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Coffee and Chocolate Almond Toffee

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Coffee and Chocolate Almond Toffee – Quick and easy homemade Toffee with almonds, pretzels and coffee. No need for a Candy Thermometer! Hello, pals! Happy about-to-be-the weekend! It’s Friday and I’m doing the Friday dance. It’s kinda like the Carlton, but without Tom Jones. And WITH ‘NSYNC! I’m singing, “Will You Be My girlfriend [Boyfriend]” to JT. ♥ Also? I […]

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Alternative Paleo Proteins for Your Holiday Meal

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Tired of wild turkey?  Gasping at wild goose?  Not to worry!

Just because these two protein options are, in fact, quite Paleo friendly, healthy choices, it doesn’t mean you can’t go with something a bit more off the beaten path when it comes to preparing an unforgettably delicious feast.

In fact, since the holiday season is already a special occasion, it’s quite fitting to make time to try something new. In keeping with a modern day Paleo regime, incorporating a range of humanely raised or wild animals, our options when we think outside the box are bountiful and chock full of health benefits including:

Lower in fat because they eat a natural diet and are very active.

Lower content of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and a higher content of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids because they eat a diet of rich in greens.

Good source of protein and minerals such as iron and zinc.1

And, while it may be hard to stomach eating reindeer at this time of year, for obvious reasons, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Elk tenderloin, ostrich or wild boar are just a few choices to consider.

Pheasant, the star of the featured recipe, contains a high level of iron, protein, vitamin B (6) and selenium, which helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.2

PHEASANT WITH PAN SEARED SPROUTS
INGREDIENTS

2 whole pheasants
4 tbsp coconut oil
2 large shallots, minced
2 lbs Brussels sprouts
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 oz toasted pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350
Rinse, then thoroughly dry birds
Rub half the coconut oil all over the birds
Place on wire rack, breast side down
Cook for about 75 – 90 minutes, flipping over halfway
Check to see that internal temperature has reached 150F then remove from oven
Let rest under foil tent for 15 minutes
While birds rest, heat remaining coconut oil in cast iron skillet over medium high
Add shallots and sauté until browned, about 4-5 minutes, stirring
Add sprouts, cut side down and sear roughly 2 minutes before stirring
Continue to cook sprouts until softened, 8 – 10 minutes longer
Turn off heat, scatter pecans on top and let sit while birds are carved
Arrange sprouts on platter with sliced pheasant on top, with pan jus drizzled over
Serve with freshly ground black pepper

Wondering where you’re going to procure these interesting protein options, assuming they’re not routinely stocked along side the ground beef and chicken breast at your local market?

Check out Eat Wild for a nationwide list of where to source the best wild meats, game and poultry.

Happy Holiday Eating!

Nell Stephenson
@nellstephenson
Paleoista
www.Paleoista.com

Nell Stephenson | The Paleo Diet TeamNell Stephenson is a competitive Ironman athlete, personal trainer, and a health and nutrition consultant. She has an exercise science degree from the University of Southern California, a health/fitness instructor certification from the American College of Sports Medicine, and over a decade in the health, fitness and nutrition industry. To support her training for the Ironman Triathlon, Nell has tried many different nutritional plans and has found that the Paleo Diet is superior to all other ways of eating. She’s found that she’s leaner, faster, and fitter than ever before and uses her own experience to teach clients how to achieve optimal nutrition and health. You can visit her website at paleoista.com

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REFERENCES

[1] Wertheim, Margaret. “What Are the Health Benefits of Wild Game?” LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 04 Jan. 2011. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

[2] The Countryside Alliance Foundation. “Game to Eat.” Nutritional Facts -. The Countryside Alliance Foundation, 2006. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

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Top 5 Eating Strategies to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

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The holiday season is upon us, a time when, for many people, eating healthy becomes more difficult while unhealthy foods become more tempting, a perfect storm for unwanted holiday weight gain. Here are some tips to keep those added pounds at bay.

1. OFFER A DISH

Have you been invited to a dinner where you’re certain the healthy food choices will be few to none? Make a dish to share and make it a surprise. Don’t announce beforehand what you’re doing. Just show up with a beautiful Paleo dish, preferably a main course and enough for each guest to taste. This way you’ll be sure to have something to eat. You can sample smaller portions of the other dishes while still consuming a generally healthy, Paleo friendly meal. Instead of being the “picky eater,” you’ll be the generous guest.

2. DIRECT THE CONVERSATION

You’re at a party and intentionally avoiding the sugary and otherwise unhealthy offerings. Instead of giving the impression that you’re overly strict, dogmatic, or extreme with respect to food, direct the conversation to show you’re entirely aligned with current popular trends.

Here’s a conversation starter: “So next month Google will publish the top trends of 2014. What do you predict will be the top diet trend?” If you get a blank look, explain that in 2013, Paleo was the top trending diet. Ask your friend if they anticipate Paleo holding the top position for 2014 as well. Like this, the conversation will naturally flow into a discussion about healthy lifestyles and the fact that you’re avoiding the non-Paleo party food will go unnoticed.

3. FORGO BREAKFAST

The holiday season inevitably brings numerous late-night snacking situations. Even if you’re accustomed to eating dinner at a sensible hour, you might find yourself tempted to snack at parties or nighttime gatherings. Late-night eating is certainly not something you should make habitual, but rather than refusing party food outright, perhaps you should think more about time-restricted eating, also known as intermittent fasting.

A new study, published this month in Cell Metabolism, found that restricting eating to 9 to 12 hours during the day helps the body synchronize hundreds of genes and gene products related to weight gain.1 The researchers observed that mice on time-restricted feeding schedules, regardless of their weight and the type of diet they consumed, gained less weight than their unrestricted counterparts (who ate the same amount of calories).

So especially if you find yourself in late-night eating situations this holiday season, try forgoing breakfast, thereby restricting your eating window to half the day or less.

4. PRE-EAT BEFORE BUFFETS

Are you invited to a party with buffet-style food? Can you reasonably assume that most of it will be unhealthy? By all means, eat your own food at home first. When you get to the party, you can sample a few items, taking just a few nibbles. Nobody will notice that you aren’t really eating and you’ll feel fully satisfied after the delicious Paleo meal you ate at home.

5. WATER DOWN THE DRINKS

Avoiding alcohol becomes increasingly difficult during the holidays. Suppose you find yourself in a situation where refusing spirits would be improper, dilute your drink with water. Sip slowly while you socialize, then follow that drink up with a glass of straight water. Keeping well hydrated helps mitigate the damaging effects of alcohol. But if you’re on the other side of spectrum and are craving a little buzz, settle for a sulfite free wine that will keep your hangover away.

Happy Holidays!

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

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.

REFERENCES

[1] Chaix, S, et al. (December 2014). Time-Restricted Feeding Is a Preventative and Therapeutic Intervention against Diverse Nutritional Challenges. Cell Metabolism, 20(6).

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Beer and Cheddar Cheese Soup + Blendtec Giveaway

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Beer & Cheddar Cheese Soup – Perfect for a weeknight meal, this Beer and Cheese Soup is creamy, delicious and it is so easy to make! Also? Blendtec Giveaway! Hi, you guys! Just a quick FYI, Christmas is about to happen. We have 8 days left. Now we can discuss my youth. Once upon a […]

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British Dietetic Association (BDA) Against Adopting The Paleo Diet

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It now seems that barely a day goes by without some individual or group attacking the Paleo Diet. The reason for this is certainly up for debate but because the diet eliminates grains, legumes and dairy, it should not be surprising that it is going to come under fire from companies and corporations that stand to lose financially the more popular and successful the Paleo Diet becomes. One might not expect, however, for organizations that, in their own words, “use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices,” to do the same.

I’m British, and my father routinely sends me articles from the British media.  Last week, he sent me a short piece from the Daily Mail newspaper that reported on the British Dietetic Association (BDA) revealing its annual list of the Top 5 “Celebrity Diets” to avoid in 2015. A tagline contained in the graphic states, “Being famous does not make someone an expert on diet.” It appears the same can be said for being part of a large nutritional organization. Based upon “telephone calls and other contributing factors,” they ranked the Paleo Diet second in this list, being surpassed only by the Urine Therapy Diet! While there are indeed many celebrities (and, by the way, top professional athletes) that have adopted the Paleo Diet, calling it a “celebrity diet” clearly attempts to mislead the reader that the diet has no research and is simply a “dodgy fad diet.” After outlining the major tenants of the diet fairly accurately, they, then, provide the BDA Verdict:

“Jurassic fad!  A diet with fewer processed foods, less sugar and salt is actually a good idea, but unless for medical reason, there is absolutely no need to cut any food group out of your diet.  In fact, by cutting out dairy completely from the diet, without very careful substitution, you could be in danger of compromising your bone health because of a lack of calcium.  An unbalanced, time consuming, socially isolating diet, which this could easily be, is a sure-fire way to develop nutrient deficiencies, which can compromise health and your relationship with food.”

So, in the very first statement, the BDA does actually recognize that the Paleo Diet is beneficial by eliminating the processed foods typically found in most Western diets. However, they quickly move into the misconception that by removing certain foods from the diet (i.e., grains, legumes and dairy), “without very careful substitution,” one will likely suffer nutrient deficiencies.

Let us dwell on this statement for a moment.

This is a classic position from those that are against the Paleo Diet, and yet, it is so easy to demonstrate how wrong this thinking is. Certainly, for the general public that perhaps has little nutritional knowledge, the thought of completely removing a number of elements of what has been thrown at them as a must staple for so many years, may seem less than prudent. However, it is not difficult to run a nutritional analysis on any true Paleo meal that have these elements removed and realize that not only are there no deficiencies, but the nutrient density for the 13 nutrients most lacking in the US diet, compared to the USDA Food Plate (formerly the Pyramid) actually improves, including calcium!  And, there is absolutely no need for careful substitution, simply following the Paleo template that nature has served will provide this nutritional benefit. In spite of this, one should be aware of the hypocrisy of the BDA on this issue. Both the BDA and The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) endorse vegan diets, which eliminate dairy, meat and fish. Accordingly, the BDA is simply hypocritical in their criticism of the Paleo Diet for eliminating dairy.

As I have previously stated in other writings, there are now hundreds of thousands of physicians, naturopaths, nutritionists, chiropractors, conditioning coaches, and other healthcare professionals who advocate for the Paleo Diet and rely on results for their businesses to be successful. As a consequence, millions of people have benefited from adopting this way of eating and it astounds me that the BDA would ignore this reality and instead portray the diet as a “fad celebrity” diet that will be short lived.

However, of even greater concern, is that an organization that claims to use the most up-to-date scientific research to form their positions, appears completely unaware that there are now 15 human experimental studies on the Paleolithic Diet that demonstrate a benefit to adopting this dietary template.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 In all clinical trials to date, the Paleo Diet outperforms the Food Plate, the Mediterranean Diet, and diabetic diets for a variety of clinical endpoints including weight loss and cardiovascular disease symptoms. There are also many more peer reviewed scientific papers that lend support to the Paleolithic Diet template with which the BDA might benefit from becoming a little more familiar when advising and educating their base.

Here are a few important points that can be found within the published research referenced above that I’m guessing would be unknown to the BDA. Simply put, humans have no whole grain dietary requirement. In fact, whole grains are one of the worst food groups in terms of their nutrient density for the 13 nutrients most lacking in the US diet and are poor sources of fiber compared to fresh fruits and vegetables. Around 5% of the UK (~3.25 million people) and US (~16 million people) populations have either celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Gluten containing grains increase intestinal permeability via the upregulation of zonulin (a protein that modulates the permeability of tight junctions between cells of the digestive tract), and this increased permeability promotes chronic low level inflammation, a universal characteristic underlying CVD, cancer and autoimmunity. Whole grains also contain phytate and other antinutrients, which impair divalent ion absorption. Further, wheat contains wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which likely enters the systemic circulation (not in plasma but bound to formed elements) and can interact with the immune system. And 65% of the world’s people are lactose intolerant and have no ill effects from eliminating dairy from their diet.

Critics of the Paleo Diet need to understand a very important issue.  Unlike the vast majority of diets out there, no one person has formulated this diet.  It is based on the concept of evolutionary dietary selective pressure and all of the published research on the diet has attempted to examine the concept that following a diet that humans evolved with over a long period of time, may provide an optimal dietary template.  The vast majority of the published data and the clinical findings, to date, support this idea.  Any researcher I know in this field of evolutionary nutrition is more than open to being shown research to the contrary; but, respectfully, would request that the data shows that, not someone’s opinion.

I recently wrote a response to an article critical of the Paleo Diet written by Professor Sydney Finkelstein (@SydFinkelstein).  I attempted to engage Professor Finkelstein to support the points in his article and counter my critique that used the published data.  However, his response simply stated that “to suggest that the science behind the diet is incontrovertible, or that questioning the Paleo prescription is an affront to logic, is ludicrous.” So here’s a really good example of my point. An initial critique of the Paleo Diet with no scientific support is rebutted with the published data and the comeback is to state that the “Paleo Police” are unhappy about “their” diet being questioned. For those of us involved in the research and clinical trenches, that could not be further from the truth; we would just like the counter arguments to have some published data supporting them or at least some substance with sound logic so that further research can be conducted based upon those arguments to help determine what may be an optimal diet for human health and performance.

Dr. Loren Cordain, the very founder of the modern Paleo Diet movement, demonstrated an example of being open minded when he changed his position on dietary saturated fats. Upon re-examining his initial work through the lens of the evolutionary template, he realized a different conclusion. And there is no evidence that that wouldn’t happen again if an argument or data showed a flaw in an original position or research finding. In his response to my critique of his article, Dr. Finkelstein, a professor of management, goes on to further state, “The truth is, it’s hard to know what the best solution is in most areas of life and in companies. But having one best way – one only way – is dangerous whether practiced by governments, academics, or corporate leaders. And yes, the Paleo Police are no different.” The question begs, however, is this logic, which may work well regarding strategic leadership and management, appropriate for nutritional science? As researchers in the Paleolithic nutrition field, we are examining a potential optimal dietary template and if the research continues to support this template, when it comes to nutrition, there actually may be one best way or perhaps some slight variations based upon one best template. Time will obviously tell, however; in the meantime, it only makes sense to make formulations based upon the current data of published research.

So, in closing, I would like throw out a challenge to the BDA. In addition to obviously becoming familiar with the published research on Paleolithic nutrition, I challenge them to choose and analyze 21 meals (7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners) from Dr. Cordain’s The Paleo Diet Cookbook. Then, having done so, defend their position that the Paleo Diet is “an unbalanced, sure-fire way to develop nutrient deficiencies, which can compromise health.” I am very confident that it will be an impossible task.

Dr. Mark J. Smith
@docmarksmith
Facebook
Website

Dr. Mark J. Smith | The Paleo DietDr. Mark J. Smith graduated from Loughborough University of Technology, England, with a Bachelor of Science in PE & Sports Science and then obtained his teaching certificate in PE & Mathematics. As a top-level rugby player, he then moved to the United States and played for the Boston Rugby Club while searching the American college system for an opportunity to commence his Master’s degree. That search led him to Colorado State University where Dr. Smith completed his Masters degree in Exercise and Sport Science, with a specialization in Exercise Physiology. He continued his studies in the Department of Physiology, where he obtained his Doctorate. His research focused on the prevention of atherosclerosis (the build up of plaque in arteries that leads to cardiovascular disease); in particular, using low-dose aspirin and antioxidant supplementation. Read more…

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REFERENCES

[1]Bisht B1, Darling WG, Grossmann RE, Shivapour ET, Lutgendorf SK, Snetselaar LG, Hall MJ, Zimmerman MB, Wahls TL. A multimodal intervention for patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: Feasibility and effect on fatigue. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Jan 29. [Epub ahead of print].

[2]Boers I, Muskiet FA, Berkelaar E, Schur E, Penders R, Hoenderdos K, Wichers HJ, Jong MC. Favourable effects of consuming a Palaeolithic-type die ton characteristics of the metabolic syndrom. A randomized controlled pilot-study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014, in press.

[3]Fontes-Villalba M, Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Frassetto LA, Sundquist J, Sundquist K, Carrera-Bastos P, Fika-Hernándo M, Picazo Ó, Lindeberg S. A healthy diet with and without cereal grains and dairy products in patients with type 2 diabetes: study protocol for a random-order cross-over pilot study–Alimentation and Diabetes in Lanzarote–ADILAN. Trials. 2014 Jan 2;15:2. doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-15-2.

[4] 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.

[5]Frassetto LA, Shi L, Schloetter M, Sebastian A, Remer T. Established dietary estimates of net acid production do not predict measured net acid excretion in patients with Type 2 diabetes on Paleolithic-Hunter-Gatherer-type diets. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Sep;67(9):899-903.

[6]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.

[7]Jonsson T, Ahren B, Pacini G, Sundler F, Wierup N, Steen S, Sjoberg T, Ugander M, Frostegard J, Goransson Lindeberg S: A Paleolithic diet confers higher insulin sensitivity, lower C-reactive protein and lower blood pressure than a cereal-based diet in domestic pigs. Nutr Metab (Lond) 2006, 3:39.

[8]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.

[9]Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Lindeberg S, Hallberg AC.Subjective satiety and other experiences of a Paleolithic diet compared to a diabetes diet in patients with type 2 diabetes. Nutr J. 2013 Jul 29;12:105. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-12-105.

[10]Lindeberg S, Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Borgstrand E, Soffman J, Sjostrom K, Ahren B: A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease. Diabetologia 2007, 50(9):1795-1807.

[11]Mellberg C, Sandberg S, Ryberg M, Eriksson M, Brage S, Larsson C, Olsson T, Lindahl B. Long-term effects of a Palaeolithic-type diet in obese postmenopausal women: a 2-year randomized trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Mar;68(3):350-7.

[12]O’Dea K: Marked improvement in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic Australian aborigines after temporary reversion to traditional lifestyle. Diabetes 1984, 33(6):596-603.

[13]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.

[14]Ryberg M, Sandberg S, Mellberg C, Stegle O, Lindahl B, Larsson C, Hauksson J, Olsson T. A Palaeolithic-type diet causes strong tissue-specific effects on ectopic fat deposition in obese postmenopausal women. J Intern Med. 2013 Jul;274(1):67-76.

[15]Talreja D, Buchanan H, Talreja R, Heiby L, Thomas B, Wetmore J, Pourfarzib R, Winegar D. Impact of a Paleolithic diet on modifiable CV risk factors. Journal of Clinical Lipidology, Volume 8, Issue3, Page 341, May 2014.

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