Tag Archives: The Paleo Diet

If you’re following the Paleo Diet®, your grocery list is largely made up of fresh vegetables, grass-fed or pasture-raised meat, and free-range eggs. While your body benefits from this way of eating, your wallet might be hurting – these high-quality foods can have a high price tag! It can also be a challenge to find good sources for locally-grown produce and grass-fed meat. The offerings at your local grocery store might not cut it and there may not be a convenient farmers market in your area.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) could be a great solution for making your Paleo lifestyle work. While CSA models vary, the general principle is that customers support a specific farm or group of farms by buying “shares” of their products. In exchange for paying at least part of the season’s cost up front, customers usually receive a slight discount off the equivalent retail costs, or they receive special items not available in regular retail outlets.

CSA started as a model primarily for vegetable sales, but now all kinds of farms are getting in on the action. In some areas, farms have formed cooperative CSAs that offer a wider variety of products. By joining a CSA run by a local farm or cooperative, you can ensure you’re getting the freshest produce and properly raised meat at a reasonable cost.


How does it work?

How it works varies with each CSA, but most will ask for some sort of commitment at the beginning of each season. You might be asked to pay for the entire CSA share up front or make a deposit. However, some CSAs will offer weekly or monthly payment options.

Your farm will tell you how to pick up your CSA share – some farms only offer onsite pickup, while others deliver to several locations in the area or even offer home delivery. Pickups will usually be on a set schedule: Just keep in mind that CSAs aren’t quite like Fresh Direct or other grocery delivery services and depends on the farm’s harvest schedule.

Your farm should give you plenty of information about what to expect in your share. Many CSAs offer little to no choice; the farmer plans out the shares based on how the harvest is going. But many farms respond to customer demand and let CSA members have some say about what they want in their shares. Meat and eggs are often available as an add-on to a vegetable share, although some meat producers have their own CSAs.


How can I find one?

There are a number of websites that can help you find the right CSA in your area. A few good places to start include:

Sometimes areas with a lot of farms have CSA fairs where you can meet the farmers and learn more about the CSA options available to you.

If you’re strictly following the Paleo Diet, make sure to ask the farmer how often they plan to give you items like potatoes or green beans in the vegetable share, and what your options are for swapping those out for more Paleo-friendly ingredients. Some CSAs might let you make the switch in advance, and some have a “swap box” where members can deposit produce they don’t want and select something else.

The bottom line is that if you’re committed to the Paleo lifestyle, you might want to try committing to a local farm too. Joining a CSA might introduce you to new vegetables or cuts of meat that could expand your palette, and you’ll save some money while getting high-quality local food.

If you’ve joined a CSA and are looking for some good recipes for all that fresh food, check out our collection of Paleo Diet recipes.

Beef Thai SaladWhile we would love to say we traveled all the way to Thailand for this recipe, it’s surely the next best thing with these all-natural, fresh ingredients straight from our local grocer. This Paleo Diet® salad makes an ideal Summer meal with a perfect balance of nutrients to satisfy your appetite and cool you off on a hot night. We especially love the spicy dressing that gives the greens a little extra flavour kick to delight those of us who love to wake our taste buds up now and then.



  • 1-pound sirloin steak
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 small seedless English cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 tsp coconut oil


The Dressing
  • 3 cloves small garlic, minced
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeded and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 T salt-free chicken stock
  • 2 tsp salt free red pepper sauce
  • 2-3 T fresh lime juice



Season the steak with black pepper. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a grilling pan over medium heat. Grill the steak for about 2-3 minutes per side or until desired doneness is achieved. Remove steak from pan and set aside.

Mix all ingredients listed under “dressing” together with the exception of the lime juice.

Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add dressing and stir gently with wooden spoon until warm, but not bubbling. Stir in fresh lime juice. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare salad just before serving. In a large salad bowl, toss chopped cucumber, cilantro, shallots, and mixed greens. Slowly drizzle dressing over salad and toss gently. Thinly slice the beef against the grain and arrange on top of salad.

Serves 4.

Beef Thai Salad Ingredients

Beef Thai Salad

There’s nothing like fresh peaches to sweeten up the end of summer! At The Paleo Diet®, we count the days until this incredible treat begins showing up at our local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. The taste difference between peaches that have been sitting in cold storage waiting to be ripened and the just-picked ripe and ready fruits makes the waiting and anticipation well worth it. Once fresh peaches arrive, it’s important to eat them within a day or two. Our team loves to top off our dinner menu with this delectable treat. The best part is that it’s fast and easy to prepare, so no long hours sweating away in the kitchen.



For the Filling:

  • 6 fresh and ripe peaches
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened, organic apple juice concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Crust:

  • ¾ cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened, organic apple juice concentrate
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash and slice peaches into ½ inch slices. Place in large bowl and add remaining filling ingredients. Gently combine all ingredients until peach slices are evenly coated. Pour filling mixture into 9-10 inch skillet or 8×8 baking dish.

Prepare crust by pulsing pecans in food processor for 10-20 seconds. Add remaining crust ingredients and pulse again until well blended. Pour crust over the top of the filling, distributing evenly.

Bake for 40 minutes until topping is golden brown and crispy. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8.




Paleo Peach Cobbler Ready To Eat

Introduction and Historical Perspective

Almost all of us are familiar with hot sauces – who among us hasn’t encountered a bottle of Tabasco, Cholula, Crystal, Tapatío or Sriracha hot sauces at our favorite Mexican Restaurant? Hot sauces represent condiments which are almost universally offered at Mexican and fast food restaurants in the U.S. and elsewhere. Later, I will get into the specific formulations of popular hot sauces, but for now, let it be known that most are mixtures of hot chili peppers, salt and vinegar among other ingredients.

Obviously, the most important component of fiery hot sauces is their chili peppers. All worldwide farmed chili peppers were first grown from wild seeds indigenous to present day Mexico and dated to about 7,000 to 8,500 years before present (B.P.) (1-4). These chili pepper plants were eventually domesticated by about 900 BC (2). Hence, chili peppers were never consumed by humans until our species migrated from Asia to the Americas roughly 15,000 years B.P. Consequently, chili peppers represent a very recent dietary addition for our genus (Homo), which originated at least 2.0 million years ago in Africa. Clearly, numerous North and South American plant foods also represent unique dietary additions for humans as we migrated from Asia to the western hemisphere. So, at least upon initial glance, chili peppers characterize just one of hundreds of novel plant foods that humans encountered as our species made our way into North and South America about 15,000 years B.P.

Nevertheless, chili peppers are nutritionally unique because they are the only plant species in the world which produce capsaicinoids (5, 6). Capsaicinoids are the molecular compounds which give chili peppers their pungent taste and burning sensation when consumed – the higher the capsaicinoids concentration, the greater we perceive the feeling of “heat”. Two major biochemical forms of capsaicinoids exist: capsaicin (trans-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) and dihydrocapsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillynonanamide) which represent about 77-98 percent of the capsaicinoids present in chili peppers (7). Other minor capsaicinoids within chili peppers include nordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin and nonivamide among more than 20 similar compounds (7).

All five domesticated species of chili peppers (Capsicum annuum, Capsicum frutenscens, Capsicum chinense, Capsicum pubescens and Capsicum baccatum) originated in the Americas (1-4). On the 15th of January, 1493, during Columbus’ first voyage back to Spain from the new world, he recorded in his diary that large quantities of chili peppers (which he called “axi, ques su piiento”) were harvested on Hispaniola (now the islands of Haiti and the Dominican Republic) by the native Americans (2). Shortly, after his return to Spain from Hispaniola (on the 3d of April, 1493), Columbus presented chili peppers to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain who commented that “axi” burned their tongues (2). Diego Alvarez Chanca, a physician on Columbus’ second voyage to the West Indies in 1493-1496 also brought chili peppers back to Spain (8). In the ensuing 200 years, hot chili peppers then rapidly made their way to India, East Asia, and Southeast Asia (2) where they have become integral parts of the cuisines of these regions.

Although only five species of domesticated chili peppers are commonly consumed, numerous cultivars of these species are frequently eaten, and each cultivar maintains widely varying concentrations of capsaicinoids. The “heat” or relative pungency of any species or cultivars of chili peppers is measured by the concentration of capsaicinoids which it contains. These concentrations are most accurately determined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) procedures (9), but most frequently are measured using Scoville Heat Units (SHU), a subjective human measurement of “heat” or spiciness (9). For instance, the cultivar we all know as “green bell peppers” are a member of Capsicum annuum and maintain a Scoville Heat Unit of “0 -100”; meaning that this pepper has little or no perception of spiciness or “heat” (10-39). On the other hand, jalapeno peppers which also belong to the same species, Capsicum annuum, are considerably hotter than green bell peppers and have SHU ratings between 2,500 to 8,000 (10-39). The hottest of all peppers belong to the species, Capsicum chinense (the cultivars of this species are also known as ghost, habanero, datil, Scotch bonnet, naga, fatalli and bhut jolokia among other peppers) and maintain SHU rating between 272,897 and 1,037,305 (10-39). Intermediate to Capsicum annuum and Capsicum chinense chilies are members of the pepper species, Capsicum frutescens, which includes Tabasco, Thai, Piri Piri, Malagueta and Malawian Kambuzi peppers with SHU values ranging from 109,508 to 487,619 (10-39).

The race to produce a “hotter” hot sauce with the highest SHU rating of course makes for an interesting story on the internet, social media, and daily newspapers (40). As hotter hot sauces burn your tongue and make you sweat, few of us consider the health implications of regular capsaicinoid ingestion.


Fiery Hot Sauces: The Good

Table 1 below shows the sodium content, the Scoville Heat Units (SCU), the caloric density, the price and type of peppers found in 33 widely available hot sauces. Note that several hot sauces are manufactured without any added salt, and many brands contain very little sodium (< 35 mg/tsp) including the bestselling McIIhenny’s Tabasco (Original Red) Sauce. Because most hot sauces primarily contain salt, water, vinegar and chili peppers; they are uniformly low in calories (0-10 kcal per teaspoon; Table 1). Accordingly, these two nutritional characteristics (low sodium, low calories) can be viewed as “Good” from a health perspective. The USDA recommended sodium intake is 2,300 mg per day for adults and 1,500 mg per day for people with high blood pressure. Hence, a few hot sauces commonly available at grocery stores (Cholula, Tapatio, Crystal, Franks Red Hot Original and Louisiana Hot Sauce) represent condiments with higher concentrations of salt and therefore should be consumed cautiously for people wanting to reduce their sodium intake.

Table 1. The sodium (Na+) content, Scoville Heat Units, energy (kcal), price and type of chili peppers in 33 brands of hot sauces (10-39).



Many people are unaware that most hot chili pepper sauces are fermented foods. For instance, one of the original hot sauces, McIllhenny’s Tabasco Sauce (Original Red) is produced by grinding fresh peppers into a mash and then soaking the mash in a salt solution inside covered white oak barrels for up to three years (41). The mash is then strained of skins and seeds and mixed with vinegar for a month to produce the final sauce (41). This process (soaking in salt and then vinegar under anerobic [without oxygen] conditions) promotes growth of anaerobic bacteria which allow the food (mashed chili peppers) to ferment but not to spoil and putrefy. Salt encourages the growth of halophilic (salt loving) anaerobic bacteria. Vinegar increases the environmental acidity (lowering the pH) of the mixture which also boosts anaerobic, fermentive, bacterial growth.

Accordingly, the use of salt, vinegar, and covered containers epitomizes a universal and traditional formula to ferment food, thereby preventing its spoilage (42). Hence, fermented plant food contained within covered containers along with salt and vinegar produces a powerful anti-pathogenic effect causing the rapid disappearance of putrefying and disease producing bacteria in the fermented concoction including: Staphylococcus aureus; Salmonella typhymurium; Listeria monocytogenes; Escherichia coli; Clostridium perfringens and Vibrio parahaemolyticus (42, 43).

The anaerobic bacteria and other microorganisms causing the fermentation of vegetables including chili peppers produce metabolic byproducts which are released into the fermented vegetable mixture. Bacteria which ferment plant foods including sauerkraut (fermented cabbage,) pickles (fermented cucumbers,) kimchi (all Korean fermented plant food including cabbage, radishes, cucumbers, chili peppers, mustard leaves, and Welsh onion leaves) (42) encourage further growth of anaerobic bacteria (42, 44). Olives also are fruits produced by their fermentation in salt and vinegar. A less appreciated fermented food is chocolate (the fermented fruit of Theobroma cacao; the South American chocolate tree) which does not require either salt or vinegar for its fermentation.

Many fermented foods contain similar anaerobic bacteria and microorganisms, hence the fermented foods we regularly consume (cheeses, salami, sauerkraut, pickles, olives, kimchi, chili peppers, and chocolate) maintain similar bacterial nutrients derived from the microorganisms and bacteria responsible for their fermentation.

The bacterial compounds infused into fermented foods have seldom been recognized as therapeutic nutritional agents. In part, because nutritionists have not specifically measured these bacterially produced nutrients in fermented foods. For instance, pork has only recently (2016) been demonstrated to be a rich source of short (MK-4) and long chain menaquinones (MK-9 to MK-11) or vitamin K2 (45). Long-chain menaquinones can only enter the human food chain through bacterial contamination (spoilage/fermentation) of the normal fresh food which we eat.

Swine are notorious consumers of rotten, putrid and fermented food (46). Hence it is not surprising that pig tissues should represent a concentrated source of the bacterial nutrients which they consume such as the fat-soluble menaquinones (MK4, MK-9 to MK-11) or vitamin K2. Specifically, long-chain bacterially derived menaquinones are concentrated in the fat tissues of swine (45). A long-term evolutionary function of menaquinones (vitamin K2) is to act as lipid soluble antioxidants for anaerobic bacterial species (47-49).

A wide range of bacterial species have been found with the spontaneous fermentation of Jalapeno chili peppers in a saline environment including the anaerobic lactic acid bacteria (LAB) Lactobacillus plantarum, Leuconostoc citreum, Weissella cibaria and Lactobacillus paraplantarum (50). Further, these same genera (Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, Weissella) and others Lactococcus and Pediococcus are key players in kimchi fermentation (51).

The crucial point here is not to become overly engaged in the microbiology of specific bacterial species which cause fermentation of chili peppers and other vegetables and fruits, but to realize that common bacterial species are associated with the fermentation of almost all plant foods. These common anaerobic LAB bacterial species, during the fermentation process, synthesize nutrients which have the capacity to serve as lipid soluble antioxidants capable of defusing the toxic ROS produced by the mitochondria in aerobic cells.

Currently, the menaquinone concentrations in bacterial species of LAB are either unknown or obscure; further these lipid soluble antioxidants have rarely or never been measured in fermented chili peppers or other fermented foods except soybeans. Other bacterially produced, important lipid soluble antioxidants which have been shown to improve health such as melatonin (52), pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) (53) and CoQ10 (54) and CoQ9 have not or have barely been measured in fermented foods such as spicy hot sauces, despite the knowledge that fermented peppers and fermented vegetables may contain bacterial species capable of producing these lipid soluble antioxidant compounds.

Numerous studies have suggested that capsaicinoid containing foods may have positive and therapeutic health promoting effects (55-65). In humans, the biological receptor for capsaicin is called the transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype 1 (TRPV1) which is widely expressed in brain, sensory nerves, bladder, gut and blood vessels. TRPV1 is activated by multiple environmental stimuli including exogenous chili pepper capsaicin ingestion, heat, low pH (<5.9) and certain endogenous lipid molecules (63). TRPV1 plays essential roles in inflammation, oxidative stress, and pain sensation (66). Accordingly, capsaicinoids derived from the consumption of hot chili peppers and fiery hot sauces likely have therapeutic functions in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (62-64), diabetes (62, 64), pain (62, 66) and certain autoimmune diseases (65).

Nevertheless, an infrequently recognized downside to consumption of chili peppers is their ability to disrupt the intestinal barrier function (67-78).


Summary (The Good, The Bad)

So, to summarize. Fiery hot sauces are low in calories, frequently (but not always) low in sodium and often contain mashes of chili peppers with bacterially fermented by products and their residues that may have therapeutic health effects together with the beneficial effects of the capsaicinoids present in chili themselves.


Fiery Hot Sauces: The Ugly

Exogenous dietary capsaicinoids from chili peppers represent unique biochemical compounds which the human genome did not encounter until very recently from an evolutionary perspective. As previously demonstrated, Columbus and his crew brought chili peppers to Europe in 1493, and they then spread worldwide in the ensuing 200 years. Accordingly, our species has had little or no time to evolve genetic adaptations to an exogenous plant substance (capsaicinoids) which fundamentally interact with our physiologies via the TRPV1 receptor and other cellular mechanisms.

One of the unexpected health consequences of worldwide chili pepper consumption is its adverse effect upon the human gut, particularly with chili pepper species and cultivars which maintain higher capsaicinoid concentrations and hence higher SHU values. The notion that chili pepper consumption could increase intestinal permeability was unknown until 1994 when Hashimoto and colleagues (67) demonstrated that a vegetable extract only found in sweet peppers (of 32 vegetables analyzed) impaired the intercellular tight junction (TJ) barrier through the paracellular pathway. The authors noted that these changes would, “bring about an invasion of allergenic molecules from the intestinal lumen to the serosal region, which may cause food allergy.” In their 1997 follow-up study (68), Hashimoto and co-workers identified that the active substances in the purified sweet pepper extract which increased intestinal permeability were capsianosides (capsaicins). The authors suggested that, “capsianosides would be useful to enhance the permeability for drugs or other biologically important hydrophilic substances across the intestinal mucosa.”

One year later in 1998 Jensen-Jarolim and colleagues (69) demonstrated that paprika and cayenne pepper spices increased intestinal macromolecular permeability. The authors noted that this event might be of pathophysiological importance, particularly with respect to food allergy and intolerance.

One mechanism underlying capsaicin’s ability to increases intestinal permeability was further examined by Isoda, Han, and colleagues in a series of papers (69-71). These investigators demonstrated that capsaicin’s intestinal permeability impairment resulted partially from capsaicin’s ability to bind the TRPV1 receptor in the gut which directly altered tight junction opening characteristics partially via increasing calcium influx in intestinal cells (70, 71).

One of the implications about capsaicin ingestion from chili peppers is this compound’s ability to promote drug (71), macromolecule and intestinal luminal content (allergens) movement across the intestinal barrier (67-69). A molecule of potential interest from capsaicin’s increase in gut permeability is LPS, a pro-inflammatory residue from gut bacteria. Current studies suggest that capsaicin induces an anti-inflammatory profile that inhibits LPS-induced IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α production in a time- and dose-dependent manner (79) that sensitizes the TRPV1 receptor activation (80).

Given this information and the prior data suggesting that capsaicin does not promote autoimmune disease (65), which clearly has an increased gut permeability element, it appears that capsaicin’s ability to increase gut permeability may not be associated with increased inflammation (79) or autoimmunity (65). An important caveat to the autoimmune data associated with capsaicin consumption is a recent study suggesting that hot chili pepper consumption may cause the cellular events leading to disease symptoms in IgA nephropathy patients (81).



Regular consumption of hot chili peppers may have numerous health promoting effects, and its pungent taste adds to the cuisine of worldwide cultures. People trying to lower their sodium intake can choose fiery pepper sauces with lower salt formulations. People with food allergies and certain autoimmune diseases may benefit by limiting pepper sauce consumption or ingesting sauces and chili peppers with lower capsaicin concentrations.



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51. Jeong SH, Lee HJ, Jung JY, Lee SH, Seo HY, Park WS, Jeon CO. Effects of red pepper powder on microbial communities and metabolites during kimchi fermentation. Int J Food Microbiol. 2013 Jan 1;160(3):252-9.

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53. Wu JZ, Huang JH, Khanabdali R, Kalionis B, Xia SJ, Cai WJ. Pyrroloquinoline quinone enhances the resistance to oxidative stress and extends lifespan upon DAF-16 and SKN-1 activities in C. elegans. Exp Gerontol. 2016 Jul; 80:43-50.

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55. Palma J.M.et al. Physiology of pepper fruit and the metabolism of antioxidants: chloroplasts, mitochondria and peroxisomes. Ann. Bot. 2015; 116: 627-636

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59. Varghese S. et al. Chili pepper as a body weight-loss food. Int. J. Food Sci. Nutr. 2017; 68: 392-401

60. Hardy G. Nutraceuticals and functional foods: introduction and meaning. Nutrition. 2000; 16: 688-689

61. Anand P., Bley K. Topical capsaicin for pain management: therapeutic potential and mechanisms of action of the new high-concentration capsaicin 8% patch. Br. J. Anaesth. 2011; 107: 490-502.

62. Srinivasan K. Biological Activities of Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum) and its pungent principle capsaicin: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Jul 3;56(9):1488-500.

63. Sun F, Xiong S, Zhu Z. Dietary capsaicin protects cardiometabolic organs from dysfunction. Nutrients. 2016 Apr 25;8(5). pii: E174. doi: 10.3390/nu8050174

64. Kwon Y, Apostolidis E, Shetty K. Evaluation of pepper (Capsicum annuum) for management of diabetes and hypertension. Journal of Food Biochemistry. 2007 Jun;31(3):370-85.

65. Deng Y, Huang X, Wu H, Zhao M, Lu Q, Israeli E, Dahan S, Blank M, Shoenfeld Y.

Some like it hot: The emerging role of spicy food (capsaicin) in autoimmune diseases. Autoimmun Rev. 2016 May;15(5):451-6

66. Mózsik G. Capsaicin as new orally applicable gastroprotective and therapeutic drug alone or in combination with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in healthy human subjects and in patients. In Capsaicin as a Therapeutic Molecule 2014 (pp. 209-258). Springer, Basel.

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68. Hashimoto K, Kawagishi H, Nakayama T, Shimizu M. Effect of capsianoside, a diterpene glycoside, on tight-junctional permeability. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Biomembranes. 1997 Jan 31;1323(2):281-90.

69. Jensen-Jarolim E, Gajdzik L, Haberl I, Kraft D, Scheiner O, Graf J. Hot spices influence permeability of human intestinal epithelial monolayers. J Nutr. 1998 Mar;128(3):577-81.

70. Isoda H, Han J, Tominaga M, Maekawa T. Effects of capsaicin on human intestinal cell line Caco-2. Cytotechnology. 2001 Jul;36(1-3):155-61.

71. Han J, Isoda H, Maekawa T. Analysis of the mechanism of the tight-junctional permeability increase by capsaicin treatment on the intestinal Caco-2 cells. Cytotechnology. 2002 Nov;40(1-3):93-8.

72. Nagumo Y, Han J, Arimoto M, Isoda H, Tanaka T. Capsaicin induces cofilin dephosphorylation in human intestinal cells: the triggering role of cofilin in tight-junction signaling. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Apr 6;355(2):520-5

73. Komori Y, Aiba T, Nakai C, Sugiyama R, Kawasaki H, Kurosaki Y. Capsaicin-induced increase of intestinal cefazolin absorption in rats. Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2007 Dec;22(6):445-9.

74. Tsukura Y, Mori M, Hirotani Y, Ikeda K, Amano F, Kato R, Ijiri Y, Tanaka K. Effects of capsaicin on cellular damage and monolayer permeability in human intestinal Caco-2 cells. Biol Pharm Bull. 2007 Oct;30(10):1982-6.

75. Nagumo Y, Han J, Bellila A, Isoda H, Tanaka T. Cofilin mediates tight-junction opening by redistributing actin and tight-junction proteins. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Dec 19;377(3):921-5

76. Shiobara T, Usui T, Han J, Isoda H, Nagumo Y. The reversible increase in tight junction permeability induced by capsaicin is mediated via cofilin-actin cytoskeletal dynamics and decreased level of occludin. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 18;8(11):e79954. doi: 10.1371/ journal. pone.0079954

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Most baby boomers haven’t saved enough to live even a modest, middle-income lifestyle after work ends [1,2]. Unexpected post-retirement expenses can quickly overwhelm resources – especially medical expenses.

“Maintenance” medication expenses often take retirees by surprise as they transition to Medicare. Many don’t realize that Medicare has its own costs and, unlike private insurance, it has NO caps on most out of pocket expense. Even with supplementary insurance, some medical expenses never really go way – especially for drugs.

Typical maintenance medications are designed to treat diseases of lifestyle – illnesses that are heavily associated with the nutritional and exercise choices we make earlier in life. Baby boomers (including this writer) grew up in a pro-obesity, pro-diabetes, pro-cancer, pro-dementia, pro-atherosclerotic haze of misinformation and heavily processed food.

The consequences can be huge.

A Georgetown University study showed that 75 percent of adults ages 50-64 fill an average 13 prescriptions per year, rising to 20 per year for ages 65-79. Chronic disease patients fill a lot more (examples, across all age groups, include 34 prescriptions for diabetes and 30 for heart disease) [21].

The same study also showed that we pay more prescription costs out of pocket as we age – adults ages 65-79 pay 56 percent on their own costs and this rises to 67 percent by age 80.

And those percentages assume Medicare drug benefits are in force. The dollars alone strongly argue for diet and lifestyle changes.

Medicare Wasn’t Meant to Cover Everything

Whole books have been written about Medicare. Websites like Medicare.gov and CMS.gov (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) have thousands of pages of information that is beyond the scope of this post. I’m just going to touch on some highlights which are current for 2019.

While Medicare is a valuable public program assisting millions, it is only partial coverage. There are startling out-of-pocket leftovers.

Some examples:

Medicare Part A (hospital)
$1341 deductible, per illness. $341 copay per day after 60 days, then $682 per day after 90 days [3].

Medicare Part B (outpatient)
After your annual deductible you pay 20% of all costs…forever. There is no cap [4].

Medicare Part D (drugs)
This is the hardest to nail down since most benefits are dictated by the private insurer you select.

The maximum annual deductible is $415 [5], but then cost sharing can vary [6]. Once your plan has paid $3,820 in benefits you enter the “coverage gap” and can pay:

  • Generic copay: 37% (no cap)
  • Brand name copay: 25% (no cap)

Catastrophic level: These coverage gaps are in place until you’ve paid $5,100 [7]. AFTER $5,100.00 of “eligible expenses” are paid in the plan year, coverage reverts to low copay but, again, without any cap [8].

Then there’s the question of whether your drug is on the plan formulary (list of approved drugs)? If so, does it get favorable “low tier” reimbursement? Some drugs don’t get full coverage, or any coverage.

The coverage gap is supposed to “close” in 2020 – but the current legislative trend is not pro-retiree, or even pro-consumer. Scheduled Medicare changes in the Affordable Care Act, designed to help retirees could be modified, delayed or even reversed by the current administration.

Will drug costs delay your retirement?

This glimpse of Medicare’s out of pocket expenses can be quite sobering the first (or even the 100th) time you see the big picture – especially if you retire on a modest budget while taking several prescriptions.

If you’re currently still working, you may be on generous group or individual health insurance through your job and not really notice your drug costs. But at some point, most of us lose our pre-retirement insurance plans and have to scramble for some combination of Medicare and supplementary coverage.

There is no guarantee that your medication(s) – or other medical treatment – will be covered the same way as before retirement.

Will you be part of the group that simply can’t retire due to drug costs? A 2018 Consumer Reports survey reviewed during a Senate Special Committee hearing on Aging in 2019, showed 12 percent of respondents delayed retirement specifically due to prescription costs [9].

Another survey showed that many older adults, especially in median income households, either delay or simply choose not to receive needed medical care due to cost [10].

Not surprisingly, unanticipated medical expenses are a leading cause of bankruptcy, especially for retirees [11].

There’s even a case of a retiree who robbed banks to pay for his medications [20]!

But are your medications (or your nursing home stay) really necessary?

Conservative financial advice recommends saving $275,000 to $500,000 just for out of pocket medical expenses in retirement. Yet, a large percentage of baby boomers haven’t even saved that much to live on.

These households simply can’t pay high medical costs on top of normal living expenses. This is especially true of long-term facility care, which is not covered beyond 60 days by Medicare or any Medicare supplementary insurance.

Absent from most “conservative financial advice” is the idea that many of us can make lifestyle changes that could minimize or prevent future medical expenses.

Please reread that sentence.

The widespread availability of inexpensive, unhealthy food has led to a current “global pandemic of obesity and chronic diseases” that afflict many retirees including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other dementia [12]. These conditions account for a large percentage of medication use (and drug-intensive nursing home admissions.)

Our lifetime of “harmless” habits (including pancakes, donuts, bagels, PBJ, chips, cookies, crackers, toast, breakfast cereal, fried or processed food, sugar, corn syrup, questionable food additives, and pesticides) is closely linked to numerous chronic diseases—and related treatment costs [13,14,15].

While pre-retirees might find it inconvenient or challenging to make significant dietary changes, modest-to-median income households may wish they had done so much earlier.

Saying NO to Permanent Patient status

A naturally low-carbohydrate, nutrient-dense, whole food diet—like the Paleo Diet®—is an important step in the journey away from “lifestyle” chronic disease. Many Paleo adherents, including this writer, report improved health as well as weight loss and improved energy. All of which can reduce medication usage.

Some examples include:

Diabetes: in one study, a Paleo Diet dramatically outperformed the recommended American Diabetes Association diet with respect to glucose control and lipid profiles [16].

Heart health: numerous studies, including this one, demonstrate that Paleo dieting offers strong control of hyperlipidemia compared to “traditional grain-based, heart-healthy diet recommendations” [17].

Alzheimer’s: a growing body of research shows that Paleo- (or even ketogenic-) style dieting can arrest or even reverse cognitive decline. [18].

Coupled with regular exercise [19], a dedicated Paleo Diet can strongly massage health outcomes in your favor.

To understand what this can mean in potential medical cost savings, here’s one example. Alzheimer’s patients survive, on average, 3-11 years after diagnosis [22]. Full-blown care in a nursing facility, based on 2018 figures, averages $100,380 per year [23]. This means that healthy lifestyle changes have the potential to save $301,140 to $1,104,180. Only some of which would have been covered by Medicare. 

While no diet alone can guarantee you’ll never get sick, responsible lifestyle choices now – even if you’re already retired and on maintenance medications – can improve your well-being and protect your bank account.


  1. Backman, Maurie. “Baby Boomers Are Overwhelmingly at Risk of Falling Short in Retirement -.” The Motley Fool, 30 Dec. 2018, https://www.fool.com/retirement/2018/12/30/baby-boomers-are-overwhelmingly-at-risk-of-falling.aspx.
  2. Nova, Annie. One-Third of Baby Boomers Had Nothing Saved for Retirement at Age 58. 7 Nov. 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/07/one-third-of-baby-boomers-had-nothing-saved-for-retirement-at-age-58-.html
  3. Inpatient Hospital Care Coverage. https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/inpatient-hospital-care.
  4. Part B Costs | Medicare. https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/part-b-costs.
  5. Yearly Deductible for Drug Plans | Medicare. https://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d/costs-for-medicare-drug-coverage/yearly-deductible-for-drug-plans.
  6. Copayment/Coinsurance in Drug Plans | Medicare. https://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d/costs-for-medicare-drug-coverage/copaymentcoinsurance-in-drug-plans.
  7. Costs in the Coverage Gap | Medicare. https://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d/costs-for-medicare-drug-coverage/costs-in-the-coverage-gap.
  8. “2019 Changes to Medicare Part D Coverage | Simplefill Prescription Assistance.” Simple Fill | Prescription Assistance, RX Assistance, Astrazeneca Patient Assistance – Portland, OR, 9 Oct. 2018, https://simplefill.com/heres-need-know-2019-changes-medicare-part-d-coverage/.
  9. Bowers, Lois. “Survey Finds That 12% Delay Retirement Due to Drug Costs, Senate Aging Committee Hears – News.” McKnight’s Senior Living, 8 Mar. 2019, https://www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/home/news/survey-finds-that-12-delay-retirement-due-to-drug-costs-senate-aging-committee-hears/.
  10. Bowers, Lois. “Healthcare Costs Worry Older Adults across Income Levels – News.” McKnight’s Senior Living, 3 Apr. 2019, https://www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/home/news/healthcare-costs-worry-older-adults-across-income-levels/.
  11. Brockman, Katie. “More Retirees Than Ever Are Filing for Bankruptcy — Here’s Why -.” The Motley Fool, 16 Dec. 2017, https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/12/16/more-retirees-than-ever-are-filing-for-bankruptcy.aspx.
  12. Mozaffarian, Dariush, et al. “Role of Government Policy in Nutrition—Barriers to and Opportunities for Healthier Eating.” BMJ, vol. 361, June 2018, p. k2426. www.bmj.com, doi:10.1136/bmj.k2426.
  13. Thorn , Eric, M. D. “Carbohydrates Are Killing Us.” The Washington Times, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jul/8/fatty-foods-dont-cause-heart-disease-bread-and-pas/. Accessed 4 Apr. 2019.
  14. Livesey, Geoffrey, and Helen Livesey. “Coronary Heart Disease and Dietary Carbohydrate, Glycemic Index, and Glycemic Load: Dose-Response Meta-Analyses of Prospective Cohort Studies.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, vol. 3, no. 1, Feb. 2019, pp. 52–69. PubMed Central, doi:10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2018.12.007.
  15. Khazan, Olga. “The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer’s.” The Atlantic, 26 Jan. 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/01/the-startling-link-between-sugar-and-alzheimers/551528/.
  16. Masharani, U., et al. “Metabolic and Physiologic Effects from Consuming a Hunter-Gatherer (Paleolithic)-Type Diet in Type 2 Diabetes.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 69, no. 8, Aug. 2015, pp. 944–48. www.nature.com, doi:10.1038/ejcn.2015.39.
  17. Pastore, Robert L., et al. “Paleolithic Nutrition Improves Plasma Lipid Concentrations of Hypercholesterolemic Adults to a Greater Extent than Traditional Heart-Healthy Dietary Recommendations.” Nutrition Research (New York, N.Y.), vol. 35, no. 6, June 2015, pp. 474–79. PubMed, doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2015.05.002.
  18. Bredesen, Dale E. “Reversal of Cognitive Decline: A Novel Therapeutic Program.” Aging, vol. 6, no. 9, Sept. 2014, pp. 707–17. PubMed, doi:10.18632/aging.100690.
  19. Booth, Frank W., et al. “Lack of Exercise Is a Major Cause of Chronic Diseases.” Comprehensive Physiology, vol. 2, no. 2, Apr. 2012, pp. 1143–211. PubMed Central, doi:10.1002/cphy.c110025
  20. EndPlay. “Utah Man Robbed Bank Because He Could Not Afford Medications, Police Say.” WSOC, 8 June 2019, https://www.wsoctv.com/news/trending-now/utah-man-robbed-bank-because-he-could-not-afford-medications-police-say/956430486.
  21. “Prescription Drugs.” Health Policy Institute, https://hpi.georgetown.edu/rxdrugs/
  22. “What to Know about the Stages of Alzheimer’s.” Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/alzheimers-stages/art-20048448.
  23. Cost of Long Term Care by State | 2018 Cost of Care Report | Genworth. https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html.


Fire up the barbecue and prepare for a classic summertime meal with these Paleo Diet® skewers. What makes these skewers so appealing in the summer? There’s no sweating it out in a hot kitchen with this one. The preparation is fast and easy, and the cleanup is minimal. But that doesn’t make it any less healthy. The chicken and vegetables are packed with nutrients in this delicious combination. Better make extra!



  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast
  • 3 fresh limes
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated with micro plane
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, halved and halved again
  • 2 bell peppers orange and yellow, large chunks
  • 1 large zucchini, halved and cut into large chunks



Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch chunks and place in a glass container.

Prepare the limes by first zesting, then juicing each into a medium bowl. Add the minced garlic, ginger, and coconut oil. Pour over the chicken and stir to combine. Cover the chicken and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Skewer chicken and vegetables alternating each until skewer is filled. Grill the kebabs over direct medium heat, keeping the lid closed as much as possible, until the chicken is firm to the touch and no longer pink in the center, 8 to 10 minutes total, turning once or twice during cooking. Take care not to overcook.

Serve with your favorite fresh, seasonal fruit for a complete Paleo meal.

Serves 4.



When I began my career in fisheries science 43 years ago, I had no idea a major debate over where we get our fish from would be as contentious as it has become.  

Admittedly, I was drawn to the important questions of our future food supplies and the role fish would play in that future. 

So, I ask here the burning question.  Should we buy fish sourced from the wild or from farms—also known as aquacultured fish?  Facts and science can lead us to an answer. 

If I know only one thing, I know this: the best way to analyze this question is objectively, using facts and science as the basis for that analysis.  Throughout my career, I have used objectivity and facts to guide my decisions.  This approach has served me well.  There are times to set aside dogma (otherwise known as “religion,” or, as I’m using it here, belief in something based purely on faith,) prejudicepreconceived notions, and tightly held beliefs when the facts—scientific facts—strongly suggest otherwise. 

If you consider yourself an environmentalist (however you may define the word,) I applaud you.  I am one of them and we need more of them in the world.  However, environmentalists are just as prone to misconceptions as anyone.  This is a human trait where we accept or reject a notion based on a mental construct we devise and build over time.  Indeed, that construct becomes more rigid as we get older, and tends to be reinforced by items of information that fit into or conform to that construct, while at the same time we tend to reject the items that do not fit the construct or are contrary to it.  In short, we believe what we want to believe.  History is full of examples (e.g., the earth is flat, we are at the center of the solar system and universe, alchemists can turn lead into gold, on and on). 

The belief that wild fish are “better for you than farmed fish—more wholesome and nutritious, more natural, better for the environment, live a better lifeis just one more example without a real basis in facts.  It’s religion. 

I know for some of you, I have just blasphemed!  How can I dare say cultured fish are superior to wild fish?  I apologize, but please, hear me out and read on!  Read what I am about to say and then form your own opinion.  I promise to be as objective and fact-based as possible.  Dogma, religion, and bias have no place in this discussion. 


The Science and Facts of Farm and Wild Fish – The Seas are Limited 

Here’s the predicament with which we are faced.  According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the overall demand and supply today in the world for fish and seafood is about 175 million metric tons per year (yes, that’s 385 billion pounds), and is growing at a rate of about 3 percent per year1.  The reasons for this rapid growth are numerous, but steady increases in world population and the rise of the large Chinese middle class (with more disposable income and an aspiration for higher-quality protein) are near the top of the list. 

Of the 175 million metric tons of supply, 90 to 95 million metric tons come from the wild.  The remaining 80 to 85 million metric tons come from aquaculture—fish farms—with a value that exceeds $231 billion.  The issue is that the seas have reached their production limits and did so more than 25 years ago.  Indeed, many wild fisheries are overfished and are threatened with collapse1. 

By the way, there is an additional 30 million metric tons per year of aquatics plants (mostly macroalgae) that are produced on aquatic farms in addition to finfish and shellfish. [1] 

Bottom line: wild supplies are finite!  So, we cannot expect any more production from the wild.  More wild fish will not miraculously appear, and we don’t want to slaughter every one of them.  That’s what would happen without aquaculture.  We would eat every remaining fish on the planet, and then a few days later we would be hungry again.  End of story.  It’s that simple. 


18 Reasons We Should Look to Aquaculture 

As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining.  This cloud is no different.  The issue is the misconceptions and dogma. Many lump fish farms in with large-scale cattle and chicken feedlot farms with all the same health and environmental concerns. But that’s just not the case. 

So, bear with me as I explain, in an objective and fact-based way, why we should look to aquaculture as a solution to our predicament. 

1. Supplies from farms are not finite. This means that aquaculture will continue to grow rapidly (about 5 percent per year), and over time supplies from the wild will essentially fade into the backgroundthough not disappear entirely—as a percentage of total supply.   

2. True environmentalists are pro-aquaculture.  Aquaculture takeshuman supply pressure off wild stocks and puts it where it should be—on production from farms.  Aquaculture is agriculture.  Hunting and gathering must end in the seas as it ended on land 10,000 years ago at the dawn of terrestrial agriculture. 

3. Farmed fish are not abused! The notion of abuse is completely counterproductive to the best interests of the fish farmer and counterintuitive to their goals, which are fast-growing and healthy fish.  Water quality, fish densities, and nutrition are optimized to reduce stress and create a healthy production environment.  They are treated with the respect they need and   Happy fish create high rates of survival, smaller feed bills, and healthy profits for producers.  Humane treatment is simply good business. 

4. Aquaculture products are fully traceable, from feed to hatchery,to grow-out, to processing, to distribution, to endpoint of sale. [2]  We know exactly what went into their production and their exposure.  Traceability simply is not possible with wild finfish and shellfish!  We don’t know what they have eaten or what they have been exposed to (toxins, medical waste, plastics, heavy metals, etc.). 

5. Water use and discharge from many indoor facilities is limited by use of recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) technology.  This approach uses filters that reuse water again and again, filtering out wastes and replenishing oxygen.  This is a very frugal approach that uses minimal amounts of water as compared to other conventional technologies such as raceways, ponds, and ocean net-pens.

6. More and more fish farm operators use a technique called integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA).This is where the “wastes” from the fish facility are used as raw materials for production of other products such as shellfish and saleable plants. [3,4]  These secondary crops act as natural filters, turning potential liabilities (i.e., fish wastes) into raw material assets.  Operators literally make money from wastes.  Additionally, solid wastes can be used as high-quality material for composting and application to farmers’ fields. 

7. Aquaponics (i.e., integrated aquaculture and hydroponics) is one form of IMTA. This is a very popular land-based form of IMTA, usually with the fish in tanks in an insulated building and the plants in an adjacent, attached   This approach is highly scalablevery small and costing only a few dollars (and fits on a kitchen countertop), to very large systems capitalized with tens of millions of dollars. 

8. Discharge water is high quality when RAS and IMTA systems are used. The discharge water (what of it there is—only small amounts) is high quality or higher than the intake water. 

9. Indoor facilities can operate year-round. In good and bad weather and employ people who otherwise may not be able to find work.

10. The excessive use of chemicals and antibiotics in aquaculture is a myth in North America,Europe, and many parts of Asia.  In fact, as aquaculture is such a fledgling industry, the controlling government departments have made the use of these compounds more difficult than most other forms of agriculture.  In the USA, the FDA highly regulates use of most chemicals and antibiotics. [5]  They are only allowed after the demonstration of need through a clinical examination and/or under the guidance of a veterinarian. 

11. Aquaculture producers avoid the use of all therapeutants (i.e., antibiotics,sterilants, vaccines, etc.) whenever possible.  They are expensive and diminish profitability.  Instead, producers are turning to probiotics, superior management techniques and equipment, and other benign forms of health maintenance.  Farmed finfish and shellfish are health food—wholesome and nutritious.

12. Third-party certification programs are now the norm in aquacultureand in all parts of the worldMuch like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval or Underwriters Laboratories UL.  They guarantee fish welfare, sustainability, environmental sensitivity, sanitation, freedom from chemical residues, and wholesomeness. 

13. Fish have a much better feed conversion ratiothan any other agriculture species. The weight of feed to weight of fish is usually at or below 1.5:1.  By comparison, swine and cattle convert at rates as high as 8:1 or more, and poultry at 2-3:1. [6]  Because fish are cold-blooded (poikilothermic), little or no food energy goes into producing heat, so much more of it is directed toward growth.  Growth is regulated by the water temperature in which the fish live.  With proper species selection and/or supplying appropriate conditions, growth rates can be optimized.  Low feed conversion ratios mean more sellable production for each unit of food consumed. 

14. Aquaculturistscan easily adjust the nutritional qualities of their fish for consumers – by simple manipulations of their feed, including eliminating contaminants. [7]  Cultured fish are as nutritious or often more nutritious than their wild-caught counterparts. [8] 

15. Fish farms canactually use less water per unit of production than cattle ranches and feed lots.  And they are virtually odorless. 

16. Aquaculture in general offers a much more efficient use of space.  Aquaculture can produce a greater amount of product in a given area by virtue of production in a three-dimensional culture environment. [9]

17. Fish farms can be the envy of the nearby conventional and regional farmers as they become models of sustainability and environmental stewardship.  Their neighbors and other customers will be proud to buy products from these facilities. 

18.  If you want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, then support aquaculture and eat farmed products.  Avoid fish from the wild. 


Buy Farm Raised Fish 

Aquaculture is not perfect (again, aquaculture is not perfect!).  No one claims it is, and aquaculture is not a panacea Translation: my eyes and mind are wide open!  But improvements are implemented every day and every year, such as alternative and sustainable aquaculture (actually, this is true for all livestock including fish) and feed ingredients (e.g., insect- and algal-based proteins and oils) which are coming on strong.  I see it all the time.  Indeed, as a consultant, I can help fix what is wrong. 

Let’s allow the wild fish to live out their lives in peace and help them to contribute to the overall health of the natural aquatic ecosystems in which they reside, as they should.  When you buy fish, buy farmed products and rest comfortably that you are doing the best for yourself and the world.  



1. FAO.  2018.  FAO yearbook.  Fishery and aquaculture statistics 2016.  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  http://www.fao.org/3/i9942t/I9942T.pdf 

2. FDA.  1999.  Guidance for industry: questions and answers for guidance to facilitate the implementation of a HACCP system in seafood processing.  U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/guidance-industry-questions-and-answers-guidance-facilitate-implementation-haccp-system-seafood 

3. Anonymous.  2019.  Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture.  Wikipedia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_multi-trophic_aquaculture 

4. Boxman, S.E., A. Kruglick, B. McCarthy, N.P. Brennan, M. Nystrom, S.J. Ergas, T. Hanson, K.L. Main, and M.A. Trotz.  2015.  Performance evaluation of a commercial land-based integrated multi-trophic aquaculture system using constructed wetlands and geotextile bags for solids treatment.  Aquacultural Engineering 69:23-36. 

5. FWS.  2015.  Approved drugs for use in aquaculture.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/aadap/PDF/2nd-Edition-FINAL.pdf 

6. Anonymous.  2018.  Feed conversion ratio.  Wikipedia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed_conversion_ratio#Beef_cattle 

7. Hardy, R.W.  2005.  Contaminants in salmon: a follow-up.  Aquaculture Magazine 31(2):43-45. 

8. Hardy, R.W.  2003.  Farmed fish and omega-3 fatty acids.  Aquaculture Magazine 29(2):63-65. 

9. Despommier, D.  2010.  Vertical farming.  Thomas Dunne Books.  New York.  305pp. 

Anyone lucky enough to live in Colorado, looks forward to the harvest of Western Slope peaches every summer. Perfect growing conditions harmonize to produce the unique sweetness and juiciness of this all-time favorite. At The Paleo Diet®, we’ve found the perfect pairing of grilled shrimp and peaches for a main course sure to please even the pickiest eater at your dinner table!



  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 cup avocado oil, plus 1/4 cup for grilling* 
  •  1 bunch Italian parsley, stems removed, rough chop 
  • 20 leaves fresh basil, stems removed, reserve half for garnish 
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed, rough chop 
  • 1/2 bunch mint, stems removed, torn, reserve for garnish 
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced  
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 tablespoons red pepper flakes 
  • 5 firm but ripe peaches, pits removed, quartered 
  •  1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined 

*Extra virgin olive oil may be used in place of avocado oil.



Note: You will need a grilling basket for cooking the shrimp.

Heat grill to medium high. In medium bowl combine lemon juice, 1 cup avocado oil (or olive oil,) parsley, basil, cilantro, mint, red onion, garlic and red pepper flakes. Place ½ of mixture in separate bowl and set aside.

Place shrimp in a third bowl and pour half of mixture over shrimp, let marinate for 30 minutes.

Brush peach quarters with remaining ¼ cup avocado oil. Place peaches on grill and cook until grill marks appear on both sides. Do not overcook. Remove shrimp from marinade and place in grilling basket. Place shrimp on the grill and cook until done, turning once.

Arrange shrimp and peaches on platter and top with reserved herb mixture.

Serves 4.

We Need Fat in Our DietsHealthy Eating | The Paleo Diet 

Avoiding fat in our diet was all the craze in the 80s and 90s, but the fact is that eating fat is how our bodies get their essential fatty acids. These fatty acids help our bodies in many ways, and we can’t produce them alone. We need to eat fat.  

Our brains are 60% fatty acids, so some fat is necessary for ensuring healthy brain function. Fat gives our brain energy and helps fight off brain disease. Monounsaturated fats play a major role in improving our learning and memory. 

And fat protects us. It’s a major building block that helps make up the walls that support and protect our cells. Many of the vital organs, especially the kidneys, heart, and intestines are cushioned by fat that helps protect them from injury and hold them in place. 

Triglycerides and cholesterol are two essential fatty acids that our bodies can’t produce on their own, and they insulate us, protect our organs, and store energy needed for exercise and everyday activities. Triglycerides can hold twice as many calories as carbohydrates and proteins, and they can be found in a variety of foods, including fruit, pork, starchy vegetables, and oily fish. 

Since the important vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins, consuming them with fats we find in certain foods helps us to absorb these vitamins into the body.  

Vitamin A is good for your vision and skin, and it helps your body defend itself from illness and infection. Eggs, fish, milk, yogurt and cheese are all sources of Vitamin A. Vitamin E also helps maintain healthy skin and strengthens the immune system. You can find vitamin E in plant oils, nuts, and seeds.  

Vitamin D regulates nutrients that keep our bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. An insufficient amount of vitamin D in a person’s diet can lead to serious issues, such as osteomalacia, or softening of the bones. A good way to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D is to get plenty of sunlight. Vitamin D can also be found in fish, eggs, and red meat.  


Different Types of Fat 

When learning about fat, we should recognize the differences between the kinds of fat in the food we eat. The three most common in our diet are saturated fat monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat.  

According to the National Health Service, only 50 to 70 grams of fat should be consumed per day, and only 20 grams should be from saturated fat. 

And saturated fat may be the most common. We find it all throughout our diets—in beef, lamb, pork, poultry, sausage, salami, cheese, butter, cream, and many snack foods and deep-fried fast food favorites. 

Monounsaturated fatty acids improve blood cholesterol levels, decreasing your risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats are found often in foods such as olive oil, nuts, avocados and whole milk. 

Polyunsaturated fats include omega3 and omega6 fatty acids. 

Omega3 fatty acids are proven to regulate blood sugar levels. A study in 2014 showed that omega-3 fatty acids can help regulate how we metabolize glucose. That means it can help to mitigate some of the harmful effects of consuming glucose and other simple carbohydrates. Omega-3 fatty acids are great for your heart—they help reduce the risk of arrhythmia, slow the build-up of plaque in your arteries, and lower your blood pressure 

Omega-6 fatty acids can help control your blood sugar, reduce your risk of diabetes, and lower your blood pressure. Though there are also negative health effects of over-consuming omega-6 fatty acids, which is common on a Western Diet. It’s important to keep a high ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in the diet. 

Almost all trans fats are byproducts of industrial fat production. This type is extremely unhealthy and grant no health benefits, unlike the naturally occurring fats.  

Low-fat and especially nonfat diets have many risks, including hormone imbalance and decreased brain function and health. Make sure to educate yourself on the healthy levels of the different types of fats. We tend to look at fat as a bad thing, but it is positively necessary for proper brain and body health. 


When those hot, dog days of summer arrive, it’s time to cool off with this refreshing and satisfying Paleo Gazpacho.  Nothing but the freshest of ingredients in this delightful meal, designed to take the edge off the heat.  Enjoy it on a shady patio or deck as the sun sinks below the horizon and the day draws to a close. Cool!  



  • 5 cups seedless watermelon (remove rind) 
  • 2 ripe heirloom tomatoes, chopped 
  • 2 large English cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1inch pieces  
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced 
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice 
  • 10 fresh basil leaves 
  • 2 Serrano peppers, stems removed and seeded 
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 

Place all ingredients into a food processor or high-powered blender and run on high to combine the ingredients – approximately 30 seconds or until fully mixed. Occasionally, the leaves may require a little more blending to be finely chopped. Once incorporated, run blender and slowly add extra virgin olive oil.  Pour into 4 bowls and top each with ¼ of the garnish.  


For the Garnish:  

Gently combine the following in a small mixing bowl and scoop onto gazpacho to serve. 

  • 4 wedges of fresh lime 
  • 1 English cucumber, small dice 
  • 2 cups watermelon, small dice 
  • 10 small fresh basil leaves 
  • 1 Serrano chili, stem removed, seeded and thinly sliced 

Serves 4. 



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