Tag Archives: vegetables

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

Who ever said plant-based must mean vegan?

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

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

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

Let’s set the record straight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next, let’s talk about portions.

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

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

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

But is the answer to completely eschew meat?

I don’t believe so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So where does that leave the meatless burgers?

For me, it leaves them on the shelves.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Looking for a colorful and healthy Paleo breakfast option to spice up your morning routine? This dish covers all the requirements for a healthy and delicious start to your day. Packed with protein and nutritious veggies, it’s a complete meal that will keep your hunger at bay throughout your morning. Enjoy with a side of fresh seasonal fruit for added benefits!


Poached Eggs in Chicken Broth with Mixed Vegetables

Poached Eggs in Chicken Broth with Mixed Vegetables

Poached Eggs in Chicken Broth with Mixed VegetablesLooking for a colorful and healthy Paleo breakfast option to spice up your morning routine? This dish covers all the requirements for a healthy and delicious start to your day. Packed with protein and nutritious veggies, it’s a complete meal that will keep your hunger at bay throughout your morning. Enjoy with a side of fresh seasonal fruit for added benefits!

  • Author: Lorrie Cordain
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 People 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Cuisine: American


  • 8 cups low/no sodium chicken stock
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut into 3” pieces
  • 4 small carrots, peeled, sliced 2″ thick
  • 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, halved
  • 8 ramps, green and white parts separated, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)


  1. Bring stock to a simmer in a small pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Crack an egg into a small bowl, then gently slide egg into stock. (If you want a crystal-clear broth, you can poach the eggs in water instead.)
  3. Repeat with remaining eggs, waiting until whites are opaque before adding the next one (about 30 seconds).
  4. Poach eggs until whites are set and yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels as they are done.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and return stock to a gentle simmer.
  7. Add asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, and white parts of ramps.
  8. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus and carrots are tender, 3–5 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in basil, vinegar, and ramp greens; season with salt.
  10. Divide broth and vegetables among bowls.
  11. Gently slip an egg or 2 into each bowl; season with pepper and drizzle with oil.


Poached Eggs in Chicken Broth with Mixed Vegetables Ingredients

Poached Eggs in Chicken Broth with Mixed Vegetables

Keywords: poached eggs, chicken, broth, vegetables, eggs, paleo

The Paleo Diet | Christmas Nuts

When it comes to the holidays, it can be much more difficult to stick to your Paleo Diet. But – fortunately – there are many ways to “Paleo-fy” your favorite holiday meals. Today, I will be covering how you can transform a traditional Christmas dinner – into a much healthier one. Forget the empty calories of stuffing, rolls and pumpkin pie. Instead, say hello to some delicious sweet potatoes, free-range organic turkey and a large helping of brain-friendly vegetables! While your loved ones may be passed out on the couch after dinner, you will be energized, alert – and maybe even ready to run a 5K. So without further ado, here is my guide on how to have the best Paleo Christmas dinner.


Forget the Rolls, Bread, Mashed Potatoes and Stuffing

As I have covered many times on The Paleo Diet, gluten and pseudograins are not ideal for your body (or brain).1,2,3 And as Dr. Cordain has written, white potatoes are not the healthiest choice for you, either.4 The first difference between a healthy, Paleo Christmas dinner and the more gluttonous traditional version? Sweeping away all the extra, empty calories! As tough as it may be, say goodbye to the huge doses of stuffing, bread, mashed potatoes and rolls. But just because you might be skipping these – does not mean you necessarily have to forget about all forms of carbohydrates.


Replace Them with Sweet Potatoes and Mashed Cauliflower

Sweet potatoes are much different than the traditional white potato, and make a great substitute for holiday meals. And if you are missing the mashed potatoes – try mashing up some cauliflower instead.5 Once you add some grass-fed butter, herbs, spices and perhaps even some other vegetables, to this mashed mix, you will hardly notice the difference! Not only are you avoiding the numerous problems with white potatoes – you are getting a much bigger dose of nutrients than you normally would, at a traditional holiday meal.6,7,8,9,10,11


Keep the Turkey, But Make Sure It Is Properly Sourced

The best news about a Paleo holiday dinner? You can still indulge in the turkey! That’s right, keep the bird on the table. However, it is important to make sure you get a free-range, organic turkey. Though the cost may be slightly more, the benefits of properly sourced meat are definitely worth it.12,13,14,15 For example, an organic, free-range turkey has absolutely zero of the hormones or antibiotics, which are usually found in most meat.

The most commonly asked question I get about buying this premium type of bird is ‘do I really need to spend this much more on a turkey?’. While there is little doubt that a high quality turkey may cost more upfront – most people have no problem paying the extra cost, once they realize exactly what they are avoiding.16,17,18,19

For example, a regular turkey is usually fed a diet which consists mostly of grain and corn. This means they are usually also consuming very large amounts of pesticides – as well as GMOs. These unhealthy elements can end up making their way into your body, as a result. 99% of the time, grain-fed meat is also lower in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – as well as being much, much higher in omega-6.20,21 As I have covered previously, this is far from ideal.22


Make It More Colorful By Adding Vegetables and Fruits

The traditional Christmas dinner has the same old, regular line-up of vegetables – but it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. Try making a super-nutritious salad, filled with cancer-preventing kale, spinach and broccoli.23,24,25,26 Or try some other nutritious sides, like yucca root, butternut squash soup or a Swiss chard salad. Let your imagination run wild here, and avoid the excess sugar and carb loads, which plague nearly every holiday meal.


Increase the Fat Content

Traditional holiday meals are also plagued with very low amounts of heart (and brain) healthy fats. Try making your big meal more Paleo, by adding healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocados. Numerous scientific studies tout the myriad of health benefits shown, when consuming these fats.27,28,29,30,31,32 Dig in!


What about Dessert?

While it is very tempting to indulge in pumpkin pie or some other form of sweets after the big meal, it does not make sense, if you truly wish to stay healthy. I have written on the ills of sugar numerous times, and it is a much better idea to skip dessert, altogether.33,34 Plan a healthy activity for after dinner, like a short hike or run, that way you have something to look forward to. If you absolutely must indulge, pick a very high quality, organic dark chocolate. And keep your portion small!


Keep It Fun!

Ultimately, holiday meals are about being together with your loved ones. While consuming lots of carbohydrates can produce serotonin (a neurotransmitter closely related to your mood) – this is artificial.35,36,37,38 Find gratitude and happiness in your own life, and keep your holidays fun – not stressful! Remember to avoid caffeine as well (especially in excess), as it can make you more anxious and tense – which is the last thing you want during the stress-filled holidays.39,40

As you can see, you may have to give up some of your favorite holiday foods, but the health benefits of leaving these foods out, are definitely much better in the long run. In closing, I hope this guide has provided you with a plethora of good ideas, about having a much healthier Paleo meal, this holiday season. I wish you, and your loved ones, the best!



[1]Available at: //thepaleodiet.com/gluten-brain/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[2]Available at: //thepaleodiet.com/celiac-disease-gluten-children/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[3]Available at: //thepaleodiet.com/stop-settling-for-pseudo-health-and-say-no-to-pseudograins/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[4]Available at: //thepaleodiet.com/are-potatoes-paleo/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[5]Available at: //thepaleodiet.com/sweet-potatoes-paleo/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[6]Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, et al. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(2):341-54.

[7]Available at: //thepaleodiet.com/dr-cordains-rebuttal-to-us-news-and-world-report/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[8]Frassetto LA, Schloetter M, Mietus-Synder M, Morris RC, Jr., Sebastian A: Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009.

[9]Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Ahrén B, Branell UC, Pålsson G, Hansson A, Söderström M, Lindeberg S. Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2009;8:35

[10]Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Erlanson-Albertsson C, Ahren B, Lindeberg S. A Paleolithic diet is more satiating per calorie than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Nov 30;7(1):85

[11]Osterdahl M, Kocturk T, Koochek A, Wandell PE: Effects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers. Eur J Clin Nutr 2008, 62(5):682-685.

[12]Forman J, Silverstein J. Organic foods: health and environmental advantages and disadvantages. Pediatrics. 2012;130(5):e1406-15.

[13]Chhabra R, Kolli S, Bauer JH. Organically grown food provides health benefits to Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(1):e52988.

[14]Crinnion WJ. Organic foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients, lower levels of pesticides, and may provide health benefits for the consumer. Altern Med Rev. 2010;15(1):4-12.

[15]Kamihiro S, Stergiadis S, Leifert C, Eyre MD, Butler G. Meat quality and health implications of organic and conventional beef production. Meat Sci. 2015;100:306-18.

[16]Epstein SS. The chemical jungle: today’s beef industry. Int J Health Serv. 1990;20(2):277-80.

[17]Pan A, Malik VS, Hu FB. Exporting diabetes mellitus to Asia: the impact of Western-style fast food. Circulation. 2012;126(2):163-5.

[18]Hemeda HM. Microbiological investigation and nutritional evaluation of selected fast food meat. J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 1995;70(1-2):105-26.

[19]Prayson B, Mcmahon JT, Prayson RA. Fast food hamburgers: what are we really eating?. Ann Diagn Pathol. 2008;12(6):406-9.

[20]Ponnampalam EN, Mann NJ, Sinclair AJ. Effect of feeding systems on omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid and trans fatty acids in Australian beef cuts: potential impact on human health. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006;15(1):21-9.

[21]Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, Larson S. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 2010;9:10.

[22]Available at: //thepaleodiet.com/omega-3-vs-omega-6-rethinking-hypothesis/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[23]Van poppel G, Verhoeven DT, Verhagen H, Goldbohm RA. Brassica vegetables and cancer prevention. Epidemiology and mechanisms. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999;472:159-68.

[24]Maeda N, Matsubara K, Yoshida H, Mizushina Y. Anti-cancer effect of spinach glycoglycerolipids as angiogenesis inhibitors based on the selective inhibition of DNA polymerase activity. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011;11(1):32-8.

[25]Verhoeven DT, Goldbohm RA, Van poppel G, Verhagen H, Van den brandt PA. Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996;5(9):733-48.

[26]Olsen H, Grimmer S, Aaby K, Saha S, Borge GI. Antiproliferative effects of fresh and thermal processed green and red cultivars of curly kale (Brassica oleracea L. convar. acephala var. sabellica). J Agric Food Chem. 2012;60(30):7375-83.

[27]Lawrence GD. Dietary fats and health: dietary recommendations in the context of scientific evidence. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(3):294-302.

[28]Feinman RD. Saturated fat and health: recent advances in research. Lipids. 2010;45(10):891-2.

[29]Farr SA, Price TO, Dominguez LJ, et al. Extra virgin olive oil improves learning and memory in SAMP8 mice. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;28(1):81-92.

[30]Virruso C, Accardi G, Colonna-romano G, Candore G, Vasto S, Caruso C. Nutraceutical properties of extra-virgin olive oil: a natural remedy for age-related disease?. Rejuvenation Res. 2014;17(2):217-20.

[31]Lou-bonafonte JM, Arnal C, Navarro MA, Osada J. Efficacy of bioactive compounds from extra virgin olive oil to modulate atherosclerosis development. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012;56(7):1043-57.

[32]Visioli F, Bernardini E. Extra virgin olive oil’s polyphenols: biological activities. Curr Pharm Des. 2011;17(8):786-804.

[33]Available at: //thepaleodiet.com/sugar-is-killing-us/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[34]Available at: //thepaleodiet.com/neurobiology-sugar-cravings/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[35]Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Brain serotonin, carbohydrate-craving, obesity and depression. Obes Res. 1995;3 Suppl 4:477S-480S.

[36]Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Carbohydrate craving, obesity and brain serotonin. Appetite. 1986;7 Suppl:99-103.

[37]Fernstrom JD. Carbohydrate ingestion and brain serotonin synthesis: relevance to a putative control loop for regulating carbohydrate ingestion, and effects of aspartame consumption. Appetite. 1988;11 Suppl 1:35-41.

[38]Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Do carbohydrates affect food intake via neurotransmitter activity?. Appetite. 1988;11 Suppl 1:42-7.

[39]Available at: //thepaleodiet.com/caffeine-brain-part-1/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[40]Available at: //greatist.com/grow/negative-health-effects-of-caffeine. Accessed December 14, 2015.


Here’s a great recipe for the holidays. It’s a perfect dish to cook all afternoon with family or friends gathered at your house while the scent of rosemary slowly spreads from room to room.

The concept is simple and straightforward. We’re just stuffing a duck with orange pieces and rosemary and adding some root vegetables to the roasting pan. The flavors from the duck mix with the orange and rosemary to flavor the meat and the vegetables.

Normally you’ll end up buying the duck frozen. So if that’s the case, make sure it’s fully defrosted before you start cooking. Ideally you would transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator and leave it there for about 24 hours.

Duck is quite fatty and during the cooking process, this fat slowly seeps out. Juices from the duck mix with juice from the oranges and with the duck fat; this entire mixture spreads around the roasting pan. To prevent the duck and vegetables from drying out, it’s critical that you use a baster to spread these juices around.

After about the first 45 minutes in the oven, you’ll want to remove the pan about once every 20 minutes. Tilt the pan to one side so all the juices gather there. Draw them into the baster and then baste the duck and the vegetables. Do this several times. If you don’t have a baster you can tilt the juices to one side and scoop them out with a large spoon.

The duck needs to cook a good 2.5 hours normally, depending on the size. When the meat is be very tender and the skin is dark brown and the legs pull easily away from the body, it should be done.

If you want some duck fat for future recipes, simply pour the remaining juices after cooking into a small mug or bowl. Put this in the refrigerator. The fat will separate and rise to the top.

Rosemary Orange Duck with Roasted Vegetables



  • 1 duck
  • 2-3 oranges (clementines also work nicely)
  • 1 bunch of rosemary
  • 5-6 carrots
  • 5-6 parsnips
  • 3 leeks
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Freshly milled black pepper



  1. Crush the garlic in a garlic press. Cut the carrots and parsnips into small-bite pieces. Cut the leeks into 1-inch rounds.
  2. Mix all the vegetables with the crushed garlic and spread this mixture on the bottom of a roasting pan.
  3. Cut the oranges into quarters. Stuff the orange pieces and the rosemary into the cavity of the duck.
  4. Sprinkle the duck with some crushed black pepper.
  5. Place the duck on top of the roasted vegetables.
  6. Place the pan into the oven at 375F. Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and, using a baster, spread the juices over the duck and the vegetables. This helps keep them from drying out.
  7. Baste every 20 minutes or so until the duck is fully cooked. Total cooking time should be about 2.5 hours.

Serves 4

African Vegetables: A Welcome Addition to Paleo and Healthy Living | The Paleo Diet

A great aspect about Paleo is that it transcends geographic and physical boundaries. Indeed it is a global healthy living lifestyle. In recent years, many are gaining awareness about the tremendous benefits that come from eating Paleo. On the other hand, for many in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Paleo way of life may be quite familiar. According to an article in the prestigious Nature publication, some indigenous vegetables found in African countries like Nigeria, and Kenya, contain greater nutritious value than that seen in the popular kale and collard greens.1 You have probably tried these veggies unknowingly.

Take for instance, okra which is actually indigenous to the Igbos of Nigeria,2 where the name originates and is now widely eaten in Louisiana gumbo in the USA. Packed with higher amounts of nutrients such as protein, iron, and vitamins, these indigenous vegetables are the source of many scientific studies, tapping into health benefits and improving through breeding experiments. In actuality, the US National Research Council (NRC) has been examining the hidden potential of Africa’s lost crops since the early 90s.1

Before you get too excited and start packing your bags for an international trip, wait a minute! Many of these healthy vegetables, can be sourced from your local international grocery stores in any major western city. Below are snippets of some of the various options to include on your Paleo shopping list.


African nightshade, a leafy green vegetable also known as Solanum scabrum is indigenous to many Sub-Saharan African countries like Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania where scientists have long investigated its nutritional properties.1 It is naturally common throughout West, Central, and East Africa, and grows in a wide range of soils.

African nightshade is quite different from its poisonous counterparts in Euroasia. Just 100g of these leaves will give you way more iron than your entire daily needs.3 With its high nutritional value of protein, iron, vitamin A, iodine, and zinc,3 you may want to consider adding it to your Paleo diet.


Fluted pumpkin leaves, also known as Telfairia Occidentalis, are indigenous to Nigeria, where they are commonly eaten and known as Ugu.4 Studies have indicated their high nutritious value, including high dietary sources for iron, copper, potassium, and manganese. Additionally, the vegetable serves as a moderate source for zinc, magnesium and sodium.5

Another study published in the American Journal of Chemistry, identified fluted pumpkin leaves to be a source of high dietary fiber content.4 Fiber helps remove excess cholesterol from the blood. This was confirmed in another study, where fluted pumpkin leaves were shown to decrease cholesterol levels as well as oxidative stress in rats fed with an excess cholesterol diet.6 The high potassium helps with preventing hypertension and keeping blood pressure low, while zinc helps the body with healing.6

Prevention and quick healing, all while eating delicious, healthy natural food? Sounds like the Paleo way to me!


Jute mallow, also known as jew’s mallow, bush okra, or Corchorus olitorius, is indigenous to tropical Africa, as well as South and East Asia, Middle East, Brazil, and the Caribbean.7 It has great health values, and is extremely high in beta carotene, folic acid, calcium, iron, and ascorbic acid.7 Additionally, it contains significant amounts of riboflavin, vitamin E, and as much as 4.5% of your daily protein requirements.7 It packs enough power for you to forget about its slimy consistency when cooked.


While many continue to debate about whether green plantains are a fruit, or a vegetable, there is no question they are loved by many worldwide. Easy to find, green plantains are available in most local grocery stores.

They are the main staple crop throughout West and Central Africa, as well as other parts of the world like India, the Caribbean and Latin America. When harvested, plantains are green and starchy like a vegetable, yet ripen yellow and assume a sweet taste reminiscent of fruit.8 While plantains resemble bananas, they need to be cooked to be eaten. A green plantain can substitute for potatoes in your cuisine, and can be baked or boiled, or fried. Unlike the banana, plantains are low in sugar content, and contain more potassium, vitamins A and C.8

In summary, one of the great things about Paleo is the options are endless. You can always stick to the familiar, or cross the border into foreign territories. While kale is still a great choice, there are so many other choices out there, and the rich African vegetables found throughout the continent are no exception.



[1] Cernansky, R. (2015, June 11). Super vegetables. Nature, S22, 146-148.

[2] Harris, J. (2011, Feb 14). African-American Food’s History & Soul. Retrieved Jul 22, 2015, from NPR On Point.

[3] Kamg, R., Kouame, C., Atangana, A., Chagomoka, T., & Ndango, R. (2013). Nutritional Evaluation of Five African Indigenous Vegetables. Journal of Horticultural Research, 21(1), 99-106.

[4] Idris, S. (2011). Compositional studies of Telfairia Occidentalis Leaves. American Journal of Chemistry, 1(2), 56-59

[5] Akwaowo, E., Ndon, B., & Etuk, E. (2000). Minerals and antinutrients in fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis Hook f.). Food Chemistry, 70(2), 235-240.

[6] Adaramonye, O., Akintayo, A., & Fafunson, M. (2007). Hypolipidemic effect of Telfairia occidentalis (fluted pumpkin) in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet. J Med Food, 10(2), 330-6.

[7] Kamg, R., Kouame, C., Atangana, A., Chagomoka, T., & Ndango, R. (2013). Nutritional Evaluation of Five African Indigenous Vegetables. Journal of Horticultural Research, 21(1), 99-106.

[8] Hesser, A. (1998, July 29). The Plantain: Anything You Want It to Be. Retrieved July 22, 2015, from The New York Times: //www.nytimes.com/1998/07/29/dining/the-plantain-anything-you-want-it-to-be.html.

Dramatic Weight Gains Caused by Modern American Diet (MAD) | The Paleo Diet

According to the CDC, the average US woman now weighs 166.2 lbs and the average US man weighs 195.5 lbs.1 As reported in the Washington Times, this means the average woman today weighs as much as the average man did during the early 1960s.2 Overall, women are 18.5% heavier than they were in the early 1960s and men are 17.6% heavier.

Part of these weight gains can be attributed to height; both the average man and woman are approximately one inch taller today compared to the early 1960s. The majority of the weight gains, however, come from increased body fat, a direct result of the Modern American Diet, which could appropriately be termed MAD.

Make no mistake, weight gain and its associated diseases are problems the world over, but in many ways, this problem is uniquely American. A 2012 study, for example, determined that the average American is roughly 27, 28, 33, and 40 lbs heavier than the average Canadian, Italian, French, and Japanese, respectively.3

So what could be making Americans heavier, and presumably less healthy, than our friends around the world? One idea is that the US, being a relatively young nation, has fewer established food traditions, especially compared to places like Italy, France, and Japan. Perhaps children in those countries are exposed to a wider variety of traditional foods, especially vegetables.

A 2009 review from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study found less than 1% of US adolescents consume the recommend 400 grams of daily fruits and vegetables (5 servings of 80 grams) and only 2.2% of adult men and 3.5% of adult women meet this target.4 The same study found, not surprisingly, the 8 lowest vegetable-consuming states (per capita) are among the 10 highest-ranking states for obesity.

But what about Canada? Another young nation, Canada doesn’t have the old-world food traditions of Europe, yet the average Canadian is significantly less heavy than the average American. Since the 1960s, Americans are eating more of just about everything (except vegetables) and exercising less. Could the unique regulatory environment within the US be contributing to our ever-increasing appetites?

Within the US, food corporations spend some $1.79 billion marketing their products to children ages 2 to 17.5 Their third-largest spending category, behind television advertising and incentives to purchase (toys with fast-food meals, music downloads, etc.) is in-school marketing.6 During the 2010 to 2011 school year, 10% of US elementary schools and 30% of US high schools served branded fast food products.7

More than likely, the madness of the Modern American Diet has multiple drivers, including aggressive food marketing, a lax regulatory environment, and the absence of firmly entrenched food traditions. Nevertheless, all is not lost. The US is the epicenter of the global Paleo movement. Google’s top-trending diet for the past two years, the Paleo Diet, is helping millions of people globally achieve improved health. As Americans become more informed about the importance and effectiveness of traditional, ancestral diets, we see the widespread embrace of Paleo-inspired diets as an important solution toward reversing America’s weight problem.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.
Nutritional Grail

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.



[1] Fryar CD, Gu Q, Ogden CL. (October, 2012). Anthropometric Reference Data For Children And Adults: United States, 2007–2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Statistics, 11(252). Retrieved from //www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_11/sr11_252.pdf

[2] Ingraham, C. (June 12, 2015). The average American woman now weighs as much as the average 1960s man. Washington Times. Retrieved from //www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/12/look-at-how-much-weight-weve-gained-since-the-1960s/

[3] Walpole, SC, et al. (June 18, 2012). The weight of nations: an estimation of adult human biomass. BMC Public Health, 12(439). Retrieved from //www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/12/439

[4] Kimmon, J, et al. (2009). Fruit and vegetable intake among adolescents and adults in the United States: percentage meeting individualized recommendations. Medscape Journal of Medicine, 11(1). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19295947/

[5] Federal Trade Commission. (2012). A review of food marketing to children and adolescents, follow-up report. Washington, D.C. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved from https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/reports/review-food-marketing-children-and-adolescents-follow-report/121221foodmarketingreport.pdf

[6] Ibid.

[7] Terry-McElrath YM, et al. (2014). Commercialism in US elementary and secondary school nutrition environments: trends from 2007 to 2012. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(3). Retrieved from //archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1812294

Nutrition Divided: Low-Fat vs. High-Fat Diet | The Paleo Diet

The amount of debate in the nutrition field has never been greater.1, 2, 3 As Americans (and everyone in the world) gets progressively more obese, we seem to be digging into our respective trenches, saying ‘this diet or that diet will cure all ills’.4, 5 This is a sad waste of resources, and a little bit irresponsible, especially in a field where the endgame should be helping people – not furthering one’s own agenda. Sure, you may say I’m biased as well, writing this piece for The Paleo Diet. But the bottom line is, I care about people’s health more than I care about making money.

If you don’t believe me, go ahead and take a look at my website Eat Clean Train Clean. See if I have anything for sale, or any agenda to be pushed. You will find that I have a nutrition lecture, with slides and scientific references for sale, for a whopping $2 – and that’s it. And it isn’t a ‘pro-Paleo, bash everything else’ lecture. It highlights the science behind good nutritional choices. The long-winded opening here is simply to make a point: everyone who has a ‘big voice’ in nutrition – also has an agenda.6, 7, 8 And they’re not going to stray from their agenda, because it might mean less book sales, less money and less of a voice.

Possibly the single best example of this is Dean Ornish.9 While at first glance Ornish seems like a great nutrition icon (after all, he pushes low fat diets, lots of vegetables, etc.) if you dig a little below the surface, you will find some rot.10 Okay – lots of rot.11 Did you know that Ornish is paid by McDonald’s?12 Yes – that McDonald’s. ConAgra and Pepsi Co. also have Ornish on the payroll.13, 14 Since we all clearly know that McDonald’s, ConAgra and Pepsi are making us all healthier, we really should applaud Dr. Ornish for his work – right? My tongue is planted firmly in cheek on that one.

Nonetheless, because I firmly believe in unbiased science, if Ornish’s approach had some scientific merit, I would actually applaud him for some of his work (the Big Food work is never going to get my approval, but to each their own). But the simple fact is – Ornish’s approach has little-to-no scientific merit.15, 16 While he is indeed correct in stating that we all likely need to eat more vegetables, he goes far away from good science by virtually ignoring the huge problem of sugar – which is undoubtedly one of our biggest dietary downfall in the last 50 years.17, 18, 19 Is it a mere coincidence that if Ornish bashed sugar, he might lose his McDonald’s, ConAgra and Pepsi deals? I think any astute reader will clearly be able to draw the obvious conclusion here.

If you haven’t caught on to the fact that your favorite dietary “guru” may just be cashing in on things, it may be a good idea to take a look around and do some internet searching – just to see what really goes on behind the scenes. If one wants to see some clear bias in action, go ahead and read Dr. Ornish’s piece for The New York Times.20 But this isn’t to simply bash Ornish – like any headline-grabbing nutrition guru, he does offer some good advice. Because when it comes to nutrition, there are always some broad agreements that can be made.21, 22

No one will ever debate that organic vegetables should be included in every diet.23, 24 That is because they have clearly been found to support many different neuronal and physiologic processes.25 26, 27 Though Ornish himself ignores this next point (another nail in the coffin for his bias) almost everyone else agrees that good amounts of healthy fats are very beneficial (elements such as extra virgin olive oil, avocados, almonds, etc.).28, 29, 30 Another common point that nearly everyone agrees on? Eating organic, lean protein.31, 32, 33 This means wild caught salmon, organic chicken and other muscle-building sources of essential amino acids.

Another point that – again, everyone but seemingly Ornish – can agree on? Keep sugar to a minimum – especially added sugar.34, 35 Even the World Health Organization agrees on this point.36 If Ornish’s bias isn’t crystal clear by now, then I’d be shocked. You can also clearly see that I have yet to mention a Paleo Diet. Again, I am not biased. Does it happen that all of these points fall squarely under the Paleo Diet umbrella? Sure. But all of these elements also fall under the Mediterranean Diet umbrella – which nearly everyone in the nutrition world agrees – is extremely healthy.37 And guess what? The science backs up that diet, too.38

Even Dr. David Perlmutter’s often controversial ketogenic diet approach, is substantiated by sound scientific research.39 While one could argue the science doesn’t quite back up all of Dr. Perlmutter’s conclusions yet, the point is he has salient scientific data to support his claims. And I do think one day he will end up being right about nearly everything he states in his book. Only time – and more scientific research – will tell.

So, when you look to indulge in a healthy diet, they may be confused by all of the noise in the media. At that point, I think it is important readers look to the science. And what does the science say? Avoid lots of sugar, eat lots of vegetables, eat lots of healthy fats, and consume quality sources of protein.40 That is all you really need, to put together a healthy diet.

Another huge issue here, which seemingly is only hinted at, is that people have trouble sticking to any diet.41 That is another discussion for another day, but the human factor must be weighed into the scientific debate, as well. The bottom line is, take care of yourself, worry only about your health, and not the back-and-forth bantering that goes on in the media.

There is very little new in the world of nutrition, and the same foods which have been helping humans thrive for centuries, will also be the ones we should keep consuming, since our physiology will not change enough by the time I’m dead, or you are dead, to warrant brand new food choices. If you are overweight, think of all the food choices that led you to this state. Too much sugar? Too many processed foods? Not enough vegetables? That’s what I thought. You don’t need to read biased, industry-backed propaganda to know what to eat. Intrinsically, you’ve known all along.


[1] Willett WC. Diet and health: what should we eat?. Science. 1994;264(5158):532-7.

[2] Kornhuber J. [What should we eat?]. Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 2014;82(6):309-10.

[3] Adams SM, Standridge JB. What should we eat? Evidence from observational studies. South Med J. 2006;99(7):744-8.

[4] Roth J, Qiang X, Marbán SL, Redelt H, Lowell BC. The obesity pandemic: where have we been and where are we going?. Obes Res. 2004;12 Suppl 2:88S-101S.

[5] Swinburn BA, Sacks G, Hall KD, et al. The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments. Lancet. 2011;378(9793):804-14.

[6] Available at: //www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6759000. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[7] Available at: //www.nytimes.com/2007/01/09/health/09research.html. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[8] Available at: //www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-dr-oz-hits-back-with-investigation-of-mysterious-critics-20150423-story.html. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[9] Available at: //www.yourdoctorsorders.com/2011/12/the-ornish-myth/. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[10] Available at: //www.menshealth.com/nutrition/high-protein-diets. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[11] Available at: //articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-11-15/entertainment/9004040864_1_fat-diet-nathan-pritikin-diseased-arteries. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[12] Available at: //www.weightymatters.ca/2007/02/dr-dean-ornish-shills-for-mcdonalds.html. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[13] Available at: //www.foodonline.com/doc/dr-dean-ornish-endorses-conagras-natural-food-0001. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[14] Available at: //www.hsc.wvu.edu/Wellness/Dr-Dean-Ornish-Program/Bio-Dean-Ornish.aspx. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[15] Available at: //www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-almost-everything-dean-ornish-says-about-nutrition-is-wrong/. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[16] Gardner CD, Kiazand A, Alhassan S, et al. Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women: the A TO Z Weight Loss Study: a randomized trial. JAMA. 2007;297(9):969-77.

[17] Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, Flanders WD, Merritt R, Hu FB. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):516-24.

[18] Ahmed SH, Guillem K, Vandaele Y. Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013;16(4):434-9.

[19] Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG. Sugar and fat bingeing have notable differences in addictive-like behavior. J Nutr. 2009;139(3):623-8.

[20] Available at: //www.nytimes.com/2015/03/23/opinion/the-myth-of-high-protein-diets.html. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[21] Liu RH. Health-promoting components of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(3):384S-92S.

[22] Steinmetz KA, Potter JD. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention: a review. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996;96(10):1027-39.

[23] Magkos F, Arvaniti F, Zampelas A. Organic food: buying more safety or just peace of mind? A critical review of the literature. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(1):23-56.

[24] Liu RH. Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(3 Suppl):517S-520S.

[25] Martin A, Cherubini A, Andres-lacueva C, Paniagua M, Joseph J. Effects of fruits and vegetables on levels of vitamins E and C in the brain and their association with cognitive performance. J Nutr Health Aging. 2002;6(6):392-404.

[26] Polidori MC, Praticó D, Mangialasche F, et al. High fruit and vegetable intake is positively correlated with antioxidant status and cognitive performance in healthy subjects. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;17(4):921-7.

[27] Pandey KB, Rizvi SI. Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2009;2(5):270-8.

[28] Lawrence GD. Dietary fats and health: dietary recommendations in the context of scientific evidence. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(3):294-302.

[29] De roos N, Schouten E, Katan M. Consumption of a solid fat rich in lauric acid results in a more favorable serum lipid profile in healthy men and women than consumption of a solid fat rich in trans-fatty acids. J Nutr. 2001;131(2):242-5.

[30] Willett WC. Dietary fat plays a major role in obesity: no. Obes Rev. 2002;3(2):59-68.

[31] Brehm BJ, D’alessio DA. Benefits of high-protein weight loss diets: enough evidence for practice?. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2008;15(5):416-21.

[32] Paddon-jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(5):1558S-1561S.

[33] Halton TL, Hu FB. The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004;23(5):373-85.

[34] Clabaugh K, Neuberger GB. Research evidence for reducing sugar sweetened beverages in children. Issues Compr Pediatr Nurs. 2011;34(3):119-30.

[35] Basu S, Lewis K. Reducing added sugars in the food supply through a cap-and-trade approach. Am J Public Health. 2014;104(12):2432-8.

[36] Available at: //www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[37] Willett WC. The Mediterranean diet: science and practice. Public Health Nutr. 2006;9(1A):105-10.

[38] Scarmeas N, Stern Y, Tang MX, Mayeux R, Luchsinger JA. Mediterranean diet and risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Ann Neurol. 2006;59(6):912-21.

[39] Available at: //www.drperlmutter.com/learn/studies/. Accessed May 5, 2015.

[40] Babio N, Bulló M, Salas-salvadó J. Mediterranean diet and metabolic syndrome: the evidence. Public Health Nutr. 2009;12(9A):1607-17.

[41] Thomas SL, Hyde J, Karunaratne A, Kausman R, Komesaroff PA. “They all work.when you stick to them”: a qualitative investigation of dieting, weight loss, and physical exercise, in obese individuals. Nutr J. 2008;7:34.

Anti-Aging Benefits of The Paleo Diet

Are sore joints the inevitable consequence of aging? How about fatigue or poor sleep? Should we just “learn to live” with chronic conditions or is there something we can do to reverse them? While patients are told more and more frequently by health practitioners that their symptoms are due to the natural aging process, there is still hope. The major medical journals tells us that 85% of chronic diseases are due to diet, exercise, and lifestyle factors. Unfortunately, less than half of 1% of the standard medical education is in these areas.

So, what is the best anti-aging advice from a nutrition, movement, and lifestyle point of view to turn back the clock and maintain your youthful energy and vigor?

Reduce All-Cause Mortality

Experts recently discovered one of the most important markers for healthy aging to be your amount of lean muscle. That’s right, a recent study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that lean muscle mass was inversely correlated with mortality in over 1,000 men with an average age of 82.1 Maintaining muscle seems to be your best bet to tapping into the proverbial “fountain or youth” and aging healthily. The study didn’t find the same correlation in women, however lean muscle has anti-aging benefits for everyone.

Which food type increases lean muscle mass better than any other? Animal protein.

Beef, wild game meats, poultry, fish and seafood – all staples of a Paleo diet – contain the greatest concentrations of essential and branched-chain amino acids, as well as creatine which are critical for building and maintaining lean muscle. I encourage all of my male clients to consume a portion size equal to 1.5x the size and thickness of their palm at every meal, and females to consume 1.0x the size and thickness of their palm.

Defend Against Cognitive Decline

So, if lean muscle doesn’t reduce mortality in women, why should they maintain a high protein intake? There are lots of reasons, but number one on the list is cognitive health. The New England Journal of Medicine recently found in patients over the age of 65 that those with high blood sugar levels (as measured by HbA1c, a three-month average) were at seven times greater risk of dementia.2 Even more alarming, not all of these people at high risk were outside the normal range!

A common habit as we age is developing what’s called a “tea and toast” diet, where  elderly tend to rely primarily on convenience foods like toast for meals, and drink tea throughout the day which further suppresses appetite. This type of high carb diet wreaks havoc on your brain cells (neurons) and leads to cognitive decline and dementias.

To help combat this, adopting a lower carb diet puts the emphasis back on lean meats, healthy fats, and abundant vegetables – all staples of a Paleo diet – that help restore optimal blood sugars and support a healthy brain. Unfortunately, habits are tough to break and many people get stuck in the traditional American breakfast of toast, cereals, and orange juice, or have been deterred by health professionals to eat brain-boosting eggs in the morning for fear of raising cholesterol levels. Did you know that LOW cholesterol levels are associated with dementia? Don’t be afraid of the egg… or the yolk!

Movement and Healthy Aging

As we age, we become more susceptible to infections, falls and traumatic injuries, nutrient deficiencies, diminishing cardiac capacity, and loss of muscle mass that leads to worsening health.

The most common condition in hospital wards across the country in elderly patients over-65 is congestive heart failure (CHF), where the heart is no longer capable of pumping enough blood throughout the body to match the body’s needs. This leads to dangerous reductions in sodium and hemoglobin levels, weakness, fatigue and risk of seizure, coma, and death.

Maintaining an active lifestyle and good cardiovascular health is the best prevention. Be sure to include 20-30 minutes of activity daily, in the form of walking, strength training (e.g. squats, lunges, push-ups, etc.), or stretching.

Strength training is a powerful weapon for keeping your heart strong and healthy. It also helps to increase your concentration of fast-twitch type-IIb muscle fibers. While we mostly think of these fibers as crucial for helping us jump higher, run faster, or lift heavier weights, they are also critical for another important task.

Fast-twitch muscle fibers help you “catch yourself” before falling over. Hip fractures are account for over 250,000 hospital visits amongst the 65-over population.3 By maintaining an active lifestyle – and supporting your muscles with adequate protein intake – you’ll help prevent falls and hip fractures from taking place.

Support Positive Mood

Mood and motivation can sometimes wane as people grow older. The research tells us that high blood sugars and insulin, low vitamin D, low omega-3 status, and low testosterone levels are all associated with low mood. The standard American diet (SAD) is high in processed and simple carbs, which can lead to insulin dysfunction, weight gain, inflammation and subsequently low blood levels of vitamin D and essential omega-3 fats.

By adopting a Paleo approach to eating, you’ll be providing your body with the building blocks to correct these deficiencies and dysfunction, and maintain your vitality as you grow older.

Exercise performs just as well as medications for correcting mild to moderate depression.4 Want to improve your mood, improve blood sugars and reduce risk of diabetes? Again, strength training and cardio – combined with a low-carb diet – are far and away your best bet. Something as simple as walking is a great way to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve health.

Benefits of High Protein Diets and Paleo Lifestyles

Ensuring optimal protein intake doesn’t just increase your lean muscle, it also improves other key markers of health: blood pressure, blood sugars, inflammation, and cancer risk.

You may be wary of adopting a high protein diet because you’ve heard it may increase your risk of heart disease. The famous OmniHeart study by Harvard University found that high protein diets were far superior at lowering blood pressure than low-protein, high-carb diets.The group consuming a high-protein diet also had the greatest increases in good HDL cholesterol and decreases in pro-inflammatory triglycerides.

A Paleo diet is not just about protein intake, but also about the abundant consumption of nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits. A rich intake of alkalinizing veggies and fruits provide robust amounts of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support immunity, protect DNA from damage and fight off cancers, maintain heart health and promote optimal health. As we age, appetite tends to decline and so to does the intake of essential proteins and veggies. The so-called “tea and toast” diet of many elderly and aging adults doesn’t provide the body with adequate nutrients to maintain health.

Of course, movement and exercise are inherent parts of a Paleo lifestyle. This is most evident in my clinical practice. I’ve seen 60+ year olds with high blood pressure and blood sugars, a poor diet and no experience in strength training significantly upgrade their health and bodies in a matter of months (not years!). I have numerous 70+ year-old men who can perform multiple chin-ups and 70+ year old women who perform full squats and deadlifts with ease. It’s no wonder their blood pressure, lipid panels, blood sugars, and mood all tend to be very good as well!

I see in my clinic every day that chronological age is just a number. Don’t put limits on your mind and body. Your body and your physiology react to the inputs they are given; remain sedentary and eat the wrong foods and your brain and body will suffer. Eat clean, healthy whole foods and move every day (e.g. strength training, cardio, stretching, hiking, walking, etc.) and you will be amazed at how youthful you’ll feel.



[1] Graf C et al. Body composition and all-cause mortality in subjects older than 65 y. Am J Clin Nutr April 2015 vol. 101 no. 4 760-767.

[2] Crane P. et al. Glucose Levels and Risk of Dementia. NEJM. Sept 2013. Vol 369. National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS), National Center for Health Statistics. 

[3] Carek P, Laibstain S, Carek S. Exercise for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Int J psychiatry Med. 2011;41(1):15-28.

[4] Appel LJ, et al; the OmniHeart Collaborative Research Group. Effects of protein, monounsaturated fat, and carbohydrate intake on blood pressure and serum lipids: results of the OmniHeart randomized trial. JAMA. 2005;294:2455-2464.


Eat Your Vegetables! | The Paleo Diet

There may not be a more agreed-upon nutritional choice, across the board, than daily intake of vegetables.1 From our parents, to our grandparents, we likely always heard “eat your vegetables” at every meal. It turns out that they were on to something.2 Researchers found a hugely protective effect of vegetable consumption for cancers of the stomach, esophagus, lung, oral cavity and pharynx, endometrium, pancreas, and colon.3, 4 Not too shabby. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us are not taking their time-honored advice. As researchers have found, there is a huge gap between the average consumption of vegetables in Americans compared with the amount actually recommended.5, 6

Eat Your Vegetables! | The Paleo DIet

Liu, Rui Hai. “Health-Promoting Components of Fruits and Vegetables in the Diet.” Advances in Nutrition 4.3 (2013): 384S–392S. PMC. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.

What may be further damning for our collective health, by not consuming enough vegetables, is how we miss out on a plethora of phytochemicals, which are not even yet fully understood by the scientific community.7 Bioactive compounds such as isothiocyanate erucin (found in cruciferous vegetables) have been studied in regards to potential anti-cancer effects.8, 9 Then there is sulforaphane, which is found in broccoli.10 This dietary component has been studied extensively across a wide range of conditions, from autism to cancer.11

Were you aware that you were missing out on all these important elements, by skipping out on your vegetables? I bet you weren’t. Vegetables even provide nutrients for our eye health.12 That may be a strange way to think of things, but most of us take our eye health completely for granted. Most startlingly, however, researchers found the more vegetables consumed, the less likely they are to die!13 Though there are no doubt other lifestyle factors at play in such studies, the overall pattern and trends associated with vegetable consumption cannot be ignored.14, 15

Eat Your Vegetables! | The Paleo Diet

Mark P. Mattson , Sic L. Chan , Wenzhen Duan “Modification of Brain Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders by Genes, Diet, and Behavior” Physiological Reviews Published 7 January 2002 Vol. 82 no. 3, 637-672

I know it may not be “thrilling” or “sexy” to eat your vegetables (or even particularly fun), but it is perhaps the single best thing you can do, on a daily basis, for your long-term health.16, 17 The bottom line is, we all have to eat something. Since high-fat, refined sugar diets have been shown to reduce hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor, neuronal plasticity, and learning – it makes more sense to go with the veggies.18 The scientific evidence has shown the positive influence of nutrients on specific molecular systems and mechanisms that maintain mental function.19 The detrimental effects of too much sugar are well documented – but there are very few – if any – downsides to eating too many vegetables.20 Loading up on these brain-enhancing foods will also take away room on your plate from poor nutritional choices – like pizza.

A Paleo Diet promotes eating lots of vegetables, as well as other healthy elements like omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to quality sources of protein. All of these help us to achieve our most-optimal state of health. Choosing anything else is simply a mistake, and should be avoided if at all possible. As we become a fatter and fatter planet, we must take our own health very seriously, and make smart choices. And nothing is smarter than eating a large amount of vegetables everyday – just like your mother said.



[1] Wang X, Ouyang Y, Liu J, et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ. 2014;349:g4490.

[2] Liu RH. Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(3 Suppl):517S-520S.

[3] Steinmetz KA, Potter JD. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention: a review. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996;96(10):1027-39.

[4] Van duyn MA, Pivonka E. Overview of the health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption for the dietetics professional: selected literature. J Am Diet Assoc. 2000;100(12):1511-21.

[5] Liu RH. Health-promoting components of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(3):384S-92S.

[6] Katz DL. Plant foods in the American diet? As we sow. Medscape J Med. 2009;11(1):25.

[7] W watson G, M beaver L, E williams D, H dashwood R, Ho E. Phytochemicals from cruciferous vegetables, epigenetics, and prostate cancer prevention. AAPS J. 2013;15(4):951-61.

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