Low Protein High Protein paleo macronutrient ratios-min

Low Protein? High Protein?

In case you didn't already know, dietary protein is essential for human health. Protein is used in the body to build and maintain new tissue such as muscle, hair, nails, skin, bone and blood cells. It is also required to create the enzymes for the body to carry out certain processes, such as the digestion of food; and neurotransmitters, which control your ability to carry out basic tasks (like thought and movement). US dietary guidelines recommend a daily intake of 45g per day for females, and 55g per day for males. In reality, you need much more to maintain optimum health, especially if you’re active. But just how much should you be taking in? And is it possible to consume too much?

Put simply, the amount of protein you need is unique to each individual. For a sedentary person, Many sources recommend around 1g of protein per kilo of bodyweight as a realistic amount needed to maintain lean mass. If you’re more active, you’ll be looking at around 1.5g – and if you’re lifting (and looking to increase lean muscle mass), between 1.8g and 2.0g per kilo of bodyweight is optimal. For example, a 70kg man training three times per week and looking to increase his muscle mass should be targeting between 130g and 140g of protein per day. That’s the equivalent of around 3 eggs, one chicken breast, a handful of almonds and one sirloin steak – so is by no means reaching into the realms of ‘forced’ protein.

Low Protein High Protein paleo macronutrient ratios-min

Indeed, if protein forms the majority of your caloric intake, then you’re probably consuming too much. Fat should be your main source of energy, with between 15 and 25% coming from protein. Too much protein can create excess toxins in the body, and put a significant strain on the liver and heart. Not ideal.

Chances are, your Paleo diet already features a respectable amount of protein and you’ll probably be achieving your protein ‘target’ without even knowing it. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds are all good sources of this macro-nutrient. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are found in plants as well – albeit in various quantities. If a food contains all of the ‘essential’ amino acids, then this food is considered a ‘complete’ protein. As plant protein sources are normally lacking in at least one of the essential amino acids, they are usually considered as ‘incomplete’ protein. This is one of the reasons it is hard for vegans to consume adequate protein, and leads to them having to selectively combine foods to achieve a complete amino acid profile.

To conclude, it is probably much better you focus on the quality of the protein you are taking in rather than the quantity. Don’t worry too much about hitting a ‘target amount’ – simply build each meal around a high quality protein source like red meat, poultry, fish or eggs. Consume extra if you’re active, especially on training days. But don’t stress yourself out about it; you’re much more likely to be getting a solid amount of protein each day simply by eating real foods.

Pork Chops with Rosemary, Apple and Balsamic Glazed Shallots paleo dinner recipe lunch primal pastured-min

Recipe: Pork Chops with Rosemary, Apple and Balsamic Glazed Shallots

Classic combinations really do work best, so it’s no wonder that the tried and tested combination of pork, rosemary and apple is a marriage made in heaven in this dish. Combined with the sweetness and tang of the balsamic shallots, this pork Chops recipe makes a fail safe supper for all the family. Great with sweet potato wedges or other root vegetables when it’s a little colder outside.

Pork Chops Ingredients:

  • 4 higher welfare, pastured pork chops
  • Olive oil
  • 4 – 6 medium shallots, sliced roughly
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 small red apple, cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary

Pork Chops How To:

Season the pork chops with black pepper and sea salt

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over a low heat. Add the shallots, and cook gently for around 5 minutes until soft. Add the balsamic vinegar and coconut sugar, and toss to coat the shallots. Continue to cook gently for a further 5 minutes, stirring often so they do not burn.

Meanwhile, heat another tbsp of olive oil in a separate frying pan to a high heat. Drop in the pork chops, and cook for 3 – 4 minutes each side.

Season the shallots with a little sea salt, and then add the rosemary to the pan.

Remove the pork from the heat, and separate on to serving plates. Garnish with the apple slices and the shallots on the side.

Pork Chops with Rosemary, Apple and Balsamic Glazed Shallots paleo dinner recipe lunch primal pastured-min

North African Carrot Slaw recipe paleo primal carrots-min

Recipe: North African Carrot Slaw

Wonderfully Moroccan, this carrot based ‘slaw’ is fruity and gently spiced, and teams up perfectly with some chicken wings or drumsticks.

North African Carrot Slaw Ingredients:

  • 5 carrots, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp sultanas
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp mint, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

North African Carrot Slaw How To:

Leave the sultanas to soak for 5 minutes in hot water whilst preparing the rest of the veg.

Mix all ingredients together, dress with the olive oil and lemon, and season to taste with a little salt and pepper.

North African Carrot Slaw recipe paleo primal carrots-min

Steamed Sweet Chilli Chicken with Carrot, Squash and Coconut Mash paleo recipe dinner-min

Recipe: Steamed Sweet Chilli Chicken with Carrot, Squash and Coconut Mash

Who doesn’t love the taste of Sweet Chilli Chicken? Unfortunately, the majority of sweet chilli sauces on the market are either laden with sugar, artificial flavourings, or in most cases, both. Thankfully, it’s remarkably easy to make your own sweet chilli glaze that is just perfect for basting chicken with. The bold flavours of sweet chilli pair beautifully in this recipe with the creamy carrot, squash and coconut mash.

Recipe: Steamed Sweet Chilli Chicken with Carrot, Squash and Coconut Mash
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • For the chicken
  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • ⅔ red chillies, finely chopped and deseeded
  • A chunk fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Juice 1 lime
  • For the mash
  • 2 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 6 – 8 medium sized carrots, chopped
  • ½ can full fat coconut milk
  • Handful desiccated coconut (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat water in the base of a two tiered steamer. Line one of the steamer baskets with a little parchment paper, and lie the chicken breasts flat. Add the diced squash and carrots to the other basket. Place the vegetables on the first tier of the steamer, and the chicken on the second. Cover and steam for 10 minutes. Place the coconut milk in a saucepan on a separate hob, and heat gently.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sweet chilli glaze by mashing together the chilli and ginger in a mortar and pestle. Muddle in the coconut aminos, honey and lime. Taste, and adjust to make sweeter / spicier depending on your preference.
  3. When the 10 minutes are up, remove the vegetable basket from the steamer, whilst leaving the chicken on (now on the lower tier) for a further 3 or 4 minutes. Tip the carrots and squash into a large bowl, and mash well before adding the coconut milk. Keep mashing to make a creamy consistency, before seasoning and adding the desiccated coconut (if using)
  4. Check the chicken breasts are fully cooked through before removing from the steamer. Glaze with the sweet chilli, before serving in two separate bowls over the mash.

Steamed Sweet Chilli Chicken with Carrot, Squash and Coconut Mash paleo recipe dinner-min

Paleo Diet Primal Olive Oil Extra Virgin Fake Test Quality Label-min

Are You Using Fake Olive Oil?

Olive oil is one of the healthier oils around, because it’s full of nutrients and antioxidants. Using high quality ‘extra virgin’ olive oil is pretty standard on a Paleo diet. But just how good is the olive oil in your kitchen?

Apparently some olive oils are not all they seem…

Olive oil comes in different categories: ‘Extra virgin’, ‘virgin’, ‘fine virgin’, (normal) ‘olive oil’ and ‘pomace’. ‘Extra virgin’ is the label put on an oil containing less than 1% acid.

Recent research from the Olive Institute (University of California in Davis) revealed that more than half of the olive oils presently on the market are bad quality. Often, despite what they label says, it is not always ‘extra virgin’ olive oil and is sometimes mixed with cheaper oils like hazelnut oils or even soybean oil! Sometimes the oil can be made from overripe and rotting olives. This olive oil does not have any nutritional or health benefits and can even be harmful…

Olives are fruits, making it a very unique oil. Olives are drupaceous (stone fruits), like prunes and cherries. The oil is made with a simple hydraulic press, much like the one we use for fruit juices. This in contrast to the “vegetable” oils, which are made in a refinery with the use of solvents, heat and high pressure – not very natural!

Paleo Diet Primal Olive Oil Extra Virgin Fake Test Quality Label-min

Olive oil is made gently which is why it keeps the ‘extra virgin’ quality, full of antioxidants in the forms of polyphenols and sterols, and vitamins E and K. Olive oil contains large quantities of CoQ10, an antioxidant which is very effective in protecting our heart and fighting chronic inflammations.

Choosing a Good Quality Olive Oil

It’s really important to make sure the olive oil you use is good quality – and really is what it says it is only the label. There are a few ways you can get more certainty about the olive oil you buy:

  • Develop a taste for olive oil. There are course and tasting session run, which will help you get a feel for what it should taste like. This will help you identify if the oil you purchase is a good one.
  • Buy only brands that are certified by trustworthy organisations.
  • If possible, buy directly from the olive growers and producers.
  • You might have heard about the refrigerator test: when you put olive oil in the fridge, it should solidify. If it doesn’t solidify, you could be dealing with a mixture of oils. BUT! This test is not 100% trustworthy, as some very high quality olive oils will not solidify.

If you’re not happy with some olive oil that you’ve purchased – return it – and try another brand.

How do you choose a good olive oil and what do you use it for? Do you have any brands, which you’d recommend? Please share your olive oil hints and tips in the comments below!

Sticky BBQ Chicken Wings paleo diet primal recipe barbecue-min

Recipe: Sticky BBQ Chicken Wings

What more is there to say!? Hands down the perfect Friday night treat, these chicken wings are brilliant with a healthy green salad.

Sticky BBQ Chicken Wings Ingredients:

  • 16 free range chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Sticky BBQ Chicken Wings How To:

1)     Preheat an oven to 200C / 400F / Gas mark 5. Place the chicken wings in a roasting dish, season with salt and pepper, then bake for 15 minutes.

2)     Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl, mixing really well.

3)     Remove the chicken wings from the oven. Lower the heat to 180 / 350F / Gas mark 4. Baste the wings in the sauce mixture before returning to the oven. Bake for a further 25 minutes, turning every so often and coating them in the juices.

Sticky BBQ Chicken Wings paleo diet primal recipe barbecue-min

25 Reasons You Should Get More Herbs In Your Diet paleo primal health nutrition-min

25 Reasons You Should Get More Herbs In Your Diet

Instead of using herbs just to add flavour and colour to your cooking, do you ever add them for their medicinal benefits? Since ancient times herbs have been used as medicine in cultures all around the world.  Many modern medicines use active ingredients which come directly from plants – so there’s clearly a lot to be gained from plant medicine.

25 Reasons You Should Get More Herbs In Your Diet paleo primal health nutrition-min

Here are 25 herbs that you probably have in your kitchen – and what they are claimed to be beneficial for.

  1. Basil: full of minerals and a natural antioxidant
  2. Black pepper: anti bacterial, antioxidant and helps to stimulates digestion
  3. Cardamom: fresh breath
  4. Cayenne pepper: antibacterial, rich in beta carotene (pre cursor to vitamin A), reduces pain and helps stimulates metabolism
  5. Celery: stimulates the appetite, diuretic, detoxifing, helps with constipation, relieves rheumatism, helps with kidney stones and eases arthritis symptoms
  6. Chili pepper: rich in vitamin C, anti-inflammatory and natural antioxidant
  7. Cinnamon: regulates blood sugar levels, powerful antioxidant, regulates cholesterol metabolism and promotes good circulation
  8. Clove: powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and mildly anesthetic
  9. Coriander: rich in iron and magnesium, prevents gas, prevents urinary infections, regulates blood sugar level and a natural detoxifier of heavy metals
  10. Dill: anti bacterial, antioxidant and contains a lot of iron
  11. Fenugreek: relieves constipation and said to stimulate muscle growth
  12. Ginger: antiseptic, calms the stomach, anti-inflammatory and an effective natural remedy for motion sickness
  13. Ginkgo biloba: stimulates the circulation, anti-aging and improves memory
  14. Garlic: anti bacterial, anti-viral, lowers blood pressure and has natural antibiotic properties
  15. Mint: rich in vitamin C, calms the stomach and intestines and relieves headaches naturally
  16. Mustard seed: rich in selenium, omega-3, phosphorus, vitamin B3 and zinc, helps against cancer and is a natural anti-inflammatory
  17. Nutmeg: anti-inflammatory and helps to regulates sleep
  18. Oregano: anti bacterial, strong antioxidant and useful as preservative
  19. Paprika powder: anti-inflammatory and a natural antioxidant
  20. Parsley: detoxifies, helps with kidney stones and a natural antispasmodic
  21. Pepper: contains a lot of capsaicin (the ingredient that ensure the ‘heat’), clears stuffy noses, relieves pain and said to be beneficial for prostate cancer
  22. Rosemary: keeps the genes young, strengthens the immune system, improves the circulation and stimulates digestion
  23. Sage: improves the memory, anti-inflammatory and a strong natural antioxidant
  24. Thyme: antiseptic and a natural anti bacterial
  25. Turmeric: often called Curcuma, yellow root or curcumine. Very strong antioxidant, is said have a role in cancer prevention, help with skin infections, anti-inflammatory and relieves arthritis symptoms.

Which herbs do you use in your cooking? Have you ever used plants and herbs for health reasons? Was it successful? I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts in the comments below! And please remember – seek medical advice before using herbs for medicinal purposes!

South Indian Pepper Chicken paleo diet recipe dinner-min

Recipe: South Indian Pepper Chicken

Although a lot of South Indian recipes are vegetarian, there are a few gems that will really satisfy your carnivore cravings. In this Pepper Chicken recipe, Black Pepper is used as an ingredient, not a seasoning, so don’t hold back on the amount you use!

Pepper Chicken Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 x 400ml can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 handful fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Plenty of freshly ground Black Pepper
  • Juice of ½ lemon

 Pepper Chicken How To:

1)     Season the diced chicken with the lemon juice, lots of black pepper, and a pinch of sea salt. Add a little more pepper just for safe keeping!

2)     Heat half the oil in a pan to a high heat. Brown off the chicken for 3 – 4 minutes, then set aside.

3)     Drain the meat juices from the pan, then return to a medium heat. Add the rest of the oil, then sauté the onions for a couple of minutes. Once they have turned a healthy golden brown, add the crushed garlic, ginger and turmeric, and allow to sweat for a few minutes to let the flavours release.

4)     Add the chopped tomatoes, and simmer for two minutes. Now return the chicken to the pan with the chopped peppers. Turn up the heat, and cover with a lid. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes, until the meat is really tender.

5)     Remove the lid, and add the fresh coriander just before serving. Works a treat with lots of fresh steamed veggies or Cauliflower Rice.

South Indian Pepper Chicken paleo diet recipe dinner-min

 

Paleo Diet Recipe Primal Mexican Turkey Burgers with Coriander Guacamole-min

Recipes: Mexican Turkey Burgers with Coriander Guacamole

For me, free range turkey is one of the most underrated meats. It's often overlooked in favour of chicken, when in truth it’s a lot more versatile, whilst still being lean and high in protein. Lean turkey mince is brilliant to use in chillies, but it also binds really well to make delicious turkey burgers. Try these with a hearty spoonful of homemade guacamole on the side.

Makes 8 burgers

Ingredients

For the burgers:

  • 500g free range minced turkey
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 jalapeno chilli peppers, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  •  
    2 tsp smoked paprika
  • A small handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • Sea Salt, to taste

For the guacamole:

2 large, ripe avocados
1 clove garlic
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Juice ½ lime
Black pepper
Sea Salt
1 handful fresh coriander, chopped

Turkey Burgers How To:

Heat a little olive oil in a pan to a medium heat. Lightly fry the onions until golden to mellow out the flavour. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Rinse the turkey mince in a little cold water. Combine all ingredients in the mixing bowl with your hands, being sure to mix well. Roll out into 8 generous sized balls on a chopping board, then flatten into burger shapes.

Heat a grill to a medium-high heat. Grill the burgers for 6 – 8 minutes each side, making sure they are thoroughly cooked through.

Meanwhile, peel the avocados and remove the stone. In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic clove with a little sea salt to form a paste. Scrape into a bowl with the two avocados, and mash to a pulp with a potato masher.

Squeeze in the lime juice, black pepper and coriander and mix well. Serve on the side with the burgers.

Ahh Mexican food, it doesn’t get much better than you. Let me know if there are any other Paleo adapted Mexican recipes you’d like to see on here!

Paleo Diet Recipe Primal Mexican Turkey Burgers with Coriander Guacamole-min

Guacamole paleo recipe dip sauce avocado primal-min

Recipe: Guacamole Dip

Guacamole is another one of those things that is definitely worth making instead of buying. That way, you can be sure what’s in it – and know that it won’t contain any nasties!

This is how I make mine.

Guacamole Ingredients:

  • 4 chillies, finely sliced
  • Small bunch coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, finely diced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 4 ripe avocados

Guacamole How To:

Use a pestle and mortar to grind together the chillies, coriander (cilantro), tomatoes, sea salt and onion, until you reach a paste consistency.

Add the lime juice, and a dash of water if required, to make the mixture more fluid. Finally, mash in the avocados, just before you’re ready to serve!

Guacamole is great with almost any Paleo meal, and a great dip for raw vegetables – particularly alongside some homemade Pâté!

Guacamole is one of those foods best made fresh. It will store in the fridge for a short time, but won't look as appealing! If you need to make it up in advance, using more lime will help it to keep that bit longer.

Do you make your own dips? I’d love to hear what your favourites are, in the comments below!

Guacamole paleo recipe dip sauce avocado primal-min