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Blog Dairy-free Gluten-free Grain-free low carb Paleo Perfect Health Diet Recipes Soy-free

Chia Seed Pudding with Berry Jam

 “Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans in ancient times. They prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy…in fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for strength.”(6)

 

Chia seed pudding is my second favorite breakfast! Chia seeds expand in your stomach to help keep you feeling full for hours. It’s a great way to mix up your breakfast routine, which for me usually consists of pastured eggs and veggies (my #1 favorite breakfast). But I can’t eat eggs everyday so this is one way I shake things up. It’s so easy to make and you can keep it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days so feel free to make it in bulk.

 

 Here are the nutritional benefits of my chia seed pudding recipe:

1. Chia seeds are a low carb, low calorie superfood with 11 grams of fiber in just 2 tablespoons!

2. Because chia seeds are a soluble fiber, they form a gelatin-like substance in the stomach (you will get a glimpse of this when you make the pudding) that acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are food for the probiotics (healthy bacteria) in your gut. (1)

3. The dietary fiber found in chia seeds helps to promote healthy, regular bowel movements.

4. Coconut milk contains insanely healthy, saturated fats in the form of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA’s) or Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s), which are easy to break down and don’t require a special enzyme for metabolism. They are converted to energy easily rather than being stored as fat. (2)  The MCT’s in coconut milk may reduce appetite, increase metabolism and help you lose belly fat. (3)

5. Collagen is the most important protein in connective tissue, skin, and bones. Collagen helps heal intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut), and restores the normal mucosal layer in the gut. (5)

 

RECIPE FOR CHIA SEED PUDDING WITH BERRY JAM (serves 4)

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the Berry Jam…

  • 4 cups frozen raspberries or blueberries (or combination of both)
  • dash fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1-2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice

For the Chia Seed Pudding…

DIRECTIONS:

Make the jam by adding berries to a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat with a dash of salt. Heat for about 10 minutes to soften the berries. The berries will release a lot of water at this time, don’t worry they will thicken up by the end. After 10 minutes, add the chia seeds and stir. Continue stirring & simmering (lowering the heat if necessary) for another 10-15 minutes until most of the water evaporates and the berries have thickened into a jam consistency. Remove the berry jam from the heat, add the lemon juice and stir. Put jam in the refrigerator uncovered to cool.

Make the chia seed pudding by whisking all  the ingredients except the chia seeds in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the chia seeds, cover and then put in the fridge for 2-4 hours (or overnight) so the mixture thickens into a pudding consistency.

To serve, divide the chia pudding into 4 equal servings and spread the jam on top. Enjoy!

 
Categories
coffee Dairy-free ketogenic low carb Nutrition Paleo Perfect Health Diet Recipes Soy-free

Paleo “Latte” Recipe

First things first, I do not endorse drinking coffee or espresso every day, especially not in large quantities. According to Julia Ross in her book, The Mood Cure “caffeine inhibits the brain’s levels of antidepressant serotonin and sleep-inducing melatonin. It also depletes some of our most mood-vital nutrients: the B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and zinc. It also overstimulates and weakens the kidneys, pancreas, liver, stomach, intestines, heart, nervous system and adrenal glands.”

With this in mind, coffee and espresso can be healthful in small amounts, which is why I keep my serving sizes at 8 oz for coffee and 3 oz for espresso. Keep this in mind next time you order a Venti at Starbucks which is 20 ounces of coffee! I reserve drinking my lattes for Sunday mornings in bed and one other time per week when maybe I didn’t get enough sleep. When I do drink espresso, I try to add as much nutrient density as possible! This recipe is a dairy-free, paleo-approved, ketogenic latte that feels more like a meal! I am full for hours after drinking my Paleo Latte and usually skip breakfast all together.

Here is why my Paleo Latte is healthier than drinking coffee/espresso with cream and sugar:

1. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest saturated fats you can eat for so many reasons! Coconut oil is made up of mostly medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that go straight to the liver from the digestive track and can be used as a quick energy source. MCTs have also been shown to increase calorie burn over 24 hours by as much as 5%! (1)

2. Pasture-raised butter is high in fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K2, trace minerals, and CLA which helps build muscle rather than store fat. It is has the perfect balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats. (2)

3. Pasture-raised egg yolks are packed full of heart protective vitamin K2, liver protective choline, & biotin for beautiful hair, skin, and nails.  (3)

4. Collagen is a nutrient missing in todays foods because we stopped eating the whole animal! Unless you want to eat all the tendons, ligaments, and other organs of the animals you eat, you will need to add collagen to your diet by drinking pastured bone broth or adding powdered collagen to your meals. Collagen is wonderful for digestion, bone and joint health, glowing skin, and hormone balance. (4)

5. Coconut milk is healthy and nutritious for many of the same reasons that coconut oil is, but it is very difficult to find “clean” coconut milk in the stores. So I order Aroy-D brand from Amazon because the only ingredient is coconut milk, and it is packaged in cardboard so there is no worries about BPA from the canning process. Next time you are at the store, read the labels for coconut milk, you will find things like locust bean gum and guar gum which can pose a problem for people with gut issues like me. (5)

_____________________________________________________________________________

Recipe for Paleo “Latte” (makes 2 lattes)

  • 6 ounces organic espresso (Coffee & espresso are two of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet, so please buy organic!)
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp unsalted organic grass-fed or pasture-raised butter
  • 2 organic, pasture-raised egg yolks (they won’t cook, I promise)
  • 1 tbsp Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate
  • 1/4 tsp organic cinnamon (optional)
  • 2-6 tbsp Aroy-D coconut milk

*If you must have sweetener in your coffee, please add up to 1 tbsp of 100% pure maple syrup (a big no-no if you are on a ketogenic diet).

DIRECTIONS:

Put all ingredients except espresso in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the espresso in slowly from the top. Enjoy!

Note: If you are worried about getting Salmonella from raw eggs, don’t, it’s extremely rare. According to Dr. Mercola, raw egg yolks are extremely nutrient dense and the fact that they are uncooked means that all of their fat-soluble nutrients are in tact. Plus, most infected hens are conventionally raised, cage-free eggs. (By the way, cage free is a joke…this usually means they are stuffed into large barns instead of cages but do not have access to outdoors & are fed toxic grains.) The organic, pasture-raised, free roaming chickens have far less incidents of salmonella.

 

I would like to thank the Keto Diet Blog for the inspiration for this recipe! They have a great recipe on this website for Keto Coffee, but I tweaked it to fit my nutritional lifestyle. They use coffee instead of espresso so feel free to click on the link above and follow their recipe if you prefer coffee to espresso. I just love espresso and needed to make this one my own.

 

 

 

Categories
Blog Dairy-free Gluten-free Grain-free low carb Nutrition Paleo Perfect Health Diet Recipes Soy-free

Paleo Recipe: Resistant Starch Potato Salad

I get such a kick out of making healthy, Paleo/PHD food taste delicious! It is so hard trying to find recipes that fit into a busy lifestyle AND nourish the body. Besides being absolutely scrumptious, this recipe has so many nutritional benefits:

  1. It is high in healthy fats from the Primal Kitchen Mayo, which is made from avocado oil, the egg yolks, and the chopped avocado.
  2. Cooking and cooling white potatoes is a great way to form Resistant Starch. Resistant starch is a type of fiber that is resistant to digestion and makes it all the way to the large intestine intact to feed your beneficial bacteria.
  3. It uses German mustard, which calls for cider vinegar. I look for brands that use organic apple cider vinegar which has many healthy benefits.  Dr. Paul Jaminet suggests adding acids like vinegar to meals to help reduce the starch’s Glycemic Index.
  4. Avocados are high in fiber!
  5. Organic, pasture-raised eggs have yolks that contain nourishing, fat soluble nutrients like choline, & many other important vitamins and minerals.
  6. Because the potatoes are cooked and then cooled, their starches won’t spike your blood sugar, making this an appropriate salad for low carb diets, Paleo, and The Perfect Health Diet.

 

Ingredients, Serves 4-6:

  • 6 medium-sized organic potatoes, peeled & cut
  • 1/3 cup Primal Kitchen mayo
  • 3-4 Tbsp. gluten free, German mustard
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 4-6 soft boiled, pasture-raised eggs, chopped
  •  1-2 avocados, chopped (to be added just before consumption)

Directions:

Boil potatoes until soft but not mushy. Drain the potatoes and then put them in the freezer for a few hours until very cold, or put in the refrigerator overnight. The resistant starch forms as they get cold so please don’t skip this step. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the avocado, and mix. Avocado gets brown rather quickly so I suggest adding it in shortly before consumption. This Resistant Starch Potato Salad will last in the refrigerator for 3-5 days if you don’t put the avocado in until last minute. Remember, starches are foods that are to be eaten with meals, not as snacks.

Please let me know how you liked this recipe. I always encourage honest & thoughtful criticism. If you like this Resistant Starch Potato Salad recipe, please share it on your favorite social media!

 

Categories
low carb Nutrition Paleo Perfect Health Diet

What is Resistant Starch?

Resistant Starch is Good for You!

Resistant Starch (RS) seems to be the new buzzword in the nutrition world these days, and with good reason. I have been on a low-carb (50-100g NET cabs per day), Paleo diet for 6 years now and this has meant giving up starchy foods like potatoes in an effort to keep my blood sugars regulated and better my health. But the latest research is showing that there is a type of starch that is RESISTANT to digestion and therefore, does NOT spike your blood sugar.

Simply put, when you eat food it goes to your stomach to get broken down, and then travels to your small intestine where your body absorbs the nutrients (or toxins depending on what you ate) from the food. What ever isn’t used is passed into your large intestine (colon) and then excreted. Resistant starches are unique in that they pass through your stomach and small intestine without getting broken down, making them RESISTANT to digestion. They make it all the way to the large intestine in tact and feed your beneficial bacteria. Food that feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut is called a prebiotic. (as opposed to probiotic which are the actual bacteria themselves).

The good bacteria in our gut need to outnumber the bad in order for humans to be healthy, so it is vital that we feed them. These healthy bacteria break down resistant starches into gases and short chain fatty acids (SCFA).  One of the SCFA is called butyrate (1) and it is the preferred fuel of the cells that line the colon (2). Butyrate also improves insulin sensitivity, improves the integrity and function of the gut, lowers the blood glucose response to food, reduces fasting blood sugar, increases satiety, and helps to expel “bad” bacteria (3).

 

Adding Resistant Starch to Your Diet

Resistant Starch can be found in many food sources like beans/legumes, starchy fruits & vegetables, whole grains, yams (white or yellow center, not the orange centered kind), cooked-and-cooled white potatoes, and cooked-and-cooled white rice. See a complete list of RS here.

Beans/legumes and whole grains are not included in the PALEO/Perfect Health Diet  (PHD) so those are out of the question for me. The richest sources of resistant starch for someone following a Paleo-style diet are raw potatoes, green bananas, plantains, tiger nuts, yams, cooked-and-cooled* white potatoes, and cooked-and-cooled* white rice.

Does this mean I can seriously eat potatoes again?!?! Just the thought of mashed potatoes without guilt makes me smile. But you do need to follow the rules here. The resistant starches in white rice and white potatoes aren’t formed until you make them very cold, so eating them fresh off the stovetop is NOT going to provide you with the prebiotic RS that is described here. Ripe bananas won’t have resistant starch either, they must be green. So how can Paleo/PHD people incorporate RS into their diets?

  • Cook organic white rice in pasture-raised bone broth, sea salt, and grass-fed butter. Then put it in the fridge and serve as a side dish with any meal.
  • Boil organic white potatoes and then make this resistant starch potato salad recipe  Eat along side any Paleo-approved protein.
  • Add green bananas or Bob’s Red Mill raw potato starch to smoothies.
  • Roast organic white potatoes and then put them in the refrigerator to cool. Eat them all week long with any meal.
  • Roast sliced Asian yams (white or yellow center, the orange-centered ones have been breed for sweetness and do not contain the same RS that yams do) (4) in coconut oil and sea salt until golden brown.
  • Roast yams in their skin, then remove the skins and place yams in a bowl while hot & mash/beat them with coconut milk, coconut oil or grass-fed butter, cinnamon, and a touch of maple syrup.
  • Buy a bag of Tiger Nuts and eat 1-2 handfuls with any meal

 

Closing Thoughts

In my experience, adding resistant starch was very difficult at first. I felt like I was committing a sin! I love science so I needed to prove to myself that eating cold potatoes wouldn’t spike my blood sugar. For several days I tested my blood sugar before eating, then again 30, 60, and 90 minutes after eating a PALEO/PHD style meal including resistant starch. I was very pleased with the results because my blood sugar never went over 120 and returned back to its normal range (80-100) within 90 minutes of eating. I didn’t gain any weight either which I was kind of nervous about because I hadn’t indulged in starchy foods on a daily basis in years.

 

Your Feedback

What has your experience been like with resistant starch? I would love to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly! Leave a comment and I will respond ASAP!

 

 

*cooked-and-cooled means that they need to be put in the freezer or the refrigerator after cooking for several hours until very cold, giving the resistant starches time to form. You will not get the resistant starch described in this article from hot potatoes and rice. After you have cooked-and-cooled your potatoes and rice, you may very gently reheat them if you wish, but understand that reheating to a high temperature will degrade the resistant starch. Instead of reheating, I recommend heating up some grass fed butter or bone broth and adding it to the cold mashed potatoes in order to add back a little warmth.

 

 

Categories
low carb Nutrition Paleo Perfect Health Diet

Cooking with Healthy Fats

There is a lot of debate regarding which fats are healthy to cook with. Awhile back, I watched a video of the harsh processing and toxic chemicals, like bleach and hexane, that are used to make canola oil, something I used to cook with all the time. It made me realize I knew nothing about what makes oils & fats healthy to cook with, and what makes them unhealthy. After reading the research, it appears that saturated fats are the healthiest to cook with!

Seriously?!?!

I was brought up in a world where saturated fats caused heart disease…how could this be?  It appears that saturated fats remain stable when exposed to high heat. Let me explain…

There are 3 types of fatty acids; saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. All oils and fats contain a combination of the 3 fatty acids, so how do you choose which oils and fats are best? When cooking, you want to choose oil that is mostly saturated fat so that it doesn’t oxidize while being heated.

Saturated fats are the most stable under heat, monounsaturated fats are fairly stable, and polyunsaturated fats are not stable at all. When saturated fats are heated up, they don’t oxidize like unsaturated fats do. Oxidation is when oils react with oxygen and create free radicals, which are very harmful to the human body

Coconut oil is the safest oil to cook with because it contains approximately 90% saturated fat! Among many other health benefits, coconut oil is safe to cook with and won’t oxidize when exposed to heat.

Butter comes in second place with 68% saturated fat…but be careful! You must choose GRASS-FED or PASTURE-RAISED butter in order to receive the health benefits. When animals eat toxins, they get stored in their fat, which is what butter is made from. So you need to choose butter from an animal that grazed on pastures their entire life in order for their fats to be healthy.

Fat reserved from animals like lard, tallow, and bacon fat contain mostly saturated fats as well, BUT only if they were pastured! If they were fed grains, corn, and soy, then there fats will be mostly polyunsaturated fats so steer clear.

Red Palm Oil is also made up of mostly saturated fats but be sure to buy brands that do not harm the orangutans!

Olive oil and avocado oil are mostly monounsaturated fats which makes them stable to cook with at VERY low temperatures. Heating them past 200 degrees causes oxidation. I would much rather play it safe and cook with saturated fats. But they are very healthy to eat raw in salad dressings.

Nut Oils & Peanut Oil tend to be mostly polyunsaturated fats and are not safe to cook with. The one exception is macadamia nut oil which is high in monounsaturated fats (like olive oil), but I still wouldn’t cook with it.

Industrialized seed and vegetable oils are highly processed and should be considered poison to the human body. I would not eat these oils raw, and I especially wouldn’t dare expose them to heat! I avoid these oils like the plague because they contain trans fats (partially hydrogenated), which are highly toxic to humans. Look at the ingredient labels of your packaged foods…you will be horrified at how many of the following seed and vegetable oils are in there:

AVOID :

  • Corn oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Rice bran oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sesame oil.

 

So there you have it! Coconut oil, grass-fed butter, red palm oil, and pastured animal fats are the healthiest fats to cook with because they are high in saturated fats, making them stable under heat.

Categories
Fitness Industry low carb Nutrition Paleo Perfect Health Diet

How Important is it to Eat Organic Food and What is The Dirty Dozen?

Two questions I hear on a regular basis and so it’s time to address them. First, let’s define “organic.”  Organic foods can only be labeled by the USDA as such if they meet the following requirements:

  • Organic farms practice sustainable farming methods that enhance ecological harmony…meaning these farms are good for the earth!
  • Organic farms do not use antibiotics, growth hormones, conventional pesticides, or fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients like sewage sludge.
  • Organic farms do not use GMO’s (genetically modified organisms).

So how important is it to spend the extra money on organic produce and meat/poultry? Absolutely VITAL! It will keep you and your family safe from toxic chemicals and GMO’s.

One complaint I hear often is that organic foods are more expensive than conventionally grown foods. This is because organic farms require more effort and labor, so the price of the organic foods will be higher than the price of conventional foods. Plus, getting certified as USDA organic is quite expensive, so again, this adds onto the cost at the consumer’s end. But in my opinion, it it’s worth it! Pay higher prices for quality food now, or pay medical bills later!

 

What is the dirty dozen?

The Dirty dozen is a list of the 12 foods that are most heavily sprayed with poisonous herbicides and pesticides. This list is published and updated by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that fights for our rights to a healthy food supply. The Dirty Dozen is a great place to start buying organic produce. Since these foods are so contaminated, you will reduce your toxic load significantly by switching over to the organic versions. The EWG also has a list of the Clean Fifteen, the produce that is least toxic and is considered safe to consume the conventional, inorganic versions.

In conclusion, organic produce and meat/poultry are worth the extra money, but if you are concerned with costs, start by purchasing the organic versions of the Dirty Dozen to get you started. Your body will thank you!