination of garlic, tomato, and fennel seeds, each ingredient boasts impressive health properties. The health benefits of including garlic and tomato are well known and well documented, but what about the humble fennel seed?

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Food Medicine tested various compounds contained in fennel seeds for their anticancer properties. Fennel seed methanolic extract (FSME) was found to have remarkable anticancer potential against particular breast cancer and liver cancer cells.2 The researchers also posited that FSME could be used as a safe and natural food preservative based on its ability to improve oxidative stability of fatty acids.

Fennel seeds have also been studied with regards to osteoporosis. A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine concluded that fennel seeds, consumed in low doses, have the potential to prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women.3 This is due to their ability to inhibit osteoclasts. So besides their unique culinary properties, fennel seeds also have impressive healing capabilities. We recommend you include them, when applicable, in your Paleo cooking.

Red snapper with zucchini and fennel seeds is a great recipe to get you started.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2-3

  • 1 lb red snapper fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 thyme, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

snapper-6-wm
Ingredients
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Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.
@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

See more recipes!

references

1. Cordain, L. (2013). Omega-3 Fatty Acid Content of Fish and Seafood. Retrieved from The Paleo Diet: http://thepaleodiet.com/omega-3-fats-fish/

2. Mohamad, RH., et al. (September, 2011). Antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effects of methanolic extract and volatile oil of fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare). Journal of Food Medicine, 14(9). Retrieved August 6, 2014 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21812646

3. Kim, TH., et al. (June, 2012). Potent inhibitory effect of Foeniculum vulgare Miller extract on osteoclast differentiation and ovariectomy-induced bone loss. International Journal of Molecular Medicine, 29(6). Retrieved August 6, 2014 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22447109

Mimicking Hunter-Gatherers Seasonal Dieting Habits

The best way to spruce up your Paleo menu and learn which foods are in season is to shop at local farmer’s markets, where the food is fresh, comes from nearby farms, and creates good safety net to ensure a higher-than-average quality diet. As Paleo Dieters we aim to closely mimic the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors in contemporary society.

In springtime, hunter-gatherers in Israel hunted species that were overly lean and otherwise fat-depleted, they supplemented the fat content of their diets with acorns and nuts.1 While the animal meat to which we have access in modern times isn’t subject to large variations in fat content, we can still benefit from the nutrient-density and healthy fats in nuts.

For many months out of the year, during the wet season, hunting wasn’t productive for the Hadza, so much of their caloric requirements were met by honey.2 Obtaining the honey was no easy feat, often an energy-intensive process, which in some respect justified its consumption. Nowadays, honey is available year-round, and as a sugar-rich food, excess consumption is not recommended. In summertime, when many delicious fruits are in-season, just remember that historically, this change in diet quality was frequently accompanied increased energy expenditure.

The Hiwi, on the other hand, have better success hunting game in the wet season, whereas in the dry season they rely more on fish trapped in small ponds.3 Living in a coastal state, much of the fish to which I have access is consistent year-round; this will certainly be different for mainlanders. However, seafood has been critical throughout human evolution and I see no reason to consume less of it during any particular season.4, 5

With regard to animal foods, I don’t see the seasonal aspect as relevant as it is for plant-based foods. In warmer months, carbohydrate-dense plants are more seasonally available, and even in our modern environment this may well be perfectly fine. While we’re not expending exorbitant amounts of energy acquiring honey, this is still a time of increased physical activity – more time spent playing outside, for example. Also, increased sun exposure translates to increased levels of vitamin D, which have been associated with a wide variety of improved health parameters. So the higher level of dietary carbohydrate at this time of year is matched with increased physical activity and higher levels of vitamin D. If you live somewhere with a frigid season, when you’re trapped indoors with much lower levels of physical activity and sunlight, perhaps a more seasonal approach may be prudent: plants that are more fibrous with less sugar and starches like nuts, mushrooms, spinach and kale, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.

Some aspects of seasonal dieting remain relevant today, despite the fact that our access to most foods is not seasonally-restricted, regardless of where you live.

William Lagakos, Ph.D.
@caloriesproper
CaloriesProper

William Lagakos, Ph.D.Dr. William Lagakos received a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology from Rutgers University where his research focused on dietary fat assimilation and integrated energy metabolism. His postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Diego, centered on obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Dr. William Lagakos has authored numerous manuscripts which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, as well as a non-fiction book titled The Poor, Misunderstood Calorie which explores the concept of calories and simultaneously explains how hormones and the neuroendocrine response to foods regulate nutrient partitioning. He is presently a nutritional sciences researcher, consultant, and blogger.

references

1. Lev, Efraim. “Mousterian Vegetal Food in Kebara Cave, Mt. Carmel.” Mousterian Vegetal Food in Kebara Cave, Mt. Carmel. Journal of Archaeological Science, Mar. 2005. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.

2. Eaton SB, Eaton SB, 3rd, Konner MJ, Shostak M. An evolutionary perspective enhances understanding of human nutritional requirements. J Nutr. Jun 1996;126(6):1732-1740.

3. Hurtado, A. Magdalena. “Early Dry Season Subsistence Ecology of Cuiva (Hiwi) Foragers of Venezuela – Springer.” Springer. Journal of Human Ecology, 01 June 1987. Web. 07 Aug. 2014.

4. Crawford MA, Broadhurst CL, Guest M, Nagar A, Wang Y, Ghebremeskel K, Schmidt WF. A quantum theory for the irreplaceable role of docosahexaenoic acid in neural cell signalling throughout evolution. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. Jan 2013;88(1):5-13.

5. Cunnane SC, Crawford MA. Energetic and nutritional constraints on infant brain development: Implications for brain expansion during human evolution. J Hum Evol. Jun 10 2014.

 

Smoked Trout Salad | The Paleo Diet

Congratulations to July’s Recipe Contest Winner Daniel!

A subtle hint of smoky flavor paired with poached quail eggs makes this trout salad a mouth-watering summer dish.

Ingredients

Serves 3-4

  • 2 handfuls Wild Rocket (Arugula)
  • 1 Leek
  • 150ml Coconut cream
  • 1 ½ tbs Organic Raw Nori or Dulse flakes
  • 1 sweet potato
  • ½ bunch Parsley
  • 180ml Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 small Lemon
  • 1 Wild Trout
  • 8 Quail eggs

Directions

1. Peel the sweet potato then using the peeler make thin slices, the length of the vegetable, and steam these wafers for 90 seconds. Carefully lay the steamed slices on a food dehydrator tray and then dehydrate at 125°F for 2 hours or until crisp. When ready, set aside.

2. Soak wood smoking chips, preferably hickory, in a bowl of water for ½ hour.

3. Pick parsley leaves and put into the blender with 150ml of the Olive oil, ¾ tbs of the Seaweed flakes and the juice of half the lemon. Blend until completely smooth and set aside.

4. Slice the leek down the centre and then cut into 1cm wide semi circles. Wash and then sauté in the remaining Olive oil. Once soft, add the coconut cream and remaining Seaweed flakes and cook down for 2-3 minutes. Cover, set aside and keep warm.

5. Prepare the smoke house as necessary with the drained woodchips and bring to smoking point. Once heavily smoking, adjust the setting so temperature is at 155° F and place the Trout into the smokehouse. Smoke until well cooked, anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the fish. Allow to cool slightly and then remove the skin, carefully fillet and debone. Remember most of the small trout bones are digestible. Halve each fillet to create 4 evenly sized pieces. Cover and keep warm.

6. In a shallow frypan fill with 1 inch of water and juice the remaining half of the lemon. Gently poach the quail eggs (2-3 minutes) ensuring the yolk remains runny.

Presentation

  • On a large plate place half a handful of Wild Rocket in the center.
  • Spoon ¼ of the leek mixture (3-4tbs) onto the rocket.
  • Carefully pile a small handful of the sweet potato chips onto the leek.
  • Place a piece of the Smoked Trout onto the chips.
  • Top the Trout with 2 poached quail eggs.
  • Drizzle the parsley oil around the assembled dish, serve and enjoy a combination of rich, earthy, and most importantly tasty flavors.

The Paleo Diet Recipe Library

Wild Game and Trout

If you are lucky enough to experience the high country in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, you will be amazed at the abundance of wildlife that populates this amazing natural area. Hunting in this terrain is a popular means for acquiring wild game in the form of deer and elk. Furthermore, the many rivers and streams are home to a variety of species of fresh trout, sure to delight the avid fisherman. Serve up a combination of deer, elk, and trout for a Paleo feast on a warm summer evening.

Wild Game

Serves 4-6

  • 2 lbs Elk or Deer Meat
  • ½ fresh sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • 2 sprigs each – fresh, organic rosemary and thyme
  • 2 fresh organic basil leaves
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup organic, sulphite-free red wine of your choice

Directions

1. Mix all loose ingredients.

2. For elk steaks, add the juice of ½ fresh orange, then slice remaining ½ and set aside.

3. In shallow dish, pour marinade mixture and sliced oranges over elk steaks, making sure all pieces of meat are well coated.

4. Cover with lid or foil and refrigerate for 24 hours.

5. For deer steaks, use the same marinade without the oranges, and add carrots to meat before putting in fridge.

6. Barbeque on low heat until steaks are cooked to your preference.

Baked Wild Trout

Serves 4-6

  • 4 lbs. fresh, wild trout
  • 2 sprigs, fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh organic, sulphite free sherry wine
  • ½ fresh lemon, juiced
  • ½ fresh lemon sliced into small cubes
  • 1 fresh lemon cut into ¼ inch slices

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Rinse trout thoroughly and place on a large sheet of parchment paper, placed on baking pan.

3. Combine dill, ¾ of cilantro, sherry, lemon juice and cubes in a bowl.

4. Open cavity of trout and stuff evenly with mixture.

5. Close trout and place lemon slices and remaining cilantro along the tops of the trout.

6. Wrap parchment paper around trout and tuck underneath to ensure juices stay sealed in while baking.

7. Bake for 30 minutes, testing with fork to ensure fish is cooked thoroughly.

Lorrie Cordain, M.Ed., Co-Author of The Paleo Diet Cookbook

See more recipes!

Shellfish | The Paleo Diet

If you happen to have nutritional apps or software that allows you to analyze your diet or the specific foods that you eat, you can determine the exact amount of protein, fat and carbohydrate present in any food.1  Protein, fat and carbohydrate are called macronutrients and are found in both plant and animal foods.

Plant foods almost always have all three macronutrients and typically contain primarily carbohydrate (~ 60 to 80% by calories), some protein (15-25% by calories) and generally little fat. There are some notable exceptions here regarding fat in plant foods – like avocados, olives and nuts which contain lots of fat (mainly monounsaturated) and little carbohydrate. I know of almost no naturally occurring plant food which is both high in carbohydrate and high in fat.

This combination of macronutrients (high in both fat and carbohydrate) occurs routinely in almost all processed and human-made foods like cookies, potato chips, pastries, ice cream, French fries, pizza, doughnuts, crackers, tortilla chips, breads, chocolates, salad dressings, tacos, hamburgers, enchiladas, candy, sandwiches and many more. These are the ubiquitous foods of “civilization” and represent  the “comfort” or “fast” foods of the 20th and 21st century that are largely responsible for the obesity epidemic sweeping the US and the western world along with its associated health problems (hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, acne, gout, cancers and others).2-4

Numerous nutritional scientists and authorities worldwide now recognize that by reducing the carbohydrate content of our diet we can lose weight and reduce our risk for the chronic diseases that plague western civilization – particularly if we reduce high glycemic load carbohydrates (refined sugars, refined grains, potatoes and most processed foods). This formula (lowering the dietary carbohydrate content of the diet) has been the strategy behind the Atkins Diet and other low carb programs for weight loss. Nevertheless, improving health and well being is not just about lowering carbs, but rather about multiple nutritional parameters which ultimately help us to maintain normal body weights and reduce our risk for disease. This approach is what the Paleo Diet is all about. Atkins and other low carb diets, popular diets failed to consider what we now know as an important element of healthful diets — acid/base balance. Cheese (a high fat, practically zero carb food) which can be a mainstay of almost all, low carb contemporary diets is extremely net acid producing in our bodies and promotes bone loss, hypertension, kidney stones and contributes to stroke risk.3 The Paleo Diet circumvents these nutritional shortcomings by allowing you unlimited carbohydrate consumption in the form of fresh veggies and fruits which are net base or alkaline yielding in our bodies and actually reduce the risk for osteoporosis, high blood pressure, kidney stones and stroke.3

Over the past two decades as I researched commonly available modern foods that should be included in contemporary Paleo Diets, I was somewhat startled to discover that not all animal foods (meat, poultry, pork, lamb, beef, eggs, fish, shellfish, organ meat, etc.) were completely composed of only protein and fat.  From my undergraduate and graduate nutritional courses, I had learned the traditional dogma that meat and fish contained no carbs and were simply a mixture of protein and fat.

Coming from my academic background in exercise physiology, I knew that all muscle tissue contained carbohydrate in the form of glycogen, a polymer of glucose, and that human muscle glycogen content could easily be increased by augmented consumption of  carbohydrates. Which endurance athlete among us has not heard of “carbohydrate loading” to improve performance?5 So the question I posed to myself was, “If human muscle contains glycogen, then why doesn’t beef muscle meat, or any other animal meat which we buy at the supermarket, contain a small or residual amount of carbohydrate in the form of glycogen?”

Virtually all of the nutritional databases1 showed fresh meat to contain nearly no dietary carbohydrate. As I researched this anomaly further, it became apparent that supermarket meats contained almost no carbohydrate for a basic physiologic reason – rigor mortis – a condition in which the muscles go into rigid contraction for the few minutes and hours after death. The fuel that supplies rigor mortis is stored muscle glycogen, and once this fuel is expended, rigor mortis resides and muscle meats contain virtually zero glycogen and hence zero carbohydrate.

An interesting sidelight of this observation is that only a very few animal foods contain carbohydrate after  death. Liver in mammals escapes rigor mortis and typically contains about 5% carbohydrate. Fish flesh contains virtually no carbohydrate. Not so for shellfish. The table below shows the carbohydrate content of various shellfish long after their death.1 Note that a number of shellfish contain a significant percentage of calories (10 – 25%) as carbohydrate including  oysters, mussels, abalone, whelk, clams, octopus and scallops.1

Shellfish | The Paleo Diet

Does this information mean that you should restrict shellfish consumption on a contemporary Paleo Diet? Absolutely not! Overall, their carbohydrate content is minimal and occurs with a high protein and omega 3 fatty acid intake – both factors which improve your carbohydrate metabolism. Shellfish are one of the most healthful, high protein foods you can consume to improve your glucose and insulin metabolism and reduce your risk for chronic disease.  Additionally shellfish are nutrient dense foods rich in zinc, B vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids which improve immune function and resistance to the diseases of western civilization.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

References

1. Nutritionist Pro Software.

2. Cordain L, Eades MR, Eades MD. Hyperinsulinemic diseases of civilization: more than just Syndrome X. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2003 Sep;136(1):95-112

3. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54.

4. Carrera-Bastos P, Fontes Villalba M, O’Keefe JH, Lindeberg S, Cordain L. The western diet and lifestyle and diseases of civilization. Res Rep Clin Cardiol 2011; 2: 215-235.

5. Cordain L, Friel J. The Paleo Diets for Athletes. Rodale Press, NY, NY, 2011.

Canned Tuna | The Paleo Diet

Hi Dr. Cordain,

I read your book The Paleo Diet several years ago and on page 122 you mention that “Canning also increases the level of oxidized cholesterol in fish, specifically increasing a molecule called 25 hydroxycholesterol that is extremely destructive to the linings of arterial blood vessels. This is so destructive, in fact, that oxidized cholesterol is routinely fed to laboratory animals to accelerate the artery-clogging atherosclerotic process in order to test theories of heart disease. In animal models of atherosclerosis and heart disease, only 0.3 % of the total ingested cholesterol needs to be in the form of oxidized cholesterol to cause premature damage to arterial linings.”

Many health-conscious people eat canned fish for the supposed health benefits and are not aware of the book’s claims. Also noticed you only mention canned tuna but no other species of fish.

Is consuming canned fish really a serious danger to people’s arterial blood vessels and should we avoid eating these products? Appreciate if you could refer me to research studies that confirm the above and if you aware of any recent studies?

Your thoughts are appreciated and I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Dan

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Dan,

Good to hear from you and good question. The bottom line is that we should steer clear from oxidized cholesterol derived from any and all foods in our diet (see references 1-9). Clearly it is an impossible task to completely remove oxidized cholesterol from our diets, given that we are no longer hunter gatherers and that we enjoy cooked meats and fish in 21st century contemporary “Paleo Diets.” In references (10-21) you can see how the canning, smoking and preservation process of fish dilutes its nutritional characteristics and increases the production of oxidized cholesterol which is frequently referred to as oxysterols.

So, I recommend to reduce oxidized cholesterol in your diet. Try to eat meat, fish, poultry and eggs that have been slowly cooked under low heat like steaming, slow cooking crock pots, low heat baking, poaching, and other low temperature cooking techniques, including microwave. Try to avoid foods that have been cooked under high temperatures like frying, broiling, high temperature barbecuing, and searing. Additionally, canned meats and fish are almost always cooked at high heats to prevent botulism, which increases their oxidized cholesterol content. Clearly, canned tuna contains many healthful elements (high protein, high omega 3 long chain fatty acids) and should be part of contemporary Paleo Diets, but fresh tuna and fish is a better option if it is available and you can afford it.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

References

1. Emanuel HA, Hassel CA, Addis PB, Bergmann SD, Zavoral JH. Plasma cholesterol oxidation products (oxysterols) in human subjects fed a meal rich in oxysterols. Journal of food science 1991; 56: 843-7.
Hubbard RW, Ono Y, Sanchez A. Atherogenic effect of oxidized products of cholesterol. Prog Food Nutr Sci. 1989;13(1):17-44.

2. Jacobson MS. Cholesterol oxides in Indian ghee: possible cause of unexplained high risk of atherosclerosis in Indian immigrant populations. Lancet 1987;2:656-58.

3. Kumar, N., and O.P. Singhal, Cholesterol Oxides and Atherosclerosis: A Review, J. Sci. Food Agric. 55:497–510 (1991).

4. Kummerow FA. Interaction between sphingomyelin and oxysterols contributes to atherosclerosis and sudden death. Am J Cardiovasc Dis. 2013;3(1):17-26.

5. Otaegui-Arrazola A, Menéndez-Carreño M, Ansorena D, Astiasarán I. Oxysterols: A world to explore. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Dec;48(12):3289-303.

6. Pohjantahti-Maaroos H, Palomaki A, Kankkunen P, Laitinen R, Husgafvel S, Oksanen K. Circulating oxidized low-density lipoproteins and arterial elasticity: comparison between men with metabolic syndrome and physically active counterparts. Cardiovasc Diabetol 2010 Aug 20; 9: 41.

7. Staprans I, Pan XM, Rapp JH, Feingold KR. Oxidized Cholesterol in the Diet Accelerates the Development of Aortic Atherosclerosis in Cholesterol- Fed Rabbits. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 1998 Jun; 18: 977-83.

8. Otaegui-Arrazola A, Menéndez-Carreño M, Ansorena D, Astiasarán I. Oxysterols: A world to explore. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Dec;48(12):3289-303.

9. Lordan S, Mackrill JJ, O’Brien NM. Oxysterols and mechanisms of apoptotic signaling: implications in the pathology of degenerative diseases. J Nutr Biochem. 2009 May;20(5):321-36.

10. Aubourg S., Gallardo J.M. and Medina, I. 1997. Changes in lipids during different sterilizing conditions in canning albacore (Thunnus alalunga) in oil. Int. J. Food Sci. Tech. 32, 427-431.

11. Aubourg S., Medina I. and Pérez-Martin R. 1996. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in tuna phospholipids: distribution in the sn-2 location and changes during cooking. J. Agr. Food Chem. 44, 585-589.

12. Boran G., Karacam H. and Boran M. 2006. Changes in the quality of fish oils due to storage temperature and time. Food Chem. 98, 693-698.

13. Maruf F.W., Ledward D.A., Neale R.J. and Poulter R.G. 1990. Chemical and nutritional quality of Indonesian dried-salted mackerel. Int. J. Food Sci. Tech. 25, 66-77.

14. Ohshima, T., N. Li, and C. Koizumi, Oxidative Decomposition of Cholesterol in Fish Products, J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 70:595–600 (1993).

15. Oshima T. Formation and Content of Cholesterol Oxidation Products in Seafood and Seafood Products. In: Cholesterol and Phytosterol Oxidation Products Analysis, Occurrence, and Biological Effects, (Eds.), Codony R, Savage GP, Dutta PC , Cuardiola F. AOCS Publishing, 2002.

16. Osada, K., T. Kodama, L. Cui, K. Yamada, and M. Sugano, Levels and Formation of Oxidized Cholesterols in Processed Marine Foods, J. Agric. Food. Chem. 41:1893–1898 (1993).

17. Sebedio J.L., Ratnayake W.M.N. Ackman R.G., and Prevost J. 1993. Stability of polyunsaturated n-3 fatty acids during deep fat frying of Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus L.). Food Res. Int. 26, 163-172.

18. Selmi S, Sadok S. Change in lipids quality and fatty acids profile of two small pelagic fish: sardinella aurita and sardina pilchardus during canning process in olive oil and tomato sauce respectively. Bull. Inst. Natn. Scien. Tech. Mer de Salammbô, Vol. 34, 2007.

19. Stołyhwo A., Kołodziejska I. and Sikorski Z.E. 2006. Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in smoked Atlantic mackerel and Baltic sprats. Food Chem. 94, 589-595

20. Tarley R.T.C. Visentainer V.J., Matsushita M. and De-Souza N.E. 2004. Proximate composition, cholesterol and fatty acids profile of canned sardines (Sardinella brasiliensis) in soybean oil and tomato sauce. Food Chem. 88, 1-6.

21. Zunin P, Boggia R, Evangelisti F. Identification and Quantification of Cholesterol Oxidation Products in Canned Tuna. JAOCS. 2001; 78: 1037–1040

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