CLA paleo diet Conjugated Linoleic Acid-min

CLA & The Paleo Diet

Concluding my focus on common deficiencies, this week turns to CLA.

CLA stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid and is the good trans-fat that occurs naturally in dairy and meat products – especially when animals have been grass-fed, another plus for the Paleo diet. In the stomach of animals such as the goat, sheep or cows millions and millions of tiny pieces of bacteria help the animal to digest its food. They also help to covert dietary linoleic fatty acids into saturated fatty acids. While this conversion takes time and several steps, one of those steps is to create CLA, some of this never actually gets fully saturated and will show up instead in the animals milk fat and body.

CLA paleo diet Conjugated Linoleic Acid-min

28 different CLA isomers – or structural arrangements of the molecules show in CLA rich animal fat.  This is very complex and different from the trans-fats created by partially hydrogenating vegetable oils. It is those lab created trans-fats that have a negative metabolic and health effect, while the CLA isomers you get from grass fed dairy and meat is more beneficial.

CLA has been touted as the “belly busting” trans fat with research in 2007 showing that in rats, supplementing their diets with CLA did not cause them to lose whole body fat, but it was found they became more insulin sensitive. When it came to supplementing CLA in mice diets it did cause rapid weight loss, but the increase in hepatic fat accumulation left the mice insulin resistant.

Many people have taken CLA as a supplement and it did seem to work for weight loss, but while the weight loss was good, at the moment we are not really sure what else it does to the body. Research into this further on different animals may help us better understand if there are any additional effects on humans. Are we more like mice or rats?
Primal Diet Supplement Vitamin Mineral Deficiency
The one thing that these studies did show was that hepatic fat accumulation or loss and body fat accumulation or loss is not always in the same direction. We are seeing hepatic fat loss but no weight loss and hepatic fat gain with rapid weight loss. Those who follow low carb diets insisting that this metabolic advantage allows them to eat thousands of calories and lose weight will love the little mouse’s result! While the study on the mouse is quite well known amongst those in the carb circle with the mouse eating as much as it wants without losing or gaining weight, this metabolism does come at a price – profound liver damage.

Tests were carried out to see what effect dietary supplements of CLA would have on the body mass index, and body fat distribution. 40 volunteers participated in a 12 week double blind study some received a CLA while other received olive oil. Body fat and abdominal and hepatic fat content was assessed with an overall finding that showed CLA supplements did not show any significant change in the volunteers BMI index or in their total body fat.

Have you considered supplementing with CLA? If you have, did it have good results for you? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments, below.

Smoked Mackerel with Fresh Beet Slaw paleo lunch recipe-min

Paleo Lunch Box Recipe – Smoked Mackerel with Fresh Beet Slaw

I just love making my own ‘slaw’ – they are quick to make, super versatile and brilliant to keep in the fridge. You can mix them up with all sorts of ingredients, and they are perfect to chuck in the lunchbox for a healthy pick me up. This slaw is made with raw beets, and is as wonderful to look at as it is to eat. Smoked mackerel is the perfect combination to boost the protein and omega 3s.

The Slaw recipe below makes enough for about four good sized servings, so if you have a family to feed you may want to double up. Switch up the ingredients however you see fit – don’t be afraid to experiment!

Slaw Ingredients:

  • 2 strips sustainably caught smoked mackerel per portion

For the Slaw:

  • 2 raw beets
  • 4 medium carrots
  • ¼ red cabbage
  • ¼ white cabbage
  • 2 green apples
  • Handful pumpkin seeds
  • Handful flaked almonds
  • 75ml red wine vinegar
  • 40ml olive oil

Slaw How To:

Chop both cabbages as finely as possible. Grate the carrots, beets and apples, and combine all in a large bowl.

Combine the red wine vinegar and olive oil in a separate bowl. Gradually stir into the slaw mixture, then add the pumpkin seeds and almonds and mix again. Season to taste. Cover with gladwrap/ clingfilm and store in the fridge.

The slaw will keep in the fridge for a good 3 – 4 days, and the flavours will just develop over this period. When ready to serve, add to your lunchbox with 2 good sized strips smoked mackerel (slip the bottom skin off first if you like). Just make sure the lid is on tight, as you don’t want beetroot juice leaking into your bag!

Smoked Mackerel with Fresh Beet Slaw paleo lunch recipe-min

Is Quinoa Paleo network primal diet grain psuedo ancient-min

Is Quinoa Paleo?

So we know that grains aren't Paleo, but what about the pseudo grains such as quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) chia seeds and buckwheat? Are they considered acceptable for a paleo diet? The answer is no, and here’s the reason why…

Pseudo grains are actually seeds, not grains, but are loaded with anti nutrients and carb heavy. If it looks and acts like a grain – it’s a grain! Quinoa seems to be a really fashionable “health food” at the moment – but do you really need it?

Just like other grains, quinoa contains anti nutrients like phytic acid, lectins and saponins – substances not tolerated well – and not good for gut health and permeability. Phytic acid binds to minerals preventing you from absorbing them – it can even leach minerals from your body for this purpose. Lectins and saponins are culperates in gut permeability which can lead to leaky gut.

Whilst properly preparing grains by soaking and sprouting can help to minimise the amounts of anti nutrients in the grains, it won’t get rid of them entirely.

Is Quinoa Paleo network primal diet grain psuedo ancient-min

Quinoa is popular because it’s high in protein, yet many paleo foods such as grass-fed meat and leafy green vegetables are actually far better sources of protein.

Before you can eat grains like quinoa, a lot of processes need to happen – which is why it is a “modern” food. Pseudo grains need to be ground, separated, roasted and rinsed. Would you do all that work yourself just to add in a small about of quinoa to you lunch?

Whilst some people may tolerate properly prepared grains,if you are in any doubt, it’s surely best to avoid them altogether. There are so many paleo friendly alternatives, such as cauliflower rice, zuchinni noodles or spaghetti squash.

Do you avoid all grains, or do you eat some in moderation? How do you prepare them? I’d love to hear what you think about pseudo grains like quinoa, in the comments below.

Paleo Diet Recipe Primal Carrot, Blood Orange and Ginger Soup-min

Recipe: Carrot, Blood Orange and Ginger Soup

Literally bursting with beta carotene and vitamin c, the ginger in this soup packs a real zing while the turmeric and coriander provide delicate and warming undertones. Enjoy it as an appetiser with friends, and make plenty extra to have for lunch the next day! Delicious topped with toasted, flaked almonds.

I'm sure this will work just as well with normal oranges, although I loved the colour the blood oranges provided!

Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 / 3 medium shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 – 8cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 750g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 whole blood oranges, peeled and separated into segments
  • 2 cups homemade vegetable stock
  • Pinch of salt

Soup How To:

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in your largest saucepan over a low heat. Gently simmer the shallots, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes.

Add the spices and 2 tbsp vegetable stock. Simmer gently for another couple of minutes, before adding the remaining stock, carrots and oranges.

Raise the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Blitz well with an immersion blender until the soup is smooth. Season to taste and serve straight away.

Paleo Diet Recipe Primal Carrot, Blood Orange and Ginger Soup-min

Paleo Diet Primal Food Dehydrator Dry Excalibur-min

Have You Got A Dehydrator?

A dehydrator is a great way of adding some variety into your Paleo diet. There are loads of great dehydrators on the market, like the Excalibur – but you don’t have to buy a dedicated dehydrator, as you can dehydrate produce directly in your oven.

A dehydrator is an indispensable machine if you want to dry your own products. This enables you to keep food for longer and is especially great if you have just harvested a lot of fruit or veg – or have a lot of meat to use up. A dehydrator is versatile and suitable for different products. The machine works with hot air that is blasted through the food, has an adjustable temperature and is very efficient. In a climate like ours, where the humidity is high, a dehydrator can provide a solution.

With a dehydrator you can build up a supply of food that will keep for a long time – but without the added ingredients of shop bought equivalents. You will have the perfect instrument to make all the fresh products that are only available for short periods of time during the year, sustainable. It is also a lot better for your bank account as you can bulk buy fresh produce when it is in season, or on offer – and make it last for many months.

Paleo Diet Primal Food Dehydrator Dry Excalibur-min

Dehydrated food is great for people on the go, as the food doesn't weigh very much, so is ideal to take hiking or camping.

You can put pretty much anything inside a dehydrator; vegetables, fruit, meat, herbs, nuts, whatever you like.

Warning: For most products, the temperature should not be higher than 50c (120F) degrees.

Drying meat

Jerky is a great Paleo snack, packed with protein and fat. You can dehydrate any type of meat, either on it’s own or using herbs and spices to add some extra flavor. Biltong and boerewors are popular dehydrated meats in South Africa, which you can make yourself, it your dehydrator. Whilst you can buy jerky, it’s likely to have lots of preservatives – and unlikely to be made from grass-fed high quality meats.

Drying fruit

Try drying your own raisins or dried prunes and apples – or whatever fruit you have an abundance of in the garden. You can also make fruit leather by drying out puréed fruit. Whilst dehydrating fruit concentrates the sugar levels, they can certainly still be enjoyed as an occasional treat.

Drying herbs

A dehydrator is perfect for drying out herbs – great to prevent wastage. If you live somewhere hot & dry, you can dry herbs the traditional way, hung on string, and left out in the sunshine. Collecting the herbs is a fun activity itself, and the prospect of preserving them while maintaining colour and taste, makes it even more rewarding. Nothing is as good as a jar of your own cultured and dried coriander or hot chili peppers, to spice up your dishes for a whole year.

Dehydrating Vegetables

Vegetables are perfect for a dehydrator. Trying making vegetable chips, using kale, carrots or very thinly sliced sweet potatoes. Tomatoes also work really well in a dehydrator, and can be added to recipes for months to come.

How long does the food need to be in the dehydrator?

It totally depends on the amount of moisture inside the product. It can even vary between two items of the same product. Also the size makes a big difference in how long it will take to dry out the food. It’s really important not to cut short the during time, as any left over moisture can result in mould and rotten food. Almost all products need to be dried more than 24 hours, but you should research & experiment further for everything you attempt to dry out.

After drying to products, keep them in airtight pots or bags. Lockable glass pots or mason jars look great as decorations in the kitchen, filled with colourful dried fruit and vegetables.

Have you got a dehydrator, or do you dehydrate things in your oven? I’d love to hear what you do with yours, in the comments below!

A paleo Alternative to Fruit-min

Alternative to Fruit?

I hate “food” products that masquerades as healthy and natural.  I fear that well some meaning parents will buy these products for their children, believing that they are giving them healthy nutritious food.

So many products have packaging covered in words like “natural”, “made with real fruit“, “no artificial colours or flavourings” which I think are very misleading.

Alternative to Fruit- Nuggets-min

I've seen so many packaged “fruit snacks” in the supermarket, that are clearly aimed at children.  I'm not even sure that it's appropriate for children to eat a lot of fruit on a daily basis, but the idea of eating a processed fruit alternative seems to be a ridiculous idea.

I've found the ingredients for two of these fruit snacks – they contain a lot more than just fruit!  Along with reconstituted fruit juice, the products also contain high volumes of sugar (presumably fruit doesn't have enough as it is) – even in the form of corn syrup!  They also contain the ever too frequent non-Paleo suspects of “vegetable” oils, “natural” flavourings and other ingredients I certainly don't recognise as whole foods.

Is it really too difficult to give a child Paleo lunch options, such as boiled eggs, olives, real fruit, carrot sticks or coconut?

Nice and Natural Mixed Berry Fruit Snacks Ingredients:

Reconstituted Fruit Juices (65%) (Apple Juice (62%), Strawberry Juice (3%) or Raspberry Juice (3%) or Blackcurrant juice(3%) or Blueberry Juice (3%)), Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Gelatine (Halal), Food Acid (Citric Acid), Gelling Agent (Agar), Natural Flavours, Starch (Maize), Glazing Agent (Vegetable Oil, Carnauba Wax), Natural Colours (Turmeric, Carmine, Anthocyanin).

Florida's Natural All'some Fruit Nuggets Ingredients:

Fruit Juices & Purees (90%) (Pear Juice from Concentrate (68%), Pear Puree from Concentrate (20%), Strawberry Juice from Concentrate (1%), Blueberry Juice from Concentrate (1%)), Natural Raw Sugar (5%), Tapioca Starch, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Apple Fibre, Acidity Regulators (Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate), Natural Strawberry Flavouring, Antioxidant (Ascorbic Acid), Gelling Agent (Pectin), Natural Colour (Anthocyanins), Glazing Agent (Carnauba Wax), Corn Maltodextrin.

What do you think about processed foods like these being marketed as a good, natural alternative for children?

A paleo Alternative to Fruit-min

paleo diet recipe quick easy coronation chicken creamy primal-min

Recipe: Quick and Easy Coronation Chicken

Countless times I have made a delicious roast dinner for friends, only to realise at the end that I’ve bought a chicken way too big for us to eat! Sometimes I get stuck with what to do with the leftovers, but this recipe for Paleo friendly Coronation Chicken is always a fail-safe option. It’s all the flavour of Coronation Chicken, minus the dairy, minus the sugar, minus the preservatives… just as it should be!

The best thing about this recipe is that it is easily adapted depending on how much leftover meat you have. When I shredded it, I had roughly 2 cups of chicken available. Feel free to adapt as you wish!

Coronation Chicken Ingredients:

  • 200g shredded roast chicken
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Juice ½ lime
  • ½ can thick coconut milk
  • Small handful flaked almonds
  • Small handful coconut shavings
  • Small handful sultanas
  • Small handful unsulphured dried apricots, finely chopped

Coronation Chicken How To:

In a saucepan, heat the coconut oil to a medium – low heat. Add the shallot and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for another 2.

Squeeze in the lime juice and stir in the spices. Leave to simmer gently for 2 – 3 minutes, adding extra coconut oil if necessary.

Add the coconut milk and honey, stir well, and simmer very gently for around 5 minutes.

Toss in the flaked almonds, coconut shavings and dried fruit. Pour over the shredded chicken and coat well. Enjoy straight away or leave in the fridge to cool before enjoying as part of a salad.

paleo diet recipe quick easy coronation chicken creamy primal-min

Paleo recipe Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Carrots and Fresh Thyme-min

Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Carrots and Fresh Thyme

Sweet potatoes are a great side dish for a Paleo dinner. Bright orange and packed with vitamins A, B and C, don’t be surprised if you’re wearing sunglasses indoors and singing the alphabet whilst tucking into these!

Roasted Sweet Potato Ingredients:

  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into wedges
  • 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • High grade maple syrup
  • 2 cloves
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme

Roasted Sweet Potato How To:

1)     Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas mark 4

2)     Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and carrots. Transfer to a roasting dish. Drizzle over a little olive oil and maple syrup in equal parts, giving the vegetables a light coating.

3)     Throw in the cloves and fresh thyme. Toss the vegetables, then roast for around 40 minutes until well cooked.

Paleo recipe Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Carrots and Fresh Thyme-min

Recipe paleo hummus houmous chick peas legume free-min

Recipe: Paleo Hummus

Hummus (or houmous, if you prefer) used to be one of my go-to dips before I went paleo. With the main ingredient being mashed chickpeas – yep there’s no doubting that they’re legumes* – it’s most definitely not on the paleo menu. Which is a shame because this Middle Eastern sauce is great as an appetizer or a dip for raw veggies.

Besides, even if it were paleo – have you checked out the ingredients recently? These are the ingredients of two of the popular brands of hommus sold in my local Coles supermarket:

Savion Dairy Hommus Dip

Ingredients: Chickpeas (47%), Sesame Seed Paste (23%), Canola Oil (Antioxidant 320), Lemon Juice (Preservative 202), Water, Salt (Anti-Caking Agent 554), Food Acid (330).

Yumi's Traditional Hommus Dip

IngredientsChick Peas 45%, Water, Vegetable Oil, Sesame Seed Paste, Vinegar, Salt, Garlic, Citric Acid, Preservative (202, 211), Acidity Regulator (575).

Canola oil, vegetable oil and all of those additives and preservatives – no thanks.

Recipe paleo hummus houmous chick peas legume free-min

So what are the options for making a paleo hommus?

Well I've tried with both zucchini and cauliflower – and I like the zucchini best. And it’s great with kale chips.

Recipe: Paleo Hummus
Recipe type: Sides
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Hummus (or houmous, if you prefer) used to be one of my go-to dips before I went paleo. This recipe takes out the chickpeas (no legumes here!) and uses paleo alternatives to make this delicious hummus!
Ingredients
  • 3 small zucchini’s, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 50ml (3 tablespoons) Tahini
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Paprika or cut chives, to serve
Instructions
  1. Put the zucchini and lemon in your food processor and blend
  2. Add the tahini, olive oil, cumin, seasoning and garlic. Blend until smooth
  3. Put in the fridge for half an hour or so before serving
  4. Top with paprika or chopped chives, to serve

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*And what’s so wrong with legumes I hear you say? Well legumes contain phytates and lectins which are to be avoided as they inhibit nutrient absorption and cause inflammation.

101 (more!) paleo snack ideas recipes diet suggestions inspiration primal-min

101 (more!) paleo snack ideas

After the popularity of my previous post on paleo snack ideas, I've put together a new, extended list of snack ideas.




After my last list, I got a lot of people telling me “DAIRY IS NOT PALEO” (yep, I think they were shouting), so just to clear it up, some of the snack ideas listed below do have dairy options. I'm not in the paleo police, so if you tolerate dairy and take more of a lacto-paleo approach (and can find a good quality source) – go for it. If you fair better dairy free, avoid it!

The list below has a good range of snacks suitable for work (where there often aren't good facilities for keeping things cool or warming them up), travel, children as well as snack ideas that are quick enough for you to grab and go.

101 (more!) paleo snack ideas recipes diet suggestions inspiration primal-min

I'd love to hear your feedback – – what's your go to paleo snack? Or do you find you don't need to snack so often any more?

  1. A can of (high quality) tuna
  2. Make your own beef  jerky
  3. A bag of nuts and seeds
  4. A couple of squares of super dark high quality chocolate
  5. Make your own cherry ripe bars
  6. Coconut flesh in a bag (dehydrate it to make it last longer!)
  7. Keep a small jar of coconut oil or coconut manna to hand – and a spoon!
  8. Cheese cubes served with cut apple
  9. Use a melon baller to prepare spheres of fruit – and serve in cream (dairy or coconut)
  10. Roll up avocado, radish, cress & asparagus in ham wraps
  11. Coat chicken with an egg and almond flour mix to create Paleo chicken nuggets
  12. Melon & ham slices
  13. Simple – avocado slices
  14. Pre-boiled, peeled hard boiled eggs
  15. A jar of olives
  16. A tin of coconut milk served over fresh berries
  17. Your favourite fruit
  18. A coconut
  19. Make your own pork scratching (AKA pork rinds or crackling)
  20. Have you tried coconut yoghurt yet?!
  21. A bag of your favourite nuts (activate them, then season them)
  22. How about spicy almonds?
  23. Seaweed is a good option that stores well
  24. Coconut flakes
  25. A berry and coconut mix
  26. Dry some berries and fruit
  27. Last night’s meatballs 
  28. Pigs in blankets
  29. Almonds, pecans and berries served in coconut milk
  30. No-Oatmeal
  31. Full fat plain Greek yoghurt (if you do dairy)
  32. Salmon
  33. Smoked meat and salami
  34. A selection of cheeses
  35. Almond Butter
  36. A sealed packet of nuts and seeds
  37. A jar of pickles (make sure it isn't full of sugar)
  38. Home made egg muffins
  39. Make your own Paté
  40. A tin of sardines
  41. Oysters
  42. Simple – cut up some leftover meat and veg
  43. Devilled eggs
  44. Precooked bacon pieces
  45. Dehydrated banana slices
  46. Kale chips
  47. Diced Steamed chicken and avocado
  48. Leftover meat and mayo 
  49. Paleo sushi with nori, veg, avo and fish
  50. Mini omelettes
  51. Veg sticks and nut butter
  52. Salmon and tuna on sliced cucumber
  53. Carrot sticks with a home made spicy salsa
  54. Capsicum (Bell Pepper) strips with a guacamole dip
  55. Make sandwiches with bacon “bread” and an avo filling
  56. Ham, tomatoes and fresh basil
  57. Left over roast veggies with a ranch sauce
  58. Home made sauerkraut
  59. Ever tried chocolate covered bacon bites?Coat almonds and coconut flakes in chocolate
  60. Dip fresh berries in chocolate
  61. For a special treat paleo cookies
  62. Frozen grapes
  63. Frozen banana slices mixed with fresh cream
  64. Baked pears with coconut cream and a dash of cinnamon
  65. A flask/ thermos of bone broth
  66. Soup
  67. A bottle of a freshly made green smoothie
  68. Zucchini Chips
  69. Spicy pumpkin seeds
  70. Homemade fruit leather
  71. Sweet potato, coconut oil fries
  72. Stuffed mini bell peppers (capsicum)
  73.  sliced peaches & cottage cheese
  74. Baba Ghanoush with vegetable sticks
  75. Ginger sesame Chicken wings
  76. Monkfish & sweet potato skewers
  77. Sweet potato & chocolate chip muffins
  78. Refilled sweet potatoes 
  79. Spicy nuts 
  80. Maple & cayenne roasted almonds
  81. Celery sticks and pesto 
  82. Spicy coconut king prawns
  83. Crunchy cashew fish sticks
  84. Indian Eggs 
  85. Kimchi
  86. Mini Paleo Pizza’s
  87. Sliced deli meat
  88. Chicken drumsticks
  89. Coconut Milk Kefir
  90. Plantain chips
  91. Roasted Chestnuts
  92. Cauliflower Popcorn – who needs that other stuff when you can make this?!
  93. Collard wraps – put your favourite veggies and leftover meat in a collard leaf and wrap!
  94. Coleslaw
  95. Prosciutto wrapped asparagus
  96. Pickled Gherkins
  97. A glass of (unsweetened)Almond Milk
  98. Prawns with Paleo Cocktail Sauce
  99. Carrot sticks with Paleo Hummus
  100. Strawberry & coconut ice cream
  101. Raw Chocolate Maple and Pecan Fudge

What's your go-to paleo snack? Share in the comments below!