The ONE Supplement I’m Endorsing!

Let me start out by saying I’m not much of a salesperson. Look, quite frankly, I suck at selling things. I never want to be that person who is pushing the “next big thing.” It’s not in my character.

Over the years as a blogger I have been asked to endorse many different supplements… and oils… and gadgets. Truth be told, most products I try, well, they just don’t delivery as promised. As an Nutritional Therapist, I feel the best thing you can for yourself is minimize stress, sleep, eat real food, and use your body. I will always advocate for this lifestyle first and foremost. Without a good foundation, nothing will get better. Had to say that first and foremost.

So why am I choosing now, and this supplement, to put my name behind?

A few months back I had someone locally approach me with this product Keto OS (exogenous ketones). You take the ketones, and it puts you in a ketogenic state fairly quickly, and for several hours. I was skeptical. Really skeptical. But she gave me a packet to try so I figured, why not? And guess what?

I felt kind of amazing!

That day I had so much energy and just felt really good. However, I was still skeptical. Plus, didn’t really know the person who gave it me (and wasn’t entirely sure I could trust her), so I put it in the back of my head.

Fast forward a few months and some people in the ancestral health community who I did know and trust, reached out to me about this very product. I was floored that these people, who I had so much respect for, were also behind this product. I was also thrilled because I remembered how great I felt after taking it, and I wanted to test it out again to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. I was really hoping I wasn’t imagining thing.

I tried the product again, this time for a full week. To my delight I felt just as great as I remember after the first time. I won’t go to deep into the science of this stuff, but if you’re interested, I interviewed an expert on Ketones which you can read below. The short version is this: Apparently this product nourishes your mitochondria and “feeds” your brain. It’s kinda like rocket fuel for your metabolism.

Order Here

I don’t want to say I felt like a superhero… but I will tell you this…

That week I hit a 30lb deadlift max increase. I went from 185 to 215. I also hit a sub 8 minute running mile. I had more energy at CrossFit, and made it 5 times that week! I didn’t crave any afternoon carbs. I felt more focused while writing. I felt less anxious. I didn’t have that afternoon “slump” feeling. I had sustained energy.  Then I ran out of the stuff.

That sucked.

I needed this stuff back in my life. I wanted to feel the improved energy, strength and focus again. And I want that for you too!

Look, you’re sitting here reading this and you know my primary focus is on lifestyle changes to improve health.

You know I don’t like all this sales stuff.

You know I wouldn’t tell you about a product unless I honestly believed in it and felt great about taking it myself.

Not only did I instantly feel better, but I was able to see a difference in how I felt when I had to go without it. On top of that…this stuff is backed by credible scientific research.

In the past I have tried going ketogenic (aka ultra low carb and high fat). However, as a female with thyroid issues, I actually feel my best consuming a moderate amount of carbs (such as parsnips, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, carrots), and even (gasp) white rice on heavy lifting days. Often times women don’t do as well as men going super low carb. I don’t advocate very low carb for that reason. The cool thing about exogenous ketones is that you can still eat a moderate amount of carbs, and reap the benefits. I tend to eat a high fat and low carb meal prior to my morning workout, and add some carbs in after my workout. I still eat real food. I don’t eat processed foods. So to be completely transparent here, if you’re looking to take a magic pill that allows you to eat a diet full of processed junk food, this definitely not for you.

One of the things I hear a lot about from people in the community with this product is weight loss. I will not be endorsing this as a weight loss product. I never weigh myself. I don’t even own a scale. I have no idea what I weigh actually. I love my body, and I take care of it. Just like I will never count macros, or obsess over my food, I will never start weighing myself. With that said, fat loss may be a benefit some people experience, due to decreased inflammation and overall health benefits. I noticed my inflammation went down-and just feel better overall when I take them. However, I will not endorse this (or any) product as a weight loss aid. Fat loss comes by addressing the foundations of your health-the ones I mention above. Sleep. Stress. Nutrition. Movement. Microbiome.

Order Here

Interested in the science behind this stuff? Read my interview with Keto Expert, Mike Kuhn, below.

I’d also like to check out the recent webinar I hosted!

We Discussed The Potential Benefits Including:

• Fat loss

• More energy

• Better focus

• Better exercise recovery

• Decreased cravings

• and more!

And now, on to the interview…

mikekuhn

My colleague and friend Mike Kuhn has been studying exogenous ketones for some time now! I took some time to interview him on the topic, so I could learn a little more about how exogenous ketones work, particularly their function in the brain.

Mike is a high-level athlete who competes in Mixed Martial Arts. Oh, he’s also a Doctor of Health Science Candidate, with a Masters in Clinical Nutrition, and an Undergrad in Biology and Exercise Science. No big deal.

You can check out his awesome website: www.mikethecaveman.com Mike also shares daily videos and tips on Instagram @mikethecaveman!

 

 

What is your background?

“Grew up in the natural medicine scene after my dad got super sick with candida when I was a kid and became a Naturopathic Doctor. Always was interested in health, fitness and nutrition. So I did my undergrad in Biology & Exercise Science on the DPT tract, took some time off before going back to get my Master’s in Clinical Nutrition. Now working on my doctorate as a Health Care Clinician with a focus on immune dysregulation.”

 

How long have you been studying exogenous ketones?

“I have been interested in a ketogenic approach even back since my undergraduate days. I always found I did better on the lowish carb end. I began playing around with an functionally ketogenic Paleo & daily intermittent fasting around October 2010. However, I began using a true ketogenic protocol, particularly for my fight camps (I am an MMA fighter), after linking up with Dr. Jayson & Mira Carlton. I first encountered exogenous ketones after eating lunch with Dr. Dominic D’Agostino at AHS13 and attending his poster presentation (back when no one knew who he was). I always kept an eye out on them for performance purposes, but they really came back on my radar following illnesses in both my family, and in the family of my good friend Michael Roesslein of Rebel Health Tribe.”

 

What exactly are exogenous ketones?

“Exogenous ketones are generally some combination of the ketone bodies, β-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate, as well as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are added to help increase endogenous production, β-hydroxybutyrate, while not technically a ketone (chemically) is the most physiologically active of the three primary compounds produced endogenously when the body enters the state of ketosis (along with the aforementioned acetoacetate and acetone).”

 

How do they work?

“They work in the brain as an alternative fuel source to glucose. In fact, the brain, heart and muscles perform better on them overall. However, they also assist cognitive function by way of reducing inflammation and improving mitochondrial function, making cells more resistant to oxidative stress.”

 

Why do I feel so good when I take them?

“As we said before, it provides a cleaner, more sustained energy. They also reduce your inflammation and improve your bodies ability to respond to free radicals. They improve insulin signaling and overall blood sugar regulation, resulting in improved hunger vs satiety signaling.”

 

Do you take them?

“Yes”

What difference have you noticed?

“Improved cognition and performance in training.”

 

Anything else you want to say about them?

“Try them!”

There you have it, Mike Kuhn. I agree. Try them!

Please check out my webinar!

In it we discussed:

• Fat loss

• More energy

• Better focus

• Better exercise recovery

• Decreased cravings

• and more!

ketoos

 

 

Mike discusses more about the science of exogenous ketones, my colleague Michael Roesslein talked about about his experiences with exogenous ketones.

 

Want to Try The Product Now?

             Go Here For More Information!

 

Five Ways to Recover Faster after CrossFit

 

 

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Heavy lifting such as CrossFit can be very taxing on the entire body. Most people do not realize that physical stress, (not just mental stress) can also trigger adrenal fatigue. Not only do the muscles need to recover, but the entire body needs to heal from the stress induced by heavy lifting. Some of the most amazing athletes know that they need to rest and recover in order to maintain their strength, stamina, and ability to perform at their best. What are some things you can do now to speed the recovery process and heal faster?

 

1. Magnesium.

Magnesium plays an important role in the production of energy. Being deficient in magnesium can have a negative effect on sports performance. Magnesium is a calming mineral, and can turn the body from being in a stress-state or sympathetic state into a parasympathetic or relaxed state. According to this study, magnesium supplementation reduced the stress response in the body for the athletes. There are different many different forms of magnesium, but to help with muscle recovery and overall relaxation after a tough workout, transdermal magnesium massages and magnesium bath soaks are both great solutions! Soak for 20 minutes after a workout for best results.

 

2. Include gelatin in your diet.

All that heavy lifting can be taxing on your joints and cartilage! Although gelatin protein doesn’t necessarily support initial muscle healing (you need to include nutrient dense sources of protein, such as pasture raised meats and wild seafood which contain all essential amino acids), gelatin is great for the joints, and helps with stiffness and pain associated with heavy lifting. Gelatin contains high amounts of glycine and proline, which are both anti-inflammatory and great for joints. According to this research, gelatin was beneficial for symptom relief of osteoarthritis, and can stimulate change and enhancement of cartilage tissue. Try adding it to your morning coffee or tea, or even as part of your recovery drink.

 

3. Prioritize sleep!

In our ‘rush rush’ culture, sleep is often not a priority. Sleep is perhaps one of the most important means to recovery. When we are asleep, the body can heal and renew. Most of us are not getting enough sleep. For athletes, not getting enough sleep makes for slower healing time, increased stress, and decreased recovery. According to this research,  adapting appropriate sleep hygiene and healthy sleeping habits are important for optimal athletic performance. Sleep needs to become our number one health priority, rather than our last. A few things that can help ease into a good night’s sleep are to stay off of all screens 2 hours before bedtime, and to have a routine that includes reading, gentle stretching, a warm bath, or something you find relaxing. It’s important to keep the same routine and bedtime every night.

 

4. Take yoga.

There is no better way to stretch out those fatigued muscles and improve recovery than by taking a yoga class. Yoga enhances strength, stamina, and flexibility. According to bodybuilding.com:  

‘Yoga is the best medicine for preventing injuries and aiding muscle recovery and repair. When the muscles and surrounding tissues are lengthened and relaxed during yoga asana (Sanskrit word for postures) it creates more room for blood to flow.’

Yoga also forces you to take time to just ‘be’ without thinking. This can help significantly with emotional stress, which is also taxing on the body. Even one yoga class a week can really help athletes with recovery and performance!

 

5. Eat a sweet potato instead of an apple!

Glycogen depletion can cause fatigue for athletes. Low glycogen can be a limiting factor in both performance and recovery. It’s important to get glycogen directly to the muscle during recovery. Adequate carbohydrate during the recovery period is important in this metabolic process. However, the type of carbohydrate consumed actually makes a big difference! Fruit sources of carbs contain fructose, and fructose does not help with restoring glycogen nearly as much as glucose does. These researchers studied muscle recovery with glucose vs fructose. They found that glucose restores muscle glycogen 40% faster than fructose! They believe fructose is absorbed slower in the intestines, blood glucose is significantly higher with glucose vs fructose and therefore higher plasma insulin results in increased glucose uptake. Finally, fructose gives rise to more liver glycogen than glucose. This lowers muscle glycogen directly available for muscle glycogen synthesis. -Read more.

Fructose is found in fruit like apples, pears, peaches, oranges, etc. The better thing to reach for when recovering are starchy vegetables like tubers, sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, beets, carrots and squash. These are all great ‘read food’ way to get glycogen to the muscle. Some athletes find that white rice right after a workout works great for them as well.

*Remember not to overtrain, and to listen to your body. It’s counterproductive if you are not getting adequate sleep and nutrition, yet still training.

 

The Real Heart Healthy Diet

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This topic is particularly important to me, as I think there is so much misinformation out there regarding heart health, and an optimal diet for heart health. Heart disease is one of the most wrongly treated diseases. Outdated recommendations are still being made by “authority” organizations and medical Doctors are still advising for eating nutrient void foods, avoiding healthy fats, as well as increasing grain consumption (which actually increases inflammation and decreases mineral absorption). In the past, I worked as an exercise physiologist in a cardiac rehabilitation clinic. I talked to patients all about the importance of avoiding saturated fats and cooking with polyunsaturated fats (PUFA oils) like canola oil, as well as eating a low-fat or fat-free diet. I use to make a canola oil pie crust and bring the patients homemade apple pie with this crust. This was the nutrition paradigm I was taught in school. Sadly, even though proven to be wrong in study after study, this information is still out there, and is still being presented as a “heart healthy” diet.

So what is the real way to help your heart function optimally through diet? Heart disease is known to be caused by inflammation. To protect your heart, you want to try to keep your body in an uninflamed state.

Let’s Learn a Little About Inflammation…

The body needs to be able to be both inflamed and uniflamed and this is done through the formation of prostoglandins. Prostoglandins are hormone-like substances that are made from essential fatty acids (EFA’s). Prostoglandin formation from omega 3 fatty acids, saturated fats, and omega 6 fatty acids help to keep the inflammation in the body balanced.

The difference between good and bad fats is not what you have been taught it to be.

Saturated fats are not “bad fats” and they are not the cause of heart disease. I think I may need to repeat this…Saturated.fats.are.not.bad.fats.

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This study done in 2009 pooled together data from 21 unique studies that included almost 350,000 people, about 11,000 of whom developed cardiovascular disease (CVD), tracked for an average of 14 years, and concluded that there is no relationship between the intake of saturated fat and the incidence of heart disease or stroke.

According to Dr James J DiNicolantonio (2014),  “Not only has the condemnation of saturated fats led to an increased consumption of carbohydrates, it has also led to several dietary guidelines recommending replacement of saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, without specifying which polyunsaturated fatty acid (ie, Ω-3 vs Ω-6). The recommendation for increasing polyunsaturated fat stems from pooled analyses of data looking at increasing Ω-3 and Ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials showed that replacing a combination of trans-fats and saturated fats with Ω-6 polyunsaturated fats (without simultaneously increasing Ω-3 fatty acids) leads to an increased risk of death.These results were corroborated when data were recovered from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and included in an updated meta-analysis.” Read the full piece here.

PROCESSED fats however, are bad fats.

Plastic bottle of cooking oilProcessed fats such as canola oil, shortenings, and vegetable oils are not in their inherent or natural form. They are heat and chemically treated thus destroying any “omega 3” properties that might have been in the original plant. They are unstable, and pro-inflammatory. They disrupt the prostoglandin balance in the body, and create…get ready for it… INFLAMMATION!

What is the root cause of heart disease again?

INFLAMMATION

So Why again is canola oil or vegetable oil bad for my heart?

Canola oil is a highly processed rancid oil. It is a chemically extracted oil, through the use of harsh solvents. Canola oil is genetically modified, and pesticide laden. Consuming these oils will actually contribute to inflammation, not reduce it.

According to Mark Sisson,

Once harvested and graded, seeds are heated to facilitate oil extraction. Most canola oil is chemically extracted using the harsh petroleum-derived solvent hexane. Even when expeller pressing is used, a process common to organic brands, the massive force of industrial presses still produces heat. True “cold-pressed” canola oil (extracted with millstones) does exist but can be hard to find and is more expensive.

Following extraction, canola oil must be de-gummed to remove unappealing solids that settle during storage. The process involves heat and sometimes the addition of acids. Next stop, the oil is then bleached and separated. Finally, the oil (known for its stench) must be deodorized through heating methods that use temperatures as high as 500 FahrenheitRead more here

 

What fats should I eat to keep my fatty acids balanced?

  • You want a nice mix of Omega 3’s, Omega 6’s, and saturated fats
  • Omega 6’s to omega 3’s should be 1:1.

Food Sources of Omega 3:

  • wild caught fish
  • grass-fed or pasture raised meats and eggs including beef
  • small amounts of nuts and seeds (most nuts are very high in omega 6 as well, so you do not want a staple diet of nuts, but rather in small amounts).

What about Omega 6?

Our typical diet is very high in Omega 6 fatty acids. We want to try to reduce the amount of Omega 6 fatty acids in our diet. Avoid all processed oils and try to keep nuts to small amounts.

 

Saturated Fat Sources to INCLUDE in a healthy diet:

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  • Coconut oil
  • Grass-fed butter or ghee
  • Palm oil
  • Animal Fats from pasture raised animals such as: tallow and lard

What’s the deal with cholesterol?

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  • 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” or “bandage” 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.

 

What are the real underlying causes of Heart Disease?

  • inflammation
  • adrenal issues from stress
  • sugar imbalance from high carbohydrate and low fat diet
  • poor mineral intake or absorption
  • fatty acid imbalance
  • leaky gut
  • thyroid issues
  • depression/anxiety
  • obesity
  • lack of movement

 

What should my “heart healthy diet” look like?

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It shouldn’t look like a “diet”, but rather nourishing your body with nutrient-dense real foods most of the time!

  • Try to get a good mix of healthy saturated animal fats, as well as monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, and avocado oil). Use saturated fats for high heat cooking, and pressed olive oil for light sauteeing or cold use.
  • Eat wild caught fish, like salmon and sardines, as well as oysters (oysters are an excellent source of minerals).
  • Eat pasture raised animals (animals out eating their natural diet) such as beef and pasture raised chicken, including pasture raised eggs. Animals out eating their natural diet of grass are much higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, and contain CLA, a potent cancer fighter.
  • Avoid processed foods…foods that come in a box or package and are made with canola oil, shortening, or other highly processed oils.
  • Don’t fear eggs. Don’t fear animal fats from pasture raised animals. These myths have been proven wrong.
  • Manage your stress levels through yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.
  • Try to get adequate sleep.
  • Work to heal your gut through avoiding processed foods, and consuming fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut, fermented beets, fermented carrots, kefir, or kombucha tea.
  • Use your body! Get up and Move.
  • Get outdoors, and connect with nature.

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About Kathryn:

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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.

Kathryn offers worldwide skype consultations! 

My Services

Contact Me: primalblissnutrition@gmail.com

 

5 Foods To Avoid Introducing to Children

 

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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!

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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:

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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?

 

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*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:

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Thyroid Diet: 4 Recommendations From A Nutritional Therapist

thyroid diet plan

 

In past pieces I discussed Autoimmune Thyroid disease, and how your immune system is attacking your thyroid gland. Many people believe that medication is the only answer, and many more suffer in silence because they are told by their physician that their thyroid is functioning normally. Autoimmune thyroid is not black and white. It is one of the more difficult autoimmune conditions to get under control and feel good. However, there ARE changes you can make to heal leaky gut, and support the health of your thyroid. You can make changes to help slow down and in some cases stop the attack on your thyroid. With that said, you have to be willing to make big nutritional changes.

Culturally, we are accustomed to eating for comfort and we are very much attached to processed foods and grains as primary fuel for our body. However these foods keep us on the blood sugar roller coaster and also do not provide the nutrients we need to make the precursors for proper hormone formation, and to keep the body in a non-inflamed state.

Processed foods contribute to what is known as “leaky-gut” or permeable gut. What this means is that large proteins (undigested food) pass through open junctions in the small intestines and cause inflammation in the body, the root of modern disease. Some proteins like gluten are often mistaken as thyroid tissue. Chains of amino acids in gluten share the same molecular structure as thyroid tissue. So when gluten is consumed, the immune system recognizes it as a foreign invader, and attacks the thyroid tissue as well. It can take several months for the immune system to bounce back and stop attacking the thyroid. Therefore, I recommend that individuals with hashimoto’s avoid all gluten, including small amounts or occasional gluten. There may be other foods that can cause the same reaction, in some individuals. Avoiding processed foods is a huge step you can take in the right direction. 

 

leaky gut syndrome

 

 

The best way to try and stop the attack is to get to the root cause and heal it. This is where it is not all black and white. Some people may have increased cortisol from stress, affecting hormone balance. There may also be an excess of xenoestrogens (known as estrogen dominance) which also affects the thyroid, others have toxins in their body. There are many different ways the thyroid can be affected. In a previous piece I discussed the importance of finding a Doctor who will run a full-thyroid panel, which will help give a more clear answer on the etiology of how the thyroid is being affected. However, healing the gut, and getting the body to digest foods properly is HUGE in terms of halting an autoimmune attack on the thyroid. We want to fully digest our foods so that these proteins are not escaping through the lining in the gut, and attacking our immune system. 70-80% of our immunities are found in the gut. We want to keep our immune system strong (remember, autoimmune diseases are an attack on the immune system of the body, meaning the body is seeing itself as an invader and attacking). We also want to support our adrenal health through lifestyle changes and possible adrenal support supplements, as chronic stress affects our hormone formation and balance.

Below am going to suggest some dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and supplement recommendation that I support my clients with as a Nutritional Therapist. The thyroid is a very complicated endocrine organ. It is important to work in collaboration with your Doctor when making lifestyle changes. I never recommend stopping medications. I am not a Doctor. Rather, I recommend supporting the health of your thyroid through dietary and lifestyle changes, thus healing the root cause while working with your Doctor to adjust medications. With that said, I feel it is also important to be your own advocate, and research, research, research. Don’t put your Doctor on a pedestal. Work as a team. This is YOUR body.

 

Thyroid Dietary Recommendations:

  • Follow a gut-healing dietary protocol. There are a couple different ones out there. The two that I most recommend are the GAPS protocol and the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol). Both involve removing from the diet all grains (including corn), dairy, soy, nuts, seeds, eggs, legumes, and nightshades. Both involve slowly reintroducing foods with larger proteins. The GAPS protocol involves some raw dairy. However, with autoimmune thyroid I recommend avoiding all dairy. Dairy proteins are large and tend to not digest easily therefore passing through the gut. It may sound like a restricted diet when you compare it to what you are accustomed to. However, there are many many amazing cookbooks and blog recipes out there, and it is very do-able.  Some of the restrictions beyond gluten, dairy, and soy may be reintroduced after a period of time to see how your body reacts to each particular food. The key is to increase your healthy fat intake and get your body to start digesting good fats. Stick to eating well cooked meats and vegetables with stable saturated fats. Don’t be afraid of getting these fats in your diet. Fats are healthy for hormone formation and necessary for so many functions in the body.

 

Here are my book suggestions for getting started:

The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body, by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD

Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Natasha Campbell-McBride

The Autoimmune-Paleo Cookbook: An Allergen Free Approach to Managing Chronic Illness, by Mickey Trescott, NTP

Practical Paleo, by Diane Sanfilippo (Autoimmune Chapter)

 

I also recommend:

  • Drink bone broth daily.
  • Include fermented foods daily such as raw sauerkraut and kombucha tea.
  • Chew food thoroughly (enzymes in saliva help to pre-digest foods).
  • Drink 1/2 body weight in ounces of water each day-sip throughout the day. Consider adding lemon to your water to support cleansing the liver.

 

Lifestyle Recommendations:

  • Keep exercise at light to moderate (walking, yoga, stretching, tai chi) while the body is healing. Over stressing the body may feel really good, but also causes an increase is cortisol output, which put extra stress on the adrenals and thyroid.
  • Try to get enough sleep for your body. I don’t like to recommend a certain number of hours. We are all different. Some people feel their best at 6 hours, others need 8. The key is to to turn off all stimulating activities and electronics in the evening (at least an hour before bed). Keep these screens and devices out of the room you will be sleeping in. Try to go to bed earlier if you can, as sleep in the early part of the night is restorative.
  • Find new activities that bring you joy and passion, but do not jeopardize the health of your body. I highly recommend yoga and meditation. I love to go fishing 🙂

 

Tyroid Supplement Recommendations:

There are also specific minerals that support the thyroid, and supplement recommendation for healing the intestines. However, many of these recommendations are dependent upon the persons bio-individual needs. I recommend working with a Nutritional Therapist to get on a protocol that meets your needs!

Here are a couple recommendations I make to most of my clients who are struggle with autoimmune thyroid and need gut healing:

Selenium and Zinc (minerals that support thyroid health)

Fermented Cod Liver Oil (contains Vit A and D)

L-Glutamine (rebuilds the mucous layer of the small intestines to help seal the gut, helps with sugar cravings)

Digestive Enzymes (helps to breakdown proteins, fats, and sugars more thoroughly, so less large proteins can pass through the gut). I highly recommend Digest Gold by Enzymedica, taken with every meal.

Probiotics (good bacteria to help with digestion). I recommend Prescript Assist brand probiotics.

*I am not affiliated or paid for any of the above brand selections.

Get a free nutritional therapy consultation

 

My hope is that this information will open your eyes to some important changes that you can make now to help support your thyroid health. If you are interested in a free phone consultation to see how I can support your healing, contact me!

 

About Kathryn:

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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. 

 

 

 

* 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite What Your Doctor Says, Your Thyroid Might Not Be Functioning Normally

Throat pain

 

You have been experiencing thyroid symptoms, yet your Doctor told you your TSH was within a normal range.

Now what?

Now it’s time to find a Doctor who will request a FULL thyroid panel, including thyroid antibodies. This will give you and your care provider a more complete picture as to what is going on. 

Although Western medical Doctors including endocrinologists might not be educated on this (they are trained to prescribe medication rather than addressing and healing the root cause). They typically test your TSH level and it if falls within one particular range (usually 4.0 or under), they will tell you your thyroid is functioning in a normal range. However, you might still be struggling, and your thyroid might not be functioning optimally. People with TSH’s of higher than 1.5 can show symptoms of thyroid dysfunction.

What are some of the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction?

*Fatigue

*Weight gain or inability to lose weight

*Cold hands and feet (poor circulation)

*Depression

*Constipation

*Digestive problems

*Itchy dry skin

*Thinning in the outer third of the eyebrows

*Hair falls out easily

*Heart palpitations

*Inward trembling

*Insomnia

*Night sweats

*Difficulty gaining weight

There are more thorough tests besides TSH alone that can give real answers. There are lifestyle and dietary changes that you can make to help support the health of your thyroid. It is important to find a care provider who understands the affect your diet and lifestyle have on the the health of your thyroid, and are willing to work with you to make these necessary changes.

This first piece is just to describe the full-panel and what it means. In subsequent pieces, I will address some lifestyle and nutritional changes you can make to help support your thyroid. There are many factors that come into play, such as diet, health of your gut, exposure to toxins, hormones, and stress levels. There are natural ways to support thyroid function and stop further destruction of this delicate endocrine organ. It is important to work with a practitioner who understands the complexity and balancing act, and works with you and your bio-individual needs.

 

What is a full-thyroid panel?

Scientist Placing Test Tube In TraySource: Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests are Normal, Daris Kharrazian, 2010

TSH:

TSH is thyroid stimulating hormone or thyrotropin. It is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. Testing TSH levels is the standard that most endocrinologists use in determining thyroid function. However, your TSH could be considered “normal” by your Doctor, and you get told your thyroid is fine. However, you’re still experiencing thyroid symptoms, right? TSH alone does not give all the answers. This test fails to account for a host of other factors. Mine was in the “normal” range according the endocrinologist. However, it was actually in a higher range than I would have liked to see (the standard for what is considered normal at 4.0 or lower is questionable). Many people with a TSH in the higher end of that range are feeling pretty lousy, yet still told their thyroid is normal. I also had thyroid antibodies that the first Doctor did not test me for (more on antibodies below).

 

Total Thyroxine (TT4):

Measures both bound and unbound T4 levels. Thyroid hormones travel through the bloodstream bound to proteins fore they are released to enter the cells and thus becoming unbound.

 

Free Thyroxine Index (FTI):

Total T4 and T3 Uptake considered together, measures activity of free or unbound T4. Free Thyroxine Index should be within a normal range if thyroid is functioning properly.

 

Free T4 (FT4)

Measures the amount of free or active T4 in the blood. Factors that impact TT4 will NOT impact FT4. FT4 is high with hyperthyroidism and low with hypothyroidism.

 

Free T3 (FT3)

Measures free T3 hormone and is the best indicator for measuring active thyroid hormones available to receptor sites. This test is rarely requested in conventional western medicine, and gives a great deal of info as to what is going on.

 

Reverse T3 (RT3)

Measures the amount of reverse T3 produced. This test helps with determining if high cortisol/stress/adrenals are playing a role in affecting thyroid function. Increased production of T3 is due to inability to clear reverse T3 and from high cortisol.

 

Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG)

Measures the amount of proteins in the blood that carry thyroid hormones to the cells. Elevated Testosterone and Estrogen can cause a change in the TBG, thus producing hypothyroid symptoms.

 

Thyroid Antibodies:

I made this one the biggest. One thing I will never understand is WHY Doctors fail to check antibodies for the thyroid. Most people with thyroid issues have undiagnosed Hashimotos (Autoimmune Thyroid). If the TSH level is high (by western medical standards), the individual may be put on a synthetic thyroid hormone replacement (usually T4 only). If it’s not high, the person may struggle with symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, hormone issues, and mental health issues for years and never get a diagnosis. Meanwhile, their thyroid is being attacked by their own body. Thyroid antibodies means that the bodies own immune system is attacking the thyroid. This is true for both hyper and hypo autoimmune thyroid. This is an autoimmune condition, meaning the individual needs to make huge lifestyle/dietary changes in order to stop the attack on their own thyroid. Most western Medical Doctors fail to recognize this, and will wait until the thyroid stops functioning or in some cases even needs to be removed. Thyroid antibodies in the blood indicate a positive autoimmune thyroid condition. Make sure to request having your thyroid antibodies checked.

 

I was told I had thyroid antibodies by a receptionist, who said my thyroid was fine now (because my TSH was under 4.0). She said once my thyroid stopped functioning at an “ideal” (according to their standards) level, they would put me on a medication. In the meantime, it is expected that I would just struggle with weight gain, fatigue, and mood changes that go along with the swings between hypo and hyper thyroid as the body is attacking itself. Through my own intense research I was able to find answers and change the course of my life. It is my goal to help as many people as possible to stop struggling and to find the right answers. As a Nutritional Therapist, I work with my clients to heal their gut and stop the autoimmune attack on the thyroid.

 

My take-home message is to always be your own advocate. You may need to switch care providers, and do a lot of work yourself. In subsequent posts I will discuss lifestyle changes and ways to support the health of your thyroid. I will also share some good gut healing protocols that I support my clients through.

Get a free nutritional therapy consultation

 

About Me:

About Kathryn:

servicespic

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, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and feeding infants and children.

“My own health struggles occurred through years of following mainstream western nutritional advice led me down this path. I was eating what I thought was a very healthy diet (following conventional medical advice). However, I was struggling with feeling good inside and out. I ended up being diagnosed with several Autoimmune Conditions. I was having horrible gall bladder attacks and living on antacids. My thyroid was enlarged, and I struggled with anxiety and insomnia. My endocrinologist wanted to wait until my thyroid stopped functioning, and put me on a medication. That was the only solution offered. Doctors wanted to put me on medications. My philosophy is to find and heal the root cause of the problem, rather than fix the symptoms by taking a medication or removing an organ.Through my own intense research, I began my real food journey. My health changed drastically and my autoimmune markers went way down. I started to feel amazing and wanted to share my experience on a big level. I am so excited to share my knowledge with you!  I am dedicated to helping you realize what your bio-individual nutrition needs are, and giving you the tools to make positive changes in your life!”

-Kathryn Kos, NTP

Kathryn sees clients worldwide through skype and google hangouts!

Contact Kathryn to schedule a free phone consultation:

(518) 260-9749

primalblissnutrition@gmail.com 

Why Avoid Peanuts

Peanut in a shell and cleared

 

I’ve had a couple recent clients mention that they eat a lot of peanut butter. They wanted to know if there is a reason to switch out of it if they were not allergic. There are many reasons why advocates of the paleo/primal/realfood lifestyle avoid peanuts, and I will try to cover all of them. Many people think that peanuts are nuts, however, they are actually legumes! What is a legume? legumes are seeds within a pod such as beans, chick peas, and beans.

 

What is the difference between a nut and a legume?

 

Nuts usually have one seed within a shell, legumes tend to have multiple seeds within a casing. The focus on this piece is peanuts which are legumes.

 

nuts

 

Some people in the paleo community eat small amounts of legumes, some avoid them all together. The reason why some (including myself) choose to avoid legumes is because they contain anti-nutrients (phytates and lectins) that help protect the plant from being eaten by bugs. These anti-nutrients can contribute to inflammation in the body, digestive issues, and leaky gut. You would want to avoid legumes if you have autoimmune conditions. However, when properly soaked and sprouted many of these anti-nutrients can be removed, making legumes easier on digestion. Some legumes are also high in complex carbohydrates which is not good for those struggling with balancing their blood sugar. However, they do contain fiber to slow the absorption of sugar in the system. So legumes are not the worse thing you can eat. They are not the best source of nutrients in terms of nutrient density, but in my opinion are better than many of the processed food options out there if properly prepared (soaked, sprouted).

 

Now onto peanuts…

 

Peanuts (in my opinion) might not be a good choice even if you are keeping some legumes in the diet.

 

According to Dr. Mercola:

  • Peanuts are high in omega-6 fats that distort the omega 3:6 ratio. High omega 6 consumption leads to inflammation in the body.
  • Peanuts are contaminated with a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin
  • Peanuts are one of the most pesticide-contaminated crop (unless organic)

 

My take:

In our culture we eat a very high omega 6 diet, and low omega 3. Many of us are not consuming grass-fed/pasture raised meats which have a better fatty acid profile (higher in omega 3). We also consume high omega 6 vegetable oils. Here is a piece I wrote about oils (which to avoid and why). Even when you try to avoid the “bad” oils at home, you still consume them when you go out to eat. Very few restaurants cook with healthy oils. So why eat even more omega 6 fatty acids by eating peanut butter regularly? Just something to think about.

Some experts link the mold on the shell of the peanuts to peanut allergies. Some deny the link all together. Regardless of the trigger for allergies, peanuts are still very high in aflatoxin, and that is another reason to avoid them.

 

According to the FDA:

“Aflatoxins produce acute necrosis, cirrhosis, and carcinoma of the liver in a number of animal species; no animal species is resistant to the acute toxic effects of aflatoxins; hence it is logical to assume that humans may be similarly affected. A wide variation in LD50 values has been obtained in animal species tested with single doses of aflatoxins. For most species, the LD50 value ranges from 0.5 to 10 mg/kg body weight. Animal species respond differently in their susceptibility to the chronic and acute toxicity of aflatoxins. The toxicity can be influenced by environmental factors, exposure level, and duration of exposure, age, health, and nutritional status of diet. Aflatoxin B1 is a very potent carcinogen in many species, including nonhuman primates, birds, fish, and rodents. In each species, the liver is the primary target organ of acute injury. Metabolism plays a major role in determining the toxicity of aflatoxin B1; studies show that this aflatoxion requires metabolic activation to exert its carcinogenic effect, and these effects can be modified by induction or inhibition of the mixed function oxidase system.”

 

According to Mark’s Daily Apple:

“Peanuts are high in aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are naturally occurring fungal toxins, or mycotoxins, produced by certain members of Aspergillus, a type of fungus found pretty much everywhere throughout the world. Aspergillus tends to colonize any monosaccharide and polysaccharide it comes across, as long as the conditions are right, but peanuts are particularly susceptible. Most crops are colonized after harvest and during storage, but since Aspergillus is found in the soil (among other places) and peanuts grow underground, peanut colonization often occurs well before harvest. The result is that peanuts are among the most contaminated crops, along with corn and cottonseed.”

Read more

 

My verdict:

There are alternative nut-butters such as almond butter or nut-free seed butter like sun butter (made with sunflower seeds), I use these for dipping fruit and carrots in rather than peanut butter. I also occasionally bake with them. Remember, nuts contain anti-nutrients (phytates and lectins) as well, which is why you want raw soaked/sprouted nuts and seeds to ease digestion. However, they are not heavy on the molds like peanuts. When our ancestors started consuming nuts/seeds, they knew how to prepare them properly to ease digestion. It was harder for them to forage and shell them, so they weren’t consuming massive amounts from the food industry like we are today. If you are switching to alternative nut/seed butters do so in moderation or consider making your own with soaked nuts. If you are one of those peanut butter lovers who just cannot give it up, I suggest cutting down on the amount you are consuming, or try converting to an alternative nut/seed butter. Now that I am more in tune with my body, I notice that I get very bloated after eating almonds and almond butter. However, sunbutter doesn’t bother me. Listen to the messages your body is sending you!

Get a free nutrional therapy consultation

About Kathryn:

servicespic

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. Kathryn is a nutrition blogger over at Primal Bliss Nutrition, where she shares whole food recipes and articles pertaining to health and wellness. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and feeding infants and children.

“My own health struggles occurred through years of following mainstream western nutritional advice led me down this path. I was eating what I thought was a very healthy diet (following conventional medical advice). However, I was struggling with feeling good inside and out. I ended up being diagnosed with several Autoimmune Conditions. I was having horrible gall bladder attacks and living on antacids. My thyroid was enlarged, and I struggled with anxiety and insomnia. My endocrinologist wanted to wait until my thyroid stopped functioning, and put me on a medication. That was the only solution offered. Doctors wanted to put me on medications.

My philosophy is to find and heal the root cause of the problem, rather than fix the symptoms by taking a medication or removing an organ. Through my own intense research, I began my real food journey. My health changed drastically and my autoimmune markers went way down. I started to feel amazing and wanted to share my experience on a big level. I am so excited to share my knowledge with you!  I am dedicated to helping you realize what your bio-individual nutrition needs are, and giving you the tools to make positive changes in your life!”

-Kathryn Kos, NTP

Kathryn sees clients worldwide through phone, skype or google hangouts! She also sees clients locally in her Ballston Spa, NY office.

Contact Kathryn to schedule a free consultation:

(518) 260-9749

primalblissnutrition@gmail.com 

6 Paleo-isms (Things The Paleo Community Likes Alot)

logoforservices

 

The paleo/primal community is amazing. We are changing the way people make decisions about what they are putting in their body. We are making big strides world-wide, and I am proud to be a part of this movement. However, there are some funny “paleo-isms” (things the paleo community likes to say/talk about). I’m here to explain why we say/talk about these foods all the time. There is a reason!

 

Here are 6 paleo-isms and my musings on them 🙂

 

1. “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle”:

HiRes

 

I’m still an advocate of this saying even if it sounds cliche, and I’ll explain why. Some of the people who preach paleo…but don’t like to admit they preach paleo tear it apart. They don’t want to be considered “paleo” because the word it’s dogmatic to them. I disagree. I still like it. It’s the truth. No, I’m not 100% paleo, and I don’t think this saying advocates that either! What this saying means to me is that by making these changes in the foods you choose to consume, you are not going on a “diet.” It’s not like the atkins diet, or south beach, or weight watchers. We don’t want it categorized that way, because it is very different. In my professional opinion, the term paleo also encompasses thinking about your emotional and physical well-being as well. It is about making conscious lifestyle choices about what you put on and in your body most of the time, and how you treat your body. It doesn’t mean you can’t make less than desirable choices and carry on. Those other choices make up most everything around us– it’s very difficult to avoid them. In the paleolithic days these choices didn’t exist, and so yes, we were all “paleo.” Those days are gone. Far gone. Even though it is still in our genes, the other choices are everywhere and engrained in our social being. So yeah, sometimes we make them. I don’t get a dogmatic vibe from this saying at all. So for those who still like this saying, I’m on board with ya. Because yes, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. It’s my lifestyle. And I am proud of it. I’m also proud of the word paleo and all the lovely people in our community making positive changes.

 

2. Bacon bacon bacon:

 

Prunes in bacon

 

Paleo folks talk about bacon a lot. Why? Well, for one, it’s very tasty. Pasture raised bacon is a good source of healthy fats for your body. Bacon has been demonized in Western culture the past what? 30 something years? for no good reason, and we know the truth about it! We want you to enjoy it as well. Because it tastes really good, and provides nutrients for your body, and contrary to what you may have heard, bacon does not clog your arteries or make you sick like processed grains do. It’s just the opposite. The fats in bacon are about 50% monounsaturated fats (like olive oil), 40% saturated fats, and 10% polyunsaturated. So you don’t want to burn bacon as it does contain some PUFA’S. As long as you aren’t consuming vegetable oils, you should be fine. Why no vegetable oils?  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. Vegetable oils are not stable. Bacon has a small amount of PUFA’s, so again, just don’t burn it or reuse the oil over and over.

So yeah, we’re big on bacon. We’re going to wrap everything in bacon. We’re going to mix bacon with chocolate. We’re going to wear bacon t-shirts. and post bacon meme’s. and share bacon recipes. and eat bacon with every meal. Totally kidding. Just some meals.

 

3. Coconut everything:

 

coconuts

 

Coconut oil. Coconut flour. Coconut cream. Coconut milk. Coconuts. Coconut water. Coconut aminos. Coconut manna, shredded coconut. Why all the coconut? Yes we tend to be big on the coconuts. Coconuts are amazing, that’s why. Coconuts contain medium chained triglycerides which are metabolized quickly and are used as a quick source of fuel and aids in weight loss. Lauric acid in coconut kills bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is a stable saturated fat so it can withstand heat without oxidizing quickly. Coconut reduces inflammation in the body. It helps the body to absorb calcium and magnesium. It is also high in vitamin E. It is great for the skin and hair as well. You can make deodorant with it. and use it to help heal superficial cuts and burns. and use it as a sunscreen, and moisturizer, and make up remover, and hair treatment. Coconut rocks!

 

5. Saturated fats/Animal fats: 

 

butter is saturated fat

 

The paleo/primal community stresses the consumption of saturated fats because, like bacon, these fats have been wrongfully demonized as artery clogging-heart attack inducing-avoid at all cost fats. This led to the overconsumption of low-fat, high carbohydrate processed foods and increased obesity and health struggles in our culture significantly. Saturated fat is necessary for so many functions in the body!

  • Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
  • Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, saturated fats 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, 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.

I wrote a blog piece on this! 🙂

 

6. Fermented Cod Liver Oil:

 Fresh atlantic cod fish

You hear a lot about Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) in the paleo/primal community. You might wonder why anyone would want to consume fermented cod livers. FCLO is a pretty amazing superfood. It contains fat soluble Vitamins A, D, and K2 necessary for maintaining a healthy gut/immune system. It aids in gut healing to help reverse autoimmune conditions. It is great for the brain, eyes and skin. Green Pastures brand is traditionally fermented cold, and not heat treated. Therefore all nutrients and vitamins are not destroyed. The cinnamon tingle is actually very palatable. My kids even take it no problem.

According to Green Pastures:

“The gold standard in pure fish fat/oil from the liver of the cod fish extracted through fermentation rather then cold/hot temps or chemical extraction as the rest of the industry uses. Deep dark rich color equals real life giving nutrients”.

I hope you found this piece helpful!

What are some of the paleo-isms you have noticed?

Get a free nutrional therapy consultation

About Kathryn:

Kathryn is a Nutritional Therapist through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego extension. 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, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and feeding infants and children. She sees people locally in her Ballston Spa, NY office and worldwide via phone and Skype. 

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* 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.

Primal Bliss Nutritional Therapy Services

 

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What is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner?

 

Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are integral members of the holistic health community. We believe a properly prepared, nutrient dense whole food diet sets the ultimate foundation for optimal health and healing. We work in concert with your other medical care providers to find areas of deficiency or imbalance in the body, and correct them. We find these deficiencies through a thorough assessment including a functional evaluation. We address these weaknesses through a whole food nutrition and supplementation protocol. Nutritional Therapists know that there are other important factors for health outside the scope of nutrition. We are here to help you find balance as you work towards your nutritional goals. Nutritional Therapists use an approach that is science/evidence based down to the cellular level.

 

What is the difference between a Nutritional Therapist a Registered Dietician?

Dietitians hold degrees in dietetics. Primary Doctor’s tend to refer patients to an RD if the individual is struggling with obesity, diabetes, failure to grow in children, or other conditions where they believe medical dietary intervention may help to control a condition. They would help change the diet (usually based on western medical dietary guidelines) in order to control the condition.

Many medical Doctor’s do not link disease with diet so people find they have to seek help elsewhere. For example, an individual who is always fatigued may get a diagnosis like chronic fatigue or depression, and get treated with medications to help control the issue. Nutritional Therapists focus on the link between health and nutrition, with an emphasis on identifying the root cause of a health problem, rather than trying to keep symptoms at bay or suppress the condition. For example, fatigue may be because of unstable blood sugar, or a thyroid issues. Once the root cause is identified, nutritional therapists help come up with a nutritional plan that may include supplement recommendations to help fix underlying cause of the symptoms.

The payoff of hiring a Nutritional Therapist is that you will have the tools necessary to heal your digestion, balance your blood sugar, increase your energy, increase your self awareness, decrease inflammation, feel younger, stabilize your moods, and the list goes on and on.

Some of the symptoms I can address as a Nutritional Therapist:

  • fatigue
  • joint pain
  • irritability
  • moodiness
  • frequent hunger
  • sugar cravings
  • indigestion/heartburn
  • other digestive issues such as colitis and constipation
  • skin problems
  • food sensitivities
  • weight gain or inability to lose weight
  • autoimmune conditions
  • hormonal issues

“Before working with Kathryn, I felt very out of touch with my body and what it was trying to show me. I was lethargic, cloudy, fatigued and overall just felt very ‘blah’. Kathryn was very thorough with her assessments and recommendations and I am now well on my way to a much happier, vibrant and healthy life. I feel excited to continue on this journey and am so thankful to her for her compassionate expertise. She is truly a master of her craft!”-Theresa

 

“I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism several years ago and had gotten used to the idea that I would always be on medicine, I would never have energy, and my life just wouldn’t be what it used to. But I heard about Kathryn through a reputable business that i frequented and thought it might be worth a try. She was very nice and made me feel comfortable discussing all of the issues I was having. She is obviously very educated and well-informed about nutrition, but it was her personal experiences with an auto immune disease that really made me trust her. She is willing to work at whatever pace her client needs, and for the first time in a long time, I had hope that things could be different. Kathryn immediately got me started on a regimen of supplements with a guideline for foods to avoid and consume, but she also suggested multiple cookbooks and other reading materials so I could learn more about why I was making these particular changes. I felt confident in her approach and within weeks, I had more energy than I could remember. I appreciate how available she makes herself in between appointments, via email and phone- it makes me feel like I’m not in this alone and helps me make better choices on a daily basis. I would highly recommend Kathryn to anyone looking to better themselves through nutrition and wellness, but specifically, I wish everyone who was ever struggling with an auto-immune disease had the opportunity to work with her. In just a short amount of time, it has changed my life.”- Katie

 

– See more at: http://primalblissnutrition.com/my-services/#sthash.QdNPGinF.dpuf

 

About Kathryn:

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.

“My own health struggles occurred through years of following mainstream western nutritional advice led me down this path. I was eating what I thought was a very healthy diet (following conventional medical advice). However, I was struggling with feeling good inside and out. I ended up being diagnosed with several Autoimmune Conditions. I was having horrible gall bladder attacks and living on antacids. My thyroid was enlarged, and I struggled with anxiety and insomnia. My endocrinologist wanted to wait until my thyroid stopped functioning, and put me on a medication. That was the only solution offered. Doctors wanted to put me on medications. My philosophy is to find and heal the root cause of the problem, rather than fix the symptoms by taking a medication or removing an organ. Through my own intense research, I began my real food journey. My health changed drastically and my autoimmune markers went way down. I started to feel amazing and wanted to share my experience on a big level. I am so excited to share my knowledge with you!  I am dedicated to helping you realize what your bio-individual nutrition needs are, and giving you the tools to make positive changes in your life!” -Kathryn Kos, NTP

Kathryn offers worldwide Skype consultations, and different packages are available based upon her client’s needs.

Call (518) 260-9749  or e-mail primalblissnutrition@gmail.com to book an appointment.

 

 

Kathryn Kos, NTP

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Primal Bliss Nutrition
(518) 260-9749

Website: www.primalblissnutrition.com

Social Media:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/primalblissnutrition
Twitter: www.twitter.com/primalbliss
Instagram: @primalblissnutrition

 

 

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5 Things to Avoid at “Health Food” Stores

Are "health food" stores selling healthy food?

I went to check out the new Fresh Market in town and I was quite disappointed. I came to the realization that these “health food” chains/stores glorify junk food and people buy it. Sure it’s a nice experience. The store is neat and clean. There is nice music playing. The displays are beautiful. The ceiling is vaulted. There are flower bouquets, and even flower bouquet holders in the shopping cart. It’s all about marketing. However…the produce was mostly conventionally grown produce, except almost double the cost. I went to the butcher and they had no grass-fed beef. Maybe they do carry it other days, but I was disappointed.

 

There were 2 HUGE candy displays like this:

"healthy" candy

“healthy” candy?

 

I could not find a salad dressing without canola oil or soy oil in it…and that is when I had my realization. I think people really do buy these organic labels or beautifully displayed foods at a “health store” and truly believe it is a more nourishing product.

The only local “Healthy” store that I enjoy is the Healthy Living Market here in Saratoga. I am not an affiliate to them.  Although they still offer a great deal of less than desirable and conventional products (they kind of have to cater to the vegetarians who eat all processed foods and believe they are healthy, the people who still believe canola oil is good for their heart, as well as the general public looking for healthier ingredients). However, they still offer a huge variety of fermented vegetables, kombucha on tap, roasted seaweed made with coconut oil and olive oil. They offer grass-fed and local pasture raised meats and eggs at a reasonable price. They have a huge selection of Applegate Farms products, including the breakfast sausage that my kiddos love. The pasture raised eggs they sell are also soy free. That is a rare find! They have the meat sticks that I love in several different flavors, as well as many kinds of grass-fed beef jerky without soy in it, and they carry my beloved wild planet sardines in a variety of flavors. They have a huge variety of local meats, and some exotic meats.  My kids call it the “paleo store.” I go there for all my special things that I know I couldn’t find a regular store. I am so happy this local gem opened up!

With that said…

I wanted to share with you my top 5 health store pet-peeve foods that you should avoid buying and consuming, and why. These products are also found in the “health food” or “natural products” aisles at conventional grocery stores. Stop buying them!

 

1. Soy Anything. 

soy beans

Soy is not a health food. I repeat. Soy.is.not.good.for.your.body.at.ALL. Sorry, but I get so frustrated at the variety of soy based products out there claiming to be a great meat alternatives. Or the amount of soy placed in items that claim to be meat-like items. Or soy oil in dressings and marinades.

Or the strange chips made out of soy like these:

 

soychips1

 

So why must you avoid soy?  I could write it all out but these awesome bloggers already did so:

Here is a well-written research based piece by The Healthy Home Economist

Here is another well-written piece by Grassfed Girl

and one more well-written piece by Food Renegade

In a nutshell:

1. Most of the soy the US is genetically modified, even some organic and “natural” brands.

2. Soy is a major hormone disruptor leading to hormonal imbalances and fertility issues. I nearly destroyed my thyroid consuming soy when I use to think it was a health food.

3. Soy contains anti-nutrients (known as phytates) which block mineral absorption. Soy proteins can be difficult to digest contributing to leaky gut, inflammation throughout the body, and autoimmune diseases.  Soybeans are very high in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Consuming large amounts can lead to fatty acid imbalances.

 

Read food labels. You will be surprised at the amount of organic food-products sold that contain soy!

real food labels

 

2. Canola Oil Products.

I find it nearly impossible to find a salad dressing (sometimes I get lazy and don’t want to make my own) that does not contain canola oil! It is also in packaged products that would have otherwise been a great product if good oils were used.

 

salad dressingcanola oil

People still want to believe that canola oil is good for the heart. Canola oil is a highly processed rancid oil that causes inflammation in the body. Canola oil actually contributes to heart disease, as do vegetable oils.

Canola oil is a polyunsaturated oil:

  • 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.

Here is a blog post I wrote about which oils to consume, which to avoid, and why.

Here is a video of canola oil being processed in a factory.

 

3.Glorified Candy

 

rock candy

Candy is sugar. Fancy organic candy is sugar. It will have the same response in the body as non-organic candy. It will stress the pancreas, liver, and adrenals just like regular candy. American’s consume an average of 170 pounds of sugar a year from processed foods, soda, and candy. Buying fancy organic candy is not going to take away from that.

 

4. Energy Bars

Protein bars

Most “energy” bars contain the same amount of sugar as candy bars, contain less than desirable oils, contain soy, wheat, and other less than desirable ingredients. It’s very easy to make your own energy bites with ingredients like coconut oil, shredded coconut, dates, ground soaked nuts, raw honey, flax seeds, etc. Then you know what is in it. Homemade energy bars can be great for athletes. However, steer clear of this aisle in stores that claim to be health-food stores.

 

5.  Agave Nectar

agave nectar

Same blood sugar response as high fructose corn syrup. Yet I’m still seeing it in the sweetener aisle, and in many products like this Organic dressing: It contains soy oil and agave nectar. Agave is still being touted as a healthy sweetener. Stick with molasses, raw honey, or maple syrup in small amounts.

 

french organic dressing

 

My take home message is that health claims are all about marketing. There is also a ton of bad health advice going around from biased sources with agendas. My only agenda is I want you to nourish your body with real food. Stick with real food. Eat foods that our early ancestors would have hunted and gathered. Real food has not been processed or altered. It doesn’t usually come in a box or jar. Sure we can’t all live like cave people. I get that. I love to bake. I love occasional treats like these Hail Merry tarts. Just read the ingredients and think about what you are putting into your body. Don’t believe the hype or the health claims. Some conventional grocery stores contain more real food then these health food stores.

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Jamaican “Brown” Stew Chicken

I would like to introduce my friends over at “Jamaicanitpaleo!”  They did a guest recipe for me and I am so excited to try this stew out. It looks amazing!

 


Jamaican It Paleo is a new website ran by a husband and father named Alex who created it along with his wife to originally chronicle their family’s recipes for their children.  When his wife had to make some dietary changes, due to her health, they decided to make the focus of his cuisine the focus of her new found paleo way of eating and living.  Originally from Kingston, Jamaica and a US transplant, he was amazed at the way of eating and living in his new country.  Jamaican It Paleo seems like a catchy phrase, but honestly, in Jamaica, they don’t do paleo…they just eat real food…and they COOK! In Jamaica, they love, they work, they cook and they eat—it’s that simple.  Jamaican It Paleo is combination of food, culture and simple living tips about family, money, wellness and organization.  It’s a “likkle-bit-of-dis-an’-a-likkle-bit-of-dat”.  Above all, Jamaican It Paleo seeks to inspire others to live a more simple and delicious life.

To learn more aboutJamaican It Paleo, visit www.jamaicanitpaleo.com or LIKE them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamaicanitpaleo.

Some of us call this stew chicken and others call it brown stew chicken.  Either way, it is chicken (usually dark meat) ‘stewed’ in a rich gravy made from its own juices and the seasonings.  Many of us use a whole chicken too and cut it into smaller pieces to cook with this recipe, but for ease of preparation, we usually will use some thighs or legs.  Us Jamaicans have to season our meat before cooking it and we won’t settle for nothing less.  My wife likes to meal plan and she helps with making sure that we know what we are cooking and defrosting so we can marinate or ‘season the meat’ at least overnight.   If you are not as organized and do not have time, you can give it at least 1 hour to season.  If you haven’t ‘stewed’ meat before, you need to try it.  Check out more information on our stewing page for that.  You can really make this dish spicy if you mince up the scotch bonnet pepper (aka-habanero pepper), but we chose to leave it whole to make it less spicy. Check it out!

For this recipe, we used our dutch oven, chef’s knife, cutting board, and silicone spatula and brush set.

Jamaican “Brown” Stew Chicken

 

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 lb of chicken thighs, legs or breast

  • 1 tsp. of salt

  • 1 tsp. of pepper

  • 2 tsp. allspice

  • 1 onion (chopped)

  • 3 scallions (chopped)

  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper/habanero pepper(whole)

  • 1 green pepper (chopped)

  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)

  • 1 tbsp. ginger (minced)

  • 2 tsp. of dried thyme

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil for frying

  • 1 cup of water

 

Instructions:

 

1. Gather the onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger and scallion and get them ready to chop.

2. Chop all of the vegetables and get them ready for the marinade or to “season the meat”.

3. Season the chicken by rubbing in salt, pepper, coconut aminos, thyme, onion, scallion, peppers, garlic, and ginger and allow it to marinade for 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.

4. Add the cut up vegetables to the chicken and allow it to marinade for at least 2 hours or in the fridge overnight.

5. Heat the oil in the Dutch oven on high heat and when it is ‘screaming hot’, remove only the chicken to fry in the oil and leave behind the vegetable marinade.

6.  Cover the pot and allow the chicken to brown on one side for about 5 minutes (leave covered).

7. Uncover after 5 minutes and brown on the other side, add the remaining vegetable marinade, the whole scotch bonnet pepper, cover and cook on medium high heat for 20 minutes.

8.  After 2o minutes, add the water and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until the gravy thickens.

Serve with irish potato, okra, coleslaw, green banana, plantain, sweet potato or a green salad.  Enjoy!

 

For more recipes like this, visit www.jamaicanitpaleo.com and for updates, free recipes, meal plans and more, like us on FB at www.facebook.com/jamaicanitpaleo.

The Clean Eating Teen Discusses “Back to School”

First of all, I just want to give a HUGE thank you to Kathryn for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write for her blog. You rock!!

My name is Natalie Wester! I am a high school student from Texas, and run a health blog, Clean Eating Teen.

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Everyone who knows me, knows I am a HUGE health and fitness nut. I am known around family, friends, and school as the “hippie” chick. And they’re right! I have BIG plans to obtain a certification in holistic nutrition, as well as to become a certified yoga teacher and personal trainer. I’m so passionate about this field, that I’m usually seen carrying nutrition books around school campus.

I help my family and peers in any way I can, trying to help people obtain a healthy and active lifestyle. I make meal plans (with any donations I earn going towards yoga teaching tuition) and workout with those interested, and love to share anything I know about health and nutrition to those wanting to learn more.

It get’s chaotic sometimes, managing school work with a healthy diet and fitness regimen. But I don’t let my busy schedule become an excuse to neglect my body. That (along with grades, no doubt) is one thing I will NEVER let myself slack up on.

Before I started taking care of myself and nourishing myself properly, I was sluggish. I was not in shape, I did not eat well, and overall my performance was no where near as it is today. Don’t get me wrong, I always did my best and never fell behind… but since converting into a healthier, “clean diet” form of living, boy… are the differences HUGE! I feel better, have more energy… not to mention my skin cleared up, eyes whitened, and hair got shinier. I even lost some (healthy) weight!

Sometimes it gets difficult, but with proper preparation, it is more than possible to stay on track after it is time for the lazy summer time days to go away! This post is about how I keep up with my lifestyle during the school year… and how you, weather you are still in school or working, can too!

Exercise:   

 

My high school starts at 7:30 AM. I used to do my workouts after school, and that worked for a while. But eventually, I piled on after school activities, and before I knew it, I was lacking energy to work out after I got home from a long day.

My solution? Workout before school.

I am not saying that people can’t exercise towards the end of the day… actually, many prefer this! However, I have always been an early bird, and this was really the only time I found I had enough energy to get my body up and moving! Plus, it energizes me for the rest of my day.

I like having a pattern that I can rely on everyday, and I know for sure that my mornings will go un-interrupted for a workout. I could never say that about after school, because I never know when I need to stay for a project, tutorials, or another after school event.

            During school months, I wake up at 5AM. I workout for about an hour, until 6AM. Then I eat breakfast and am dressed and ready to leave by 7AM. I do this every day.

            In order to ensure efficiency, I prepare things the day before so I don’t have to waste time in the morning! I lay out my workout clothes. If I know I am doing yoga, I get my mat ready. If I am doing strength training or a DVD, I get out the equipment and have the DVD in the player. These simple tricks shave off precious minutes that you can use getting work done!

            This also includes knowing what you will be doing, routine wise, the day before. Are you going to be going on a run? Is it leg day, arm day? What DVD or routine are you doing? By knowing this, you take the guessing out of things and can mentally get yourself ready to tackle your workout.

            It is definitely a challenge to start this, but if you are passionate about staying active, you will make the adjustments needed. It only takes a few weeks before the habit sets in, trust me!

            Of course, because I wake so early, I usually go to bed by 9ish. I never have been able to stay up past 10PM easily anyway, so this wasn’t hard for me, especially after a LONG day of school, theatre, homework, ext…

            Now, I know that not everyone can get to bed this early. People have meetings, children, a spouse and family to tend to. I am just telling what works easiest for me, as an example to help you set your own goals with something of a path to fallow! J

           

            Here is a round up of tips for this category:

-Workout in the morning, or whenever time is easiest and most likely to be available and not interrupted.

 

-Go to bed earlier, regardless of when you workout, to ensure you have enough energy the next day.

 

-Lay out workout clothes and get needed workout equipment ready the night before.

 

-Have in mind what routine or workout you will be doing the day before you do it.

 

-Stick to your routine. Try to work out the same time each day to form habit, and stay committed! It get’s easier the more you do it. J

 

 

Food:

Everyone knows that school cafeteria food is… well, not food. It is actually a joke between my friends and I that everything the cafeteria serves is actually different shapes of ground horse hooves…

            Unless you are blessed to attend one of the few schools in the nation (or otherwise) which serves organic, homemade lunches… I HIGHLY recommend you make and bring your own. Actually, I don’t recommend it… I require it. I can’t tell you how many times my friends (who don’t even strive for a healthy diet to begin with) complain about the school’s slimy pizza or mock fish sticks.  If THEY have a hard time consuming it, I really don’t think it is wise for a health conscious student to put it anywhere near their lips!

            I also am astounded by how many people either A) Go without eating lunch (and not for monetary reasons) or B) Buy five cookies and a chocolate milk and call it a meal. This is also a big no no, and is another reason why bringing your own lunch is such a good idea. When you prepare your own food, you not only know what is in it, but you are guaranteed a meal that you like and that is nourishing. 

            This also goes for breakfast… some people do eat theirs at school, but most catch a bite to eat at the house before jumping on the bus or driving. Breakfast might even be trickier than lunch, because it is all too easy to forget about it until you pop out of bed late, and only remember it by the sound of your stomach growling while you frantically brush your teeth! Plus, most conventional breakfast items are no more than empty calorie sugar bombs: donuts, waffles, pop tarts and most cereals will not energize you for the long day ahead!

 

            I understand that making your own lunch may be time consuming, but this is where weekly food preparation comes in handy. If you don’t want to be making your lunch each night before, prepare a few containers of a basic, non spoiling lunch on a Sunday evening.

            Try making large batches of staples-it is a good idea to grill/bake/pan sear some ground turkey, chicken breast, pork chops, ext so that you can also have that on hand.

            I know many people, and many bloggers who post weekly about how they and their readers “food prep” for the week. A preparation can be as easy or as complicated as you would like. Heck, even if you just chop up some vegetables to have at hand for the week… that is better than nothing! Here are two examples of what you could do on a free weeknight to get ready for the rest of the week:

Ex 1. Say you are having grilled chicken for dinner, with a side of steamed broccoli. Instead of one chicken breast, go ahead and grill as many as you can… 6 or 7. While you are chopping the broccoli to steam, chop extra to toss into a salad for one of your lunches. Portion everything in separate containers, and then toss your broccoli with some greens and a chicken breast for a salad lunch. Easy peasy!

Ex 2. You are having breakfast on Sunday morning, hard boiled eggs with homemade (healthy-grain-free) pancakes. Boil as many eggs as you can (a whole dozen would be nice, for lunches and breakfasts!), as well as double, or triple your pancake batter. Peel all the eggs, and store them properly for easy morning protein, or chop them up in a lunch salad later. Use all the pancake mix, and (just like you would buy at the store), put them in portioned baggies and freeze them. You can heat them up in the toaster in the mornings easy enough, and if you are running out the door, eat them sandwich style with some almond butter between!

            Of course, these are just examples in which you make some extra of the food you already were preparing. You can also just make your week food separately! Don’t limit yourself to basic things either, even though they ARE easiest. Try making protein bars, meat patties, soups, stews, chiles… anything you can think of and have the availability to do!

            While prepping food is a great idea, it is also handy to buy a few items that don’t require much hassle to simple throw in a brown bag. I find that many companies carry “to-go” sizes of their products… I have also seen small individual bags of baby carrots, and of course pre-chopped fruit cups.

            Some ideas of ready-made, healthy choices would be:

-Unsweetened fruit cups

-Unsweetened apple sauce

-Pre sliced vegetables or fresh fruit

-Sliced, high quality deli meat or cheese (not pre packaged, sliced right in front of you by the butcher!)

-Organic cheese sticks or rounds

-No sugar added dry fruit

-Fresh fruit with a natural “to-go” method, like apples, bananas, and oranges

-Healthy chips (baked chips, sweet potato chips, kale chips)

 

Here is a quick round up for this category:

 

-Do NOT fall victim to the school cafeteria food line! Your taste buds AND your body deserve better than whatever they are serving. The extra time you put into making your breakfasts or lunches is well worth it.

 

-Prepare your food before hand! Be simple and simply chop vegetables up or make extra of staples you already need, or make actual things (protein bars, meat patties, soups) for future meals.

 

-Pick up some to-go sized items of your favorite healthy products,  as well as other things you do not have to prepare before hand and can just throw into your lunch bag.

 

Just for reference, here are a few ideas for meals at breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast:

         Pre made hard boiled eggs with an apple and nut butter

         Pre made grain free pancakes or waffles with nut butter or honey and fresh fruit

 EASY, Paleo, Sugar Free Gluten Free and Flourless pancakes (two main ingredients… a banana and two eggs! Recipe is on my blog)

         Banana with nut butter or sunbutter

One of my lunches since starting school this year! Lettuce wraps with leftover turkey meat, and some baby carrots with homemade hummus!

Lunches:

-Salad with pre-chopped veggies, balsamic vinegar and pre grilled chicken breast or hard boiled egg

-Lettuce wraps with large romaine leafs, left over meat, or veggies 

-Pre made soups or chile

-Half an avocado with a can of tuna or salmon and fresh tomato and cilantro on top

-Left-overs from last night’s dinner… the best! 😉

I KNOW it is easy to make excuses when school and work gets tough. Who has the time-or the energy, for that matter- to eat right and work out?

            The answer is simple… if you REALLY want something, you will do anything to make sure it happens. So in other words… do you want a wholesome, fit and active life? If your answer is yes… then you DO have the time!

How do you stay healthy during school?

What are some of your favorite go-to workouts or meals?

Natalie

Facebook: www.facebook.com/holisticmealplanning

Twitter: www.twitter.com/cleaneatingteen

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Paleo On The Go, Home Delivered Paleo Meals!

paleo-on-the-go_logovector

 

On a recent visit to Florida I was lucky to have the opportunity to connect with Dave, Founder of Paleo On The Go.  Paleo On the Go is a service that cooks and delivers Paleo Meals to all 50 States in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In my opinion, the prices are reasonable. The meats are grass-fed/pastured, and the ingredients are all fresh. I toured the kitchen where the food is prepared, met the cooks, and was able to taste some of the meals. I was very impressed and want to spread the word on this service!

 

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I taste tested the butternut squash lasagna. It was amazing! I was very impressed with both the texture and the taste. This lasagna uses a cashew basil “ricotta” and you really cannot tell a difference.

 

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The meals are delivered frozen and are easy to reheat.

 

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My kids and I ordered some food for our hotel room so we wouldn’t be eating junk all week while on vacation. The first night on our visit my son Joshua had a fever and sore throat. Thankfully Paleo On The Go came to my rescue with their homestyle chicken soup. It was enough soup to serve both kids a big bowl! Joshua ate all of it and I felt good knowing he was getting some goodness in him while feeling so lousy!

 

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While on vacation, I also ordered the chili lime chicken wings. I was really surprised that when you heat them up the taste and texture is not compromised as you might expect. The kids and I devoured these :). They were delicious!

 

 

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Here are some of the other meals they offer:

 

Ranch Cauliflower Dip

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BBQ Beef Brisket

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Autoimmune Friendly Herb Roasted Chicken

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Are you drooling yet? Wait…there is more!

Mustard Bacon Chicken with Mustard Thyme (I must try this, thyme is my favorite herb)

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Gyro Meatballs with zucchini noodles

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Dave is generously offering a free paleo treat to my readers 🙂

 

Use coupon code PrimalBliss for free paleo cookies with your order through Aug 31st!

paleocookies

 

 

 

DaveRohdeAbout Dave Rohde: Founder/CEO at Paleo On The Go “I learned about the paleo diet in 2008 after joining a Crossfit Box. After going home and researching the paleo diet for many hours, I realized that the information made a lot of sense and might be the answer that I have been looking to help me with my health challenges and weird food allergies. A few years later, I founded Paleo On The Go to provide amazing fully prepared paleo food with unprecedented convenience and build a platform to help educate as many people as possible including people that are suffering unnecessarily with troubling conditions. In the year and a half being in business we have developed an expanding product line of paleo food that we are just thrilled about. Our newest development is a menu specific to meet the dietary needs of people with autoimmune issues. Check out our blogs, paleo tip of the week, and paleo meals and snacks at www.paleoonthego.com.

-Dave Rohde, Founder/CEO at Paleo On The Go

Connect with Dave/place an order:

Website and Blog: www.paleoonthego.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/paleoonthego

Twitter: www.twitter.com/paleoonthego

Instagram: www.instagram.com/paleoonthegodotcom

Crockpot Paleo Pork “Goulash”

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On a recent trip to Florida I tried some authentic German goulash. It was amazing! I wanted to try and recreate some of the flavors in the dish and this is what I came up with…

 

 

Ingredients:

2 medium sized pastured pork tenderloins (or 1 large would work)

1 1/2 cups of beef broth or bone broth

1 small can of muir glen diced tomatoes

1 onion chopped

1 red bell pepper sliced

8 oz of sliced mushrooms

5 cloves of garlic-thinly sliced

3 TBS apple cider vinegar

sea salt

pepper

paprika

fresh cilantro

2-3 TBS potato starch or tapioca starch (to thicken at the end)

 

 

 

Directions: 

Cube the pork into 1-2 inch cubes:

 

 

 

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Sprinkle pork generously with sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, and paprika.

 

Place all ingredients except for cilantro and potato starch in a crockpot. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix it all up.

 

 

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Cook on low for 6-7 hours. At the end whisk in the starch to thicken the broth. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Break Free from Cereal Breakfasts!

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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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Guest Post: 3 Ways of Dealing with Lifestyle Stress

Introducing Sean Flanagan from www.SeanFlanaganWellness.com!

Sean Flanagan

 

Sean is inspired primarily from a very simple idea… that human beings are not fundamentally flawed.   We are not such strange creatures that we need to kill ourselves for better health with neurotic, restrictive, and overly-aggressive fitness and nutrition strategies.   We don’t have to deny every instinct and desire to reach some pristine state of bodily utopia.    Our bodies work –we just usually need to do a better job of listening to them and responding accordingly.

Disgusted by the deception and dumbed-down nonsense found in mainstream nutrition, Sean has devoted, and continues to devote, a considerable amount of time in understanding the underlying science and principles of health.

Sean wrote a guest post for me today about 3 ways of dealing with Lifestyle Stress!

3 Ways of Dealing with Lifestyle Stress

 

Don’t freak out – but excessive stress can mess you up.  Although far from the only negative consequence… stress, by definition, precedes stress eating – which generally results in extreme over-consumption of food.

 

While I tend to think this is an inherently good thing in some ways – it can indeed work at reducing the stress response, that’s why people do it – it obviously can make body composition management quite difficult. If you need to eat an extra thousand calories every day to get your head straight, that’s going to add up after a while.

 

Although nutritional strategies can be used to decrease the overall stress response – specifically salt and carbohydrates – I want to keep this focused purely on lifestyle stuff.

 

So there are 3 ways we can “manage” stress:

 

1) Stress Avoidance. You know something is going to drive you nuts, so you steer clear. Sometimes stress avoidance is not remotely realistic. If your primary stressor is caring for an ill loved one, you don’t have the luxury of saying “Nah, I don’t really wanna deal with that today.”

 

One of the common areas where we can use stress avoidance is in the power of saying “no”.    We often think that we have to say “yes” to every request that comes our way, which can put is in uncomfortable and stressful situations.   One of the most important things for LONG-TERM stress avoidance is creating the right lifestyle and career for you as an individual.  Unfortunately, we view hating our jobs as being inevitable in our culture and we often become complacent with that idea.

 

2)  Stress Release. This is the most commonly used strategy and it definitely has value. You do things that you enjoy and that help you decompress. Music, dance, art, exercise, sports, etc. are all examples of things that are often used to clear one’s head, break one’s normal routines, and relieve stress.

 

3) Increasing Stress Tolerance. Increasing stress tolerance basically means becoming less stressed out in the face of stress. In other words, you’re still encountering the same challenges – but your personal response to it is not as intense. The simplest and most important means of increasing stress tolerance?   Sleeping enough.    Activities that train you to enter more into your parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”) should help too. That would be any kind of “mindfulness” practice such as meditation. And the complete opposite of that, fun and high stress activities like a combat sports (Boxing, Wrestling, MMA, etc) seem to help people better cope with stress.

 

 

Sean Flanagan is a Health Coach helping women worldwide tap into greater self-nourishment and break from the traps of harmful dieting practices for long term metabolic health and body composition management.    He is also the creator of the Fit Body Blueprint program – a beginner’s guide to hormonally and metabolically sound exercise.   You can connect with him over at Facebook  and his website, www.SeanFlanaganWellness.com.

 

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

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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!

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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!

 

 

 

Grains are not a food group!

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There is a misconception out there that by eating “primal” or “paleo” you are on this diet that cuts out a “major food group”. First of all, primal eating is lifestyle…it is not a fad diet. Grains are not a food group! Eating primal does not mean eating “low carb.” It is not the same thing as Atkins. In fact, our bodies do need carbohydrates. We just don’t need the excessive amount we consume when we eat processed foods and grains. We need way less than we are accustomed too, and the amount we need varies based on our level of physical activity. So what exactly does primal/paleo/ancestral eating mean? It simply means eating real food. We are so far removed from what real food is in our culture that some of us have no idea where to start. Real food does not come in a box/package or have a label on it. It has not been chemically processed or altered.

Before eating this way I was eating what I *thought was a healthy diet.  Almost everyday I ate almond butter and honey sandwiches on 100% sprouted grain bread, pasta, beans, legumes…I avoided most animal products. I also did not feel good. I was having gallbladder attacks. I was anxious. My hair was falling out. I was diagnosed with autoimmune diseases. After a year of slowly converting to primal eating, my autoimmune “markers” are now very low, and I feel amazing!  My health has improved dramatically and I will never go back. I’ve discussed my autoimmune thyroid (which is related to grain and soy consumption) and plan to talk more on autoimmunity in subsequent posts. I’m feeling really good these days 🙂

Why do I avoid grains? On top of experiencing all I said above, I was having issues with unstable blood sugar. I was consuming most of my calories from “whole wheat” bread, and I thought I was eating healthy. However, I was having a ton of health issues that were snowballing and I was not in a good place. Something was wrong. When I cut gluten out I started to feel much better, but still dealt with blood sugar spikes and plummets, as well as hormonal issues. Now that I avoid grains, my blood sugar is stable and I feel at my best. It feels great to actually wake up every morning feeling healthy and strong. I no longer have brain fog. I feel happy. My hormones are balanced.

This link and this link were helpful in understanding some of the blood sugar/gluten issues:

“The paleo diet is not Atkins, nor is it zero-carb. The best research I can find shows that modern hunter-gatherers get perhaps 1/3 of their calories from carbohydrate, and Paleolithic hunter-gatherers somewhat less. This means vegetables, including root starches like sweet potatoes: grains were not a meaningful part of the human diet until agriculture, of which the earliest evidence is only 12,000 years ago. (This is a tautology: agriculture defines the transition from Paleolithic to Neolithic.)”

My hope is that people will do their own research and keep an open mind. I am a mom of 2 young boys, and want to feed them real food. I deal with a ton of negativity and questioning from people, but I plow on because I know I am doing what is best for us. One thing I don’t do is “preach to the choir”. I don’t judge other people for their food choices, I don’t try to change what my family or friends eat.  If someone asks me or questions me I do my best to explain my choice without being pushy. Here is an article I found helpful when dealing with family/friends who question your choices. What I have learned through the years is to limit your arguing…keep answers short and sweet, change the subject.

It makes such a difference in your life when your body just feels right. I network with many different paleo/primal people and belong to several different groups where we all learn from each other. I learn new things everyday. I’m sure some of it will change, but the basics remain the same. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge, and I really have no other motives.

So what exactly do I eat?

I eat pastured meats. Pastured simply means that the animal is out eating its natural diet. So cows eat grass. Chickens eat bugs. Not only is the animal happier, but the health benefit of pastured meats are huge. The animal is not couped or caged all the time and fed genetically modified feed (soybeans, corn, wheat to name a few).  I buy from the local Farmer’s Market. Some farmers will give discounts, and there are cheaper cuts available that are just as nutrient rich as fancy cuts, some even more so. I take my kids to visit the farms and get to know the farmers. Organ meats are very inexpensive and are extremely nutrient dense. Farmers sell all different cuts of meat-heart, liver, tongue, soup bones, you name it! You can also purchase a ¼ cow, ½ cow or a whole cow if you have a deep freezer. Sometimes friends will “split a cow”. It is cost effective and the meat can get you through several months. I also eat applegate farms deli meats, and occasionally buy meats at Trader Joe’s.

This is helpful

I eat grass-fed dairy (I am a sucker for kerrygold cheese). Dairy can be an issue for many people. The protein casein is large in molecular structure and can be hard on the gut. I react to dairy. I make the choice to occasionally eat it and pay the price.

I eat wild caught fish and seafood. I was never a fish person in the past. I actually just started eating and enjoying sardines (I am amazed at how much I enjoy the taste of real food after cleansing my body of processed foods). My kids like salmon so I try to make it for them at least once a week.

I eat pastured eggs- chickens are not vegetarians. They are omnivores-they love bugs! Pastured eggs are not the same as “cage free” or “vegetarian fed” eggs. I had a hard time finding them, and now purchase them at the farmer’s market as well.

This is helpful in understanding eggs!

I eat a ton of vegetables/fruit daily (mostly vegetables): avocados, garlic, herbs, apples, berries, carrots, greens of all sorts, bananas, parsnips, turnips, kale, beets, brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, salad greens, cauliflower, oranges…it changes based on the season. I stick with “the dirty dozen” when it comes to buying organic.

I don’t fear fat at all. You shouldn’t either.

I cook with coconut oil, ghee (OMGhee is my favorite) grass-fed butter (kerrygold is a good brand), tallow, and lard.  I use olive oil for cold uses. I do not limit my fat intake. This chart is helpful in explaining which fats to use and which to avoid.

I bake with coconut flour, coconut oil, tapioca starch, arrowroot flour, and almond meal.

I also snack on nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, healthy meat sticks (not slim jims), seaweed, sardines,  lara bars, veggies

There are a bunch of fabulous blogs/FB pages that I follow. Some are educational and others share tons of awesome recipes!

Here are some of my personal favorites:

www.nomnompaleo.com

www.balancedbites.com

www.everydaypaleo.com

www.facebook.com/justeatrealfood

www.marksdailyapple.com

http://chriskresser.com/

www.robbwolf.com

www.primaltoad.com

www.paleononpaleo.com

www.againstallgrains.com

*Some of the staples I load my pantry with for baking are coconut milk, coconut flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot, coconut oil, almond meal, enjoy life (GF/DF) chocolate chips, bourbon vanilla, frozen blueberries (I go blueberry picking during the summer and freeze pounds of them).

As I’ve said in the past I am not 100% and I am far from perfect. If you try to be, you will drive yourself batty and won’t enjoy your life. We live in a culture that is very much attached to grains, and that makes this lifestyle difficult without support. It’s not impossible…just difficult. It is important to reach out for support and take baby steps. I have good days and bad days. There are days when I stare at the fridge and think “what the heck am I going to make today?” I always figure it out and I am learning how to think outside the box! Scrambled eggs mixed with ground beef and seasonings tossed over salad greens makes an excellent meal. I found that by “liking” primal/paleo FB pages your newsfeed gets filled with awesome recipes to try, tips, and helpful information.

I started out by just cutting out gluten. That to me is a huge step. Then when I noticed the amazing positive changes I slowly converted to eating less and less processed foods. I still get the occasional gluten free sugary treat. I always feel lousy afterward, but once in awhile I do it anyway. I also like to have a gluten free beer in the summertime, and enjoy drinking wine with my friends. My weakness is dark chocolate-I try to find the darkest and lowest in sugar available.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask away if you have questions and I will try to point you in the right direction!

 

 

 

* 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.