Tag Archives: healthy

I am plant-based; I’ve always been that way. And I also eat meat—in small portions, and only from trusted sources that are 100-percent organic, grass-fed and finished.

Who ever said plant-based must mean vegan?

Just two weeks after The New York Times published an article relaying the message that new research “can’t prove red meat is truly bad for you” [1], a new group of companies began making meatless meat anyway. These are the same food conglomerates and meat producers that companies including Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods originally set out to disrupt [2].

Scientists and consumers alike need more than a single study to overhaul the current thinking about meat. Yet there is a growing dogma around meat, and it includes such directives as eating red meat no more than X times per month, or that a family history of high cholesterol means one should eat meat less frequently.

The general misconception that meat is bad for the planet, unhealthy for humans to consume, and that the vegan label automatically makes the item inside the package a superior choice is what is screaming to be addressed.

Let’s set the record straight.

Below are a series of factors you should consider when deciding between an Impossible Burger or Beyond Meat (plant-based “ground beef”) vegan, no soy, no gluten burger and a 100-percent organic, grass-fed and finished burger.

The reality is that virtually all the meat, eggs, and dairy products that we find in the supermarket come from animals raised in confinement in large facilities called CAFOs or “Confined Animal Feeding Operations.” These highly mechanized operations provide a year-round supply of food at a reasonable price. Although the food is cheap and convenient, there is growing recognition that factory farming creates a host of problems, including:

  • animal stress and abuse
  • air, land, and water pollution
  • the unnecessary use of hormones, antibiotics, and other drugs
  • low-paid, stressful farm work
  • the loss of small family farms
  • food with less nutritional value [3]

Accordingly, if we compare a burger made from this type of meat, it’s understandable to deduce that a vegan substitute might make sense.

But that fact alone isn’t reason enough to shift to a vegan version of a plant-based diet.

First and foremost, we raise that simple question again: Who said that plant-based must be vegan? I consider myself plant-based even though I do eat small portions of wild fish, grass-fed and finished beef, game meat and pasture-raised pork.

If upwards of 80-percent of one’s diet is made of organic, in-season, locally sourced plants—mostly vegetables, a small amount of fruit, and over half the fat sources I rely upon for my daily fats (olive oil, avocado, and coconut oil)—isn’t that percentage enough for a “base” of plants?

Next, let’s talk about portions.

If we extrapolate from the example diet above, and assume that a small percentage of calories comes from meat that is properly sourced from local animals, and consumed in small, human-sized portions, we dramatically reduce the amount of cattle needed to feed red meat to any given local community.

Unfortunately, we have a portion-control issue in the U.S.; not only regarding what we’re eating, but what we’re served.

Consider the fact that approximately 85 percent of the food that isn’t used or eaten in a typical American restaurant is thrown out [4]. Not only are we presented with serving sizes reflective of an “eyes being bigger than our stomachs” mentality—does any human really need a 16-ounce rib eye?—we’re not actively considering what happens to that food we never finish.

But is the answer to completely eschew meat?

I don’t believe so.

While the two start-ups, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are non-GMO and organic, there are many other brands that may promote the fact that they don’t contain animal products and, without directly stating as much, present themselves as a healthy choice.

We cannot allow ourselves to be persuaded by food labels that have more to do with marketing than health; one might even argue that if a food is in a package with a label, you can question its nutrient density.

This isn’t specific to the vegan label; we’ve seen it before, for years, with things like the gluten-free label, then the “Paleo” label, and now with the keto label.

You could fill your entire cart at Whole Foods with the above items and still walk home with no actual food—nothing fresh or with any nutrient density.

Which brings us to some big questions: How can you measure the environmental impact of a package of tofu in a plastic container made of GMO soybeans grown in the Amazon where a rainforest used to exist [5]?

And what’s the inflammatory impact on someone who eats tofu because his doctor advised him to cut out red meat when his total cholesterol numbers were unfavorable?

As a recovered vegan, someone who adamantly avoided all animal products for a solid two years, I can say that my approach was ill informed.

I was not differentiating between meats from local and factory sources. In retrospect I now understand that my actions did nothing to help support animal welfare.

Without realizing it, I was not only boycotting the Monsantos, I was boycotting the local, human, ethically minded farmers who were trying to do things the right way to support animal welfare—the very reason I was vegan in the first place.

So, let’s take a careful look at the benefits of choosing to eat small portions of meat from grass-fed animals [6]:

  • These meats have two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain-fed animals
  • Ruminants raised on fresh pastures render products that contain from three to five times more CLA (cis-9 trans-11) than products from animals fed conventional diets. CLA is a potential cancer fighter.
  • Lower in total fat
  • Higher in beta-carotene
  • Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
  • Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
  • Higher in calcium, magnesium, and potassium
  • Higher in total omega-3s
  • Have a healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
  • Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
  • Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease

And how about Mother Earth? Raising animals on pasture instead of factory farms is a net benefit to the environment.

  • A diet of grazed grass requires much less fossil fuel than a feedlot diet of dried corn and soy.
  • On pasture, grazing animals do their own fertilizing and harvesting. The ground is covered with greens all year round, so it does an excellent job of harvesting solar energy and holding on to topsoil and moisture.
  • Grazed pasture removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere more effectively than any land use, including forestland and un-grazed prairie, helping to slow global warming.

When we choose to eat meat and eggs from animals raised on pastures, we are improving the welfare of the animals, helping to put an end to environmental degradation, helping small-scale ranchers and farmers make a living from the land, helping to sustain rural communities, and giving your family the healthiest possible food. It’s a win-win-win-win situation.

When we eat local meats in small portions and obtain the bulk of our calories from produce vendors at our local farmer’s markets or CSA (or grocers, if we are committed to reading the fine print in terms of where that lettuce grew and how long ago it was harvested), we are best able to support the health of our planet and the health of our bodies simultaneously.

So where does that leave the meatless burgers?

For me, it leaves them on the shelves.

For others, it may be a balance of doing your own due diligence to see if these types of products can play a role in your overall nutrition regime.

How are you doing in terms of inflammation? If you live in the U.S., you’re 80 percent or more likely to have some degree of inflammation or gut dysfunction.

You can start with a self-test by cleaning up your diet, removing the potentially inflammatory foods for a period of time, and then properly testing suspected (and possibly surprising) culprits. Then you can see how your body reacts to: Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12. In other words, the ingredients of an Impossible Burger.

Compare that to a real, whole, unadulterated meal made of actual food that you can identify—food that doesn’t have an ingredient label in the first place.

For me, there’s just no replacing a raw kale salad with tons of olive oil, avocado, lemon, and a piece of a nice, juicy grass-fed and finished rib eye (half for now and the rest for tomorrow.)

Net alkaline, nutrient dense, and nourishing. That is food.


  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/14/business/the-new-makers-of-plant-based-meat-big-meat-companies.html
  3. http://www.eatwild.com/basics.html
  4. https://www.moveforhunger.org/startling-reality-food-waste-restaurants/
  5. https://kids.mongabay.com/elementary/soy.html
  6. http://www.journalofanimalscience.org/content/87/9/2961.long


Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain | The Paleo Diet

The holiday season is upon us, a time when, for many people, eating healthy becomes more difficult while unhealthy foods become more tempting, a perfect storm for unwanted holiday weight gain. Here are some tips to keep those added pounds at bay.



Have you been invited to a dinner where you’re certain the healthy food choices will be few to none? Make a dish to share and make it a surprise. Don’t announce beforehand what you’re doing. Just show up with a beautiful Paleo dish, preferably a main course and enough for each guest to taste. This way you’ll be sure to have something to eat. You can sample smaller portions of the other dishes while still consuming a generally healthy, Paleo friendly meal. Instead of being the “picky eater,” you’ll be the generous guest.



You’re at a party and intentionally avoiding the sugary and otherwise unhealthy offerings. Instead of giving the impression that you’re overly strict, dogmatic, or extreme with respect to food, direct the conversation to show you’re entirely aligned with current popular trends.

Here’s a conversation starter: “So next month Google will publish the top trends of 2014. What do you predict will be the top diet trend?” If you get a blank look, explain that in 2013, Paleo was the top trending diet. Ask your friend if they anticipate Paleo holding the top position for 2014 as well. Like this, the conversation will naturally flow into a discussion about healthy lifestyles and the fact that you’re avoiding the non-Paleo party food will go unnoticed.



The holiday season inevitably brings numerous late-night snacking situations. Even if you’re accustomed to eating dinner at a sensible hour, you might find yourself tempted to snack at parties or nighttime gatherings. Late-night eating is certainly not something you should make habitual, but rather than refusing party food outright, perhaps you should think more about time-restricted eating, also known as intermittent fasting.

A study published in Cell Metabolism, found that restricting eating to 9 to 12 hours during the day helps the body synchronize hundreds of genes and gene products related to weight gain.1 The researchers observed that mice on time-restricted feeding schedules, regardless of their weight and the type of diet they consumed, gained less weight than their unrestricted counterparts (who ate the same amount of calories).

So especially if you find yourself in late-night eating situations this holiday season, try forgoing breakfast, thereby restricting your eating window to half the day or less.



Are you invited to a party with buffet-style food? Can you reasonably assume that most of it will be unhealthy? By all means, eat your own food at home first. When you get to the party, you can sample a few items, taking just a few nibbles. Nobody will notice that you aren’t really eating and you’ll feel fully satisfied after the delicious Paleo meal you ate at home.



Avoiding alcohol becomes increasingly difficult during the holidays. Suppose you find yourself in a situation where refusing spirits would be improper, dilute your drink with water. Sip slowly while you socialize, then follow that drink up with a glass of straight water. Keeping well hydrated helps mitigate the damaging effects of alcohol. But if you’re on the other side of spectrum and are craving a little buzz, settle for a sulfite free wine that will keep your hangover away.

Happy Holidays!



[1] Chaix, S, et al. (December 2014). Time-Restricted Feeding Is a Preventative and Therapeutic Intervention against Diverse Nutritional Challenges. Cell Metabolism, 20(6).

5 Paleo Snacks for the Kids in All of Us | The Paleo Diet

It’s funny how we tend to automatically associate kids’ snacks with processed, high in sugar and salt, low in nutrient density options with cartoon characters’ images on the packaging.

As if by magic, simply seeing a funny clown or superhero on a box of what is essentially junk food, somehow makes it a good option to give the little ones.

Not only is this a bad idea in terms of keeping the kids’ energy level high and concentration levels where they should be, both at school and while playing, but also giving our children these type of snacks starts the path to illness at an early age.

A diet high in sugar and salt, and low in high quality veggies, protein and fat will begin to tamper with the kids’ taste buds, blood sugar levels and overall wellbeing, as well as set an early course to type II Diabetes and obesity.

While it may be difficult for adults to transition to a true Paleo approach, if we give our kids healthy food from the beginning, we can be agents of change and help them avoid the many health problems that stem from poor diet.

As parents, you set the example and your kids follow suit. Healthy Paleo eating for the whole family, straight from the get go, will become the new normal for you and your kids.

If you’re reading this and thinking there’s no way to get your family eating broccoli instead of chips, I can assure you that it’s not only possible, it may very well be easier than you ever imagined.

If you focus on what you’re eating, and make it look and taste great, you change the skew from a ‘very restrictive, boring diet’ to an exciting approach to eating and living with endless possibilities.

Now, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for some fun stuff, too!

Check out our “Top 5 Paleo Snacks for the Kids in All of Us” that I’ve found work well with even the pickiest of eaters!


Choose your favorite nuts, or if you follow the autoimmune protocol, skip them in favor of a higher quantity of grass fed beef.  A celery stalk or two easily fit in as an edible spoon, making this a completely edible snack, utensils included!


5 Paleo Snacks for the Kids in All of Us | The Paleo Diet
  • 1 lb. mini bell-peppers
  • 4 oz. shitake mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 oz. sprouted walnuts
  • 1 tbsp coconut toil
  • ¼ lb. 100% Grass- Fed beef
  • Celery stalks, for use as a spoon


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Remove stem and seeds from bell peppers.

3. Combine mushrooms, garlic and walnuts in food processor.

4. Pulse until thoroughly combined.

5. Heat oil in skillet over Med-High.

6. Add beef and sauté until cooked.

7. Add mixture from food processor.

8. Cook 2 – 3 minutes longer.

9. Remove from heat and let sit until cool enough to handle.

10. Stand peppers, cut side up, in a muffin tray (aren’t you glad you didn’t throw that away when you went Paleo?).

11. Using a spoon, stuff the mixture into the peppers.

12. Cook in oven 10 – 15 minutes until softened and slightly brown.

13. Remove from oven and let cool.

14. Serve with celery stalk as a spoon!


Some parents opt to try to hide the greens; why not make them center stage and show the little ones that green is not only good, it’s delicious? While you’re not going to fool them into thinking this is a chocolate milkshake, it’s going to provide a very viable alternative that’s quite tasty and doesn’t have the after effects of dairy and sugar! By adding some healthy fat from the avocado, and some high quality protein from egg, the glycemic load of the coconut water is lowered, creating a very balanced alternative.


  • 8 oz. coconut water (use a fresh coconut!)
  • ½ large, ripe avocado
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 soft boiled egg, chilled
  • Dried spices to taste- ginger, turmeric and cinnamon


1. Combine all ingredients in blender and whiz to combine.


There are many ‘wraps’ on the market these days, often made of nut flours and the like. And while they may be a bit better than a gluten-filled option, there’s a better option yet – leaves! From radicchio, to Bibb lettuce, to Swiss chard, we can easily rely on nature’s own ‘wrap’ for a much more nutritious snack.


5 Paleo Snacks for the Kids in All of Us | The Paleo Diet
  • 1 small head radicchio, washed and leaves separated
  • 1 small, ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 large apple, sliced thinly
  • ½ lb, pastured turkey, chopped
  • Umbrella toothpicks


1. Place radicchio leaves on your work surface to create four open wraps.

2. Layer the avocado, apple slices and turkey evenly on each.

3. Bundle up the wraps and secure with toothpicks.


Too often I hear from clients, adults and kids alike, that they miss the ‘crunch’ of a chip.  No need to overdo the sprouted nut-based chips when we can simply create our own crunch just by using veggies!  They work perfectly to scoop up some homemade guacamole, which supplies some good fat to balance out the starch you’ll get from the root veggies included in this preparation.


  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 medium yam
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 medium turnips
  • 2 medium beets
  • Dried herbs of your choosing such as oregano, cumin, ginger
  • Olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 250°.

2. Slice veggies lengthwise into ½” pieces.

3. Arrange veggies on wire rack on top of baking sheet.

4. Bake for roughly 1 hour, checking and turning two or three times to ensure even cooking.

5. Remove when crisp the remove from oven to let cool.

6. Sprinkle with spices.

7. Drizzle with oil if eating right away; store remaining in air tight container for up to one week.


Skip the candy bar and make your own protein slice with these two Paleoista variations!

Slice 1 Ingredients

  • 1 cup shelled raw walnut pieces
  • 1 cup diced natural dried figs
  • Freshly grated cinnamon, to taste
  • Olive oil

Slice 2 Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup natural dried apricots
  • ¼ cup natural dried pineapple
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter
  • Freshly grated cinnamon, to taste
  • Olive oil


1. Pulverize nuts in nut grinder until powdery.

2. Place dried fruit in mini prep food processor and grind to a paste; stopping to scrape sides as needed.

3. Add fruit to nuts in small bowl.

4. Use your hands to mix.

5. Add spice to taste.

6. Press into shallow glass baking dish.

7. Pat to even thickness.

8. Cover with plastic then place heavy plate or pan on top to weight down.

9. Refrigerate 1 hour.

10. Dab olive oil onto paper towel and rub onto butter knife, then cut into squares.

Get Leaner with The Paleo Diet | The Paleo Diet

Dr. Cordain,

I’ve been on the Paleo Diet since May, and I’m down 30 lbs (most of it lost in the first two months) and have never been leaner in my life. I can’t stop talking about (it) when I’m with my friends and family when they ask how good I look. I’ve been evangelizing my Wall Street buddies every time we enjoy a steak house dinner. My acid reflux, IBS, allergies, attitude, and complexion have never been better, and I never go into food coma any more. I wish your book was around in the 80s when I was a teen.

Rudy T.

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