40 Top Paleo Recipes - Quick and Easy Paleo Diet Recipes

Why you must wash your pre-washed salad

If you buy a pre-washed ready to eat bag of salad leaves, do you tip straight out onto a plate – or do you thoroughly wash it first? The whole idea of bagged salad mixes is convenience, so it’s no surprise most people don’t wash.

40 Top Paleo Recipes - Quick and Easy Paleo Diet Recipes

But how do they wash the salad before they bag it? Well it turns out diluted chlorine is commonly used. The chlorine is used to kill any harmful bacteria to ensure the lettuce is safe for our consumption. Seemingly even organic produce is allowed to use a weak chlorine solution for this purpose. Whilst there is supposed to be no trace of the chlorine 24 hours after treatment, do you trust your salad to be chemical free?

With outbreaks of e-coli and salmonella, it’s not surprising the salad growers are keen to sanitise their product. With salad available all year round the pressure is on to produce a cheap product – often meaning growers don’t provide sanitary conditions for their workers – hence the contamination risk. Unfortunately sanitising salad doesn’t remove the risk of contamination, it just makes it less likely.

So what’s the answer? If pre-washed salad could still be contaminated and could contain traces of chlorine is it worth paying the price premium?

Wash your own

A far better option is to spend a fraction of the cost buying fresh, unpackaged greens. Get rid of any wilted, torn or bruised leaves and let them sit in a sink full of ice cold water for 20 minutes. Use a salad spinner to get rid of the water and roll in paper towels to get the rest of the water out. If you store in plastic bags with paper towels to absorb any remaining water, they should remain fresh for over a week in the fridge.

How to you wash yours?

Paleo diet but it's natural nature food products label labelling

But it’s natural!

If you’ve strayed from the perimeter of your local grocery store, you can’t have missed the endless products screaming at you that they are “natural”. The labels often heavily feature the colour green, which we associate with nature, and may even show images of endless fields in perfect sunsets. Often the packaging will be brown and have a recycled feel – it’s natural after all. Buy it! Buy it!

But what does natural actually mean? If something is natural, it has to be good for you, right? My view of “natural” is something that hasn’t been altered at all and is entirely in its natural state, like an organic banana. A survey last year by the Consumer Reports National Research Centre found that 60% of respondents actively looked out for “natural” labels, with 66% of those people believing it meant the product contained no artificial ingredients, no pesticides and no genetically modified organisms. Surely that’s a pretty reasonable understanding of a “natural” food?
Paleo diet but it's natural nature food products label labelling
Alarmingly there are no official definitions about what “natural” means on food labels, nor are there any Australian food standards governing how and when the term may be used.

Looking in my local Coles supermarket, I found a Jalna Fat Free Natural Yoghurt, in which the first two ingredients are “Pasteurised Skim Milk and Non-fat milk solids”. I also found a Natural Muesli by The Muesli Company, which contains Preservative 220, rolled oats and dried fruits (processes which surely take the raw ingredients away from their original, natural state?).

Another favourite, is Water Thins Natural Mini Crispbread. The ingredients… Wheat Flour, Cheese Powder [Milk Solids, Cheese Solids (Milk, Salt, Starter Culture, Enzymes), Mineral Salts (339, 331), Salt, Food Acid (330)], Salt, Vegetable Oil, Raising Agents (500), Rye Flavour. Salt? Perhaps the salt is natural? And how about Natural Glace Cherries? Guess what they contain? Cherries (60%), Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Food Acid (330), Natural Flavour, Natural Colour (163), Preservatives [202, 211, 220 (contains sulphites)]. So, I suppose they’re 60% natural…

None of the products I’d found mentioned being organic (which is what I’d consider natural) – and as for processed ingredients, additives, flavourings and preservatives, “natural” seems to be a total farce.

So what’s the answer? Well – as I’ve spoken about before – if it has a label, it’s far less likely to be natural and healthy than something with no label. And if the label makes health claims, you should probably not buy it.

What would you expect a “natural” food label to mean? Do you think there should be more rules about the labels food manufacturers are allowed to put on their products?

Grow your own veggies vegetable patch organic gardening Paleo Network

Why I’m growing my own veggies

Just a few weeks ago I converted the old sand pit that the previous occupants of my house had left behind, to a vegetable patch. Well, when I say converted, I mean mixed some topsoil into the sand. I also re-purposed an old archway they’d left behind into a climbing frame for some green beans.

I put in loads of different seeds to see what would work, and basically forgot about them – until yesterday I saw 28 fully grown beans climbing up the arch! The basil is also working well, but it looks like the spinach I planted has been a bit too much of a hit with the slugs.

Grow your own veggies vegetable patch organic gardening Paleo Network

I’d love to become completely self-sufficient, even if just for vegetables – hopefully with a bit more experimentation I’ll be able to plant more of what works and abandon planting seeds that have no chance in my garden.

Vegetables are surprisingly expensive to buy – and there’s no choice. There are perhaps three varieties of tomatoes, one type of zucchini, two spinach varieties – whereas in the real world there are hundreds of varieties. Take the beans as an example, they’re currently about $5 a kilo at my local supermarket (non-organic). I bought the entire packet of seeds for $1.50 and it looks like I’m going to get quite a big crop.

I also love the idea of being able to pick my dinner off the vine/ plant immediately before cooking it. You really can’t get any fresher than that! Of course, I can also guarantee that my veg hasn’t been sprayed with nasty chemicals, so that’s another huge win. And what can be more satisfying than eating the rewards of your labour!

I’m hoping that since temperatures never really get down to a frost here, I’ll be able to grow something all year round. But failing that hopefully with the aid of my dehydrator, some pickling recipes and my freezer, I should be able to wean off buying my veggies from the supermarket.

Whilst I have got a garden, I’m hardly using any space for my veg – if you’ve just got a balcony, or can squeeze in a window box, you’d be amazed what you can grow – give it a try!

I’d love to hear if you grow your own veggies, and what you’ve had most success with! Any tips would be gratefully received!

are you eating contaminated fruit paleo network

Are you eating contaminated fruit?

I’ve bought frozen fruit quite a few times recently. It’s often far cheaper than the fresh equivalent, and it’s far less wasteful, since I don’t eat a lot of fruit. In the summer it’s great for a quick frozen dessert too.

Contaminated Frozen Fruit Hepatitis A Australia Mixed Berry Paleo Network

So I’ve been horrified to read about the recent contamination recall on frozen mixed berries. Apparently certain packs have been recalled due to a potential Hepatitis A contamination. It hasn’t been long since the horse meat scandal, but this seems so much worse, since the only ingredient in these packs is the fruit. With the hose meat contamination, it seemed to be mainly in heavily processed foods.

With illness starting up to 28 days after exposure to the Hepatitis virus, it may not even be clear yet how widespread the issue is. The official advice is now to boil berries before eating – but really, who does this?

The other shocker with this latest recall, is that the fruit in question is from China and Chile. I meticulously check where any fish and seafood I buy comes from, but had naively assumed the fruit would be domestic.

It really begs the question how can the contaminate have got into the product in the first place? Contamination often seems to occur through transfer of fecal matter from an infected person. Unbelievable that in this day and age of health and safety standards that could happen.

After hearing about this latest scare, I’m going to freeze my own fruit from now on. It’s going to be local fruit, washed and organic. It seems to be the only way to ensure you actually know what you’re eating.

I wonder what the next food scare will be?

 

Clean 15 the dirty dozen organic fruit vegetables pesticides paleo network-min

Clean 15… and the dirty dozen (updated list)

Unfortunately so much of the fresh produce we eat isn’t subject to the growing conditions we’d like. Toxic chemicals, such as fertilisers, sewage sludge, pesticides and herbicides can be used during the growing process. Pesticide use is widespread in conventionally grown produce and certain fruit and vegetables are found to have particularly high levels of pesticide residue.

Even washing your fruit and veggies before eating won’t get rid of all traces of pesticide residue. With ADHD, fertility problems, autoimmune issues, thyroid problems and certain cancers possibly linked to intake of pesticide residue, it’s definitely something to be avoided.

Clean 15 Dirty Dozen Paleo Network Organic Pesticides-min

Of course, if we could we’d all grow our own produce, or at the very least buy everything organic… but in the real world it’s not always possible. Every year pesticide residue levels are meausres and an updated Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list is published. The Dirty Dozen list (which has actually now grown to 18 items!) is the high pesticide level produce – and the Clean 15 is the produce with the lowest levels of pesticides. If you have to buy non-organic, try to avoid the Dirty Dozen and pick from the Clean 15 list.

And of course, if you’re buying imported produce, remember the country of origin may have a completely different pesticide regime – so try to buy local!

Here’s the updated lists:

Clean 15

Asparagus
Avocado
Cabbage
Eggplant
Grapefruit
Kiwi Fruit
Mangoes
Mushrooms
Onions
Pineapple
Rock Melon
Sweetcorn
Sweet Peas
Sweet Potato
Water Melon

Dirty 18

Apples
Blueberries
Broccoli
Capsicums
Carrots
Celery
Cherries
Cucumber
Grapes
Kale
Lettuce
Nectarines
Peaches
Pears
Potatoes
Spinach
Strawberries
Zucchini

If you’re on a tight budget, I can’t recommend farmers markets enough – go at the end of the day and you should get some good deals on local, organic produce. Better still, start a small veggie patch – that way you’ll know exactly what you’re eating.

iherb paleo supplies discount coupon

Where Do You Get Your Paleo Supplies From?

Whilst the main elements of a Paleo diet are fresh, local and seasonal – such as meat and vegetables, there are a few important ingredients and supplies that aren’t so easy to find. I used to get these items from health food shops, but I found they could be really expensive, there wasn’t much choice – and they were heavy to carry home!

I now do the non-fresh part of my Paleo shopping almost all online. My favourite supplier is iherb, as I’ve found them to be the cheapest, they have a large range – and they deliver Worldwide (even to Australia!) quickly and cheaply.

Iherb have just reduced their delivery charge to Australia – it’s now only $10 on orders over $60. They also offer $10 off your first order over $40 – or $5 discount on smaller orders. Definitely the cheapest way to stock up on Coconut Oil and fill your Paleo pantry!

These are the items on my non-fresh Paleo shopping list

Coconut Oil

No Paleo kitchen is complete without Coconut Oil! I go straight for the largest containers as it doesn’t last long. I really like this huge container of Nutiva Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. I also have a smaller jar of Artisana Organic Extra Virgin Raw Coconut Oil in my pantry.

Coconut Aminos

I love Coconut Aminos and use it regularly, exactly as you might use Soy Sauce, for instance in sauces and to marinade meat.

Coconut Butter/ Manna

I first read about these products on US websites; but couldn’t find them in Australian stores.

Paleo Baking

I’ve just got a new Paleo recipe book “Paleo Indulgences”, with lots of recipes for occasional treats and special occasions. Quite a few of the ingredients I didn’t have, so I have just ordered from iherb.

Coconut Crystals

I’ve just ordered these Coconut Crystals as a few of the recipes call for them.

Coconut Nectar

Similarly a few recipes call for Coconut Nectar, so I’m eagerly awaiting delivery of these too

Arrowroot Starch

Coconut Flour

Almond Flour

Shredded Coconut

Coconut Flakes

Flax Meal

Hazelnut Flour

Sunflower Seed Butter

Almond Butter

Yeast

Salt

I tend alternate between Celtic sea salt and pink Himalayan sea salt.

Herbs and Spices

I also have to stock up on the herbs and spices that I use regularly in my cooking. I generally use a lot of turmericParsleyGingerNutmeggarlic powdercurry powderoreganocuminbasil and cinnamon

Kelp Noodles

A recent addition to my cooking is kelp noodles as a great pasta alternative.

Supplements

Depending on time of the year and nutrition, there are a few supplements I sometimes take.

Vitamin D

Many of the Vitamin D3 capsules sold are in very small doses – instead of taking several, I prefer to take one capsule at a higher IU

Omega 3

Treats

After reading on so many American Paleo sites about Larabars, I’ve also tried some from iherb, for an occasional treat!

Toiletries

Other than food, I also order paraben-free shampoo online as many of the brands I find in shops locally have lots of undesirable ingredients.

Which non-fresh Paleo supplies do you regularly buy? Where do you source your Paleo supplies from? Are there any items you have trouble finding locally?

The Dirty Dozen clean 15 organic fruit vegetables paleo diet-min

The Dirty Dozen

I’d love to grow all of my own organic fruit and vegetables.  Failing that, I’d love to buy everything organic from a really good local source.  Sadly, in the real word, financial constraints mean I can’t afford to buy all of my produce organic.  I prioritise my spending towards very good quality, grass fed, organic meat, as I feel that this is extremely important.  When it comes to buying fruit and veg, this means I just cannot buy everything organic.  I therefore have to choose a few items to buy the more expensive organic versions of, with the remainder being the cheaper non-organic versions.

Why Organic?

Organic farming is a more natural approach, free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) and synthetic chemicals (such as herbicides, growth promoters, hormones and pesticides).  Crops are rotated and naturally good soil promoted – this produces far more nutritious produce with higher levels of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants.  The chemicals used in non-organic farming may also remain on the fruit and vegetables we eat – some of these chemicals have been linked to cancers and nervous and endocrine problems.  These chemicals and farming methods are not Paleo or optimum for our help.  The purpose of the chemicals is to make farming more profitable.

Dirty Dozen Veggies

How to Choose?

Initially, I’ll shop around to see where I can find good quality produce at good prices.  Often certain suppliers will have good offers, or end of day reductions.

I often use the “dirty dozen” rules to decide what I should buy the organic version of – and what I am more likely to be able to get away with eating the non-organic version for.

The dirty dozen is based on testing in the US on a wide range of fruit and vegetables.  The items were tested for residual amounts of pesticides and compares, to provide a “dirty dozen” list of items that frequently contain high levels of chemicals.  The list also includes items which consistently tested with very low levels of residual chemicals.  Whilst this list was compiled in America, I think it is still of value in Australia and New Zealand, as pesticide absorption seems to be based on the structure of the plant and how porous and thick the skin is.

The Dirty Dozen

The dirty dozen produce seems to vary slightly depending on where you look, but these are commonly featured: –

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries/ Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Capsicum
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

Fortunately, not eating starchy tubers, I don’t eat potatoes.  I also don’t eat much fruit, as I’m trying to minimise my sugar consumption.  This makes my “must by organic” list quite reasonable.

How much of your intake is organic?  How do you prioritise what to buy organic?

The Dirty Dozen clean 15 organic fruit vegetables paleo diet-min