Tag Archives: turkey

Mexican Chicken Stuffed PeppersIt’s International Spicy Food Day and we’re heating things up with a recipe from our new cookbook, Real Paleo Fast & Easy. Our Mexican Chicken Stuffed Peppers are colorful crowd-pleasers that will satisfy everyone’s spicy cravings!

Tip: Blanching the pepper halves in boiling water for a couple minutes keeps them crisp enough to hold the hearty filling but soft enough to eat—without having to bake them in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded and chopped
  • 2 pounds ground uncooked chicken or turkey
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican Seasoning (recipe below)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 medium red, yellow, and/or orange sweet peppers
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and chile; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add ground chicken; cook until no longer pink. Sprinkle with Mexican Seasoning; stir well. Stir in undrained tomatoes. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 5 to 7 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in ¼ cup of the cilantro.

Meanwhile, cut sweet peppers in half vertically (from stems to bottoms). Remove and discard stems, seeds, and membranes. In a large pot blanch peppers in boiling water 2 to 3 minutes or just until tender; drain. Fill peppers with chicken mixture.

For each serving, arrange 2 pepper halves on a plate. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Serves 4

Mexican Seasoning Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon preservative-free granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper or cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground saffron
Mexican Seasoning Instructions

In a dry small skillet toast cumin seeds over medium-low heat 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant, shaking skillet occasionally. Remove from heat; cool 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to a spice grinder; grind to a powder. Transfer cumin to a small bowl. Stir in paprika, garlic, oregano, chipotle pepper (if using), cinnamon, and saffron. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 6 months. Stir or shake before using. Makes about ¼ cup.

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.

All Day Energy Cherry Mint Turkey Balls

Turkey is a great source of protein and high-quality fat. Paired with steamed vegetables or a fresh, garden salad, our Cherry Mint Turkey Balls offer enticing flavors and clean-burning, all day energy.

Wait a second. Doesn’t eating turkey induce sleepiness? This urban legend, most likely inspired by our inclination for napping after Thanksgiving meals, actually has nothing to do with turkey, and much more to do with overeating.

If you’d like to impress your friends with your knowledge of amusing, overly technical scientific jargon, the scientific term for food-induced drowsiness is postprandial somnolence. You might try informing your boss some day that you’ll be away from your desk while you sort out some postprandial somnolence issues. If you say it with enough confidence, it just might work.

Turkey contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is the precursor to serotonin and melatonin (by way of serotonin), the neurotransmitters that regulate sleep.1 However, turkey isn’t any higher in tryptophan compared to related foods.

25 g of turkey protein contain 284 mg of tryptophan. You would consume 25 grams of protein from a serving of meat weighing between 100 and 150 grams. Leaner cuts have more protein; more fatty cuts have less. 25 g of beef, lamb, pork, and chicken protein contain 280 mg, 292 mg, 318 mg, and 292 mg of tryptophan, respectively.2 In other words, all types of meat have very similar tryptophan levels.

Interestingly, research shows that high-carbohydrate meals increase serum tryptophan concentrations, whereas meals of protein plus fat have the opposite effect.3 So be careful. If your boss knows you’re eating Paleo, he/she might also know your postprandial somnolence issues are completely unfounded.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2-4

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 bundle fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 bundle fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, pitted, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  • Chop the cherries finely.
  • Wash and spin-dry the herbs before chopping them finely.
  • Break the eggs into a bowl and mix well.
  • Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and, using your hands, mix everything together.
  • Form mixture into balls and place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until the balls are lightly browned.
mint-turkey
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Note: You can substitute dried cherries for dried cranberries or other dried fruits. Be sure to read the product labels. Commercially sold dried fruits often contain added sugar, vegetable oils, sulfur dioxide, and other ingredients that should be avoided on a Paleo Diet.

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. Woolf, P. & Lee, L. (July 1, 1977). Effect of the Serotonin Precursor, Tryptophan, on Pituitary Hormone Secretion. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 45(1). Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jcem-45-1-123

2. Nutrition Data. All figures retrieved July 4, 2014 from http://nutritiondata.self.com

3. Lyons, PM. & Truswell, AS. (March 1988). Serotonin precursor influenced by type of carbohydrate meal in healthy adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 47(3), (433-439). Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/47/3/433.short

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