Tag Archives: The Paleo Diet

When the stock of the meat-alternative company Beyond Meat (symbol BYND) debuted on the NASDAQ stock exchange on May 2, 2019, there were immediately high expectations.  Optimism for the company founders and their ambitions were being fueled by the high demand by some consumers for alternatives to traditional animal-based types of protein. 

Beyond Meat representatives and their stock underwriters were not disappointed.  By the end of the first day of trading, the stock had climbed from $25 per share to an amazing price of $65.75—an astronomical one-day gain of 163 percent!  As a long-time stock market observer, I can confidently say this type of move is practically unheard of.  As of this writing the stock is listed at a price of about $165 per share. 

I had not taken much notice of the company or its products before the initial public offering.  But I am generally a curious person and was eager to learn more of what was behind all the excitement.  Indeed, I wanted to taste this “revolutionary concept.” 

Recently, I visited a local Natural Grocers market and purchased a package of the Beyond Burgers.  The two frozen patties—8 ounces total net weight—were heat-sealed in a plastic container, with a “diaper” beneath each to absorb moisture, and further wrapped in a cardboard display sleeve.  (As an aside, I questioned if thiwas a bit excessive for a company that might be focusing on a customer base that is sensitive to over-packaging and waste volumes, but I digress.) 

I thawed the burgers and broiled them, just as I would regular beef patties.  They sizzled, they released what appeared to be a light-colored oil, and browned after several minutes. 

After cooking and to make the eating experience as similar to my beef burgers as possible, I added some light condiment, topped them with some tomato slices, fashioned a lettuce-leaf wrapper around each, and down the hatch they went. 

My palate was adequately impressed.  The taste was good, as well as the texture, which can be difficult if you’ve tasted other attempts to imitate beef.  And my expectations were high after the clerk at the food store commented, “You’ll like them even better than regular burgers. 

 

They Taste Good but Are They Healthy? 

Despite my relatively positive culinary experience, the next step of my evaluation was truly the most revealing.  I read the ingredients label and Nutrition Facts. 

My assumption was that the health of the consumer was a driving force in the development of Beyond Meat products, but I could not have been more wrong. I was really quite stunned by what I read! 

Here’s the ingredients list—verbatim: 

Water, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, contains less than 2% of the following: cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose, potato starch, natural flavor, maltodextrin, yeast extract, salt, sunflower oil, vegetable glycerin, dried yeast, gum arabic, citrus extract (to protect quality), ascorbic acid (to maintain color), beet juice extract (for color), acetic acid, succinic acid, modified food starch, annatto (for color). 

The ingredients list is followed by this warning. 

Peas are legumes.  People with severe allergies to legumes like peanuts should be cautious when introducing pea protein into their diet because of the possibility of a pea allergy.  Contains no peanuts or tree nuts. 

In an attempt to reassure the likely target audience, the package also states the product is certified vegan, is soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO.  Well, thank goodness for all of that (I say with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek)! 

 

How Lean Ground Beef Compares  

The Nutrition Facts disclosure gave the following information about the Beyond Burgers:  

One 113-gram patty contains a total of 270 calories.  A whopping 170 calories of the 270 come from fat.  Total fat equals 20 grams, or 31 percent of the daily value.  Saturated fat equals 5 grams, or 25 percent of the daily value.  Trans fat equals zero.  Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are not specified on the package. 

Cholesterol content equals zero.  Sodium content equals 380 milligrams, or 16 percent of the daily value.  Potassium content equals 340 milligrams, or 10 percent of the daily value. 

Total carbohydrate equals 5 grams, or 2 percent of the daily value.  Dietary fiber equals 3 grams, or 13 percent of the daily value.  There are zero additional sugars. 

One patty contains 20 grams of protein, or 32 percent of the daily value, no vitamin A, 6 percent daily value of vitamin C, 2 percent daily value of calcium, 30 percent daily value of iron, and 25 percent daily value of phosphorus. 

When I compare a Beyond Meat burger to regular, low-fat ground beef (i.e., 96 percent lean, 4 percent fat), some of the differences are stark. 

One 113-gram patty contains a total of 150 calories, with only 50 of those calories contributed by fat.  Total fat equals 6 grams, or 9 percent of the daily value.  Saturated fat equals 2 grams, or 9 percent of the daily value. 

Cholesterol content equals 70 milligrams, or 23 percent of the daily value.  Sodium content equals 75 milligrams, or 3 percent of the daily value. 

Total carbohydrate content is zero, one patty contains 25 grams of protein, and 15 percent of the daily value of iron. 

While this comparison shows that low-fat, store-bought, readily available ground beef is not perfect or ideal, it certainly is decidedly nutritionally favorable to a Beyond Meat burger.  Grass-fed ground beef probably would compare even more favorably. 

 

The Untold Story 

If we lift the proverbial curtain even further, we can see some other glaring and undesirable realities.  Not only is a Beyond Meat burger high in saturated fat and high in sodium, the only protein it contains is derived from peas—a legume, no less. 

My friend, Dr. Loren Cordain, put it best in a recent e-mail to me about the Beyond Meat burger.  “The potassium/sodium ratio (340 mg/380 mg) equal to 0.89 represents an impossible value not found in virtually any natural foods (plant or animal).  Yes, the amino acid profile of legumes is imbalanced and not close to what is found in real meat or animal products.  Further the addition of sunflower oil and refined coconut oil gives this product an n3/n6 (omega) fatty acid balance which is totally uncharacteristic of any meat, fish or real animal food.” 

Without the benefit of education in the arenas of human nutrition and optimal diets, the vast majority of consumers are sorely lacking in the ability to objectively evaluate the appropriateness of Beyond Meat products in their routine diet choices. 

For most of these well-intentioned people, it’s an assumption that Beyond Meat has the consumers’ best nutritional interests in mind.  Instead, their product may appear more as pandering to an audience that wants to “do the right thing,” “avoid unhealthy meat,” “save the animals,” “help the planet,” or numerous other points of focus. These well-intentioned people are predisposed to believe that a product like the Beyond Meat burger is actually health food.  In short, it makes them feel good about what they eat.  But that is all. 

In truth, it’s more of a lifestyle choice than a health choice, as the facts suggest here. 

As Dr. Cordain pointed out, the protein amino acid balance is poor (i.e., skewed toward plant proteins rather than more optimal animal proteins), and the fatty acid balance has way too much omega-6 relative to omega-3.  This imbalance favors an inflammatory physiological response to the product.  Throw in way too much sodium relative to potassium, and you have a potential recipe for hypertension, increased cardiovascular disease risk, and other problems. 

 

The State of the Nutritional Art 

It is clear in my mind that Beyond Meat made a strategic decision to focus on taste, palatability, and protein source rather than nutrition.  This sells more burgers (and by the way, they sell sausage and other meatless products,) but it’s highly doubtful they don’t understand the consequences of their choices.  I am not revealing profound secrets here! 

When it comes down to it, a decision to avoid high-quality animal protein comes with unavoidable consequences, with the highest on the list being nutritional. 

I don’t blame Beyond Meat for trying to bridge the gap between a non-meat menu and good nutrition.  Maybe in the future some company or someone will make that a reality.  But so far, Beyond Meat can’t claim to be the ones to have done it.  

Please join us in congratulating Paleo Diet writer Nell Stephenson on the birth of her first son! Here’s the story of her big day and why she choose home birth. Also, to quote Nell, after having been through this pregnancy journey and learning, unfortunately, that the medical model of care for pregnant women is based not in the best interest of mother and baby, but on the very lucrative model of The Business of Being Born, as so eloquently put in the documentary with the same name. It’s akin to our broken healthcare model as it pertains to nutritional advice and  I now feel just as passionate about educating people on what they need to know when they go the traditional route as I do about educating them about a proper Paleo approach!”

 

Hello from Babyland! Or, as our midwife and doula have referred to the area we’ve been spending much of our time these past two weeks… Bed Island.

On May 9, 2019, at 10:25pm, our son, Yves Blake Stephenson was born safely at home after a three hour labor. He weighed 6 pounds, 11 oz and is a healthy, happy boy, breastfeeding and sleeping like a champ.

I’d created an entry on my calendar and although the day began as planned – morning master’s swim, followed by a trip for a blow out (what can I say? I wanted to look my best when our son arrived!), I felt absolutely no different that day than I had during the past several weeks.

Still working, still exercising daily, and while I was moving considerably slower, I had none of the signs of early labor we’d learned to be on the lookout for.

I wasn’t remotely worried as I’d also learned that the due date has a five week leeway around it, from three weeks before to two weeks after during which delivery would still be considered timely.

Many women with whom I spoke over the next week all offered reassurance that this was normal and that they too had delivered a week or longer after their due date, and although I didn’t need it, it was good to hear.

I knew our son just needed a little more time and that he’d start the process of being born when he was good and ready.

The only factor we needed to consider was that in California, a midwife can only attend a birth up until week 42 in home.  Fortunately, ours has a colleague who is an OBGYN that exclusively delivers in home and even works with high risk pregnancy, so even if I were to carry past term, it wouldn’t mean our dream to have a home birth would have to change.

I welcomed input from our doula and midwife and collectively we decided I’d do a few acupuncture sessions as well as up the ante on raspberry tea and increase the number of dried dates I was eating (both have properties to help  bring on and support labor). (1,2,3).

Nothing happened Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday.  Customers and friends at my weekend markets as well as Monday in the commercial kitchen commented, “Oh, still pregnant!  Why are you still working?”

Nothing Tuesday, or Wednesday when I was out for my usual 3 hr hike with the dogs on the trails and same questions, all out of care and concern.

Why?

Because I felt great and had zero signs of labor.

Until the next day.

I woke at 5 a.m. to go to the pool and saw a small splotch of blood (about the size of a silver dollar) on the ground near the toilet that must have dropped in the night.

Was this the mucous plug?

I texted our midwife and she said probably, yes… don’t go swimming.

Anything else I should or should not do?  No, she said, just keep alert for other signs.

The day progressed as normal, yet I noticed an odd feeling of a pulled muscle in my right low back.  So mild that simply changing positions completely alleviated it.

I went to my scheduled acupuncture appointment, this time with micro stim, and then had this strange desire for a smoothie.

I’m not a smoothie gal and had zero cravings during pregnancy.

But something told me to stop at one of the smoothie shops that had pregnancy specific smoothies. (4)

I drove home and hubby and I and the dogs went up to the trail head for an evening walk.

We only went for a short loop and the back sensation I’d been feeling was making itself more and more known.  By the time we headed back down, I was considerably more uncomfortable.

We got home and while hub prepared dinner, I found myself unable to find a comfortable way to position myself.

Yet I still had zero indication that this was labor… after all, nothing was going on in my abdomen. I had no new sensations.

So what was going on?

 

Stay tuned for Part II…

 

References

(1) Raspberry leaf and its effect on labour: safety and efficacy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10754818

(2)Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11370690

(3) The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989

(4) https://www.livebeaming.com

Thanks to Aimee McNew at at PaleoHacks for this great article!

Move over, vitamin C—there’s a new flu buster in town 

It turns out that vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is every bit as important as its antioxidant counterparts whenever the immune system is under duress, like during a cold or flu.  

If you’re one of those people who keeps getting sick and you don’t know why, read on. Here’s how this underestimated sunshine vitamin can help boost immunity and fight viral infections.  

 

The Basics of Vitamin D 

First, it’s important to understand that vitamin D isn’t a “vitamin” at all, but rather a prohormone that is synthesized in response to interaction between cholesterol, the skin, and sun exposure.  

Vitamin D is widely studied for all kinds of health benefits, like bone health, calcium absorption, heart health, and immunity. [1-10] While experts differ on how much vitamin D is needed to provide protection and avoid symptoms of insufficiency or deficiency, nearly everyone agrees that you can’t get enough vitamin D from food alone. [8] This might explain why even if you’re sipping on that gut-healing bone broth, it might not be enough to keep you fully protected from the flu.  

 

Why You Need Vitamin D to Boost Immunity 

When you take vitamin D, you lower your chances of getting sick from viral infections, like colds and the flu, by at least 10 percent. But people who are deficient in vitamin D actually see a greater protective benefit when they supplement, reducing their risk by 50 percent. [11]  

Most Americans get far less than the recommended daily allowance for vitamin D of 600 IU, setting the stage for rampant deficiencies. Certain people, like those with Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, osteoporosis, or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, have an even higher risk of being deficient because of issues with absorption in the intestines and because of greater demands. 

Cold and flu viruses are contagious respiratory infections that affect the nose, throat, and lungs with symptoms like congestion, coughing, wheezing, sore throat, body aches, and fever. The flu, in particular, can have serious consequences in people who are at risk: the elderly, infants, young children, people with suppressed immunity, and those with other chronic disorders. On any given year, approximately 10 percent of the population gets the flu, but during epidemic flu seasons, it can be as high as 20 percent. [12, 13] There are several overlapping factors that are associated to both the severity of the flu and being at risk of vitamin D deficiency, including: 

  • Age (under age 2 or over age 65) 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Chronic disease (diabetes, heart disease, autoimmunity, etc.)
  • Suppressed immunity (HIV, AIDS) 

 

Vitamin D Reduces Risk of the Flu 

While flu vaccines are common, they only address a few strains based on the best guesses by experts of which strains will predominate. Sometimes experts guess wrong, rendering the flu vaccine less effective during those seasons. What doesn’t change, however, is the immune system’s reliance on vitamin D levels, making it a more secure way to boost immunity and avoid the flu. Research even shows that optimal vitamin D levels boost the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. [14] 

One study even drew a direct link between vitamin D levels and the risk of getting the flu: Those with the lowest serum concentrations had the highest chances of getting viral infections[15]  

Receptors for vitamin D are located on cell surfaces in the immune system, allowing vitamin D to bind to them. When this happens, vitamin D reduces inflammatory cytokines that perpetuate illness. It also boosts the proteins that fight bacteria and viruses; which are essentially the natural versions of antibiotics that protect the body from infection. 

Vitamin D boosts the innate branch of the immune system – the body’s first line of defense against infection – which mounts an attack against foreign invaders. The response time for this branch of the immune system is strongly associated with our ability to ward off illness or shorten the duration of sickness. [16] When vitamin D levels are low, immune cells respond slower and the innate immune response is not as rapid as it should be. 

Even if you do get sick, increase your vitamin D levels immediately for faster recovery. When your levels are too low, your body will struggle longer to bounce back. 

Research shows that for every 4 ng/mL increase in your vitamin D concentrations in the blood, you lower your odds of getting the flu by seven percent. It’s not coincidental that flu season peaks as our natural ability to produce vitamin D falls due to reduced sun exposure in the colder months. [17]  

 

How to Supplement with Vitamin D 

If you cannot get sun exposure regularly—as many Americans do not from September through March each year—then supplementation is essential to maintain steady levels. Vitamin D3 is considered to be the natural form and is most effective at raising serum concentrations[18]. Dosage recommendations range from 400 IU to upwards of 10,000 IU, depending on health conditions and other factors, like absorption. [19] 

The Vitamin D Council suggests that adults take between 5,000 and 10,000 IU per day, depending on body weight. Children should take 1,000 IU daily per 25 pounds of body weight (up to 125 pounds). The best bet when it comes to supplementing with vitamin D is to have your doctor test your levels and advise you on the proper dosage for your health factors. 

Vitamin D supplements absorb best when paired with fish oil or fatty foods to optimize absorption. [20]  

Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient – meaning your body has limited ability to excrete it – levels can become toxic in the body with over-supplementation, so get your blood levels checked before supplementing. A healthy blood range is above 30 ng/mL, with insufficiency falling between 20 and 29 ng/mL, and deficiency anything below 20 ng/mL. [21]  

 

Bottom Line 

Vitamin D is a critical nutrient for immune support. When the body is low in this nutrient, immune system cells will have slower response times to viral invaders, sickness duration will be longer, and overall immunity will be suppressed. 

Vitamin D is one of the few nutrients that doesn’t have an abundance of food sources. Wwere designed to produce most of the vitamin D we need in the skin from sun exposure. But between food and supplements, as well as sun exposure in the warmer months, we can optimize our vitamin D levels for overall health. 

 

References 

1.Klibanski, A., et al., Osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis, and therapy. Jama-Journal of the American Medical Association, 2001. 285(6): p. 785-795. 

2.Holick, M.F., Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004. 79(3): p. 362-371. 

3.Dawson-Hughes, B., et al., Estimates of optimal vitamin D status. Osteoporosis International, 2005. 16(7): p. 713-716. 

4.Bischoff-Ferrari, H.A., et al., Estimation of optimal serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D for multiple health outcomes. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006. 84(1): p. 18-28. 

5.Holick, M.F., High prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy and implications for health. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2006. 81(3): p. 353-373. 

6.Jackson, R.D., et al., Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and the risk of fractures. New England Journal of Medicine, 2006. 354(7): p. 669-683. 

7.Holick, M.F., Vitamin D deficiency. New England Journal of Medicine, 2007. 357(3): p. 266-281. 

8.Holick, M.F. and T.C. Chen, Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008. 87(4): p. 1080S-1086S. 

9.Ross, A.C., et al., The 2011 Report on Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D from the Institute of Medicine: What Clinicians Need to Know. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2011. 96(1): p. 53-58. 

10.Gillespie, L.D., et al., Interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2012(9): p. 408. 

11.Martineau, A.R., et al., Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ, 2017. 356: p. i6583. 

12.Molinari, N.A., et al., The annual impact of seasonal influenza in the US: measuring disease burden and costs. Vaccine, 2007. 25(27): p. 5086-96. 

13.Shrestha, S.S., et al., Estimating the burden of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) in the United States (April 2009-April 2010). Clin Infect Dis, 2011. 52 Suppl 1: p. S75-82. 

14.Gruber-Bzura, B.M., Vitamin D and Influenza-Prevention or Therapy? International journal of molecular sciences, 2018. 19(8): p. 2419. 

15.Laaksi, I., et al., An association of serum vitamin D concentrations < 40 nmol/L with acute respiratory tract infection in young Finnish men. Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 86(3): p. 714-7. 

16.Cannell, J.J., et al., On the epidemiology of influenza. Virol J, 2008. 5: p. 29. 

17.Berry, D.J., et al., Vitamin D status has a linear association with seasonal infections and lung function in British adults. Br J Nutr, 2011. 106(9): p. 1433-40. 

18.Nair, R. and A. Maseeh, Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin. Journal of pharmacology & pharmacotherapeutics, 2012. 3(2): p. 118-126. 

19.Heaney, R.P., Vitamin D in health and disease. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol, 2008. 3(5): p. 1535-41. 

20.Korkor, A.B. and C. Bretzmann, Effect of fish oil on vitamin D absorption. Am J Kidney Dis, 2009. 53(2): p. 356. 

21.Holick, M.F., et al., Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2011. 96(7): p. 1911-30. 

 

How many ways can you use asparagus to create delicious Paleo Diet meals?  When we were kids, there were typically two cooking methods: steam until undercooked or steam until overcooked. Neither was much of a winner at the supper table. Asparagus has certainly improved its reputation since then and has become not just a favorite, but a necessary staple in the Paleo kitchen. 

Our creamy soup recipe turns this nutrient packed veggie into the perfect soup to warm you up on a cool evening.  Serve it with delicious Paleo salad, a side of fruit, and you’ve got an impressive dinner ready to serve! 

 

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb asparagus, washed, ends trimmed, and roughly chopped 
  • 1 large leek, chopped 
  • tablespoons coconut oil 
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  •  black pepper, to taste 
  • 1 cup prepared cashew cream (see below) 
  • 1 cup no sodium chicken broth 
  • tablespoons white wine vinegar 
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh spinach leaves 
  • tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp lemon zest 

 

Instructions 

In large mixing bowl, toss asparagus and leeks in 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil until evenly coated. Spread evenly on a sheet pan.  Broil 5-6 minutes, turning with a large spatula half way through cooking process. Remove from oven and set aside ¼ cup of asparagus and leek mixture (for garnish) before proceeding 

In a sauce pan set over medium heat, add remaining coconut oil. When melted, add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes or until translucent.  

Add the asparagus and leeks back to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Pour in cashew cream, chicken broth, and vinegar. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Stir in spinach, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Simmer for 5 minutes. 

Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), carefully purée the soup until smooth. Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with reserved asparagus tips and leeks. 

Serves 4 

 

Preparing The Cashew Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews (plus enough water to submerge them) 
  • 1 cup filtered water 

Place cashews in a Mason jar. Add enough water to cover the cashews by about 1 inch. Cover and soak the cashews for at least 2 hours. Drain and discard the soaking water. Place the cashews in a blender or food processor. Add 1 cup fresh water, and purée until smooth. Set aside. 

This mouth-watering recipe stands out among the 250 healthy Paleo recipes in the The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook by Dr. Loren Cordain and Lorrie Cordain. Combining two great options in any healthy Paleo Diet® – scallops and beets – this is a meal that can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

For a beautiful golden crust, be sure the surface of the scallops is really dry—and that the pan is nice and hot—before adding them to the pan. Also, let the scallops sear without disturbing them for 2 to 3 minutes, carefully checking before turning.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh or frozen sea scallops, patted dry with paper towels
  • medium red beets, peeled and cut chopped
  • ½ Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
  • jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Ground white pepper

 

Directions

  1. Thaw scallops, if frozen.
  2.  For beet relish, in a medium bowl combine beets, apple, jalapeños, cilantro, onion, 2 tablespoonsrnrnof the olive oil, and lime juice. Mix well. Set aside while preparing scallops.
  3. Rinse scallops; pat dry with paper towels. In a large skillet heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olivernrnoil over medium-high heat. Add scallops; sauté for 4 to 6 minutes or until golden brown on the rnrnexterior and barely opaque. Sprinkle scallops lightly with white pepper.
  4. To serve, divide beet relish evenly among serving plates; top with scallops. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.

While our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have relied on hunting and foraging to satisfy their needs, we couch-sitting contemporaries can have groceries delivered to the curb. This may be a significant innovation in terms of convenience, but the loss of physical activity in modern life has cost us dearly in more ways than one. Maintaining a small garden is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air. Besides, any gardener will tell you that for taste, nutritional quality and value, there’s no substitute for growing your own food. Here are five Paleo Diet® essentials to easily grow at home:

 

Beets

Rich in folate, manganese, and dietary fiber, these vibrant tubers are packed with energy and rich in flavor. Eaten raw, beets add unique color and texture to salads. Roasted, they are sweet and earthy. Beet greens are delicious and packed with antioxidants. Beets grow well in cooler weather but can be planted in early spring, late summer, and early autumn for multiple harvests each year.

 

Cucumbers

These crunchy summer staples are so easy to grow they practically grow themselves. Cooling and fresh, this veggie scores lower on the glycemic index than almost any other. You can enjoy them in a salad, smoothie, or eat them sliced and dipped in your favorite Paleo dip as a snack. Plant the seeds at the end of spring near a trellis, fence, or other structure for optimal production.

 

Kale

This superstar of the nutrient-dense veggies is simple to grow and a half-dozen plants will provide you with more dark, leafy goodness than you can imagine. You can get more than your daily recommended amounts of vitamins A, C and K from one cup of chopped kale. Kale is one of the most versatile greens: great raw in salads and smoothies or sauteed, steamed, or cooked on its own or as a side dish. For best results, you’ll want to sow seeds in the final months of summer or plant starts in the garden in early autumn. Once your kale is well-established in the garden, simply trim off the older, outer leaves as you need them for a continuous harvest.

 

Peppers

There are few greater pleasures than fresh, homegrown peppers, especially if you find grocery store varieties a bit repetitive. When you grow your own peppers, you can experiment with varieties from all over the globe to see which suit your fancy. Loaded with vitamin C, peppers are a perfect Paleo food: They can be eaten raw, grilled, stuffed and more. Starting from a seed can be a little tricky as peppers need warm weather to germinate. You may have better luck starting seeds in pots in a sunny window in the spring and transferring the plants into the garden once the risk of frost has passed.

 

Broccoli

There’s a reason your mom made you eat your broccoli. It’s loaded with folic acid, potassium, fiber, and Vitamin C. While President George H.W. Bush hated it, this green is a staple for anyone looking to include a lot of vegetables in their diet. This superfood can be served cooked, raw or in a crudités with a dip. Broccoli also thrives best in cool weather with lots of sun and moist soil. Plant it in late summer to reap the best harvest.

 

These are just a few of the Paleo essentials you can easily grow at home. Even if you don’t have a spot for a garden in your yard, you may want to consider seeking out a community garden plot near you. Walking or cycling to your garden brings you even closer to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Whichever path you find toward growing your own Paleo fare, you’ll thank yourself for it every step of the way.

Fish oil supplements remain one of the most popular ways to help maintain good health.[1] For years, the buzz has been that omega-3 fatty acids can help with a wide variety of conditions, ranging from preventing cognitive decline, to aiding with fat loss, and even to helping with brain and eye development.[2] And that’s just a few. There are a wide variety of other benefits to omega-3 fatty acids including good skin, aiding with sleep, and even helping with arthritis.[3]

 

What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 supplements generally include two primary forms: EPA and DHA, which stand for eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid respectively.[4] These are the two omega-3 fatty acids that have been studied the most, and seem to provide the most benefits.[5] Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, for example, is the most common cause of liver disease, and both EPA and DHA can help reduce this liver fat, as well as aid with other chronic conditions.[6]

Both EPA and DHA are long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, and appear to be crucial for reducing inflammation throughout the body.[7] The most commonly studied supplemental form is a blend of EPA to DHA, in a ratio of 18:12.[8] This is scientifically fascinating, as DHA is actually the more potent of the two omega-3 fatty acids.[9] DHA has been shown to be essential for the growth and development of our brains – which is why it’s added to almost every prenatal vitamin in the world.[10]

In fact, DHA is so important for our brain, that deficiencies have been associated with learning disabilities.[11] Similarly, cognitive decline has also been associated with a lack of DHA.[12] It’s interesting that brain deficiencies in infants – and degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s – are linked by deficiencies in DHA.[13]

Biochemically, omega-3s are also interesting because they are an essential nutrient. Meaning, they are not made by the body. If you’re not eating enough wild-caught fish, or supplementing, you are likely deficient in omega-3’s.[14] Omega-3s are so crucial, that they even help build cell membranes. That’s right, our very own cells – the most basic building blocks of human life – require omega-3s.[15]

It is endlessly fascinating to me that omega-3s are not made by our body and must be obtained exogenously. For something so critical – usually our body would manufacture that sort of thing. Plant-based omega-3s come in a different form – alpha-linolenic acid – which the body has to change into DHA and EPA.[16] Because this is not a terribly efficient process, plant-based omega-3s are not recommended by me, to any of my clients.

 

Omega-3s Help with Weight Loss and Inflammatory Conditions

When it comes to body weight and obesity, omega-3 fatty acids play an important role. Among its benefits, omega-3s seem to play a role in appetite suppression. There are also the benefits of omega-3s in increasing lean body mass and aiding with better fatty acid oxidation.[17]

Surprisingly, in obesity research, omega-3 fatty acids do not actually appear to contribute to weight loss. But the research does show that omega-3s help keep weight off.[18] They are also critical to maintaining a healthy body weight, as well as a healthy BMI. This is important because research has also shown that about 50 percent of weight that is lost is regained after one year.[19] This means that long term weight loss remains out of reach for many and every little advantage can help.

To help reduce inflammation (another key component in reducing obesity,) omega-3s block inflammation pathways, which is also why omega-3s can be beneficial for those with arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. Omega-3s can also help reduce the level of triglycerides found within the body – another key component in improving health and reducing obesity.[20]

Omega-3 fatty acids supplements may even help with depression since inflammation has been linked to depression,[21] though the research is still a bit mixed.

Alzheimer’s cannot be treated with just omega-3 fatty acids, but research has shown positive results for those who do not yet have a degenerative brain disease when supplementing with omega-3s.[22]

Since omega-3s are critical in building cell membranes – which literally protect our cells from harm – it’s easy to see how they also help protect us from other ailments.[23] Omega-3s are crucial for healthy functioning of our blood vessels, brain, lungs, eyes, heart, glands, sperm cells, and immune system.[24] Quite a laundry list of benefits – but also most critical for keeping obesity at bay.

 

Getting Enough Omega-3s in Your Diet

A Paleo Diet® will have a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids already present. Consuming wild-caught fish and other seafood, a key part of The Paleo Diet, will provide us with brain and heart healthy omega-3s.

However, I still recommend to clients that they take about 1000mg (or 1 g) per day, of DHA. This is because DHA has been shown to be able to retroactively convert to EPA.[25] Meaning you will get the benefits of both DHA and EPA just by taking DHA.

We know that omega-3s operate in a variety of ways to aid with obesity and the metabolic syndrome.[26] But it must be noted that nothing is a silver bullet, and a healthy diet and exercise plan remains the most critical piece of any healthy lifestyle. A Paleo Diet will provide a good amount of omega-3s, and the anti-inflammatory effects of vegetables in a Paleo approach will help aid with obesity even further.

As a final note, we cannot forget the benefits of protein, either. Protein revs up our metabolism, builds muscle, and lowers our hunger. A plain chicken breast, beats a protein powder, any day. But because omega-3s cannot be produced by our own bodies, we must eat them from food sources – and I still recommend that even the healthiest eater, supplements with around 1000mg (or 1g) of DHA.

 

References

[1] De magalhães JP, Müller M, Rainger GE, Steegenga W. Fish oil supplements, longevity and aging. Aging (Albany NY). 2016;8(8):1578-82.

[2] Harris WS. Fish oil supplementation: evidence for health benefits. Cleve Clin J Med. 2004;71(3):208-10, 212, 215-8 passim.

[3] Kremer JM, Lawrence DA, Petrillo GF, et al. Effects of high-dose fish oil on rheumatoid arthritis after stopping nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. Clinical and immune correlates. Arthritis Rheum. 1995;38(8):1107-14.

[4] Swanson D, Block R, Mousa SA. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: health benefits throughout life. Adv Nutr. 2012;3(1):1-7.

[5] Dyall SC. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: a review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA and DHA. Front Aging Neurosci. 2015;7:52.

[6] Ochi E, Tsuchiya Y. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) in Muscle Damage and Function. Nutrients. 2018;10(5)

[7] Maroon JC, Bost JW. Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. Surg Neurol. 2006;65(4):326-31.

[8] Ghasemi fard S, Wang F, Sinclair AJ, Elliott G, Turchini GM. How does high DHA fish oil affect health? A systematic review of evidence. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018;:1-44.

[9] Grønn M, Christensen E, Hagve TA, Christophersen BO. Peroxisomal retroconversion of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6(n-3)) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5(n-3)) studied in isolated rat liver cells. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1991;1081(1):85-91.

[10] Lauritzen L, Brambilla P, Mazzocchi A, Harsløf LB, Ciappolino V, Agostoni C. DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function. Nutrients. 2016;8(1)

[11] Kuratko CN, Barrett EC, Nelson EB, Salem N. The relationship of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with learning and behavior in healthy children: a review. Nutrients. 2013;5(7):2777-810.

[12] Weiser MJ, Butt CM, Mohajeri MH. Docosahexaenoic Acid and Cognition throughout the Lifespan. Nutrients. 2016;8(2):99.

[13] Cederholm T, Salem N, Palmblad J. ω-3 fatty acids in the prevention of cognitive decline in humans. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(6):672-6.

[14] Weylandt KH, Serini S, Chen YQ, et al. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: The Way Forward in Times of Mixed Evidence. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:143109.

[15] Valentine RC, Valentine DL. Omega-3 fatty acids in cellular membranes: a unified concept. Prog Lipid Res. 2004;43(5):383-402.

[16] Gerster H. Can adults adequately convert alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)?. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1998;68(3):159-73.

[17] Smith GI. The Effects of Dietary Omega-3s on Muscle Composition and Quality in Older Adults. Curr Nutr Rep. 2016;5(2):99-105.

[18] Buckley JD, Howe PR. Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may be beneficial for reducing obesity-a review. Nutrients. 2010;2(12):1212-30.

[19] Blomain ES, Dirhan DA, Valentino MA, Kim GW, Waldman SA. Mechanisms of Weight Regain following Weight Loss. ISRN Obes. 2013;2013:210524.

[20] Shearer GC, Savinova OV, Harris WS. Fish oil — how does it reduce plasma triglycerides?. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012;1821(5):843-51.

[21] Osher Y, Belmaker RH. Omega-3 fatty acids in depression: a review of three studies. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2009;15(2):128-33.

[22] Dyall SC. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: a review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA and DHA. Front Aging Neurosci. 2015;7:52.

[23] Surette ME. The science behind dietary omega-3 fatty acids. CMAJ. 2008;178(2):177-80.

[24] Swanson D, Block R, Mousa SA. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: health benefits throughout life. Adv Nutr. 2012;3(1):1-7.

[25] Grønn M, Christensen E, Hagve TA, Christophersen BO. Peroxisomal retroconversion of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6(n-3)) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5(n-3)) studied in isolated rat liver cells. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1991;1081(1):85-91.

[26] Lorente-cebrián S, Costa AG, Navas-carretero S, Zabala M, Martínez JA, Moreno-aliaga MJ. Role of omega-3 fatty acids in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases: a review of the evidence. J Physiol Biochem. 2013;69(3):633-51.

Looking for a new twist on your Paleo Diet® salad menu? This unique mix of brussels sprouts and fresh natural flavors is sure to please even the pickiest eaters at your table.  Short on time? Some local grocery stores feature pre-sliced veggies to make the preparation simple and quick.  We love the nutrient dense offering packed into this delightful dish.  Serve it up tonight as the perfect way to top off your day!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts ends trimmed
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 2 tbsp organic natural dried cranberries
  • 2 stalks green onions chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Radish Sprouts for garnish (optional)

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With a sharp knife, thinly slice the brussels sprouts lengthwise.  A food processor utilizing the slicing attachment works well also. Combine sliced brussels sprouts, avocado oil, and black pepper in a large bowl and toss until well combined. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the brussels sprouts are tender and the edges are browned slightly.

While the brussels sprouts are roasting, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss together. Add the brussels sprouts into the bowl once they are finished roasting. Toss all ingredients together until well combined. Season with more black pepper, if needed. Salad may be enjoyed served either warm or cold.

Serves 4.

Note for 85/15 Paleo Diet Followers: Adding ½ cup cooked, chopped bacon to this salad isn’t purely Paleo, but can be a fun way to change it up as part of your 15 percent.  Be sure to use low sodium, nitrate free bacon if choosing this option. Or better yet, use low sodium turkey bacon.

Is it possible to run short of nurses? What would that look like? And how would their scarcity impact pre- and recent-retirees who have enjoyed lifelong easy access to adjunct healthcare staff?

Unfortunately, all you have to do is look around you today, especially in the large but increasingly shaky long-term care industry. This “final destination” for the infirm elderly is already chronically short of nursing staff. According to McKnight’s News Service, 63 percent of facility nursing directors say they don’t have enough staff for proper care.[16]  Patients can be turned away, face substandard (even neglectful) care, or ultimately be forced to move when facilities close their doors.

And unfortunately, there are no easy solutions. Investment performance, estate planning, even insurance can’t help if care becomes scarce or unavailable.

The best solution may soon become the only solution. Retirees need to plan creatively to AVOID chronic disease rather than just pay for it. Lifestyle and even dietary changes, especially those that minimize cancer, diabetes, dementia, and cardiac issues, should be strongly considered.

 

What’s happening to the nurses?

Since the early 2000’s, many projections of the need for Registered Nurses (RN) showed large shortfalls in the coming 30 years. Dire warnings [1] circulated in the industry press that the existing nursing workforce could not be replaced in time, resulting in severely diminished care quality.  Contributing dynamics included burnout due to overwork, depressed pay and benefits, poor working conditions, the difficulty of recruiting and training new nurses at the needed pace, and an aging population increasing the need for nursing care.

The educational bottlenecks included lack of nursing schools in many high-growth locales and a frequent lack of sufficient faculty to increase graduate output. Nursing candidates still face long waiting lists for school entry, with the only alternatives being a long commute, or relocation to a school with openings.

Since 2000, the number of alternative professional options within healthcare available to potential nursing candidates have increased. This includes many job classes that pay well while avoiding the war zone intensity of many large-hospital nursing positions.[2] Working conditions, including highly variable relations with physicians and administrators, and compensation issues have discouraged nurses of all ages and experience levels. The result is that recruiting and retaining nurses, long term, isn’t as easy as in previous decades.

Fortunately, despite these dynamics, recent new and expanded educational programs, and attention to basic workplace experience have begun to turn the tide, particularly since 2016. The number of new nurses is getting closer to the projected need.[3]

Mostly.

 

Where you live may impact the level of care available to you

Some states, and particularly rural counties and towns are still short of nurses. And solutions are elusive.

One popular strategy – recruiting and literally importing nurses from outside the U.S. – doesn’t always work in these areas and working-age natives often go elsewhere seeking better economic opportunity.[3]

And even in areas where trained nurses are available, there are still “nursing gaps” In certain care setting.

Not every nurse, or nurse’s assistant, wants to work in a long-term care facility. Even in major metropolitan areas, hospitals may run fully staffed while nursing homes struggle to fill important positions.[4]

The Long Term Care industry, which is becoming increasingly important with the aging population, is nurse-intensive in all settings: in-home, adult day care, assisted living, and skilled nursing facilities. Since most extended care in these environments is not physician-supervised (doctors are often only on call or present for limited hours), the nurses and nursing assistants are the primary front-line staff. Responsibility is heavy, often with little backup. Especially after normal business hours.

 

The widening long-term care pay gap is increasing the nursing gap

Compensation issues dominate the Long Term Care landscape.[5]

Retirees of all ages should know that the Long Term Care industry, particularly the skilled nursing facility sector, runs on paper-thin margins and that’s on the good days.  Skilled nursing is one of the most heavily regulated businesses in today’s economy, with assisted living not far behind. Compliance and liability costs far exceed the norm.

Another little known Long Term Care financial dynamic is that over half (62 percent) of all long term residents in nursing homes are funded by Medicaid.[6] However, Medicaid “reimbursements” for each resident tend to fall short of actual costs by up to $63.71 per day.[7]  While some facilities can recover a portion of this by charging higher fees for their private-pay beds, it is rarely enough to stay in the black.

Low-income area facilities, where the majority of beds are paid for by Medicaid, regularly lose money. More and more of these facilities close every year, despite the growing “potential resident” population.[8,9]

In this environment, competitive pay for RNs and Certified Nursing Assistants is hard to come by and it shows. Staffing and retention are the number one issues in industry press and have been for several years. Articles are constantly circulated that explore how to recruit, retain, and “engage” staff–but mostly tiptoe around compensation.

Many nursing assistants live below the poverty line, relying on Food Stamps and Medicaid just to get by.[10]

It’s little wonder that these jobs are hard to fill.

 

The Impact on most retirees: fewer choices, higher costs, lower quality

Long Term Care is already critically expensive putting it of out reach for most middle-income Americans. The list below shows the national averages today and in just 15 years assuming 3 percent inflation [11]:

  • Assisted living facility: $48,000.00, rising to $74,782.00
  • Skilled nursing-shared room: $89,297.00, rising to $139,122.00
  • Skilled nursing-private room: $100,375.00, rising to $156,381.00

How might the increased scarcity of staff, or rising wages, affect these costs?  These numbers are based on current pricing models and availability. At the current rate of nursing home closure, retirees may find availability of skilled nursing care reduced by up to 60 percent.[8] As facilities become scarcer (as well as more crowded and further away from family) costs could far exceed these projections.

The quality of care is also becoming an increasing issue.

Those lucky enough to use today’s care facilities can face substandard care due to chronic staff shortages and the increasing presence of under-educated, subsistence-level workers in this presumably “safe” professional healthcare environment. Petty crime (or worse) against residents is a constant issue, cropping up even in well-established facilities.[12,13]

These issues are already reducing the number of filled beds (or “census”) in skilled nursing facilities. Ten or fifteen years from now it’s not hard to imagine that despite the growing population of aging baby-boomers, traditional Long Term Care resources will become increasingly scant – especially Medicaid-funded options.

 

One Solution: Avoid the need for Long Term Care

No one wants to “gray out” in a nursing home, but many of us do and more of us take it for granted that this will happen.

That is, we simply accept that chronic, debilitating disease is an expected final phase of our lives.

We overlook the fact that the primary conditions driving most residents into skilled nursing are “diseases of lifestyle:” type II diabetes; cardiovascular disease, dementia, and cancer.[14,15]

Forward-looking retirement preparation needs to START with lifestyle changes that avoid or combat disease. Diet and exercise can easily be aligned with vigorous advanced age. The Paleo Diet® removes foods and additives that have been linked to chronic disease and replaces them with longevity-enhancing vegetables, fruits, and lean meat.

It is a legitimate fighting chance to stay out of care facilities.

 

REFERENCES

  1. Grant, Rebecca. “The U.S. Is Running Out of Nurses.” The Atlantic, 3 Feb. 2016, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/02/nursing-shortage/459741/.
  2. Whiteside, David. “More Doctors than Nurses … in 20 Years or Less.” David Whiteside: https://www.davidwhitesidecopywriting.com/single-post/2017/02/05/More-doctors-than-nurses.
  3. Howley, Elaine K. “Is there a coming nursing shortage of nurses?” U.S. News and World Report, 28 Nov. 2018, https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/2018-11-28/is-there-a-coming-shortage-of-nurses
  4. Thew, Jennifer, RN. “5 Things You Should Know About the Nursing Shortage.” | HealthLeaders Media. https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/nursing/5-things-you-should-know-about-nursing-shortage.
  5. Stempniak, Marty. “Big Rise: More than 43,000 Jobs Open in Long-Term Care as Leaders Plot – News.” McKnight’s Long Term Care News, 31 Jan. 2019, https://www.mcknights.com/news/big-rise-more-than-43000-jobs-open-in-long-term-care-as-leaders-plot/.
  6. “2018 Long-Term Care Statistics | Medicare/Medicaid Consultants.” Long Term Care Consulting Services | Medical Billing and Business Management Solution For Skilled Nursing Facilities, 3 Oct. 2018, https://www.Long Term Carecs.com/blog/long-term-care-statistics-2018/.
  7. Hansen, Hunter & Co. PC. “A report on shortfalls in Medicaid funding for nursing center care,” prepared for the American Health Care Association. Nov. 2018. https://www.ahcancal.org/facility_operations/medicaid/Documents/2017%20Shortfall%20Methodology%20Summary.pdf
  8. Nursing Home Closures: The Elderly Population Is Exploding, Yet Nursing Homes Are Closing – Assisted Living Today. 27 Sept. 2011, https://assistedlivingtoday.com/blog/nursing-homes-closures/.
  9. Healy, Jack. “Nursing Homes Are Closing Across Rural America, Scattering Residents.” The New York Times, 4 Mar. 2019. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/04/us/rural-nursing-homes-closure.html.
  10. Covert, Bryce. The Workers Caring For Our Grandparents Are Paid Poverty Wages. https://thinkprogress.org/the-workers-caring-for-our-grandparents-are-paid-poverty-wages-30047ff8b474/.
  11. Cost of Long Term Care | 2018 Cost of Care Report | Genworth. https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html.
  12. Flynn, Maggie. “Newspaper Reports Shine Harsh Light on Nursing Home Crime in Minnesota.” Skilled Nursing News, 15 Nov. 2017, https://skillednursingnews.com/2017/11/newspaper-reports-shine-harsh-light-nursing-home-crime-minnesota/.
  13. Sick, Dying and Raped in America’s Nursing Homes. https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/02/health/nursing-home-sex-abuse-investigation/.
  14. Gustafson, Craig. “Dale E. Bredesen, Md: Reversing Cognitive Decline.” Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, vol. 14, no. 5, Oct. 2015, pp. 26–29.
  15. “#30 – Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D.: Controversial Discussion—Cancer as a Mitochondrial Metabolic Disease?” Peter Attia, 26 Nov. 2018, https://peterattiamd.com/tomseyfried/.
  16. Novotney, Amy. “Staffing Shortage Appears to Be Moving Upstream: Survey – Print News.” McKnight’s Long Term Care News, 7 Mar. 2019, https://www.mcknights.com/print-news/staffing-shortage-appears-to-be-moving-upstream-survey/.

One dish meals, served up in bowls, are a frequent go-to for those following The Paleo Diet® lifestyle.  Avoid the salt and other non-Paleo additives by preparing this version right at home.  And if you need to save time on the prep, you can find fresh, spiralized veggies in the produce section of most local grocers.  This delicious dish has everything and is packed with protein, veggies, and nutrients. Not to mention the savory sauce will have you coming back for more.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, spiralized
  • 3 large carrots, spiralized
  • 1 onion, peeled and spiralized
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1.5 lbs ground pork, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • Black pepper to taste (approx 1tsp)

 

For the sauce:

  • 3 tbsp no sodium (or low sodium) beef stock
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp avocado or olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Line 1 large or 2 medium sheet pans with parchment paper.

Spiralize and combine the sweet potatoes, carrots and onion . Toss with avocado oil and black pepper.  Place in sheet pans and arrange so they are evenly spread out. Arrange pork pieces evenly throughout the vegetables.

Place pans in oven and roast for a total of 35 to 45 minutes. Stir every 10-15 minutes to ensure that the veggies cook evenly. The veggie noodles are done when they are tender and have a somewhat crispy appearance. Watch them closely while cooking to avoid burning.

While the pork and noodles are cooking, prepare the sauce by placing all sauce ingredients into a bowl or jar and whisking well. Once the vegetables and pork are done, remove from the oven and distribute diced green onions evenly over entire pan. Spoon desired amount of sauce over the noodles and pork and gently mix to coat evenly.

Serves 4

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