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!

Are you deficient in zinc signs symptoms paleo diet-min

12 Signs You May Be Deficient in Zinc

Zinc is a crucial mineral that is found in every cell in the body. It's involved with growth, cell division, the immune system, bones and teeth, skin, the brain, the nervous system not to mention hormones – and yet over a third of people appear to be deficient in the Western world!

12 signs you may be deficient in zinc

  1. White spots or lines on your fingernails
  2. Pale skin
  3. Stretch marks
  4. Acne
  5. Dry hair
  6. Loss of appetite
  7. Poor immune system
  8. Diarrhoea
  9. Low sex drive
  10. Weight loss
  11. Loss of taste and sense of smell
  12. Insomnia

So if you’re suffering from sleep issues, frequent infections, eczema, psoriasis, frequent diarrhoea, hair loss, low sex drive or infertility – perhaps it’s worth checking your zinc levels? Those deficient in zinc may also find their sense of taste and smell affected, which isn't great when you want to explore lots of new foods on your Paleo diet!

How to get more zinc in your diet

There are lots of great natural, Paleo food sources of zinc. Oysters are one of the best sources, but red meat and seafood (especially crab) will also keep your zinc levels topped up. Of course, supplementing is always an option, but always try to get sufficient levels from natural food sources first. Also, don’t forget about vitamin D, as being deficient in vitamin D makes zinc less effective. It’s all about balance, as so many vitamins and minerals work together.

Several things can inhibit your bodies ability to absorb zinc, particularly phytates found in grains and legumes – yet another reason to stick to a Paleo diet and avoid processed neolithic foods!
Paleo Primal Zinc Supplement
Have you had your zinc levels checked? How did they fair? Do you eat lots of natural food sources of zinc, or do you supplement?

Are you deficient in zinc signs symptoms paleo diet-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

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.

Do You Get Enough Iron In Your paleo diet primal sources deficiency supplement symptoms-min

Do You Get Enough Iron In Your Diet?

Have you had your iron levels checked? Women especially need to be careful to ensure their diet contains sufficient levels, as deficiency can be dangerous.

What Does Iron Do?

As part of hemoglobin, iron plays an important role in the transport of oxygen around the body from the lungs to the other organs. It is also part of the process to produce new blood cells within the body and helps to remove carbon dioxide from the organs.

As well as these important functions, it helps to convert blood sugar to energy and is essential for the production of enzymes within the digestive system. Iron also plays an important role in the immune system and the recovery process after illness or strenuous exercise.

Food Sources of Iron

Most red meats are very good sources of iron particularly beef and lamb. However, the best meat to boost your supply is liver. A 100g serving of liver will provide over 100% of your recommended daily amount of the important dietary nutrient.

Mollusks are another great source of iron, with even higher concentrations than liver. You have a choice of several tasty mollusks, including:

  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Shrimp
  • Cuttlefish
  • Octopus
  • Do You Get Enough Iron In Your paleo diet primal sources deficiency supplement symptoms-min

Animals are not the only good sources of iron. Plenty of dark leafy vegetables contain good quantities of this important element. Spinach is the best, with 100g providing 20% of your daily value. Swiss chard, turnip greens and kale are other vegetables that can help to boost your iron levels.

Another source that is easy to overlook is dark chocolate. Nuts and pumpkin seeds are also great sources of iron, and make tasty snacks. You can use these to beat your chocolate cravings!

Problems Associated with Iron Intake

One of the main symptoms of iron deficiency is anaemia. This occurs when the stores of iron in the body deplete and it is no longer possible to maintain haemoglobin levels in the blood. This particularly affects children and pre-menopausal women. The common symptoms of anaemia include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Pallor
  • Hair loss
  • Irritability
  • Weakness

In extreme cases, deficiency can be fatal so it is important to ensure you consume sufficient quantities of this essential nutrient. Usually though, an increase in iron intake will restore your iron levels to normal.

Iron overdose is also potentially fatal, and often the first symptoms are stomach ulcers, followed by nausea and vomiting. The pain can then abate before the iron passes into the internal organs, particularly the brain and liver.

Iron is an extremely important nutrient that plays an important role within your body. Avoid the risk of anaemia and deficiency by making sure you eat plenty of the great iron-rich foods. This will keep your body in top shape and you will certainly feel better for it.

Have you ever had your levels checked? How were they?

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