5 Foods To Avoid Introducing to Children

 

shutterstock_164166470

There are many foods out there that are marketed to parents and children. Companies produce fancy packaging, loud commercials with happy kids, and buzz words for parents like:

“part of this nutritious breakfast”

“part of a balanced meal”

“18 vitamins and minerals included”

“healthy whole grains”

We are HUGE consumers here in the U.S. and we fall for much of this marketing. Foods are even packaged to appear healthier, by using colors that consumers view as a healthy color…like earthy greens and browns.

green natural and bio sign

It’s all marketing.

Here is a piece I wrote all about the marketing of food in our culture.

Many of these processed convenience foods have added vitamins and minerals. However, these vitamins are synthetic forms and therefore are not assimilated and utilized well in the body. Real vitamins and minerals come in real food (meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats) and do not need to be synthesized or added to food.

Synthetic Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A: Acetate and Palmitate
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B12: Cobalamin
  • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid
  • Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid
  • Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
  • Biotin: d-Biotin
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid
  • Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
  • Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate

List taken from: The Global Healing Center

 

Most processed foods in general will keep your child’s blood sugar spiking and plummeting. Your child craves more sweets and sugary foods, and never feels satiated. In the primal community this is known as being “sugar adapted”. Yes, children do need carbohydrates for energy. I’m not suggesting a low-carbohydrate diet for children. There is a huge misconception that people who follow the primal lifestyle eat low-carb. That just isn’t the case. Most children consume massive amounts of processed carbohydrates on a daily basis, and this is considered the cultural norm. Therefore anything less than that is automatically viewed as low carb. It starts with parents being told by medical authorities that they should start their baby on nutrient void rice cereal to fill them up. Next it leads to drinkable sugar laden yogurts marketed to babies, then cute little plastic toddler cups filled with finger sized crackers and cookies, then it leads to big bowls of sugary cereals. Removing these processed foods from a child’s diet and offering real food to children does not make you a bad, rigid, or depriving parent. You may feel like a fish out of water at times, but you are making the right decision for the health of your children, both now and in the future. Children can get adequate nutrients from a real food diet of meats, vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of refined sugar-free treats made with natural sweeteners. Yes it might not be as convenient as we are use to in a rush rush culture, however, the future health of our children depends upon us making changes in the right direction.

 Pictured:  Burgers On A Stick with dipping sauce!

image

 

What are MY top 5 suggestions of foods to avoid giving to children?


1. Cereal

Any and all cereal. Rice cereal for babies, cold cereals, quick oats, etc… Here is a blog post I wrote about cereal. In a nutshell: Cereal is made with grains (usually with added sugar and food dyes), and grains are broken down into the body as sugar. Yes, you do need carbohydrates in your diet, but there are more nutrient rich sources that will not leave your child’s blood sugar to spike and plummet. Eating a bowl of cereal makes the child’s pancreas work extra hard in order to process it all. It also fills them up with little nutrients or healthy fats. I also wrote a Primal Feeding Guide for Babies and Toddlers which explains why rice cereal is not a good first choice of foods for infants.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*anti-nutrients that can affect digestion

*high sugar

*low in quality fat and protein

 

 2. Kid marketed crackers and cookies like those little golden fish crackers, and little bear cracker cookies, etc.

Just like the cereal above, these small toddler marketed crackers and cookies might look exciting and fun, as well as easy and quick. Kids may love the taste of them. However… for all the same reasons mentioned above regarding cereal, these crackers are full of artificial ingredients, synthetic vitamins, food dyes, high amounts of sugar, and are very low in quality nutrient-dense fats and proteins that children need to feel satiated, happy, and stable. Again, this gets children sugar adapted and reaching for processed carbs vs real food. Did I say avoid all carbohydrates for children? Absolutely not. Here is a post I wrote all about healthy snack ideas for children.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*low in quality fat and protein

*high sugar

 

3. Most commercial yogurts:

chobani-yogurt_0

Commercial yogurts contain as much sugar as a bowl of ice cream or other sugary desserts. One 8-ounce serving of low-fat or fat free sweetened yogurt can contain as much as 47 grams of sugars. This amount of sugar is equivalent to almost 12 teaspoons of sugar. People think because it’s yogurt, it must be healthy. Most yogurts should really be treated as a dessert rather than a nourishing snack or meal. It is difficult to find yogurt that does not have some or all of the fat removed from it. Fats are nutrient dense sources of energy for growing brains. However, yogurt manufacturers are still removing fat from yogurt, and adding sugar and food dye. If you are going to give your child yogurt, the best option is raw (unpasteurized), unsweetened, full fat yogurt. Plain yogurt does not contain any added sugar, but still contains naturally occurring milk sugars called lactose. An 8-ounce serving of plain yogurt still contains approximately 12 grams of sugar. This amount of sugar is equivalent to 3 teaspoons of sugar. Homemade plain yogurt that has fermented for 24 hours, does not contain sugar. The lactose is digested by beneficial bacteria, bringing the amount of sugar down to nothing. Raw yogurt has beneficial enzymes and probiotics to help with digestion, and can help colonize the gut with good bacteria. It can be sweetened with a little fruit or drizzle of raw honey.

*very high sugar

*food dye

*low in quality fat unless full fat

 

4. Kid Marketed “Energy” bars:

 

These “power” or “energy” bars marketed at kids contain a long list of ingredients that can be harmful on the gut, and contain a high amount of refined sugar. many contain as much sugar as candy bars, even organic ones. Please note… not everything that is labeled “organic” is necessarily good for your body. An organic pop tart is still a pop tart. It still contains high carb, low healthy fat, low protein. We want our kids to power up with nutrient rich healthy fats and proteins!

Here is an example of ingredients from a popular brand of energy bars targeted at kids:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Oat Blend (Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Oat Fiber), Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Chocolate Chips (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Fruit Paste Blend (Organic Date Paste, Organic Fig Paste, Organic Raisin Paste), Organic Cocoa, Organic Soy Butter (Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt), Organic Chocolate (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Natural Flavors, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Baking Soda. VITAMINS & MINERALS: Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Ferric Orthophosphate (Iron), Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide (Vit. B3), Beta Carotene (Vit. A), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vit. B1), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6), Folic Acid (Vit. B9), Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12). ALLERGEN STATEMENT: CONTAINS SOY AND TRACES OF DAIRY. MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS, WHEAT, AND TREE NUTS.

As you can see the bar contains mainly grains and sugar (both cane syrup and fruit sugar), soy, processed oils and synthetic vitamins and minerals.

If your child is participating in sports and needs extra boosts of carbohydrates, try making homemade energy bites or balls. You simply process nuts with dates, shredded coconut, and coconut oil. Here is my recipe for Blood Orange Coconut Balls.

 5. “Whole Grain” breads:

 

The breads today are not the breads of our ancestors. Our earliest ancestors did not eat bread. Approximately 10-12 thousand years ago (note that we’ve been around for over 200,000 years in our human form) grains were introduced into our diet. Many traditional cultures did not have bread as such a huge portion of every meal. They did not eat sandwiches daily. They also knew how to properly prepare breads (soak, sprout, and ferment) so that the body can digest and assimilate nutrients from it. The issue related to bread consumption is not only just the buzz word “gluten” that we hear. Yes, gluten is a huge offender to many people. Probably more than we can begin to realize. However, there are many other components to bread that can also have an affect on our health. Breads that are not properly prepared contain phytates and lectins, also known as anti-nutrients that can bind to minerals and render them unavailable to our bodies. These anti-nutrients also contribute to inflammation and leaky gut. Leaky gut can lead to allergies and autoimmune conditions. There are proteins found in bread other than gluten that may also have a profound affect on many people. Just like cereal, cookies, and crackers, eating bread as a staple keeps children sugar adapted, and not feeling satiated.

So what can I give my child in place of bread?

Some suggestions: Applegate Farms (GF, dairy free, soy free, and humanely raised) deli meat roll-ups, bun-less Applegate Farms grassfed hotdogs usually cut up with toothpicks and dipping sauces, bunless burgers or lettuce for the bun. Almond or sun butter used as a dip for apples or carrots rather than on bread. On the occasions my children do have bread, I make sure it is the Sprouted grain kind. However, sprouted or not it is still digested in the body and broken down to sugar. Therefore, eating several slices a day would still have a profound affect on the sugar handling of a child.

*anti-nutrients

*low in quality fats and proteins

*high in sugar

*pro-inflammatory

In a nutshell… carbohydrate rich processed foods tend to be high in sugar and low in nutrients. It might not be easy to cut these foods out and replace them with real nourishing foods, but try in steps.

What are some tips to getting your children to enjoy real food?

 

parfait2

*Involve them in the process of cooking. If your child helped prepare the meal, they are more likely to enjoy eating it.

*Children love to eat things on platters with toothpicks.

*Children love to forage for food! Take them apple picking and berry picking. We also love to collect fiddlehead ferns in the Spring.

*Explain to them the reasons behind your decisions.

*Lead by example. If those processed foods are not an option, they will start to enjoy real food more.

 

About Kathryn:

IMG_9130

Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions. 

 

 

I am speaking at Paleo FX! Get your tickets here to see my talk!

 

paleofx2

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog.  All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

 

 

 

 

All About Grass-Fed Ghee

What is ghee?

ghee

 

Ghee is clarified butter-the butter is heated and milk solids (proteins) have been removed. The protein casein found in dairy is difficult for many people to digest. Casein is a large foreign protein that can pass through the human gut easily, contributing to what is known as “leaky” or permeable gut. When these proteins pass through the gut, they contribute to inflammatory conditions in the body. Many people think they cannot digest the lactose in dairy, but may in fact actually be reacting to the protein casein. Because the casein is removed from ghee, ghee is much easier for many to digest than butter.

 

Ghee is a stable, healthy, saturated fat. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Contrary to what you’ve probably heard in the past, these are the most beneficial fats for our body! These fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils). Saturated fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize (break down) or go rancid. They can be heated to higher temperatures, unless liquid vegetable oils that have been highly processed. Saturated fats include fats such as lard, tallow, butter, suet, ghee, duck fat, coconut oil, palm oil. Saturated fats are beneficial to the body. These fats insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help to regulate hormones for normal hormone function. Ghee contains short-chain fatty acids as well, that are easily metabolized by the body. What this means is that the body can digest and utilize these fatty acids efficiently, reaping benefits to the body.

 

Ghee contains omega 3 and omega 9 fatty acids, along with Vitamins A, D, E, and K.  According to Chris Kresser, “There’s a common misconception that beta-carotene found in fruits and vegetables is the same thing as vitamin A. It’s not. Beta-carotene is the precursor (inactive form) of retinol, the active form of vitamin A. While beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in humans, only 3% gets converted in a healthy adult. And that’s assuming you’re not one of the 45% of adults that don’t convert any beta-carotene into vitamin A at all. This means that – contrary to popular wisdom – vegetables like carrots and red peppers are not adequate food sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A is found in significant amounts only in liver and grass-fed dairy. You’d have to eat a huge amount of beta-carotene from plants to meet vitamin A requirements during pregnancy. For example, 3 ounces of beef liver contains 27,000 IU of vitamin A. To get the same amount of vitamin A from plants (assuming a 3% conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A), you’d have to eat 4.4 pounds of cooked carrots, 40 pounds of raw carrots, and 50 cups of cooked kale!” -Chris Kresser, The Healthy Baby Code.

 

Grass-fed or pastured ghee is a very high source of CLA, aka conjugated linoleic acids. CLA is  a potent cancer fighter. The digestive systems of grass-fed ruminants produce CLA. CLA is associated with superior heart health, suppression of tumors, reduced belly fat and overall increased fat loss. Pasture raised (grass-fed) cows lead to dairy CLA levels 3-5 times that of grain-fed cattle! Always look for grass-fed butter if you are making your own ghee, or grass-fed ghee if you are buying it.

 

Ghee is excellent for nerve conduction and insulation of the brain. Ghee is great for skin, eyes, and joints-it is rich with antioxidants and boosts the immune system. Ghee is high in butyric acid which has anti-viral properties and may inhibit tumor growth.

 

How do you use ghee? Ghee is great for all your cooking and baking needs. It adds amazing flavor to sauteed or roasted veggies! You can melt it and bake with it. You can serve it on top of potatoes just like butter. Grass-fed ghee is an all around healthy superfood that adds superior flavor and healthy benefits to all your dishes!

 

Pictured: Sweet potato crisps roasted in ghee

sweetpot

 

 

What is my favorite ghee?

 

I LOVE and highly recommend OMghee brand ghee! The taste is superior to any other brand out there, and the texture is creamy!

omghee2

 

 

 

About Kathryn:

IMG_9130

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions.

If you are interested in a free phone consultation to see how I can support your healing, contact me!

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog.  All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

 

 

Break Free from Cereal Breakfasts!

image

One of the most difficult things for us to do is to break free from what has been instilled in our minds. When it comes to traditions such as meals, the types of foods we associate with that meal trail all the way back to our earliest childhood memories. As adults we remember what we were taught about certain foods through family, friends and media. I still remember all the cereal commercials that say “part of a healthy breakfast” Of course this is all about marketing sales and the health claims are false. However, as a child these claims stick with us. In this blog post I discuss the marketing of food in our culture, and misplaced trust.

In my generation fat was demonized. Things like bacon and sausage were seen as heart-disease causing culprits. This was also based on faulty information and the medical community is now realizing this. However, we have a hard time letting go of what we have been taught. This blog post will help with understanding the benefits of having saturated fats in your diet. However, many of us cling to these faulty beliefs. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day-it is the time to fuel our bodies after fasting over night (break-fast=breaking the fast). So how do we sift through all this information and make the right choices each day? 

I’m going to start by discussing cereal. Cereal and breakfast go hand in hand for so many people, and I’m going to explain why cereal is not a good choice for your body. There are many reasons behind this. First of all-cereal is a grain, and grains are broken down into the body as sugar. Yes, you do need carbohydrates in your diet, but there are more nutrient dense sources that will not leave your blood sugar to spike and plummet. Eating a bowl of cereal wreaks havoc on the pancreas.

SONY DSC

One of my favorite cereals as a kid was a brand called crackling oat bran (we use to call it cat food cereal because it was shaped like cat food). This cereal is marketed as a “healthy”  “whole grain” (another clever marketing scheme) cereal. One “serving” (3/4 cup, give me a break when one eats cereal, they eat at least 1 1/2 cups if not more…double the serving suggestion) has 40 grams of carbohydrates and 18 grams of sugar. Now lets double that because there isn’t anyone sticking to serving portions. You are actually consuming 80 grams of carbohydrates and 40 grams of sugar. Those carbohydrates break down as sugar. Holy sugar rush. What does your body do with all that extra sugar? First of all after the blood sugar spike and plummet you will crash and burn and be super hungry within an hour of eating it. Second, your pancreas gets overworked leading to insulin resistance (which can lead to type 2 diabetes, very prevalent in our culture). Third, the extra carbohydrates are stored in the body as fat.

Cereal grains are highly processed and stripped of nutrients. Then synthetic vitamins are added, and it is labeled as “nutritious”

Saturated fats such as butter, lard, coconut oil have a strong influence on metabolism! These fats help to release insulin. Fat keeps you full longer. Fats are satisfying and satiating.  When you avoid fat, you are hungry more frequently. Contrary to what you might think, humans are not designed to snack frequently. However, consuming a high fructose/refined grain and low-fat diet makes you more hungry so you tend to reach for more snacks. You consume more calories just to feel satisfied. Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates like refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar. The insulin released from eating too many carbohydrates promotes fat and makes it more difficult for your body to shed excess weight, and excess fat, particularly around your belly.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cereal. Cereal grains contain anti nutrients. Anti nutrients are the plants natural defense against bugs. It is the plants way of protecting itself from being eaten. Anti-nutrients cause inflammation in the body, inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases. This inflammation can manifest in the body in so many different ways-sore joints, headaches, depression, anxiety, autoimmune diseases, and much more. Soaking and sprouting the grains can help remove some anti-nutrients. However, conventional cereals are factory produced and there is no sprouting or soaking.

Many cereals contain wheat. The newer proteins found in wheat are difficult for our gut to handle. The wheat we are eating now is not the wheat of our ancestors! This article explains some of the newer proteins in modern wheat and the affect these modern grains have on the body. Even oatmeal is most often stored in the same silo as wheat, and therefore can be cross-contaminated with these proteins.

Many people put low-fat or fat free cows milk in their cereal. This is milk that has been stripped of it’s nutrients. Fat is brain food and needed by the body. Here is my blog post on conventional dairy and why I do not give it to my children.

Other reasons to avoid cereal? Genetically modified grains and soy (GMO’s) and food dye’s are found in most conventional cereals. GMO’s have been shown to cause health risks. See study

In a nutshell-although marketed as a healthy breakfast option, cereal is not the way to go! Some people make grain-free hot cereals out of nuts, flax seed, nut butters, other seeds, and fruits.

Another popular “breakfast food’ is eggs! Eggs are amazing nutrient dense powerhouses. Sadly, many people still believe that they must throw away the yolk. The yolk is where all the nutrients are. The yolk contains vitamins A, D, E, and K. It also contains calcium, iron, zinc, and protein. The medical community use to think that eating egg yolks raised cholesterol. We now know that our bodies make cholesterol. Cholesterol from food rarely raises overall cholesterol. We also know that cholesterol is not the culprit in heart disease.

ID-10038218

  • All of the cells in your body need cholesterol.
  • Cholesterol metabolizes all hormones and fat soluable vitamins.
  • Your body manufactures most of it’s own cholesterol and a little bit comes from food.
  • Cholesterol forms and maintains cell wall structures.
  • Cholesterol is used by the nerve cells for insulation.
  • The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile.
  • Cholesterol is also needed for your body to make Vitamin D.
  • Much of what you may think about cholesterol is wrong.
  • Cholesterol is found in the arteries, but it is mistaken as the culprit in heart disease. Cholesterol travels to arteries in order to heal the body–as a  “patch” to the lesions caused by underlying inflammation. This underlying inflammation is from a diet high in inflammatory foods likes sugars, processed grains, and oxidized oils.

Some people are allergic to eggs (usually the proteins in the egg white) or their guts cannot handle the proteins (particularly people with autoimmune conditions). Therefore egg-free breakfast alternatives are needed.

Let’s break free from traditional breakfast ideas. Think of things you would normally eat for lunch, snacks or dinner. All of these things can be eaten for breakfast. You want to get some good energy to start your day. Fats are brain-food, carbohydrates from vegetable sources and protein will keep you going. Think “real food” ..real food does not come in a package or box.

 

Here are some non-traditional breakfast ideas (some with eggs and some are egg-free):

One of my children’s favorite breakfasts is leftovers from dinner the night before crisped up in a pan. If you can have eggs, eggs make a great addition to this. So lets say you had steak and sweet potato. Bake an extra sweet potato with dinner and pop it in the fridge with the left over steak. Cut of the steak and pan fry it with some coconut oil, tallow, or lard. Crisp up the sweet potato as well into sweet potato “pancakes”-saute some greens with garlic and you have a meal. The combinations are endless!

Spaghetti squash and meat. If you are crunched for time in the morning cook up the spaghetti squash the night before. It is super easy to bake. Cut it in half, remove the seeds, and place it in a baking dish cut side down with about an inch of water. bake for 30-45 minutes depending on the side of the squash-the squash should scrape right out of the peel into threads like spaghetti. Drizzle with some olive oil or butter and season as you like (I like onion powder). Put some cooked/seasoned grass-fed ground beef on top or leftover meat from the night before cut up and crisped in a pan. You can also put marinara sauce or bolognese sauce right on top of the spaghetti squash (bolognese is a meat sauce). You would just mix the meat into the marinara and put it on top of the spaghetti squash.

spaghettisquash1

Chicken legs with roasted root veggies(carrots, parsnips, potatoes, turnip, onions)  and sauteed greens: Chicken legs/thighs/breast are easy to make and the kids love to eat them for breakfast. You can roast the root vegetables right in with the chicken legs, and serve with sauteed greens (my kids love baby broccoli, but any greens would do). For the chicken legs I like to put them in a baking dish with a small amount of water on the bottom. I season them (usually with Trader’s Joe’s 21 spice mix), and put the cut up root veggies in the pan around the legs-as well as a few cloves of chopped garlic. Bake for about 45 minutes at 350. Again, if crunched for time this can be done the night before and re-heated. The greens can be sauteed in fat and seasoned to your taste. I like mine with butter and coconut aminos.

019

Somewhat traditional breakfast: pastured sausage or bacon, but serve over a bed of greens with a side of fruit. I like to get the bulk breakfast sausage from the local Farmer’s Market. Fry it up in little slider patties for kids or bigger ones for an adult. You can also make them as breakfast sausage meatballs-roll into balls and broil on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet-kids like to eat them with toothpicks.

Breakfast meatballs (serve with sauteed greens and fruit) 1 lb grass-fed ground beef, 1 egg (or 1 TBS Flax seed ground mixed with 1 TBS water as an egg replacer) 1/2 a finely diced onion, 2-3 cloves finely diced garlic, 1TBS parsley, sea salt and pepper to taste. Optional: shredded carrots and or shredded zucchini. Mix with meat hook in standing mixer-roll into meatballs, place a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and broil on the highest shelf for 5-8 minutes or until cooked through. For sweet potatoe fries: cut a sweet potato into french fry sticks, and fry in coconut oil.

meatballs3

Make a breakfast cob salad with bacon and eggs! get a plate of greens and top with any chopped veggies you like, add chopped bacon and hardboiled eggs if you have eggs. Chopped chicken, steak, and pork from last night’s dinner works as well. Canned wild caught salmon is great on a salad with chopped bacon and veggies as well.

If you are in a crunch for time and running out the door:

nuts/seeds/berries

a coconut milk smoothie with frozen berries, almond butter, coconut milk, and a little raw honey. If you eat eggs throw a raw egg into the smoothie.

sardines over a bed of greens with a sweet potato on the side

banana dipped in almond butter

Here are the links to some great grain-free breakfast kindle cookbooks (at very reasonable prices):

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a dietitian. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

My Thoughts on Practical Paleo by: Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC

practicalpaleo3

 

Often times I get asked what books I recommend for starting someone who is just starting out on a paleo or primal journey. It can seem overwhelming to take the first few steps, and having a good guide makes all the difference in the world.

I am excited to write about Practical Paleo because this book has literally been a lifesaver for me! Practical Paleo is not only a cookbook with easy to follow recipes and beautiful pictures, it also explains the premise behind the paleo lifestyle. It is simple and easy to use.

Diane Sanfilippo starts the introduction by sharing her own personal experiences with eating the standard American diet (SAD) and the effect it had on her. She explains how grains were hurting her, and the positive changes that happened in her life after switching to the paleo lifestyle.

In the first part of Practical Paleo Diane explains what paleo is and how to make it work for you. She writes out in two columns what foods to eat, and what foods to eliminate when starting out. Following this chart are several guides;  a guide to paleo foods, what to stock your pantry with, and a guide to food quality that explains how to read labels. If you are on a budget she explains what your priorities should be! Diane also includes special notes about common food allergens throughout the book.

The section following this explains how to navigate going out to eat on a paleo diet. This is helpful because she even lists some restaurant chains  that have separate gluten free menus. Diane teaches what questions to ask at the restaurant so you can make the best possible choices but still enjoy your experience eating out! I found this section to be extremely helpful as I have celiac disease and cross contamination at restaurants can make me very sick.

The next section explains every part of the digestive system, what can go wrong, why, and how to fix it. Diane lists all the chronic inflammatory conditions that are related to poor digestive function. My favorite part of this section is  the “poop pageant!”  It’s a guide to understanding your poop with pictures. Did you ever wonder about your poop? Now you will understand what is going and some changes you can make to have normal poop…hahaha!

In the next section of Practical Paleo Diane thoroughly explains the concept of “leaky gut” and includes a guide to healing your gut. This section is important for anyone diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, or anyone dealing with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, celiacs, bowel diseases, mood disorders, lupus, heart disease…the list goes on and on.

Then there is a big section on blood sugar and carbohydrates-this section (the most helpful one in my case) includes a guide to dense sources of paleo carbohydates and a guide to sweeteners. This section helped me the most as I gained an understanding of why I would feel “shaky” between meals prior to going primal, and why I was hungry so frequently. Diane explains how to get off the “blood sugar roller coaster.” I had a bunch of “aha” moments while reading this section, and it really changed the way I viewed my own eating habits and health. I always assumed I had low blood sugar and needed to eat frequently. I now rarely feel hungry or shaky and don’t snack nearly as much. Thanks to Practical Paleo I am off the blood sugar roller coaster!

The first part of Practical Paleo ends with a bunch of frequently asked questions and the answers to these questions. Diane covers alcohol consumption, coffee, cholesterol, FODMAPS, nightshades and more.

The second part of Practical Paleo contains different 30 day meal plans. There is a meal plan tailored to support autoimmune conditions, digestive health, blood-sugar regulation, thyroid health, cancer recovery, heart health, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fat loss, athletic performance, and general health. All the recipes for the meal plans are included in the book! How awesome is that?!

Following the 30 day meal plans are the recipes. Practical Paleo is filled with grain, soy, and legume free recipes that have beautiful pictures. My kids LOVE the pumpkin pancake recipe and they are very easy to make with simple ingredients. Other favorites in our house include the spaghetti squash bolognese and the apple streusel egg muffins.

Following the recipes are tear out guides! Practical Paleo contains a guide to stocking your pantry that you can actually take to the grocery store with you. There is a guide to fats and oils, sweeteners, sources of carbohydrates, and a guide to gluten that includes the most common sources of hidden gluten! If you do not want to tear them out of your book, or purchase the kindle edition, these guides are available on-line HERE.

If you are even considering changing your lifestyle to a healthier and happier one, I cannot recommend Practical Paleo enough. It is worth every penny! It also makes a great gift 🙂 Just read through some of the reviews on amazon, and you will be sold!

practicalpaleo1

Over the next couple weeks I will review some other great books for starting out on a paleo/primal journey, the next one being  Well-Fed!

 

 

 

Don’t Be Afraid Of Saturated Fats!

This is a follow -up on my post: Side Effects From Eating a Low-Fat Diet

I discussed some side effects you may experience when you cut good fats out of your diet. However, I want to be more specific about the types of fats that are needed for your body, and the types you should avoid. Not all fats support your body’s ability to function, and some of these highly processed and manufactured fats can damage your body. There has been so much wrong information out there over the past generation, spread through the media and health-care professionals. It can be difficult to understand and navigate.

There are different types of fats depending on the number of hydrogen bonds in the fat molecule. The more hydrogen bonds, the more saturated and stable the fat is. Stable means that the fat does not oxidize easily releasing free radicals. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and do not go rancid-or break down when exposed to elements of light, oxygen and heat as polyunsaturated fats do.

My goal here is to help you navigate the world of fats, and gain a better understanding of which fats to consume, and which to avoid. Here are the different words you might hear associated with fats, and what these words mean:

 Saturated Fats:

butter

 

  • Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
  • Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, these are the most beneficial fats for our body. These fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils).
  • These fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize (break down) or go rancid.
  • Saturated fats include fats such as lard, tallow, butter, suet, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil.
  • Saturated fats are beneficial to the body-these fats insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help regulate hormones.

 Monounsaturated Fats (aka MUFA’s):

images

  • Monounsaturated fats have one double bond in the fatty acid chain.
  • Monounsaturated fats have a lower melting point than saturated fats, but a higher melting point than polyunsaturated fats.
  • Monounsaturated fats can go rancid/breakdown/oxidize easier than saturated fats.
  • If consumed in an oxidative state, these oils can cause inflammation in the body. Therefore you would only want to use these oils for low to no heat and cold uses, and make sure you purchase cold-pressed oils.
  • You would want to store them in a dark place.
  • Monounsaturated fats include olive oil and avocado oil.
  • Monounsaturated fats also make up part of the fats in meats (another reason not to overcook or burn meats), and are found in some nuts like macadamia nuts.

 Polyunsaturated Fats (aka PUFA’s):

vegetableoils

  • Poly (many) of the bonds are unsaturated with hydrogen.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature and in the refrigerator.
  • Polyunsaturated oils include: vegetable oils and industrial seed oils, such canola, corn, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, and safflower.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are highly processed.
  • These polyunsaturated seed oils are very high in omega 6 fatty acids and low in omega 3’s.
  • Heat, light, and oxygen break these oils down and render them chemically unstable. The volatile chemical structure (from the process of being heat extracted releasing free-radicals) can wreak havoc on the body at a cellular level, and cause chronic inflammation…the root of modern diseases.
  • These oils are not stable.
  • Contrary to what you might have heard, these oils should be avoided! It is not easy to avoid them when you go out to eat, but don’t buy them! These oils are also found in packaged processed foods like potato chips-including those you buy at the “health food” store.

For more info on polyunsaturated fats (PUFA’s):

http://raypeat.com/articles/nutrition/oils-in-context.shtml#.UVKouM1x34A.facebook

http://chriskresser.com/how-too-much-omega-6-and-not-enough-omega-3-is-making-us-sick

http://thankyourbody.com/vegetable-oils/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/polyunsaturated-fat/#axzz2OMW3AqGx

Hydrogenated Oils:

health risks of hydrogenated oils

  • Hydrogenated oils are chemically altered fats-these oils are high heat treated and processed to change them from a liquid state to a solid state.
  • Hydrogen is added to these oils to make them solid.
  • Examples include margarine, benecol, earth balance, “better than butter” and Crisco.
  • These chemically altered oils should be avoided.

THIS explains how hydrogenated oils are created and how they affect the body.

“Let’s take hydrogenated oils and see what this substance really is and why it’s so incredibly bad for you. Hydrogenated oils are oils that are often healthy in their natural state, but are quickly turned into poisons through the manufacturing and processing they undergo. They take these naturally healthy oils such as palm, kernel, soybean, corn oil or coconut oil and they heat it anywhere from five hundred to one thousand degrees under several atmospheres of pressure.

They then inject a catalyst into the oil for several hours. The catalyst is typically a metal such a nickel, platinum or even aluminum. As this bubbles up into the oil the molecular structure changes and increases in density and rearranges it’s molecules so that instead of a liquid at room temperature we now have either semi-solid or solid oil. This creates either partially hydrogenated or fullyhydrogenated oils.

The molecules in this new product are now closer to cellulose or plastic than to oil. In fact hydrogenated oil is only one molecule away from being plastic. When you eat anything containing this material, just as the oil is now thicker and more viscous (dense), so too does your blood become thicker and more viscous right along with it. The heart now has to work so much harder to pump blood throughout the system. This is one of the major ways that consuming hydrogenated oils contributes to high blood pressure.”

Read More: http://www.naturalnews.com/024694_oil_food_oils.html#ixzz2OPsEaGwE

Cholesterol:

ID-10038218

  • All of the cells in your body need cholesterol.
  • Cholesterol metabolizes all hormones and fat soluable vitamins.
  • Your body manufactures most of it’s own cholesterol and a little bit comes from food.
  • Cholesterol forms and maintains cell wall structures.
  • Cholesterol is used by the nerve cells for insulation.
  • The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile.
  • Cholesterol is also needed for your body to make Vitamin D.
  • Much of what you may think about cholesterol is wrong.
  • Cholesterol is found in the arteries, but it is mistaken as the culprit in heart disease. Cholesterol travels to arteries in order to heal the body–as a  “patch” to the lesions caused by underlying inflammation. This underlying inflammation is from a diet high in inflammatory foods likes sugars, processed grains, and oxidized oils.

For more information on the truth about cholesterol:

http://www.westonaprice.org/cardiovascular-disease/myths-a-truths-about-cholesterol

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/22/debunking-the-science-behind-lowering-cholesterol-levels.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/08/10/making-sense-of-your-cholesterol-numbers.aspx

Over the past generation we have heard plenty about “good” fats and “bad” fats. Saturated fats were (and often still are based on faulty information) placed in the “bad” fat category because it was thought to be associated with atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries due to heart disease). This saturated fat theory is all based on an epidemiology study (a “study” that basically asks people to fill out a survey), and many factors were not taken into consideration, including the inflammatory foods present in the diet.

According to Mary Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon (The Truth About Saturated Fats Parts 1-3)

“These “experts” assure us that the lipid hypothesis is backed by incontrovertible scientific proof. Most people would be surprised to learn that there is, in fact, very little evidence to support the contention that a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat actually reduces death from heart disease or in any way increases one’s life span. Consider the following:

Before 1920 coronary heart disease was rare in America; so rare that when a young internist named Paul Dudley White introduced the German electrocardiograph to his colleagues at Harvard University, they advised him to concentrate on a more profitable branch of medicine.

The new machine revealed the presence of arterial blockages, thus permitting early diagnosis of coronary heart disease. But in those days clogged arteries were a medical rarity, and White had to search for patients who could benefit from his new technology. During the next forty years, however, the incidence of coronary heart disease rose dramatically, so much so that by the mid fifties heart disease was the leading cause of death among Americans.

Today heart disease causes at least 40% of all US deaths. If, as we have been told, heart disease results from the consumption of saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase in animal fat in the American diet. Actually, the reverse is true. During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83% to 62%, and butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four.

During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only 1%. During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%.”

Read more: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/08/17/saturated-fat1.aspx

More on the truth about saturated fats: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/saturated-fat-healthy/#axzz2OMW3AqGx

 In a nutshell:

  • Avoid vegetable oils such as corn, soy, and canola oil-these oils are also found in packaged pretzels and chips.
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils like margarine and Crisco-these oils are also found in many processed snacks.

  • Use olive oil cold or for low heat cooking.

  • Cook with stable saturated fats such as butter (from grass-fed cows is best), coconut oil, tallow, and lard-don’t be afraid of saturated fats!

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

Side Effects From Eating a “Low-Fat” Diet

You may think you are being healthy by buying into the “low-fat” eating fad. Fat’s have become “evil” in the American culture.  Cut out fat and you won’t get fat, right? Not necessarily. We have been grossly misinformed primarily by marketing. According to a Weston A. Price article “Taking The Fear Out of Eating Fat “Our media-induced fear of fat in this country has created a market for over 15,000 reduced-fat products! These products completely fail to live up to their claims, not to mention that they don’t even taste good. Have you ever had a fat-free product that tasted better than the original? The fact is that when they remove the fat, they have to put something back in, and that “something” is usually more sugar, sodium, artificial flavorings, binding agents and other chemicals.”

Eating fat does not make you fat! Eating fat with excessive carbohydrates from sugars and refined grains will. Our bodies need fat in so many different ways. In fact, by eating little to no fat, one can expect to feel pretty yucky. You may experience blood sugar fluctuations and weight gain. Remember when trying to eat “whole foods” you want to eat the whole food. That means not removing nutrients that have an important biochemical role in the health of your body. Saturated fats are among these essential nutrients.

Below is a list of side effects you may experience while being on a “low fat” diet. So please stop buying that “fat free” milk, stripped of all it’s important nutrients! When you see “low-fat” on the label, run the other way. The best way to avoid these items is to stop eating processed foods. Stick to the outside aisle at the grocery store-Stop dieting, and just eat real whole foods!

eat real whole foods instead

Weight Gain:
Expect weight gain on a low fat, high refined grain diet. Saturated fats such as butter, lard, coconut oil have a strong influence on metabolism! These fats help to release insulin. Fat keeps you full longer. Fats are satisfying and satiating.  When you avoid fat, you are hungry more frequently. Contrary to what you might think, humans are not designed to snack frequently. However, consuming a high fructose/refined grain and low-fat diet makes you more hungry so you tend to reach for more snacks. You consume more calories just to feel satisfied. Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates like fructose and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar. The insulin released from eating too many carbohydrates promotes fat and makes it more difficult for your body to shed excess weight, and excess fat, particularly around your belly.

According to Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple, “It’s difficult to overeat on a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Dietary fat in the presence of large amounts of dietary carbohydrates can make it difficult to access fat for energy, while dietary fat in the presence of low levels of dietary carbohydrates makes it easier to access fat for energy. Couple that with the fact that fat and carbs are easier to overeat together, and you have your explanation. In fact, studies have shown that low-carb, high-fat diets not only reduce weight, they also retain or even increase lean mass. That means it’s fat that’s being lost (rather than the nebulous “weight”), which is what we’re ultimately after. Eating a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet is the easiest way to inadvertently eat less without sacrificing satiation or satisfaction. It also improves your ability to access stored body fat rather than lean mass, which is helpful for fat loss.”

Medium-Chain Fatty acids like those found in coconut oil have also been shown to boost metabolism and aid in weight loss. Medium-Chain Fatty Acids are immediately used for energy (are quickly digested and do not require bile to break them down) which, subsequently, increase metabolism. This is also known as “thermogenesis” or fat burning. The body becomes more efficient.

*If you want to feel full longer, and become lean and efficient, fuel up with saturated fats and get your carbohydrates from vegetable sources rather than sugary foods and refined grains


“Brain-Fog”/Forgetfulness:

When eating low-fat, you may find that you have difficulty processing and remembering things. This is often referred to as “brain fog”. The brain is compiled mostly of saturated fat and cholesterol. Saturated fat and cholesterol insulates the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers and preserves proper function of the brain and nervous system. More insulated myelin equals better brain function. Messages/signals in the brain can be more easily transported through nerves. This is a protective layer that helps the brain function properly! Without it, the impulses can be “broken” leading to “brain fog”

According to Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple,The brain requires glucose. That is true. However, the brain is more of a gas/diesel hybrid. It can run on both fat and glucose. Ketones, derived from fatty acids, can satisfy the majority of the brain’s energy needs, sparing the need for so much glucose. You’ll still need some glucose, as the brain can’t run purely on ketone bodies, but you won’t need nearly as much. And, best of all, your brain will run more efficiently on a combination of ketones and glucose than on glucose alone. That improved efficiency means you can actually function without food. Since you have ample brain energy stores on your body (even the lean among us have enough body fat to last for weeks), and a high-fat diet allows you to access that body fat for brain energy, you’ll no longer suffer brain fog just because your afternoon meeting went a little long and you missed lunch. Instead, you’ll enjoy steadier, more even energy in mind and body.”

*If you want to have better focus, memory, and concentration-eat more saturated fats and cholesterol!

“Unstable” Blood Sugar:

Before eating primal I was constantly hungry, and I would get shaky and hot-sometimes almost pass out if I did not have a snack every hour. I would tell everyone “I have low blood sugar, so I need to snack frequently.” I just assumed it was a condition that I had. Little did I know at the time it was because I was fueling myself with all carbohydrates from refined grains, and little to no fat. When you eat low fat, you typically consume  more sugary foods and carbohydrates. I *thought this was healthy, because that is what I had been taught. Low fat foods are often laced with extra sugar to make the flavor more palatable. All of these carbohydrates break down as glucose. Eating all these extra carbohydrates makes the pancreas work extra hard pumping out insulin. Foods high in carbohydrates like fructose and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar. These blood sugar spikes and plummets can leave you feeling drained.

Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple explains here what happens in the body after consuming a piece of birthday cake (so you have an idea of what happens in the body after consuming a high sugar snack). Fats are like putting a “big log on the fire” in sense that they take a long time digest, and keep you feeling satisfied longer. Fats keep you going. Therefore you won’t experience those fluctuations from blood sugar spikes and dips.

Coconut oil helps with blood sugar regulation as well! According to Dr Ward Jean and Jim English “medium chain fatty acids have a slight hypoglycemic (blood glucose-lowering) effect, and thus may be useful for diabetics, or anyone with a tendency for pre-diabetes.”
According to Brian and Marianita Shilhavy from coconutoil.com “A study done in 2009 at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia by Dr. Nigel Turner and Associate Professor Jiming Ye demonstrated that a diet rich in coconut oil protects against ‘insulin resistance’ (an impaired ability of cells to respond to insulin) in muscle and fat. These findings are important because obesity and insulin resistance are major factors leading to the development of Type 2 diabetes.”

*If you want to feel more stable and less irritable throughout the day, reach for whole nutrient dense foods, rather than low-fat sugary snacks. 

Dry Skin/Wrinkles:
Eating a low fat diet results in dry skin, dry hair, and wrinkles.
According to “Weston A. Price Foundation’s “ask the Doctor” on Dry Skin: “Many practitioners suggest that the solution is to drink more water—usually eight glasses per day of water is suggested. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help much as you may already have learned. The reason drinking a lot of water doesn’t work very well is because the water in our cells is actually derived from the metabolism of fats. (The water we drink mostly goes into the blood stream and then out via the kidneys.) It follows, therefore, that when the skin is dry, it means there is a relative imbalance or deficiency of fats, especially compared to the levels of carbohydrates in the diet. I find confirmation of this in my practice in that most of my patients who suffer from dry skin are thin and have been eating a low fat diet. They are also often hypoglycemic and crave sugar. Thus they are eating a diet that is high in carbohydrates but deficient in good quality fat. By changing the ratio, so that more calories come from fats than carbohydrates, the body produced more water for the cells. In addition, the body will now have more fatty acids available for our oil-producing glands, which are our natural moisturizers. Good fats include butter, lard, coconut oil, olive oil and small amounts of flax oil.”

butter - good fat
Here is a nice story from Weston A. Price Foundation “Taking the Fear Out of Eating Fat” “I worked with a client from Mexico who was here visiting her daughter over the summer. The mother was 85 years old, very strong and healthy, and had not one wrinkle on her beautiful face. Her skin was incredible! It was so soft and silky, not at all dry, scaly or wrinkly like the skin I’m so used to seeing with most of my clients. I just had to ask her what kind of fats she eats. Her daughter translated my question to her mother and then replied, “She said she eats mostly lard. I can’t believe it! I keep telling her that’s not good for her, but she just won’t listen!” Us silly Americans!”

*We have oil producing glands all over our body and on the scalp-so if you want soft skin and shiny healthy hair, no need to buy expensive products, just eat more saturated fats!

If you are uncertain of saturated fats because you have heard that they cause heart disease, check out this , this, and this!

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

Some resources:
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/saturated-fat-healthy/#axzz2IidhOLQD
http://www.westonaprice.org/making-it-practical/taking-the-fear-out-of-eating-fat

Get a free consultation