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The Paleo Diet

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It’s the diet that harks back to the stone ages- literally.

Followed by Jessica Biel, Miley Cyrus, Megan Fox and Matthew McConaughey, the Paleo diet originates from a group of Paleolithic diets including the Caveman, Stone Age and hunter-gatherer diet.

The diet’s concept is based on the belief that the optimal diet is the one to which we are genetically adapted.

Nutrition:

The nutritional plan is modelled on the presumed diet of wild plants and animals that our ancestors habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period which ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets.

Promising to be the ‘world’s healthiest diet’, it recommends you confine your diet to fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and exclude grains, dairy products, potatoes, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.

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How it works:

Setting itself apart from the archetypal low-fat diet, the Paleo promises long-term effects based upon extensive historical scientific research as opposed to diet doctors or nutritionalists.

The high-protein, high-fruit and veggie diet claims to speed up your metabolism and lessen your appetite due to the increased quantities of healthful omega-3, monounsaturated fats and protein, which has two to three times the thermic effect of either fat or carbohydrate, revving up your metabolism.

Benefits:

The diet promises to reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, help you lose weight, improve your athletic performance, improve or eliminate acne, help you sleep better give you more energy, enjoy an increased libido, improve your mental outlook and clarity and enjoy a longer, healthier, more active life.

Phew. Quite a lot then!

Arguments against:

The argument against the Paleo diet is that of evolution. We have evolved as humans, as have our digestive systems, food processing and storage systems.

Recipe ideas:

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Breakfast

So Cal Omelette

Serves: 2

Total time: 15 minutes

•    4 Omega-3 eggs
•    1 T. extra virgin olive oil
•    1 c chopped spinach leaves
•    1 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
•    1 small avocado
•    Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a medium sized pan and add whisked eggs. When the eggs are almost set, place the spinach on one side, sprinkle with basil and pepper and fold in half. Cover and simmer for 1 minute, then garnish with sliced avocado.

Lunch

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Salmon Caesar salad

Serves: 4

Total time: 20 minutes

•    4 6-ounce portions salmon fillet, skin on
•    2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
•    2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
•    ¼ small red onion, diced
•    2 T. cold-pressed flaxseed oil
•    1 clove garlic, crushed
•    1 tsp. mustard seed, crushed
•    1 T. lemon juice
•    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Brush flesh side of salmon fillet with 1 T olive oil and Place in baking pan flesh-side down. Brush skin with remaining olive oil. Broil in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

In large bowl, mix together lettuce and onion. Combine flaxseed oil, garlic, mustard seed, and lemon juice in small jar and shake well. Toss with lettuce and onion. Serve topped with salmon fillet and season with freshly ground pepper to taste.

Dinner

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Fajita stir fry

Serves:  4

Total time: 2.5 hours

•    4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
•    2 cloves garlic, crushed
•    2 T. lime juice
•    1 tsp chili powder
•    1 tsp cumin
•    2 pounds skirt steak, pounded thin and cut into 1-inch wide strips
•    1 small yellow onion, cut into small wedges
•    1 red bell pepper, cut into quarter-inch strips
•    1 yellow bell pepper, cut into quarter-inch strips
•    1 medium plum tomato, diced
•    2 T. dark rum
•    ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Place meat in bottom of glass dish. Combine 2 T oil with garlic, lime juice, chili powder, and cumin in jar and shake well. Pour over meat and marinate at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium flame. Add meat strips in single layer and cook without stirring, one minute. Turn and continue cooking for one additional minute. Add onion and peppers and continue to cook for four minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine tomato and rum in small bowl. Stir with fork and pour into skillet. Cook one minute. Sprinkle with cilantro. Remove from heat and cool three minutes.

 

PALEO MASSAMAN CURRY

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What

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 3 onions – chopped
  • 1/2 cup or all of this recipe Massaman curry paste
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 lb beef, stew meat – chopped in 1″ pieces
  • 2 large sweet potatoes – peeled and chopped (1″)
  • 1 beef leaf
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • 3 cup water
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1/2 tamarind paste
  • 4 tbs coconut nectar
  • 3 tbs Seville orange juice
  • OR 1 1/2 tbs regular OJ and 1 1/2 tbs lime juice

 

How

  1. Roast the cashews for 5 minutes
  2. Add some oil and the onions
  3. Fry until soft
  4. Add the coconut milk and curry paste
  5. Fry 2-3 minutes
  6. Add the cubed meat, sweet potatoes, cinnamon and bay leaf
  7. Let it simmer for 2-3 hours, until done
  8. Add salt, tamarind, juice and coconut nectar
  9. Simmer for another 20 minutes.
  10. Serve!

Serve with cauli rice, zoodles or a Thai style slaw

Bon Appaleotit!

 

PALEO PARSNIP SLAW -THAI STYLE

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What

  • 1/4 green cabbage – shredded
  • 1 large parsnip – shredded
  • 2 large carrots – shredded
  • 3 tbs lime juice
  • 2 tbs coconut aminos
  • 1 tbs coconut nectar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbs almond butter
  • 2 dashes cayenne

 

How

  1. Mix all the shredded vegetables in a bowl
  2. Mix all liquids, almond butter and the cayenne in a separate bowl
  3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables
  4. Mix well, cover and set in the fridge for 1-2 hours
  5. Serve!

Perfect balance of all flavors, very refreshing.

Bon Appaleotit!

 

Celebrities on Paleo

I’m not alone in my quest to lose weight on the Paleo diet. I’m joined or led by a slew of celebrities who use this diet to their advantage.

1. Jessica Biel

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Just a resume filled with terrible movies, but she looks good in every one. Paleo definitely plays some sort of role.

2. Miley Cyrus

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You heard Party in the USA once. I know you did. She looks pretty fit now. I can’t say that it is all attributable to Paleo, but I will try.

3. Megan Fox

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You know her from Transformers and maybe remember her from This is 40. This girl is gorgeous and Paleo helps her.

4. Matthew McConaughey

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You might have seen Lincoln Lawyer. The rest of this dude’s movie resume hurts me to talk about. You probably also remember him from when he jogged around shirtless with Lance Armstrong and that crap ended up all over the news. He doesn’t get his acting chops from Paleo, but he does pull off the physique.

5. Tucker Max

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Writer and general bad ass Tucker Max openly proclaims about being on the Paleo diet. He probably has had the chance to sleep with Kareem Abdul Jabbar counts of women because of looking good from eating the Paleo diet.

 

PALEO HOMEMADE STEVIA EXTRACT

Stevia

The people of Common Sense Home did a good job on explaining how to grow and make you own Stevia. I just posted the parts about how to make Stevia here. I have links in this post to the full article where you can read more about how to grow and keep Stevia.

Have you ever wondered if it was possible to learn how to grow stevia and make homemade stevia extract – that “miracle” plant that is sweeter than sugar – for sweetener instead of paying through the nose for those little packets in the store? You can grow your stevia at home, in pots or in your garden, and harvest it for dried leaves or extract.

Lots of farmers market or nurseries sell stevia plants. However if you like to grow the plant yourself using seeds, read the full article here.

What

  • 1/2 cup dried stevia leaves, tightly packed or 1 cup fresh leaves
  • 1 cup water

 

How

  1. Bring water to a simmer in a small saucepan
  2. Do not boil, you should see small bubbles only
  3. Stir in dried stevia leaves and remove from heat
  4. Cover and let steep for 40 minutes
  5. Strain out leaves
  6. Pour into a clean glass jar, approx. 1/2 cup
  7. Keeps up to 2 weeks

 

Harvesting and Drying Stevia

Leaves may be harvested and used at any time. Fresh leaves pair well with mint for an easy, refreshing herbal tea. For a large single harvest, pick in late summer or fall just as plants are starting to blossom. If you wish to overwinter plants, leave at least 6 inches of plant intact to allow re-growth. Most recipes call for dried stevia powder or liquid stevia extract so that the flavor spreads more uniformly through the substance being sweetened, but feel free to experiment with fresh leaves.

When harvesting, the leaves are much sweeter than the stem, so the stem is typically discarded. Stevia is harvested and dried like most herbs. You can cut off the desired stems from the plant and bundle them in small bundles (less than 1 inch in diameter) and hang dry, and strip the leaves after they have dried. Alternatively, you can strip the leaves off the cut stems and dry them in a homemade or commercial dehydrator on low heat. Dried leaves will keep well for several years stored in a tightly sealed glass jar, and can be ground in batches as needed for recipes. 3-4 teaspoons of dried green stevia replaces one cup of refined sugar for sweetening, but you will need to experiment or find a good recipe book, because substituting stevia will change the texture and baking properties of food.

 

Paleo Vs. Vegan

Both Paleo and vegan diets have become popular in the last few years. But what are their pros and cons, and how might they affect your health? We assembled a roundtable of experts to make sense of the debate.

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For generations, a great many Americans have sat down to dinner expecting to see more or less of the same thing: meat, potato, vegetable, bread. These days, it’s not nearly so simple. What you’ll see on any given table, and on any individual plate, depends in large part on how the eaters in question define their food ideology.

Today, popular eating styles vary — from hardcore vegan to anything-goes omnivore — and it’s not all that unusual for such differences to exist within the same family or tightly knit social group.

Sometimes that coexistence is harmonious; other times, not so much. That’s because eating is an intensely personal act, and one’s food choices might be based on anything from cultural and religious traditions to social norms, ethical and environmental concerns, nutritional principles, and aesthetic preferences.

Proponents of divergent food traditions have been known to defend them passionately and promote them with an almost religious zeal. And nowhere is this more evident than among advocates of two inherently different approaches to eating: veganism and the Paleolithic (Paleo for short) diet.

Unlike vegetarians, who may consume eggs and dairy, vegans eat only plant-based foods — eschewing any animal products. “Paleos” typically embrace foods that hearken back to what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate — such as grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, roots, tubers, veggies and, to some extent, fruits — while avoiding grains, legumes, sugars, processed foods, dairy (for the most part) and most anything else that did not exist pre-agriculture.

The clash between vegans and Paleos has escalated recently, with the release of dozens of books, blogs and documentary films making a case for one model or the other. Too often, though, the relative benefits and liabilities have been overshadowed by emotionally charged arguments and oversimplified science.

To better understand the precepts of each camp, we invited advocates from both sides to share their perspectives in a civil exchange. We also brought in a panel of well-informed medical and nutritional experts to help moderate.

Read on to discover how these two groups differ, what they have in common, and what makes sense for you. Who knows? You might take some tips from each camp. As integrative doc Mark Hyman, MD, puts it, “If you look at the science, there’s a lot of evidence for both sides. Paleo and vegan diets are not, in many respects, mutually exclusive.”

Vegans believe animal products cause chronic disease and that a diet high in veggies, fruits and grains is best. Paleos like veggies, too, but think that grass-fed and wild meats are important for health, and they believe grains, starches and sugars are the real health-killers. Who’s right? Read on — then decide for yourself.

 

5 Health Benefits of the Paleo Diet

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5 Health Benefits of the Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet has been called the caveman (or cavewoman diet, in this case) diet with good reason: it’s based on the diet that our primal ancestors lived on back before wheat was harvested and there was a McDonald’s in every town. While there are definitely cons to the Paelo Diet, there are also some health benefits to eating like humans did 10,000 years ago. Below are some benefits!

5 Paleo Diet Health Benefits

1. It’s unprocessed. Simply put, cavewoman didn’t have to worry about eating organic because everything was organic and natural without preservatives and artificial ingredients. Following the Paleo Diet helps you to eat a clean diet.

2. It reduces bloat. Want flatter abs? Reduce bloat by getting more fiber, drinking water and avoiding salt. All principles of the Paleo Diet!

3. It’s high in fruits and vegetables. Besides protein, the majority of the Paleo Diet eating plan is made up of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Getting five a day in is no problem!

4. It’s high in healthy fats. The Paleo Diet is high in omega-3 rich fish and nuts. These protein sources are full of healthy fats!

5. It’s filling. This nutrient-rich diet plan is also quite filling. Between the proteins, the healthy fats and the fruits and veggies, it’s hard to go hungry.

 

PALEO CHICKEN WITH SAGE PESTO IN BACON

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What

  • 2 large chicken breast
  • 4 slices uncured bacon
  • 6 sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 large handful fresh parsley
  • 1 small handful fresh sage
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

 

How

  1. Preheat the oven at 350F
  2. If you used dry tomatoes, soak them first
  3. Overnight in water/oil, garlic and herbs
  4. Put all ingredients, except the meat, in a blender
  5. Pulse until you have small chunks
  6. Keep the blender running and slowly add to oil and water
  7. Blend until you have a solid (slightly chunky) paste
  8. Cover a cutting board with plastic wrap
  9. Place the chicken on the board and also cover with plastic wrap
  10. Use a flat surface meat pounder (or a heavy skillet)
  11. Pound until the breast is about 1/4 inch thick
  12. Put the chicken on two slices of bacon, lengthwise
  13. Spread a layer of the paste on the chicken
  14. Roll up the chicken, make sure the bacon covers (most of) the meat
  15. Repeat with the other chicken breast
  16. Place in an oven tray with a little bit of oil at the bottom
  17. Bake for 30-40 minutes
  18. Cut and serve with a side of vegetables

The cooking time varies due to the thickness of the roulade. Check after 30 minutes. I took mine out after 35 minutes and let it rest for 5-10 minutes while I had covered the tray with aluminum foil. They came out perfect!

 

PALEO “BREAD” ROLLS

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What

  • 1 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1/3 cup of chia flour or ground chia
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 1 egg – whisked
  • 1 tsp sesame oil OR 1/2 cup of sesame seeds
  • salt & pepper
  • optional: herbs and spices like oregano, rosemary etc.

 

How

  1. Preheat the oven at 350F
  2. Combine the arrowroot flour and chia flour in a bowl
  3. Gradually add the water and oil, stirring
  4. Add the whisked egg, keep stir
  5. Add sesame seeds/oil, S&P and spices (optional)
  6. “Cut” the dough in eight parts
  7. Place each roll a few inches away from each other on a lined tray
  8. For nice round rolls, roll them in your wet hands
  9. Sprinkle with extra sesame seeds (optional) and some salt
  10. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown
  11. Serve with a side of vegetables

I made four bigger rolls for this recipe, but 8 smaller will cook more evenly/better. The rolls are very crunchy, but do not think you will be eating a real bread roll. These rolls are slightly starchier than regular bread rolls, so make sure to season the well.