Tag Archives: holidays

The Paleo Diet | Christmas Nuts

When it comes to the holidays, it can be much more difficult to stick to your Paleo Diet. But – fortunately – there are many ways to “Paleo-fy” your favorite holiday meals. Today, I will be covering how you can transform a traditional Christmas dinner – into a much healthier one. Forget the empty calories of stuffing, rolls and pumpkin pie. Instead, say hello to some delicious sweet potatoes, free-range organic turkey and a large helping of brain-friendly vegetables! While your loved ones may be passed out on the couch after dinner, you will be energized, alert – and maybe even ready to run a 5K. So without further ado, here is my guide on how to have the best Paleo Christmas dinner.

Forget the Rolls, Bread, Mashed Potatoes and Stuffing

As I have covered many times on The Paleo Diet, gluten and pseudograins are not ideal for your body (or brain).1,2,3 And as Dr. Cordain has written, white potatoes are not the healthiest choice for you, either.4 The first difference between a healthy, Paleo Christmas dinner and the more gluttonous traditional version? Sweeping away all the extra, empty calories! As tough as it may be, say goodbye to the huge doses of stuffing, bread, mashed potatoes and rolls. But just because you might be skipping these – does not mean you necessarily have to forget about all forms of carbohydrates.

Replace Them with Sweet Potatoes and Mashed Cauliflower

Sweet potatoes are much different than the traditional white potato, and make a great substitute for holiday meals. And if you are missing the mashed potatoes – try mashing up some cauliflower instead.5 Once you add some grass-fed butter, herbs, spices and perhaps even some other vegetables, to this mashed mix, you will hardly notice the difference! Not only are you avoiding the numerous problems with white potatoes – you are getting a much bigger dose of nutrients than you normally would, at a traditional holiday meal.6,7,8,9,10,11

Keep the Turkey, But Make Sure It Is Properly Sourced

The best news about a Paleo holiday dinner? You can still indulge in the turkey! That’s right, keep the bird on the table. However, it is important to make sure you get a free-range, organic turkey. Though the cost may be slightly more, the benefits of properly sourced meat are definitely worth it.12,13,14,15 For example, an organic, free-range turkey has absolutely zero of the hormones or antibiotics, which are usually found in most meat.

The most commonly asked question I get about buying this premium type of bird is ‘do I really need to spend this much more on a turkey?’. While there is little doubt that a high quality turkey may cost more upfront – most people have no problem paying the extra cost, once they realize exactly what they are avoiding.16,17,18,19

For example, a regular turkey is usually fed a diet which consists mostly of grain and corn. This means they are usually also consuming very large amounts of pesticides – as well as GMOs. These unhealthy elements can end up making their way into your body, as a result. 99% of the time, grain-fed meat is also lower in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – as well as being much, much higher in omega-6.20,21 As I have covered previously, this is far from ideal.22

Make It More Colorful, By Adding Vegetables and Fruits

The traditional Christmas dinner has the same old, regular line-up of vegetables – but it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. Try making a super-nutritious salad, filled with cancer-preventing kale, spinach and broccoli.23,24,25,26 Or try some other nutritious sides, like yucca root, butternut squash soup or a Swiss chard salad. Let your imagination run wild here, and avoid the excess sugar and carb loads, which plague nearly every holiday meal.

Increase the Fat Content

Traditional holiday meals are also plagued with very low amounts of heart (and brain) healthy fats. Try making your big meal more Paleo, by adding in some generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocados. Numerous scientific studies tout the myriad of health benefits shown, when consuming these fats.27,28,29,30,31,32 Dig in!

What about Dessert?

While it is very tempting to indulge in pumpkin pie or some other form of sweets after the big meal, it does not make sense, if you truly wish to stay healthy. I have written on the ills of sugar numerous times, and it is a much better idea to skip dessert, altogether.33,34 Plan a healthy activity for after dinner, like a short hike or run, that way you have something to look forward to. If you absolutely must indulge, pick a very high quality, organic dark chocolate. And keep your portion small!

Keep It Fun!

Ultimately, holiday meals are about being together with your loved ones. While consuming lots of carbohydrates can produce serotonin (a neurotransmitter closely related to your mood) – this is artificial.35,36,37,38 Find gratitude and happiness in your own life, and keep your holidays fun – not stressful! Remember to avoid caffeine as well (especially in excess), as it can make you more anxious and tense – which is the last thing you want during the stress-filled holidays.39,40

As you can see, you may have to give up some of your favorite holiday foods, but the health benefits of leaving these foods out, are definitely much better in the long run. In closing, I hope this guide has provided you with a plethora of good ideas, about having a much healthier Paleo meal, this holiday season. I wish you, and your loved ones, the best!

REFERENCES

[1]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/gluten-brain/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[2]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/celiac-disease-gluten-children/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[3]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/stop-settling-for-pseudo-health-and-say-no-to-pseudograins/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[4]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/are-potatoes-paleo/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[5]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/sweet-potatoes-paleo/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[6]Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, et al. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(2):341-54.

[7]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/dr-cordains-rebuttal-to-us-news-and-world-report/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[8]Frassetto LA, Schloetter M, Mietus-Synder M, Morris RC, Jr., Sebastian A: Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009.

[9]Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Ahrén B, Branell UC, Pålsson G, Hansson A, Söderström M, Lindeberg S. Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2009;8:35

[10]Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Erlanson-Albertsson C, Ahren B, Lindeberg S. A Paleolithic diet is more satiating per calorie than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Nov 30;7(1):85

[11]Osterdahl M, Kocturk T, Koochek A, Wandell PE: Effects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers. Eur J Clin Nutr 2008, 62(5):682-685.

[12]Forman J, Silverstein J. Organic foods: health and environmental advantages and disadvantages. Pediatrics. 2012;130(5):e1406-15.

[13]Chhabra R, Kolli S, Bauer JH. Organically grown food provides health benefits to Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(1):e52988.

[14]Crinnion WJ. Organic foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients, lower levels of pesticides, and may provide health benefits for the consumer. Altern Med Rev. 2010;15(1):4-12.

[15]Kamihiro S, Stergiadis S, Leifert C, Eyre MD, Butler G. Meat quality and health implications of organic and conventional beef production. Meat Sci. 2015;100:306-18.

[16]Epstein SS. The chemical jungle: today’s beef industry. Int J Health Serv. 1990;20(2):277-80.

[17]Pan A, Malik VS, Hu FB. Exporting diabetes mellitus to Asia: the impact of Western-style fast food. Circulation. 2012;126(2):163-5.

[18]Hemeda HM. Microbiological investigation and nutritional evaluation of selected fast food meat. J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 1995;70(1-2):105-26.

[19]Prayson B, Mcmahon JT, Prayson RA. Fast food hamburgers: what are we really eating?. Ann Diagn Pathol. 2008;12(6):406-9.

[20]Ponnampalam EN, Mann NJ, Sinclair AJ. Effect of feeding systems on omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid and trans fatty acids in Australian beef cuts: potential impact on human health. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006;15(1):21-9.

[21]Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, Larson S. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 2010;9:10.

[22]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/omega-3-vs-omega-6-rethinking-hypothesis/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[23]Van poppel G, Verhoeven DT, Verhagen H, Goldbohm RA. Brassica vegetables and cancer prevention. Epidemiology and mechanisms. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999;472:159-68.

[24]Maeda N, Matsubara K, Yoshida H, Mizushina Y. Anti-cancer effect of spinach glycoglycerolipids as angiogenesis inhibitors based on the selective inhibition of DNA polymerase activity. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011;11(1):32-8.

[25]Verhoeven DT, Goldbohm RA, Van poppel G, Verhagen H, Van den brandt PA. Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996;5(9):733-48.

[26]Olsen H, Grimmer S, Aaby K, Saha S, Borge GI. Antiproliferative effects of fresh and thermal processed green and red cultivars of curly kale (Brassica oleracea L. convar. acephala var. sabellica). J Agric Food Chem. 2012;60(30):7375-83.

[27]Lawrence GD. Dietary fats and health: dietary recommendations in the context of scientific evidence. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(3):294-302.

[28]Feinman RD. Saturated fat and health: recent advances in research. Lipids. 2010;45(10):891-2.

[29]Farr SA, Price TO, Dominguez LJ, et al. Extra virgin olive oil improves learning and memory in SAMP8 mice. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;28(1):81-92.

[30]Virruso C, Accardi G, Colonna-romano G, Candore G, Vasto S, Caruso C. Nutraceutical properties of extra-virgin olive oil: a natural remedy for age-related disease?. Rejuvenation Res. 2014;17(2):217-20.

[31]Lou-bonafonte JM, Arnal C, Navarro MA, Osada J. Efficacy of bioactive compounds from extra virgin olive oil to modulate atherosclerosis development. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012;56(7):1043-57.

[32]Visioli F, Bernardini E. Extra virgin olive oil’s polyphenols: biological activities. Curr Pharm Des. 2011;17(8):786-804.

[33]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/sugar-is-killing-us/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[34]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/neurobiology-sugar-cravings/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[35]Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Brain serotonin, carbohydrate-craving, obesity and depression. Obes Res. 1995;3 Suppl 4:477S-480S.

[36]Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Carbohydrate craving, obesity and brain serotonin. Appetite. 1986;7 Suppl:99-103.

[37]Fernstrom JD. Carbohydrate ingestion and brain serotonin synthesis: relevance to a putative control loop for regulating carbohydrate ingestion, and effects of aspartame consumption. Appetite. 1988;11 Suppl 1:35-41.

[38]Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Do carbohydrates affect food intake via neurotransmitter activity?. Appetite. 1988;11 Suppl 1:42-7.

[39]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/caffeine-brain-part-1/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[40]Available at: http://greatist.com/grow/negative-health-effects-of-caffeine. Accessed December 14, 2015.

Sleep | The Paleo Diet
As we move into the colder, darker and shorter days of fall and winter it becomes more difficult to maintain your energy levels, productivity and fight off nasty colds and flu. These common complaints become the norm as the seasons change and people are constantly looking for that “magic bullet” supplement or medication to keep them running on all cylinders. Interestingly, a new study on the daily patterns of modern hunter-gatherer tribes across the globe might hold a few clues in how we can keep ourselves healthy, fit and productive through the winter season.

How Much Sleep Did Our Paleo Ancestors Really Get?

There is a romantic notion that our “hunter-gatherer” ancestors rested their heads with the setting sun in the evening, slept blissfully through the night for 8-10 hours and woke up with the rising sun. They certainly didn’t have cellphones, laptops or external light sources to keep them up. Was it partly down to this that they were so fit, strong, and free of chronic degenerative diseases? Not quite.

An interesting new study on modern day hunter-gatherer tribes – the San of southern Africa, the Tsimane in Bolivia, and the Hadza in Tanzania – found they only sleep an average of 5.7-7.1 hours per night.1 This is very surprising because sleep research today suggests most westerners are sleep deprived, averaging about 6.5 hours of sleep per night, which is approximately 1.0-1.5 hours less sleep than our grandparents got two generations ago. Experts believe we should be aiming for 7.5-8.0 hours per night for better health.

This new research suggests there is much more at play than simply the amount of hours of sleep you get (although, I believe this is also important). Let’s take a closer look at some key factors that could help you improve your sleep and upgrade your energy levels this winter and help fight off colds and flu.

The Tribes Go To Bed Earlier in the Winter

As the year comes to an end, most people are busier than ever at work and home as the holidays approach, rather than winding down to recharge their batteries. If we look to our ancestral roots to find answers to the “best” sleep practices, we find the tribes in the aforementioned study went to bed earlier during the darker days of winter/rainy season and later in the summer/dry season. Their average bedtime was just after 9:00 pm in the winter months, compared to 10:45 pm in the summer (still, not exactly “night owls” by today’s modern standard).
A lot people struggle to get bed before midnight (laptops, cellphones and TVs don’t help) and usually don’t get to bed earlier in the colder, darker, winter months. As we approach the darkest days of the year, we should be getting more sleep (not less), but holiday parties, travel, and work commitments usually ramp up at this time of year. This lack of sleep is shown in the research to suppress your immune system function, putting you at significantly increased risk of catching a cold or flu.2

The Tribes Wake Up Consistently With Morning Light

Hitting snooze is a morning ritual for a lot of people, as they struggle to find the energy to get out of bed and start their day. While I am sure we can all agree that sleeping in feels pretty good, is it what your body really needs? The tribal groups in this study woke up at virtually the same time throughout the entire year with the morning sun (not surprising if you’re an avid camper!).

Many of your key hormones are produced on a natural daily pattern or circadian rhythm that new research shows gets disrupted if you constantly change your sleeping and waking time. Disrupted circadian patterns have been shown to leave you more prone to fatigue (sound familiar?), inflammation, and even change the balance of “good” to “bad” bacteria in your gut.3

If you struggle with fatigue, insomnia or frequent colds and flus, aim to have a consistent bedtime and waking time this winter. Go to bed earlier (don’t sleep in longer in the mornings) to help kick your snooze button habit in the morning. If you really struggle to wake up, try some gentle stretching/mobility/yoga on the floor to ease your way into the day. (Not only that, research shows the later you get to bed the greater your likelihood for weight gain.4 If weight loss is also a goal, get ahead of your new year’s resolution by tucking in earlier at night).

The Tribes Are Exposed To Lots of Morning Light

It’s difficult to wake in the morning and get outside during the cold days of winter. Fatigue, lack of time and general desire to stay warm keep you huddled up in your house, car, and office. However, not exposing yourself to natural light may be having a significant negative impact on your health.

Modern hunter-gatherer communities get up daily with the morning sun and engage in the vast majority of their physical labor in the morning hours exposed to natural light. In contrast, most people are indoors all morning throughout the winter – commuting in cars and working in buildings – not getting nearly enough exposure to natural light. Even on a cloudy day, the natural light outside provides a whopping 100,000-lux (a measure of light intensity), compared to only 5,000-lux in your office or home.

New research shows that this light exposure is crucial for circadian hormone production and thus your energy levels, health and resiliency.5 It’s easy to find yourself stuck in your car, office or house all winter. Instead, get outside to grab your morning coffee, walk a few blocks to your next meeting, or go outdoors in the morning for a light run/jog to start your day. You’ll feel much better for it!

Often we’re drawn to the “shiny new toy” or exotic and complex solutions to our problems, however the real lasting solutions are typically always found in how you eat, move and lifestyle factors. While a Paleo diet will go a long way to keeping you energized and fighting off colds and flu this winter (check out my article on how to Paleo boost your immunity this fall), looking at your daily patterns of sleeping and waking from an ancestral perspective will likely help you dramatically upgrade your energy and vitality this winter.

 

References

  1. Yetish G et al. Natural Sleep and Its Seasonal Variations in Three Pre-industrial Societies. Current Biology. Vol 25, Iss. 21, 2 November 2015, Pages 2862–2868.
  2. Prather A et al. Behaviorally Assessed Sleep and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Sleep Journal. Vol. 38, Issue 09.
  3. Voigt R et al. Circadian disorganization alters intestinal microbiota. Plos One. 2014 May 21;9(5):e97500.
  4. Asarnow L et al. Possible link between bedtime and change in body mass index. Sleep Journal. Vol. 38, Issue 10.
  5. Czeisler C, Klerman E. Circadian and sleep-dependent regulation of hormone release in humans. Recent Prog Horm Res. 1999;54:97-130; discussion 130-2.

Sweet Sugar Coconut Fat | The Paleo Diet
If you’ve popped into your local Starbucks lately, you’ve already seen it. The Christmas red cups are here!  As someone who is admittedly an absolute Christmas fanatic, I must say that the hint of the season’s festivities in the air brings a smile to my face and that happy, and coaxes the warm holiday aura.

But one thing that doesn’t sit quite right is thinking about the sizeable number of syrupy sweet holiday drinks we’re consuming as a whole, let alone the sheer size of each individual drink has gone from 12 oz to 16 oz to… a 31 oz!1

A ‘Grande,’ 2% milk, peppermint latte is a whopping 54g of sugar from Starbucks.2 Thinking about supersizing to the mega 31 oz? That’s a whole heck of a lot of sugar (nearly double)!

But what if we want to enjoy a taste of the season? Is there a way to do so without wreaking havoc to our blood sugar, our mood, and our guts? Yes.

And it’s not about finding a ‘more Paleo’ sweetener. Instead of focusing on sweet, do yourself a favor and instead focus on fat. Without sugar, you can forget about the blood sugar spike, ensuing crash, and craving pangs for another.

Long before we ever knew about putting butter in coffee, in the lofty Himalayan mountains a few cups of yak butter tea, or po cha, was a welcome respite from the cold, thin air.[3] Since neither butter nor coffee are part of a strict Paleo diet, why not put a spin on the Tibetan model and brew a hot cup with a healthy, Paleo approved fat?

Can you say let’s go nuts with coconuts? Tasty, warming, and a with a fantastic creamy texture to boot, the Paleo recipe below will satisfy your palate and leave you feeling energized and ready to face the hectic holiday season… without ever feeling like you’ve had to deprive yourself!

Paleoista’s Holiday Coconut Tea

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • Herbal tea, your preference; try peppermint, cinnamon or ginger to create the holiday flavor profile
  • ¼ cup coconut butter, at room temperature
  • Ground cinnamon, to taste

Instructions

  1. Brew tea and let steep 3- 5 minutes.
  2. Remove tea leaves or bag and let cool slightly.
  3. Combine tea with coconut butter in blender and whiz to combine.
  4. Top with cinnamon and enjoy!

References

1. “Starbucks to Roll Out Biggest Drink Size Yet | Fox News.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 16 Jan. 2011. Web. 04 Nov. 2015.

2. “Peppermint Mocha.” Starbucks Coffee Company. Starbucks Coffee Company, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2015.

3. “Tea Tuesdays: Butter Up That Tea, Tibetan-Style.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2015.

Diabetes | The Paleo Diet

The sea of candies and chocolates will continue to flood supermarket shelves from now through Valentine’s Day. Consumers often think, “It is only one day of the year, why not indulge?” The truth is it is not just one day of the year, but rather one of many days, including all holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries, that center around sweets and treats. Today’s food environments exploit people’s biological, psychological, social, and economic vulnerabilities, encouraging them to eat unhealthy foods.1 The obesity and type two diabetes pandemic prevails, with 23.6 million people in the United States, who struggle with Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.2 A lackadaisical approach to nutrition continues to prove unsuccessful in achieving one’s best health.

We are embarking on the season of weight gain.3  On average, weight gain during the 6-weeks from Thanksgiving through New Year averages only 0.37 kg. However, weight gain is greater among individuals who are overweight or obese, with 14% gaining over 2.3 kg during the holidays.4 In addition, weight gain during the holiday season accounts for 51% of annual weight gain among individuals.5 It’s no wonder that so many people hope to lose their excess weight in the New Year, which turns out to be an ill-fated resolution.6 Be prudent this year and avoid adding weight during the holidays to maintain your long-term health and a smaller waistline.

The old school of thought many parents subscribed to suggested kids should be allowed to eat whatever they want because they don’t need to worry about their weight. Children are in fact not immune to the destructive nature of diets high in refined sugars and excess carbohydrates. Sadly, during the past two decades, the prevalence of obesity in children has risen greatly worldwide.7 Childhood obesity has contributed to an increased incidence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome among children.8 Enjoying a few pieces of candy on Halloween isn’t the most detrimental to a child’s body, but eating a few pieces each day until it runs out won’t instill an understanding of the adverse effects of sugar and chemicals like high fructose corn syrup in your child.

We are constantly assaulted with processed, refined sugar containing foods from the fresh baked pastries lurking in the display while you order coffee to the snacks offered at your child’s soccer match. The Paleo Diet permits the 85:15 rule, which provides flexibility to make choices that work best for your modern lifestyle and palette. The challenge is how to limit yourself and your children to three non-Paleo compliant meals per week during the holiday season.

Practice Mindfulness

It’s easy to get distracted at holiday parties, leading many to make unhealthful food choices and indulge in too much food and alcohol. Research indicates mindful eating may be an effective approach for weight management and glycemic control.9 Make a conscious choice for what goes into your mouth – those chocolates won’t magically appear in your stomach. Take a few deep breaths listen to your body to recognize when you are about 80% full to avoid overeating.

Be Accountable

The frosted Halloween cupcakes and sugar cookies your co-workers brought to the breakroom sure are tempting. But how do you balance them with last night’s pasta dinner and tomorrow’s pizza and pumpkin beer party? Be honest with yourself about the choices you make and plan for what lies in the week ahead. Hold yourself accountable and if you need to deviate from a strict Paleo path, stay within three non-compliant meals per week. Keep in mind that you are faced daily with a slippery slope of options you may regret choosing.

Indulge Responsibly

The foundation of the Paleo diet is centered on consuming whole, real foods. However, it is not about restriction and suffering. During the holidays and special occasions you can enjoy your celebratory treats, especially when you stick to the 85:15 rule. Seek out the highest quality ingredients; preferably indulging in a Paleo-friendly, homemade sweet, that has the lowest glycemic load.

Cheers to your health as we embark upon the holiday season!

References

1. Batch, Jennifer A., and Louise A. Baur. “Management and prevention of obesity and its complications in children and adolescents.” The Lancet (2015).

2. Bliss, Amanda K., and Sanjay Gupta. “High fructose corn syrup.” Annals of Clinical Psychiatry 23.3 (2011): 228-229.

3. Bliss, Amanda K., and Sanjay Gupta. “High fructose corn syrup.” Annals of Clinical Psychiatry 23.3 (2011): 228-229.

4. Roberts, Susan B. “Holiday weight gain: fact or fiction?.” Nutrition reviews 58.12 (2000): 378-379.

5. Roberts, Susan B. “Holiday weight gain: fact or fiction?.” Nutrition reviews 58.12 (2000): 378-379.

6. Kassirer, Jerome P., and Marcia Angell. “Losing weight—an ill-fated New Year’s resolution.” New England Journal of Medicine 338.1 (1998): 52-54.

7. Ebbeling, Cara B., Dorota B. Pawlak, and David S. Ludwig. “Childhood obesity: public-health crisis, common sense cure.” The lancet 360.9331 (2002): 473-482.

8. Boney, Charlotte M., et al. “Metabolic syndrome in childhood: association with birth weight, maternal obesity, and gestational diabetes mellitus.” Pediatrics115.3 (2005): e290-e296.

9. Miller, Carla K., et al. “Comparative effectiveness of a mindful eating intervention to a diabetes self-management intervention among adults with type 2 diabetes: a pilot study.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics112.11 (2012): 1835-1842.

 

Sidestep Temptation: A Healthy, Paleo End to 2014

The New Year is almost here and as 2014 comes to a close, it becomes increasingly more difficult for many to stay on track with their healthy eating style, especially if they’re habits you’ve only recently begun to integrate.

And, if you’ve let these healthy food choices dwindle a bit more over the last month or two, having been perhaps a bit too caught up with the festivities of the holidays, you’re certainly not the only one.

The first and second weeks in January aren’t the busiest time in health and fitness for no reason, after all!

But rather than shrug your shoulders and opt to making how you feel as a result of what you’re eating, anything less than top priority, could ultimately lead to sluggish digestion, poor sleep, mental fog, and a couple extra pounds by the time 2015 rolls in.

Sure, those eggnogs, side dishes, cookies, and cakes might sound good at first, but if we’re prepared ahead of time with a strategy to sidestep temptation, it can turn into a win-win situation as far as enjoying the holiday festivities without feeling deprived and enjoying yourself simultaneously!

Here are my Top 5 Tips to make surviving this last few days leading up to the New Year healthy, while still being enjoyable:

EAT PROTEIN EARLY IN THE DAY

Certainly, this applies year round, but even more so now when stress may be at an all time high. By starting the day with high quality protein along with a good dose of fat and veggies, we hedge our bets for steady, focused energy all day long to get us through a tough work day and then brave the holiday shopping crowd at the mall!  In my book, Pocket Paleo, Breakfast (HarperCollins, 2015) share ideas from basics, like a veggie omelet to uber creative such as wild game for breakfast. Why not?

SNACK OFTEN

Rather than thinking of snacks as ‘100 calorie packaged items’, if we revisit that concept and think of a snack just as any other meal, consisting of veggies plus natural proteins and some healthy fat, we create the perfect meal to enjoy mid-morning or mid-afternoon.  Grab 50 recipe ideas from healthy snacks in Pocket Paleo (HarperCollins, 2015).

CHOOSE SPLURGES WISELY

That last minute office party your coworker is throwing together where nachos and boxed wine are the centerpiece, are not worth the migraine and a belly-ache the next morning. However, when you’re hosting a cocktail party, and serving your own Paleo perfect appetizers and want something special, perhaps my truffles would fit into your splurge-appropriate occasion. If you plan in advance and select the best choices, you can enjoy a treat without the emotional baggage many might feel if they partook without planning, and then decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater and eat anything and everything in sight.

CREATE NEW TRADITIONS

Rather than spend the day baking cookies with the kids, why not make edible gifts that are Paleo friendly and still fun to make? Anything homemade is always a wonderful, heartfelt option and the whole family can be involved. Spiced nuts in mason jars, your own selection of your favorite dried herbs and spices tied into a lovely bouquet garnis or a fruit basket created out of local, in-season produce are just a few ideas to get the wheels spinning. It’s the time spent together creating, and the concept of giving that makes it special, not what you’re actually cooking or baking, so why not go healthy?

GET MOVING

Yes, it’s harder to wake early when it’s dark outside and your bed is cozy and warm, but the more often you get in even a 30 minute walk or cardio session at the gym, the more likely you are to choose wisely when you eat throughout the day. In Pocket Paleo, Workout, I give 50 ideas for what to eat before and after a training session.

Just like you’d put a plan in place for a big project you’re undertaking at work, a study schedule for school or a master plan for a career change, having a big plan for your health is key and so, too, are the small steps that make each day a success in and of itself.

Enjoy, Keep Healthy, and Happy Holidays!

Paleoista’s Signature, Decadent Raw Paleo Truffles

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw cacao nibs, ground, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut butter
  • 1 cup creamy roasted almond butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp finely shredded natural coconut

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine cacao, coconut oil, coconut butter, almond butter & honey.
2. Stir ingredients until well combined.
3. Place bowl in freezer for 10′.
4. Roll into 1 inch balls.
5. Roll in the extra ground nibs and the shredded coconut.
6. Place in tiny foil candy cups and then into a box for presentation.

Tips to Jumpstart Paleo New Year

Did you find yourself eating differently during the holiday season and have resolved to make drastic changes at the beginning of the year?  Forget about juicing, cleansing and detoxing for a quick fix to jump-start your resolution to trim your waistline and purify your body. There is little scientific evidence to support temporary measures have an impact on your overall wellness long term.

The truth is our bodies are continuously processing toxins (both environmental and dietary), chemicals, and waste products.1 It is a day-to-day undertaking involving the liver, kidneys, and spleen, rather than something you can undertake for an intense period.2 If you are looking to recover from the lifestyle implications of your holiday choices, return to the basic principles of the Paleo lifestyle, which focus on a consistent, long-term approach to optimizing metabolic and physiological health.3

Negative side effects are routinely experienced on calorie and fat/protein restricted programs, including low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, lightheadedness, and nausea. Specifically, some programs allow for only fruit and vegetable juices to be consumed for up to a week at a time. The negative effects from consuming significant amounts of fructose, especially without fiber, fat, and protein, include rapid stimulation of lipogenesis and triglyceride accumulation, which in turn contributes to reduced insulin sensitivity and hepatic insulin resistance/glucose intolerance.4

Although purification naturally occurs on a daily basis, we can support the body’s pathways to function most efficiently. Focus on the following guidelines, as a part of your Paleo Diet, to feel energized and strong at the start of the year.

1. DRINK BONE BROTH REGULARLY

Broth a great way to stay hydrated, which keeps the circulatory and lymphatic system functioning optimally.5 Bone broth is rich in minerals6 and has been linked to healing the digestive tract and is rich in collagen, glucosamine, and gelatin. You can add a small amount of coconut oil, to aid in blood sugar regulation and minimize the risk of insulin resistance.7

2. INCREASE GLUTATHIONE-RICH FOODS INTAKE

Glutathione is an essential antioxidant naturally produced by the body8 to facilitate cell reactions,9 is quickly depleted by a poor diet, stress, illness, pollutants, and even aging. Sulfur-rich foods like garlic, onions and the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, etc.) are especially high in glutathione.10

3. SUPPORT LIVER AND KIDNEY FUNCTION WITH ADEQUATE BETAINE

Betaine protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress and participates in the methionine cycle.11 Betaine can be obtained in the highest concentrations from both spinach and beets.12 Raw beets can be sliced thinly or grated over a raw spinach salad for a betaine-rich combination and a vibrant addition to your Paleo dishes.

Stephanie Vuolo
@primarilypaleo
Facebook
Website

Stephanie Vuolo | The Paleo Diet Team

Stephanie Vuolo is a Certified Nutritional Therapist, an American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer, and a Certified CrossFit Level 1 Coach. She has a B.A. in Communications from Villanova University. She is a former contributor to Discovery Communications/TLC Blog, Parentables.

Stephanie lives in Seattle, WA, where she is a passionate and enthusiastic advocate for how diet and lifestyle can contribute to overall wellness and longevity. She has been raising her young daughter on the Paleo Diet since birth. You can visit her website at www.primarilypaleo.com.

REFERENCES

[1] Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/. Accessed December 16, 2014.

[2] Dorfman, Kelly. “Improving Detoxification Pathways.” New Developments 2.3 (1997): 4.

[3] Frassetto, Lynda A., et al. “Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a Paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet.” European journal of clinical nutrition 63.8 (2009): 947-955.

[4] Basciano, Heather, Lisa Federico, and Khosrow Adeli. “Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia.” Nutrition & metabolism 2.1 (2005): 5.

[5] Jones, JUDY M., L. A. Wentzell, and DANIEL P. Toews. “Posterior lymph heart pressure and rate and lymph flow in the toad Bufo marinus in response to hydrated and dehydrated conditions.” Journal of experimental biology 169.1 (1992): 207-220.

[6] Roberts, Sam J., et al. “The taphonomy of cooked bone: characterizing boiling and its physico–chemical effects.” Archaeometry 44.3 (2002): 485-494.

[7] Kochikuzhyil BM, Devi K, Fattepur SR. “Effect of saturated fatty acid-rich dietary vegetable oils on lipid profile, antioxidant enzymes and glucose tolerance in diabetic rats.” Indian J Pharmacol. 2010 Jun;42(3):142-5.

[8] Wu, Guoyao, et al. “Glutathione metabolism and its implications for health.” The Journal of nutrition 134.3 (2004): 489-492.

[9] Available at: http://www.readisorb.com/science/methionine_cycle_and_glutathio.html. Accessed on December 16, 2014.

[10] Nuttall, S. L., et al. “Glutathione: in sickness and in health.” The lancet351.9103 (1998): 645-646.

[11] Craig, Stuart AS. “Betaine in human nutrition.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 80.3 (2004): 539-549.

[12] Available at: http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000145000000000000000-1w.html. Accessed on December 16, 2014.

The Paleo Diet : Eat This, Not That

One of our favorite ways to celebrate the holidays and the season of giving with our family is with food. Starting with Thanksgiving and ending through New Year’s Day, we dish up recipes from generations past. These classic holiday dishes often rely heavily on white flour and refined sugar. It can be overwhelming to the Paleo Dieter to navigate the decadent buffets, endless parade of sweets, and extravagant meals that accompany the season.

Luckily, it is still possible to follow the Paleo Diet principles, while enjoying the festive foods associated with the holidays. Staying the course by following Dr. Cordain’s 85:15 Rule will help you feel your best, discourage excess weight gain, and boost your immune system into the New Year.

What are your favorite traditional foods to eat during the holiday season? How can you tweak them to abide by the Paleo Diet? Tell us in comments!

Eat This Not That: The Paleo Diet

Stephanie Vuolo
@primarilypaleo
Facebook
Website

Stephanie Vuolo | The Paleo Diet Team

Stephanie Vuolo is a Certified Nutritional Therapist, an American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer, and a Certified CrossFit Level 1 Coach. She has a B.A. in Communications from Villanova University. She is a former contributor to Discovery Communications/TLC Blog, Parentables.

Stephanie lives in Seattle, WA, where she is a passionate and enthusiastic advocate for how diet and lifestyle can contribute to overall wellness and longevity. She has been raising her young daughter on the Paleo Diet since birth. You can visit her website at www.primarilypaleo.com.

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