Tag Archives: The Paleo Diet

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Herb Crusted Pork Chops

Paleo Diet® fans know that pork is a fantastic source of protein and quite delicious when prepared properly. The combination of mustard with other fresh ingredients, makes this dish a family favorite.  Pair it with a side of fresh steamed veggies and you’ve got yourself a satisfying meal for you and your guests.  

  • Author: Lorrie Cordain
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 people 1x
  • Category: Pork
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 4 -4-oz. boneless pork loin chops
  • 12 tbsp Paleo spicy mustard
  • 6 oz. white mushrooms, diced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Coat a 9×13 dish with coconut oil.
  3. Season the pork chops with pepper on both sides and place them in the baking dish. Brush the top of each chop with mustard.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the mushrooms, green onions, almond meal, and parsley. Spoon the mixture evenly over the pork chops.
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the pork chops are cooked through.
  6. Serve warm.

Notes

For hundreds of pure Paleo recipes be sure to check out The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook and The Real Paleo Diet Fast and Easy 

Keywords: #pork chops #Paleo Recipes

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One of the ancestral community’s best-kept secrets is Dr. Terry Wahls’ dramatic success at reversing her own multiple sclerosis symptoms with a “Paleolithic ketogenic” diet. Seven years into her M.S. diagnosis, Wahls was mostly wheelchair-bound—sometimes able to walk short distances using canes or assistance—despite the best conventional medical care available.

After only five months on her exhaustively researched proprietary diet and lifestyle intervention, she could walk unassisted and rode a bicycle for the first time in 10 years. She remains fully active today and devotes her time to peer-reviewed research supporting this non-invasive approach to autoimmune conditions. (See this post for a summary of her recent studies.) Her book, The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles, [1] gives the details of this remarkable comeback. Her popular TED talk [2] also provides a great introduction.

In her book, Wahls credited her recovery from M.S. to the year-round ketogenic regimen she utilized. However, since the book’s publication, her experience and ongoing research have changed her perspective on what ultimately aided her recovery. She no longer recommends sustained ketogenic dieting—favoring instead what she terms metabolic resilience [3], stimulated by seasonal high-fat (potentially ketogenic) dieting supplemented by fasting strategies, while staying on a year-round low-glycemic Paleo diet. [3]

Her new book, scheduled for publication in the spring of 2020, emphasizes this approach. The current working title is REVISED AND EXPANDED: The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles. [3]

 

Evolution of the Protocol

Professor Loren Cordain’s pioneering work The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat [4] strongly influenced Wahls’ early research. She designed her own protocol around Paleolithic Diet concepts, adding a unique emphasis on vegetables (nine cups daily) to address micro- and phyto-nutrient deficiencies in the standard Western diet.

Her original protocol comprised various levels. There was the strong Paleo level, and an option to graduate to the Paleo-Keto level, called “Wahls Paleo Plus.” While Wahls and many of her patients have benefited from this Paleo-Keto combo, she also notes that all the published studies validating her approach use the “Wahls Paleo” level instead of the Keto level. [5]

She now recommends matching a high-fat, intermittently ketogenic diet to the traditional winter months of a patient’s genetic heritage. Ketosis could be induced, if desired, by including additional dietary fats or MCT oil. Olive oil is preferred over dairy fat and should be emphasized if triglyceride or total cholesterol levels spike. [3]

Fasting is central in the new protocol. In a recent email interview, Wahls revealed that her new book will extensively discuss time-restricted eating, intermittent fasting, calorie restriction, and a “fasting-mimicking” diet.

The revised book will also discuss the benefits of hormesis in diet and physical activity. This concept is characterized by biphasic dose response: low-dose exposure is beneficial while high-dose exposure is toxic. She will also address how behavior-change psychology and addiction medicine can combat overconsumption of engineered, hyper-palatable foods, as well as new information on both electro-stimulation benefits and stem cell research. [6]

 

“Metabolic switching” leads to resilience

Other researchers have also noted the hormetic benefits of intermittent metabolic switching, or transitioning from ketone- to glucose-based energy production within short time frames.

A 2018 study entitled Intermittent metabolic switching, neuroplasticity, and brain health notes [7]:

“This metabolic switch in cellular fuel source is accompanied by cellular and molecular adaptations of neural networks in the brain that enhance their functionality and bolster their resistance to stress, injury, and disease.”

The authors used the example of ancestral populations who experienced extended exercise, typically while fasted, followed by rest and re-feeding after a successful hunt.

This metabolic switching promotes neuroplasticity, optimizing lifelong brain function and resilience, especially neuronal circuits related to cognition and mood. [7] Other studies have separately shown that calorie reduction or fasting increases autophagy (cellular hygiene) [8] and that ketosis promotes mitochondrial biogenesis. [9]

The switching also protects against some lesser-known downsides of sustained ketosis. According to Wahls:

“I shift away from prolonged ketosis except for specific indication, as ketosis sends a cellular signal that we are lacking sufficient nutrition. [As a result], our thyroid is down-regulated toward hibernation, our sex hormones are down-regulated to reduce likelihood of pregnancy; short term there is an increase in nerve growth factors but long-term insufficiencies of thyroid and sex hormones accelerate brain atrophy.” [6]

Other drawbacks of sustained ketosis are the possibility of mineral deficiency—induced metabolic acidosis, as noted by Professor Cordain [10], and reduced microbiome diversity. [11-12]

 

The “resilience” lifestyle

Wahls has incorporated metabolic switching into her daily routine; the result is that she weighs the same as she did when she won a bronze medal in Taekwondo during the trials for the 1978 Pan American Games. [3]

Her current regimen includes [3]:

  • Food selection: consistent adherence to a low-glycemic Paleo diet.
  • One meal per day
  • Fasting: each month, for one week, either water-only (includes green tea) or calorie-restricted “fasting-mimicking” diet.
  • December-March: high fat, lower carb macro ratios, including only non-starchy, raw, or fermented vegetables. She uses olive oil generously as a condiment and avoids most fruit in these months.
  • April-November: low glycemic carbohydrates increase, mostly in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables—often from Wahls’ own garden (including cherries, berries, and paw-paws.) Fresh pesto, heavy on the olive oil and self-grown herbs, is a staple. Occasional small servings of cooked starchy vegetables are permitted.
  • Ongoing: Electrical stimulation therapy, vibration-plate and strength training, and vitamin D supplementation. These are not a change from the original protocol.

Readers should note that Wahls follows this strict regimen to keep her M.S. symptoms at bay. This is not a “weight loss” program as such, and medical supervision of any new diet, especially one built around fasting, is recommended.

 

Should extended keto be medically supervised?

Again, while we do not promote a long-term ketogenic diet here at the Paleo Diet, there are health reasons, such as those that Wahls addresses, that may necessitate longer ketogenic periods. Medical professionals have successfully treated epilepsy with keto for almost one hundred years. [13]

More recently, a ketogenic diet has been shown to be effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, [14-15] multiple sclerosis, [16] and even cancer. [17]

The question is whether that can be done in a healthy manner. The fact is that even Wahls has shifted away from a long-term ketogenic approach.

Patients succeed on a ketogenic diet by following strict guidelines, typically under medical supervision. Full compliance is reported to be difficult, although even partial compliance may have some effect. [18]

These guidelines are not popular “diet book” DIY plans, but tailored “prescriptions” by medical doctors—including Wahls.

The potential negative health consequences of unrestricted, general use by the public of a ketogenic diet—often promoted by non-medical authors and bloggers— could be partially mitigated by greater physician involvement, assuming said doctor understood diet-based therapies in general, and keto in particular, and how to implement them.

A less physician-intensive approach might be at least a relaxed version of Wahls new regimen: keep moving, eat less (and less often), eat more fat in winter, and stay low-glycemic Paleo.

Wahls’ evolved rationale for abandoning year-round keto, based both on personal experience and published research, appears both biologically and historically sound.

 

References

1. Wahls, Terry, M. D., and Eve Adamson. The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles. Reprint edition, Avery, 2014.
2. Wahls, Terry. YouTube. 30 Nov. 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc.
3. Email interview, 1/21/20
4. Cordain, Loren. The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat. Revised edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2010.
5. Email interview, 9/3/19
6. Email interview, 2/7/20
7. Mattson, Mark P., et al. “Intermittent Metabolic Switching, Neuroplasticity and Brain Health.” Nature Reviews. Neuroscience, vol. 19, no. 2, 2018, pp. 63–80. PubMed, doi:10.1038/nrn.2017.156.
8. Antunes, Fernanda, et al. “Autophagy and Intermittent Fasting: The Connection for Cancer Therapy?” Clinics, vol. 73, 2018. PubMed Central, doi:10.6061/clinics/2018/e814s.
9. Hasan-Olive, Md Mahdi, et al. “A Ketogenic Diet Improves Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Bioenergetics via the PGC1α-SIRT3-UCP2 Axis.” Neurochemical Research, vol. 44, no. 1, Jan. 2019, pp. 22–37. PubMed, doi:10.1007/s11064-018-2588-6.
10. Cordain, Loren Ph.D. “Paleo Diet Guide – Ketogenic Diets: Long-Term Nutritional And Metabolic Deficiencies | The Paleo DietTM.” The Paleo Diet®, 19 June 2018, https://thepaleodiet.com/ketogenic-diets-long-term-nutritional-and-metabolic-deficiencies/.
11. How a Low-Carb Diet Might Impact Gut Health. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323171. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.
12. Brinkworth, Grant D., et al. “Comparative Effects of Very Low-Carbohydrate, High-Fat and High-Carbohydrate, Low-Fat Weight-Loss Diets on Bowel Habit and Faecal Short-Chain Fatty Acids and Bacterial Populations.” The British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 101, no. 10, May 2009, pp. 1493–502. PubMed, doi:10.1017/S0007114508094658.
13 Wheless, James W. “History of the Ketogenic Diet.” Epilepsia, vol. 49 Suppl 8, Nov. 2008, pp. 3–5. PubMed, doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01821.x.
14. Bredesen, Dale E. The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline. Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House, 2017. Electronic edition
15. Newport, Mary T. Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure?: The Story of Ketones. Second edition, Basic Health Publications, Inc, 2013.
16. Whiteside, David. “How Dr. Terry Wahls Improved Her Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms.” The Paleo Diet®, 18 Jan. 2020, https://thepaleodiet.com/dr-terry-wahls-improved-multiple-sclerosis-symptoms/.
17.Seyfried, Thomas N., et al. “Press-Pulse: A Novel Therapeutic Strategy for the Metabolic Management of Cancer.” Nutrition & Metabolism, vol. 14, no. 1, Feb. 2017, p. 19. BioMed Central, doi:10.1186/s12986-017-0178-2.
18. Bredesen, P. 308

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Green Shakshuka

Rise and Shine!  This breakfast dish of eggs and tomatoes, popular in Mediterranean cultures, is packed with everything you need to start your day off right.  Heat up your taste buds with fresh veggies and spices, topped off with powerpacked protein from free-range eggs.  No wonder this dish has found its way to the tables of Paleo Diet® fans throughout the world.  Serve it up with your favorite fresh fruit for a delicious way to begin your day’s adventures. 

  • Author: Lorrie Cordain
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 people 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 2 medium sized zucchinis, julienned
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, tightly packed
  • 34 free-range eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and jalapeno and sauté for an additional 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the zucchini, oregano, and cumin. Season with black pepper to taste.
  5. Once the zucchini is soft, stir in the spinach and continue cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the pan and pat down all cooked ingredients so the mixture is evenly distributed.
  7. Make 3-4 small wells in the cooked mixture and crack an egg into each.
  8. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the eggs are set.
  9. Serve immediately.

Notes

For hundreds of pure Paleo recipes be sure to check out The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook and The Real Paleo Diet Fast and Easy 

Keywords: #Paleo Recipe #Green Shakshuka #Paleo Breakfast

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The importance of a good night’s sleep can’t be overstated. Without the proper quantity and quality of sleep, our mood can deteriorate, our ability to focus often erodes, and we frequently feel run down, lethargic, and on edge. Research and anecdotal evidence all support the notion that sleep is integral to our overall health. In stressful times such as these, when a strong immune system is critical, quality sleep is paramount.

The latest sleep research suggests the quality and quantity of your sleep influences every component of human physiology. That influence extends to physical health, mortality, mental health, safety, learning, productivity, as well as our personal and professional relationships. Research even indicates that insufficient sleep shortens your life span. It’s no different when it comes to your immune system.

The current COVID-19 pandemic affects each of us differently; still, improving one’s immune system is universally beneficial. Sources on social media and the Internet abound with recommendations to improve one’s immune system; in most cases nutritional solutions are suggested. While eating well and staying fit are important components to maintaining a healthy immune system, sleep is often neglected.

Despite consuming one-third of our lives, sleep is one of the last basic physiological needs to be understood; there is still a great deal to be learned. While we have analyzed much about the drive to eat, drink, and reproduce, for a long time physiologists knew little about the drive to sleep and why we “repeatedly and routinely lapse into a state of apparent coma.” Scientists were also puzzled why our “mind will often be filled with stunning, bizarre hallucinations”!(1)

From an evolutionary perspective, sleep would seem to be a foolish practice, since none of the other drives can be accomplished while we sleep. Importantly, it also leaves one vulnerable to predators. Consequently, we can reason that there must be significant benefits to sleep that outweigh the negatives. Indeed, it now appears that there is not one major organ or process within the brain that does not benefit from sleep.

For the past 30 years, a significant body of research has examined the effect sleep has on human immunity. The internal clock we all possess, also known as our circadian rhythm, exists in every one of our cells, including those of our immune system. A great deal of research explaining the impact of sleep on our immune systems can be found for free at Pubmed.gov. (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)

With an understanding that the strength of your immune system is highly dependent on the quality and quantity of our sleep, the question becomes: How does one improve both of these important factors? There is more to it than simply telling someone to get more sleep.

 

Sleep 101

First, let’s review some basic sleep physiology. Contrary to what many people believe, we do not all possess the same circadian rhythm, and we possess this internal clock independent of the sun’s cycle.

This was demonstrated in an experiment conducted by Professor Nathaniel Kleitman and his research assistant Bruce Richardson from the University of Chicago in 1938. (1) Loaded with enough food and water to last for 32 days, along with a host of measuring devices to assess their body temperatures and their waking and sleeping rhythms, the research team went deep into Mammoth Cave in Kentucky where there is no detectable sunlight. Removed from the daily cycle of light and dark, they discovered that their biological rhythms of sleep and wakefulness, together with body temperature, were not erratic but showed a predictable and repeating pattern of approximately fifteen hours of wakefulness along with bouts of about nine hours of sleep. Further, these repeating cycles were not exactly 24 hours in duration. Richardson, in his twenties, developed a sleep-wake cycle of between twenty-six and twenty-eight hours long, whereas Kleitman, in his forties, was closer to, but still longer than, 24 hours.

The discovery that our innate biological clock is not exactly 24 hours is what led to the nomenclature of circadian rhythm (circa – “around” dian – derivative of diam – “day”). That is, one that is approximately one day in length, but not precisely one day.

We now know that, on average, adult humans display an endogenous circadian clock of about 24 hours and 15 minutes in length, 900 seconds longer than the 24-hour rotation of the Earth. And while a number of repeating cues, such as food consumption, exercise and temperature fluctuations, can help to reset our internal clock to 24 hours exactly, daylight is the preferential signal to do this. Sitting in the middle of our brains is the suprachiasmatic nucleus, located where the optic nerves from our eyeballs cross. This very small mass of approximately 20,000 brain cells uses light from the sun to act as the central conductor of our biological processes.

When sleep is measured in a laboratory, electrodes are used to record signals coming from three different areas: brainwave activity, eye movement activity, and muscle activity. These signals are grouped together under the term polysomnography (PSG). Measuring these activities allows the creation of a sleep cycle, also known as a hypnogram. Figure 1 shows the structure of such a sleep cycle, and being familiar with this pattern is crucial to understanding the recommendations for improving the quantity and quality of sleep.

A Sleep Cycle Hypnogram

Figure 1. A Sleep Cycle Hypnogram recreated from Why We Sleep. (1)

In 1952, Eugene Aserinsky, a graduate student working in Professor Kleitman’s laboratory, made the important observation that the eyes would rapidly move from side-to-side during sleep, coinciding with very active brainwaves. (These characteristics were remarkably similar to those of a wide-awake brain.) There would also be periods when the eyes would be still. They named these different stages of sleep non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). It was further discovered that these two phases of sleep would repeat in a somewhat consistent pattern.

Along with the help of William Dement, another graduate student, Aserinsky made the observation that REM sleep was associated with dreaming.

Since these early discoveries, NREM sleep has been further divided into four stages, with stages three and four representing the deepest stages of sleep. We cycle through all of these stages multiple times per night, and the time spent in each stage changes with each cycle. For example, the longest time spent in the REM stage occurs in the later cycles of sleep; the full cycle of all stages repeats consistently every 90 minutes.

 

Improving the Quality and Quantity of Sleep to Benefit Your Immune System

We learned earlier that the suprachiasmatic nucleus is the key to re-setting our internal clock. Consequently, it is important that we allow our sleep-wake cycle to get its daily correction by going outside in the morning (without sunglasses!)—preferably between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. Try to make this a regular habit: Find an activity you can do outside for at least 45 minutes, if possible.

If you live at a latitude where the winter months are extremely short, and darkness pervades many months of the year, there are products that provide the light with the desired wavelength, such as alarm clocks that mimic the rising sun.

When improving sleep quality, it’s also helpful to understand the sleep cycle. Knowing that each cycle lasts 90 minutes, it stands to reason that sleeping for five cycles (7.5 hours) per night offers the ideal amount of sleep. This equates to 35 cycles per week. Now, to reduce your stress around sleep, consider this: Your goal should be to get 35 cycles per week instead of always getting five cycles per night. It helps that we are quite capable of catching up a few cycles here and there. (Let’s face it, life can easily get in the way of your planned bedtime.) It’s also helpful to realize that some individuals do fine even if they get fewer than 35 cycles, while others will find they do better if they get a few more.

It’s also important to know what the best bedtime is for your needs. To do this, first establish when your body wants to wake up in the morning. This is a personal choice, not a societal demand that forces you into its timetable. So, if you were living on a desert island with no commitments, when would your body want to wake up? This time is usually pretty consistent, even if you do not get to bed at a normal hour.

Our current situation of having to work from home might just be the perfect time for you to try and figure this out. Once you have established your wake-up time, you can establish your bedtime as 7.5 hours prior. So, as an example, if you determine that your body likes to wake up at 6 a.m., then you should try to fall asleep at 10:30 p.m. the previous night. In order to fall asleep, you should get into a bedtime routine that helps you do so—whether it’s taking a hot bath or reading a book, find something that helps. If you must use your computer late at night, purchase a pair of glasses that block blue light waves, which have been shown to disrupt sleep quality.

 

Morning Larks and Night Owls

Some of you may feel that 6 a.m. is ridiculously early and might even struggle to get out of bed before 9 a.m. Herein lies the issue of your genetic chronotype. If 9 a.m. sounds more appealing, you are not a morning lark (as sleep researchers like to call it). Rather, you are a night owl (i.e., one that functions very well long into the night). For too long, night owls have been labeled lazy for struggling to rise early, and society has created a timetable that favors the morning lark. About 40 percent of us are morning larks, 30 percent are night owls, and a further 30 percent are a mix of the two (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Genetic Chronotype Percentages

From an evolutionary perspective, this makes perfect sense, as in primitive times staggering our sleep within a tribe would provide greater security from predators.

But, because society has created a timetable that favors the morning lark, night owls typically get less sleep. As a result, they have higher rates of depression, anxiety, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Consequently, if you are a night owl and care about your health, you need to find a job with an employer that understands this issue and provides flexible hours. The employer would benefit from increased productivity and you would help your health and longevity. Thankfully, this is now happening. So, for the individual that likes to wake at 9 a.m., your bedtime is 1:30 a.m. Own and embrace it!

 

Catch the Next Cycle

Regardless of your chronotype, and despite the best plans, there are going to be many occasions when you miss your bedtime. If your bedtime is 10:30 p.m. and you miss it, do not rush to get to bed by 11 p.m. (i.e., 30 minutes into your intended first cycle). Instead, you will be better off going to bed at the start time of your intended second cycle (i.e., 90 minutes past your bedtime) at midnight. You will then get four good cycles. Later , if you are able and feel you need it, you can get another full 90-minute cycle as a nap the following day. If 90 minutes is not possible, a 20-30 minute nap can help; avoid a 45-60 minute nap since you will be waking out of the deeper stages of sleep.

And if you have a hard time getting to sleep at the start of one of your cycles (and not just the first cycle, since many people wake following a REM stage when they are close to wakefulness), do not lie there struggling. If you have not fallen asleep after about 15 minutes of trying, get up and keep yourself busy until the start of another cycle. just as in the above example when missing your bedtime.

These approaches will often relieve the pressure and anxiety many feel when sleep becomes a challenge.

 

For more help with your sleep

Obviously, there is a lot more to developing good sleep protocols. However, the above tips are where we’d recommend you start if you are trying to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.

If you want to go deeper or need greater help, consider the writing of Nick Littlehales, a world-renowned and self-proclaimed “sleep coach” who has worked with the likes of Manchester United FC, Manchester City FC, Liverpool FC, Real Madrid C.F., UK Athletics & British Cycling, and many top corporations to improve the sleep of their athletes and employees. His book “Sleep” (13) is a great resource. He also has a lot of tips you can follow on his Instagram feed @_sportsleepcoach.

You may also consider “Why We Sleep” by Mathew Walker, PhD. (1)

 

References

1. Walker M, Why We Sleep, Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. Scribner, 2017.
2. Mazzoccoli G, Vinciguerra M, Carbone A, Relógio A. The Circadian Clock, the Immune System, and Viral Infections: The Intricate Relationship Between Biological Time and Host-Virus Interaction. Pathogens. 2020 Jan 27;9(2). pii: E83. doi: 10.3390/pathogens9020083. Review. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0817/9/2/83/htm
3. Haspel JA, Anafi R, Brown MK, Cermakian N, Depner C, Desplats P, Gelman AE, Haack M, Jelic S, Kim BS, Laposky AD, Lee YC, Mongodin E, Prather AA, Prendergast BJ, Reardon C, Shaw AC, Sengupta S, Szentirmai É, Thakkar M, Walker WE, Solt LA. Perfect timing: circadian rhythms, sleep, and immunity – an NIH workshop summary. JCI Insight. 2020 Jan 16;5(1). pii: 131487. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.131487. Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7030790/
4. Oikonomou G, Prober DA. Linking immunity and sickness-induced sleep. Science. 2019 Feb 1;363(6426):455-456. doi: 10.1126/science.aaw2113. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6628894/
5. Barik S. Molecular Interactions between Pathogens and the Circadian Clock. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 20;20(23). pii: E5824. doi: 10.3390/ijms20235824. Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6928883/
6. Ibarra-Coronado EG, Pérez-Torres A, Pantaleón-Martínez AM, Velazquéz-Moctezuma J, Rodriguez-Mata V, Morales-Montor J. Innate immunity modulation in the duodenal mucosa induced by REM sleep deprivation during infection with Trichinella spirallis. Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 4;7:45528. doi: 10.1038/srep45528. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5379483/
7. Irwin MR, Opp MR. Sleep Health: Reciprocal Regulation of Sleep and Innate Immunity. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017 Jan;42(1):129-155. doi: 10.1038/npp.2016.148. Epub 2016 Aug 11. Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5143488/
8. Almeida CM, Malheiro A. Sleep, immunity and shift workers: A review. Sleep Sci. 2016 Jul-Sep;9(3):164-168. doi: 10.1016/j.slsci.2016.10.007. Epub 2016 Nov 6. Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241621/
9. Opp MR, Krueger JM. Sleep and immunity: A growing field with clinical impact. Brain Behav Immun. 2015 Jul;47:1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2015.03.011. Epub 2015 Apr 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4685944/
10. Ibarra-Coronado EG, Pantaleón-Martínez AM, Velazquéz-Moctezuma J, Prospéro-García O, Méndez-Díaz M, Pérez-Tapia M, Pavón L, Morales-Montor J. The Bidirectional Relationship between Sleep and Immunity against Infections. J Immunol Res. 2015;2015:678164. doi: 10.1155/2015/678164. Epub 2015 Aug 31. Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4568388/
11. Ali T, Choe J, Awab A, Wagener TL, Orr WC. Sleep, immunity and inflammation in gastrointestinal disorders. World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Dec 28;19(48):9231-9. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i48.9231. Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3882397/
12. Zielinski MR, Krueger JM. Sleep and innate immunity. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2011 Jan 1;3:632-42. Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3645929/
13. Littlehales N, Sleep, The Myth of 8 Hours, the Power of Naps . . . and the New Plan to Recharge Your Body and Mind. Da Capo Press, 2016.

 

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Are you wondering what to purchase when the stores are packed with panicking people but completely devoid of packaged items on the shelves?

During this challenging time when so many are scared and uncertain what to do, we need more voices and thought leaders to help us find our calm amid the chaos.

By no means am I downplaying the magnitude of what we’re facing now during the coronavirus pandemic. But, if we allow what we see in the news and read online to get the better of our imaginations, we could easily find ourselves in fight or flight mode most, or possibly all, of the time.

Ultimately, all we can do is take the proverbial bull by the horns, prepare, and then make a plan.

Which is precisely why it’s important, now more than ever, that we integrate whatever it is that will help each of us to find our calm.

Meditate.  Do yoga.  Move your body.  Go outside and get fresh air.  And, importantly, eat real food to boost our immune systems, thereby boosting our body’s natural ability to ward off whatever may come our way.

 

Foods to Keep Your Immune System Strong

Below is my recommended list of what to stock up on, much of which can be purchased at a local farmer’s market or grocery store.

  • WATER:  Unless you’ve already gone through the exercise of having a filtration system put into your home, having a stock of clean water in glass bottles is the absolute first necessity.
  • BONE BROTH:  A properly sourced and prepared bone broth is key to supporting our gut biome and therefore helping our bodies stay strong and fight inflammation. Given the likelihood that the farmer’s markets will close soon, I’ve started serving my customers by delivery in the L.A. area; dig deep in your area if you’re not making your own and are unsure of where to get a good option.  The local butcher is the best place to start.  Look for organic, 100-percent grass-fed and finished and/or pasture-raised on the labeling; a thick, gelatinous consistency; and a delicious taste in order to ensure you’re getting the best option where you live.
  • FATS:   Try coconut oil, MCT, avocado oil,  and grass-fed tallow.  These are shelf stable, and products you’ll use anyway, so it’s not money wasted in any sense of the word. Not only are these items an essential part of an eating plan that is suitable for someone who opts for a low-carbohydrate Paleo Diet approach, they’re delicious and satiating—just what we’d need in the event of an emergency.
  • PROTEINS:   Think grass-fed and finished ground beef, short ribs and steaks, bison, pasture-raised chicken and ground turkey, pasture-raised pork chops, pork butt or shoulder. These are just a short list of some of the proteins you can purchase at your farmer’s market and then freeze to have on hand, defrosting one-by-one as needed.  If you don’t have access to a farmer’s market, check out online sources such as US Wellness Meats.
  • FRESH PRODUCE:   While plain, organic frozen veggies are an option, you’ll save significantly if you can buy locally, then chop, flash steam or blanche, and freeze them on your own.  Some of my favorites include broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, and asparagus.  Berries, naturally low in sugar and high in fiber, freeze well.  Fresh garlic is a natural antioxidant, and oregano is a natural anti-microbial to boot!
  • SEA VEGGIES:   These are something important to all of us, not just those dealing with autoimmune disease. (For an autoimmune protocol, eating seaweed and the like is essential as it provides necessary dietary iodine which balances the sulfur we get from crucifers, thereby supporting healthy thyroid function.)   Shelf stable, sea veggies will last for long periods of time in our pantries as well.
  • NUTS: If you’re not following an autoimmune protocol (AIP), raw, organic, sprouted walnuts, in particular, can be good non-perishables to have on hand.
  • PROBIOTICS:   A healthy gut biome is always a goal, but especially now when we want to make ourselves as resilient as possible there’s advantages to adding a top-quality probiotic to your routine.  I like .  Unless you have specific recommendations to avoid probiotics from your doctor (in some instances, those with already compromised immune systems may need to be more cautious before starting probiotics.)Mega Spore.  Try some for yourself, unless you have specific recommendations to avoid probiotics from your doctor. (In some instances, those with already compromised immune systems may need to be more cautious before starting probiotics.)
  • BPA-FREE CANNED WILD FISH:   This is certainly a time where the ‘in a pinch’ category comes into play. Typically, I’m not one to recommend much of anything that comes in a can, but given the times we are in at the moment, having small, freshwater fish in your pantry that are naturally low in mercury is a smart idea.  Brands such as Wild Planet offer these options in BPA-free cans.
  • DRIED / POWDERED PROTEINS: As with the canned fish, right now, high quality grass-fed and finished jerky, biltong, and even Epic brand bars are good options to have on hand.  Be sure to read the ingredients list to ensure the products don’t contain soy. (Soy is often used as a tenderizing agent.) Protein powders may also come in handy; again, read the ingredient list to make sure you know what you’re eating and that nothing you’re about to ingest is going to contribute to inflammation, such as whey, soy, or untoward oils.

To make sure your immune system is running at full speed right now, there is another category to consider: supplements.   Vitamin D, zinc, colloidal silver, and glutathione are some of the basics that can further boost all the mega-health benefits you’re getting from unprocessed foods.

 

Now That You’re Prepared

Once you’ve got all the items on your list ticked off, you’ve done everything you can on when it comes to healthy food to prepare for what may come.

At that point, employ common-sense behaviors—washing hands and keeping our distance to others. Then, if we feel like we’re beginning to fight off a bug, we are truly as armed as we can be.

Finally, find your calm.

It’s worth reiterating: Whether it’s mediating using an app, learning thought meditation, reading up on the work of whichever positive thought leaders with whom you resonate, attending the church you belong to, or simply doing whatever it is that helps you feel connected to something bigger, do it and do it in a big way.

Refuse to let the negative messaging get the better of you; it is a choice well within your control. The more we channel positivity around us, the more we can share it with those around us, be they few or many.

We will get through this.

For more tips on how to prepare and stock up during this time, check out Lauren Fellows recent article on Preparing During Covid-19.

 

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Paleo Salmon Burgers with Mustard Sauce

There’s something fishy going on at The Paleo Diet® and we are loving it!  This unique method for preparing salmon has quickly become a team favorite.  Get your Omega 3s and add some spice to your life at the same time.  We’re sure you will love these fast and easy burgers topped with the tangy flavors of the mustard sauce.  The simple prep and simple cleanup will appeal to your kitchen crew as well.  Enjoy! 

  • Author: Lorrie Cordain
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 32 minutes
  • Yield: 4-5 people 1x
  • Category: Fish
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 12 ozwild salmon fillets, skin removed and finely chopped 
  • 1 egg, beaten 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 green onions, chopped 
  • 1/4 tsp pepper 
  • Dash of cayenne 
  • 1/4 cup almond flour 
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil, for the pan 

For the mustard sauce: 

  • 3 tbsp Paleo mayonnaise 
  • ¼ cup spicy Paleo mustard 
  • 12 tbsp lemon juice 

Instructions

For the burgers: 

  1. In a large bowl, combineallingredients and mix well. Use your hands to form 4-5 burger patties, firmly packed. Place patties on a platter and set aside. 
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the ingredients for the mustard sauce. Adjust lemon juice to taste. Set aside.
  3. Melt coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the salmon patties and cook for 4-6 minutes per side, until browned and opaque throughout. Serve warm, drizzled with mustard sauce.

Notes

For hundreds of pure Paleo recipes be sure to check out The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook and The Real Paleo Diet Fast and Easy 

Keywords: salmon, Paleo, fish, salmon burger, mustard

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Have you seen it yet?

If you have, and you’re thinking you’ve got to ‘go vegan’ as the main takeaway, it’s worth considering whether all the information presented should be taken at face value, or if, just perhaps, some of it may have been taken just a tad out of context.

The latest in a series of documentaries, many of which contain scientific backing and sound research, Game Changers, is “a revolutionary new film about meat, protein and strength”, and “tells the story of James Wilks, elite Special Forces trainer and The Ultimate Fighter winner, as he travels the world on a quest to uncover the optimal diet for human performance. Showcasing elite athletes, special ops soldiers, visionary scientists, cultural icons, and everyday heroes, what James discovers permanently changes his understanding of food and his definition of true strength.” (1)

The film and the website, both extremely well produced and presented, give a host of reasons why ‘eating meat is bad’ including the old go-to that ‘meat causes cancer’, that animal products create inflammation in humans, and that livestock require excessive land because animals are actually just the “middlemen,” consuming on average six times more protein than they even produce.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Now all those things are relatively true… if we’re talking about beef sourced from inhumane stock yards, chicken from deplorable battery-cage production facilities stacked as high as the ceiling who never see the light of day, and pigs stuffed into pens so small they cannot turn around.

None of these practices are acceptable and as a starting point, should never be supported in any manner.

Add to that, the way in which our common foods are packaged and processed, then served to us in giant portions on a platter; or a to-go bags from many of the nearly quarter of a million fast food eateries that existed as of 2018. (2)

Preservatives are added to allow a longer shelf life. Sugars are also added to cater to the cloyingly sweet palate so many Americans have unknowingly created for themselves after a lifetime of including the white powder as part of their ‘everything in moderation’ directive. Finally, there’s the FDA approved colors and stabilizers. What ends up in our greasy burger, wrapped in paper, is certainly far from anything that should be a part of what any of us eat regularly, if ever.

But what about properly sourced animal-based products, eaten in the proper quantities (as in small to moderate), balanced with a plethora of local, in season veggies, fruits and ample natural fats?

That’s a horse of a different color.

Below are ten reasons why ‘going vegan’ after watching this film—or for any other reason, for that matter—isn’t necessarily the best course of action.

 

1. Proper Sourcing of Animal Products Benefits the Environment

When properly managed, raising animals on pasture instead of factory farms is a net benefit to the environment. To begin with, a diet of grazed grass requires much less fossil fuel than a feedlot diet of dried corn and soy. On pasture, grazing animals do their own fertilizing and harvesting. The ground is covered with greens all year round, so it does an excellent job of harvesting solar energy and holding on to top-soil and moisture. As you will read in the bulletins below, grazed pasture removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere more effectively than any land use, including forestland and un-grazed prairie, helping to slow global warming. (3)

2. Portions

Meat, eggs, and dairy products from pastured animals are ideal for your health. Compared with commercial products, they offer you more “good” fats, and fewer “bad” fats. They are richer in antioxidants including vitamins E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Furthermore, they do not contain traces of added hormones, antibiotics or other drugs. At one point in Game Changers a group of three pro ball players were interviewed; two of whom regularly ate excessive portions of steak or fried chicken as part of their pre-game meal. The third was vegetarian, and often ate a bean and cheese burrito.  Not only was the sourcing of the proteins sub-par for the first two, at-best, the sheer size of the steak was enough to feed four athletes.   For comparison, a pre-game meal for a large man, consisting of 4-6 ounces of grass fed and finished rib eye,  paired with a large arugula, avocado and olive oil salad, a large portion of steamed broccoli with fresh lime, and six ounces of baked yam would provide ample carbohydrate, fat and protein, a high level of nutrient density, fiber and a net alkaline load on the body. This meal would set the athlete up for proper digestion and assimilation; just what is needed to perform at a high level, not solely in sport but also in daily life.

3. Plant Based Needn’t Mean Vegan

Whoever decided that a plant-based diet and moderate portions of mindfully sourced proteins cannot be one and the same?  I consider the way I eat and the way I feed my family, including our 7-month old son, to be plant based.   If over 80% of what we are eating is local, in season, organic veggies and a little bit of fruit, how could it be classified as anything else?   When we portion our meat properly, and not in the greedy manner we’ve grown accustomed to, we are, in fact, plant-based and treating our body and our planet respectfully.

4. Vegan-Labeled Food Isn’t Necessarily Healthy

Any diet that one may choose to follow can be taken out of context, even if it is based on sound principles.  We saw it with gluten-free, then Paleo and now keto.    An authentic Paleo Diet, which mimics the foods our ancestors ate using readily available foods we can source in our modern day society from our farmer’s markets and our own backyards, is a far cry from a grocery cart full of Paleo-labeled pancakes, breads, cookies, and pasta.    If what one gleans from this film—or other documentaries like it including What the Health or Forks over Knives—is just to nix any animal products, then all they are doing is taking a lateral step in terms of the net inflammation in the body.   If it’s in a package, it’s quite likely to be highly processed and low or completely lacking in nutrient density.

5. Vegan Food Production Can Also Be Toxic to Our Planet

Soy crops rob the soil of nutrients without giving back. They’re one of the most pesticide laden crops and they are now almost all genetically modified. The major part of it goes to feed livestock, who get sick eating it. Some factory produced cuts of meat are now injected with extra soy. This is yet another reason to stay clear of factory-farmed animals: save yourself and the environment from soy.

Monsanto, the largest soy producer now sues every farmer who gets their soy cross-pollinated by Monsanto’s patented GMO crops. Cross-pollination used to be the way plants reproduced, now it’s illegal! It should actually be the opposite, where the farmers sue Monsanto for infecting their crops, but of course Monsanto is now too big to be vulnerable. They have very strong political power because of the lobbying they do. (4)

And that’s just the part we ingest. It is also packaged in plastic waste which is collected for recycling and shipped to Indonesia. There, some is burned as fuel by tofu makers, producing deadly chemicals and contaminating food. (5)

6. Vegan Diets Can Also Create Inflammation

It’s not only poorly sourced meat, dairy and poultry that can create inflammation in the body; grains, beans, vegetable oils, and some nuts and seeds, can also do an excellent job. Naturally occurring substances known as anti-nutrients, including saponins, lectins or phytates, found in plant-derived foods, interfere with absorption and/or the proper functioning of nutrients in the body.

Anti-nutrients are compounds that are produced by plants as part of their defense mechanism. They are very resistant to digestion and consequently, stay intact in our gut and, in turn, can have a damaging effect. Not only do they bind to nutrients in our healthy food options, decreasing the nutrient value of those foods, they can increase gut permeability as well as bind receptors in the gut. Both mechanisms allow these antinutrients to cross the gut barrier and get systemic access, something that should not happen. This then leads to a multitude of symptoms that can manifest throughout the body, ranging from headaches, mental fogginess, joint pain, and the onset or exacerbation of autoimmune conditions…just to list a handful of the maladies that can ensue. (6)

7. Small Amounts of Mindfully Sourced, Natural Proteins Are an Essential Component of a Healthy Human Diet 

Studies show that the modern human brain consumes 20 percent of the body’s energy at rest; twice that of other primates. Historically, meat and cooked foods were needed to provide the necessary calorie boost to feed a growing brain. Meat must have been an integral, and not sporadic, element of the pre-human diet more than one-million years ago. (7)

8. Properly Sourced Animal Foods Play A Crucial Role in A Baby’s First Foods 

Animal-sourced zinc stimulates healthier bones and low zinc stunts growth.  Vegan children, especially boys, tend to be shorter because getting enough zinc from birth through age five can metabolically program your child’s height.  In addition, higher zinc levels lead to improved cognitive development.  In one study, researchers compared adding meat or iron fortified cereal to exclusively breast-fed infants and found that the meat-fed infants had substantially higher rate of brain growth and demonstrated trends towards other advanced developmental advantages. (8)

9. Performance on the Field / Performance in Life Also Depends on Our Genetics, and It’s Not One Size Fits All

We’re all individuals.   The idea that all humans should eat exactly the same way makes about as much sense as the idea that every woman across the world should have a menstrual cycle that lasts exactly 28 days all the time.   If we begin by taking a look-back to a few generations earlier, we can see what our own genetics would likely predispose us to.  And while certain populations certainly tend to have a more meat-based diet and others a more plant-based diet, if we go back a hundred years or so, you can rest assured that most people were not going out of their way to avoid any and all meat and animal products as a means to prevent heart disease or keep their blood sugar from climbing up even further to the pre-diabetic range.  They ate locally, seasonally and fresh.   They ate food.   It was only in the past 75 years or so that food began to become an industry; a hugely profitable giant.    If we do nothing else, just by taking a moment to see what our own families ate, we can see how that compares to what we’re eating now and make small changes to mimic what they did.

10. Here’s an Idea: What if We Nixed All the Labeling and Just Ate Food?

I always find it interesting to learn all the new ways we choose to label the way in which we eat.   Pesco-vegetarian. Pegan. Part-time vegan.   Weekend Paleo.   What if we just dialed it way back to tuning into what food really is: food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism’s cells to provide energy, maintain life, or stimulate growth. (9)  Confused and overwhelmed about how to decipher confusing labels?   Choose things that do not come in a package with a label.   There’s no doubting what’s in a bunch of kale or an avocado!

 

Summing It up…

Undoubtedly, documentaries of this nature do a great job at raising awareness and granted, if someone following the Standard American Diet makes positive shifts as a result, that’s fantastic.

But to eschew all animal products regardless of where they’re sourced,  how much we eat, and in what manner they’re prepared isn’t the straightforward answer one might think if they walk away from the film without mulling over some of the points shared above.

 

References

  1. https://gamechangersmovie.com
  2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/196619/total-number-of-fast-food-restaurants-in-the-us-since-2002/
  3. http://www.eatwild.com/environment.html
  4. https://paleoleap.com/dangers-soy/
  5. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/world/asia/indonesia-tofu-dioxin-plastic.html
  6. https://thepaleodiet.com/antinutrients-the-antithesis-of-true-paleo/
  7. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/sorry-vegans-eating-meat-and-cooking-food-is-how-humans-got-their-big-brains/2012/11/26/3d4d36de-326d-11e2-bb9b-288a310849ee_story.html
  8. “Super Nutrition for Babies: the Right Way to Feed Your Baby for Optimal Health.” Super Nutrition for Babies: the Right Way to Feed Your Baby for Optimal Health, by Kelly Genzlinger et al., Fair Winds Press, 2012, p. 41.
  9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food

 

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Creamy Chicken Skillet

When it comes to Paleo recipes, perhaps the most versatile protein comes from our favorite poultry: the chicken.  Be sure to select free range, organic meats when preparing this recipe.  And using coconut milk is a great way to add an occasional creamy sauce to many foods.  This dish is sure to impress with its sweet and savory flavors, all keeping you faithful to the Paleo Diet® principles.  Combined with the nutrient packed kale leaves makes this a complete meal on its own. 

  • Author: Lorrie Cordain
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 People 1x
  • Category: Poultry
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 6 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 14.5-oz. can coconut milk
  • 2 cups fresh kale, stems removed and shredded
  • Black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion to the pan and sauté for 4-5 minutes until soft.
  3. Push the onion to one side and place the chicken in the pan. Lightly brown the chicken on each side.
  4. Stir in the bell peppers and mushrooms.
  5. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Add the white wine vinegar to the pan to deglaze. Add the coconut milk and kale.
  7. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the kale is wilted and the sauce is slightly thickened.
  8. Season to taste with pepper. Serve warm.

Notes

For hundreds of pure Paleo recipes be sure to check out The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook and The Real Paleo Diet Fast and Easy 

Keywords: paleo, poultry, chicken kale, coconut cream

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Have you been to the grocery store lately? Trying to find food for the week when the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic has cleared the shelves of produce, canned foods, meat, and frozen meals (and forget even looking for toilet paper) has upended the prospect of finding most of the healthy foods we naturally reach for.

While it’s important to prepare for a two-week quarantine, it’s equally imperative to stay calm and find ways to get your nutrients and support your health while you hunker down.

 

The Best Foods to Buy Right Now (If You Can Find Them)

Now might not be the best time to grab that bag of spinach that goes bad before you have the chance to make a salad. What you want is non-perishable food that lasts at least a few weeks, and will help support a healthy immune system. Typically, the heartiest options have a strong peel to protect them, like root veggies.

Here are some of the best Paleo-friendly fresh foods to stock up on, and how to store them for the longest shelf live:

  • Garlic (6 months, whole and in a paper bag)
  • Winter squash (4 months, in a dark pantry)
  • Apples (2 months, in the fridge)
  • Beets (2 months, in the fridge)
  • Lemons, limes, and oranges (2 months, in the produce drawer of the fridge)
  • Onions (6 weeks, in a paper bag)
  • Sweet potatoes (5 weeks, in the pantry)
  • Carrots (5 weeks, in the produce drawer of the fridge)
  • Pomegranates (3 weeks, in the fridge)

 

What You Need

Packaged, canned food, and frozen foods are also great to grab right now. (They’re selling out fast too, but grocery stores should keep restocking.) Here are some great ones to look for:

  • Almond flour or coconut flour. People normally grab a sack of white flour and run for the checkout. But these Paleo staples have staying power—and they’re great for a variety of cooking needs while you’re stuck inside!
  • Nutritional yeast and other spices. They keep forever, so you might as well.
  • Dried mushrooms. What better time to buy dehydrated fungi? Just add water to as many as you need when you’re ready to cook, and watch them come back to life.
  • Frozen veggies. Granted, they might be hard to find right now. But if you grab whatever’s still available (aside from corn, of course), you’ll certainly find uses for them later.
  • Frozen fruit. Good frozen fruit can be healthier and more nutrient rich than the artificially ripened fruits found in the produce section of some grocery stores. Plus, they last a long time. A morning smoothie of frozen fruit, vegetables, and collagen is a healthy way to get through 14 days at home.
  • Stock and bone broth. They have a great shelf life, but once they’re opened, the clock starts ticking. Make a big batch of soup or stew—you can even freeze half of it if you can’t get through it all.
  • Collagen powder. A good way to get amino acids that doesn’t go bad.
  • Coconut milk. Trust me: You’ll need at least three cans to get through a good quarantine!
  • Meat. Did you know that some grocery stores are pulling out whole turkeys and hundred dollar free-range roasts from the depths of their back freezer? Don’t get caught up in the siren-call of overpriced and freezer burnt meat—instead, go the other way here. Grab whatever normal chicken, ribs, or beef you normally do, and then you can freeze what you don’t use yourself.
  • Eggs. These are hard to find right now, but guess what? The expensive, free-range eggs are usually still on the shelves. What better time to justify the splurge?

 

What Will Help You Get By

As the shelves get thinned out and many of us start facing a 14-day voluntary quarantine, we’ll have to start making sacrifices. The following are solutions that we wouldn’t recommend in good times, but will help you get through the worst of this virus:

  • Canned fruits and vegetables. They don’t compare to the fresh or frozen versions, but they last forever and don’t seem to be disappearing from the shelves as quickly.
  • Trail Mix. There’s a reason they call it trail mix. When hikers are facing days in the woods with no other potential sources of food, it will last them a long time. Mixes that use nuts and seeds last weeks and can still pack good nutrients.
  • Dried Fruit. No, it’s not much better than candy, but it is better. It also lasts. It’s not a bad idea to have some in stock, just in case.
  • Canned tuna, salmon and sardines. While canned fish often contains added salt and has other health concerns, it might be a good choice right now. If you select the right brands (read: sustainably sourced and responsibly packaged), you’ll get lots of good nutrients, healthy fats, and protein.

 

What You Don’t Need

Some people are going crazy for things you can live without (so don’t feel sad if they’re sold out.) Here are the things that are going fast, but you can pass up right now:

  • Bananas. Unless you’re planning on freezing them for smoothies or other things, they aren’t a reliable snack for long. They go brown way too quickly.
  • Avocados. What goes bad faster than a banana? An avocado. Unless you’re able to find super unripe varieties or plan on eating them the next day, you can go without.
  • Beans. Grocery stores are running out of beans fast, but since they aren’t Paleo and there are so many other, better options, you can skip the beans for now.
  • Pasta. Same here. I saw one grocery store the other day was completely sold out of every single pasta style! You don’t need to break your Paleo lifestyle for any linguine, even if you do happen to see some on the shelves.

 

What to Make With Your Haul

So you’ve got all (or most) of the food staples for your quarantine. Now what?

We’ve got lots of great, easy recipes that don’t require too many ingredients. Need some inspiration to get started? Here are some great recipes that stick with the easy-to-find basics. No eggs, fish, or avocado required!

  • Paleo Irish Stew: Here’s a great way to use some cheap stew meat, root veggies, and seasonings. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!
  • Paleo Chicken and Leek Soup: You can skip the zucchini here and add a few more carrots or other root vegetables instead.
  • Creamy Roasted Asparagus and Leek Soup: You can skip the spinach in this recipe—it’s more for color than anything else.
  • Paleo Bring-It-On Beef Stew: What better time to bring it on than the present? Again, skip the hard-to-find, quick-to-rot zucchini for now and use those dried mushrooms in place of the fresh creminis.
  • Paleo Fall Vegetable Salad: This recipe is forgiving for whatever you’ve got on hand, so no worries if you didn’t snag any Brussels sprouts. Now’s a great time to use that orange for a fresh vinaigrette!
  • Vegetable Coconut Curry: Here’s another easily customizable recipe. Just use whatever veggies and seasonings you have on hand, and let the coconut milk bring it all together.
  • Sheet Pan Pork and Asian Veggies: You don’t have to use ground pork here—ground chicken or even beef could work just as well.
  • Paleo Apple and Pomegranate Lemonade: If you’re tired of drinking plain water, blend up this easy lemonade with just four non-water staple ingredients.

 

Stay Safe. Get Food Delivery Services

If you don’t want to go to the grocery store (which is understandable for a number of reasons right now), you can still get meals delivered right to your doorstep. And you don’t have to interact with anyone!

It was recently reported that food delivery services like UberEats, Postmates, and GrubHub will offer contactless delivery. In other words, you just tell them where to leave the food (right on your welcome mat, perhaps) before you sneak a gloved hand around the door to snatch it up. Hey, you’re tipping online anyway, so why not?

Even if your food delivery service doesn’t offer the “contactless” option outright, you can always just instruct them in the notes section of your order.

It may or may not be difficult to find Paleo options nearby, depending on where you live. If you’re in SoCal like me, you know that there are healthy acai bowls and smoothies on every corner. If you’re in the Midwest or somewhere rural, it might be a bit trickier.

If you’re stuck in the land of chain restaurants, here are a few tips for what you can order that will keep you mostly Paleo. Many of these options are high in salt, but making sacrifices right now is in order:

  • Chipotle or Moe’s: Get a burrito bowl or salad with meat and guacamole, and skip the rice and beans.
  • Shake Shack or In-N-Out Burger: Get a burger with onions, skip the bun and cheese. And treat yourself to those sweet potato fries if they have them.
  • Panera: Get one of their signature salads, and add your own olive oil dressing at home.

 

The Bottom Line

If you’re normally the type to have your fridge filled to the brim with fresh leafy vegetables, it might be time to remind yourself that it’s okay to buy the canned stuff instead this time. If you have to get by for a time on pasta and beans, then that’s what you have to do, but hopefully with the suggestions above, that never becomes necessary. Plus, it’s totally acceptable to skip the hassle of cooking and just order contactless food delivery from your favorite restaurant.

The best lesson to remember from our Paleo ancestors is that they were adaptable. They often faced times of food scarcity and they ate what they could find. Let’s be calm and flexible in the face of panic right now. And if you need to take solace in an extra scoop of guac’ on your burrito bowl, well, who’s around to judge you right now anyway?

In Health,
Lauren

For more thoughts on how to prepare and keep your immune system strong with diet, check out this recent post by Nell Stephenson. 

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Do you look forward to Daylight Savings Time (DST) in the spring as much as I do? I love having that extra hour in the evening to go for a bike ride or just enjoy the daylight.

On the flip side, though, “springing ahead” means we lose an extra hour of sleep in order to gain those nice sunny evening hours.

It might not seem like much, but that hour of lost sleep can really mess with your circadian rhythm. Sometimes it takes people several days to adjust, and with good reason: There’s less light in the morning, making it harder to get up; and that extra sunlight at night, no matter how glorious it is, can prevent us from winding down.

Here’s how to get your body to adjust to DST quickly this year, so you can really enjoy that sunlight tradeoff.

 

How Our Paleo Ancestors Slept

You probably assumed that before there was Netflix and social media feeds keeping us up late at night, our hunter-gatherer Paleo ancestors did a better job of racking up the needed hours of sleep per night.

Interestingly, this might not actually be the case (though of course, they still slept a lot better than we do today). Since we can’t go back in time to see for ourselves, researchers studied the sleep habits of present-day hunter-gatherer societies in Africa and South America to get an idea as to how our Paleo ancestors might have slept. [1]

The study found that many of these tribes only sleep an hour or two more than the average American. However, they get up consistently with the rising sun—something many of us struggle to do naturally. Plus, they clock in an extra hour of sleep in the wintertime, possibly suggesting that we’re hard-wired to turn in early during those darker months.

 

How Modern Americans Sleep

Even though our Paleo ancestors might not have gotten as much shut-eye as we’d hoped, their sleep habits are still a lot healthier than ours.

Our busy lifestyle and constant online connection can be disruptive. Our internal calendar is less driven by the sun, and dictated instead by our need to stay up late to finish work, or to binge-watch our favorite show. Then we close the blinds tightly and sleep as late as we can on weekends.

That schedule may help with productivity (or, let’s be honest, our desire for entertainment) past sunset, but a highly variable sleep schedule can hurt us in the long run.

Add to that the bi-annual time change we have to wrestle with, and our sleep schedule is bound to lead us down a path of poor health.

In fact, one recent study [2] published in Scientific Reports found that irregular sleep can lead to both physical and mental health problems down the road, like cardiovascular disease and depression.

 

How Nutrition Affects Sleep

Believe it or not, the foods you eat can either prime your brain and body for sleep—or deprive you of it.

A recent study [3] on diet and sleep found that eating a diet low in fiber and high in saturated fat and sugar lead to lighter, less restorative sleep.

Our Paleo ancestors ate a much more nutrient-dense diet than humans do today. They gathered fresh, in-season foods that were filled with the fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats needed to support a healthy circadian rhythm.

In other words, those boxes of cereal and other grains, processed foods, and sugar most Americans eat on a daily basis might not support that deep, restful sleep we all crave—not to mention overall health.

 

Five Tricks to Sleep Better After “Springing Ahead”

In addition to cleaning up your diet and maintaining as close to a Paleo Diet as possible (we recommend a very doable 85-percent Paleo lifestyle), here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most from those extra hours of daylight and enjoy as much restful sleep as you need.

  1. Get outside first thing in the morning. It’s well established that light has a big impact on the brain. Use it to your advantage and get outside first thing in the morning to reset your circadian rhythm.
  2. Limit that coffee. Caffeine can stay in your bloodstream for up to six hours. That’s why it’s important to avoid it in the afternoon. If you really need your morning cup of Joe to get you going, we won’t deny you that.
  3. Turn off electronics early. Ever notice that when you go camping (or even stay somewhere with no television), you get tired a lot sooner? Blue light disrupts melatonin production, keeping you awake longer than your body wants to be. Turn it off early.
  4. Engage in calming activities instead. So, what to do with your dark, pre-bed hours? Instead of watching TV or playing with your phone, try calming activities like journaling, meditating, a hot bath, reading a good novel, or listening to music—anything that will help you wind down, instead of keeping your brain activated.
  5. Prep your bedroom. You want your bedroom to be a calming place in which you look forward to resting your head at night. Ideally, your bedroom should be cool, dark, and not too quiet—consider using fans, dark curtains, or noise machines to achieve maximum sleep quality.

Yes, your modern lifestyle often can feel like an impediment to good sleep, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes just shifting your habits a bit can make a big difference in your sleep quality.

Rest easy.

 

References

  1. Ellen R. Stothard, Andrew W. McHill, Christopher M. Depner, Monique K. LeBourgeois, John Axelsson, Kenneth P. Wright, Jr. Circadian Entrainment to the Natural Light-Dark Cycle across Seasons and the Weekend. Current Biology 27, 508–513 (2017).
  2. Lunsford-Avery, J.R., Engelhard, M.M., Navar, A.M. et al. Validation of the Sleep Regularity Index in Older Adults and Associations with Cardiometabolic Risk. Sci Rep 8, 14158 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-32402-5
  3. St-Onge, M. P., Roberts, A., Shechter, A., & Choudhury, A. R. (2016). Fiber and Saturated Fat Are Associated with Sleep Arousals and Slow Wave Sleep. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 12(1), 19–24. https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.5384

 

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