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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

Ugly fruit vegetables paleo network-min

What happens to the ugly ones?

I was interested to read that Australian retailer Woolworths are now selling ugly, misshapen fruit and vegetables. Normally when you go into a supermarket there is no variety whatsoever. Carrots all look identical and perfectly shaped. Apples are all shinny and the exact same size, with no blemishes. But if you’ve grown fruit and vegetables yourself, you’ll know this is not how most of your harvest will usually turn out. In fact, I’m convinced the “ugly” fruit and vegies actually taste better in my paleo cooking than their aesthetically pleasing alternatives.

Ugly fruit vegetables paleo network-min

This move by Woolworths does make me wonder – what do the growers usually do with this fruit and veg? The official line is that this new initiative will reduce waste – but I can’t believe they’d otherwise just let this misshapen produce rot. Surely those processed and ready meals and sauces already receive ugly fruit and vegetables? Aren’t oddly shaped tomatoes the ideal candidates for tomato sauce? Don’t they used some of the produce as animal feed?

I think most of the food waste happens in our kitchens up and down the country. How many of us are guilty of over purchasing fresh produce, with good intentions – then finding it rotting a week later? Unfortunately I can’t help but think cheaper fruit and veg would make this problem worse, as it could encourage us to buy more than we’re realistically going to eat.

Surely it would be better if we could just accept a carrot is a carrot. Instead of selling cosmetically perfect carrots and ugly carrots, can’t they just sell us carrots? Those of us making a stew could pick them at random, and those with high carrot expectations could rummage around to find the prefect specimens.

I’d love to hear your views. Would you buy ugly fruit and veg, or is beautiful produce important to you?

six ways to stick to paleo diet hard to stick to paleo network-min

6 ways to make sure your paleo diet is not hard to stick to

A common response to the idea of eating a paleo diet, is that surely it must be so difficult to stick to. All the changes, all the cooking – it seems impossible to keep up, long term, right?

Well, I think once you’ve established a few habits and patterns, it would be harder not to stick to it.

Here’s six ways to make sure it’s not hard to stick to a paleo diet, but becomes an easy part of your life

six ways to stick to paleo diet hard to stick to paleo network-min

1.       Know why it makes sense

If you’ve researched and read about paleo and why it works, it becomes so much easier to stick to

2.       Try it, properly

If you can stick to a strict version of a paleo diet religiously, for 30 days you’ll have the chance to see what difference it makes to you. You’ll observe how differently you feel in terms of energy, skin, sleep, mood and specific health issues. Knowing that eating paleo can significantly improve your health will make it much, much harder to go back to your old way of eating.

3.       Support

Support can make the world of difference. Paleo has got so popular, you’ll hopefully have someone in your life following it too. But as time goes by and people see the changes in you, they’re more likely to give it a try too. If you don’t have any real life support, check out meetups in your area, you’ll find local support and encouragement will make all the difference to your sticking power.

4.       Organisation

A lot of people waiver from their paleo diet due to lack of organisation. You overslept and missed breakfast, or got home too late to cook. One non-paleo meal becomes two, then before you know it you’re more 20/80, than 80/20. I find batch cooking at the weekend helps a lot with this, making sure my freezer is stocked with paleo meals that just need to be reheated. A paleo emergency stash at work (of nuts, jerky and even tinned fish) can ensure you’re not caught hungry with no options. If you know you’re going to a social function that’s likely to have poor food choices, plan in advance and either take something along, or even eat before you go – this way it won’t be hard to stick to paleo.

5.       Work out alternatives

You’re not going to be eating bread, or pasta on your paleo diet. But if you can come up with alternatives and substitutions, you’ll be ready to deal with situations where you’d have eaten those foods. Used to take sandwiches to work? Try taking wraps instead (made with lettuce, or nori). Used to have spaghetti Bolognese every Friday? Try it with zucchini noodles instead. Not so hard to stick to anymore!

6.       Be realistic

It’s important to avoid being too “all or nothing”. It’s easy to slip and have one small non-paleo thing, then tell yourself it’s all ruined, you might as well write the day/ week off. Instead, take a more flexible approach. Maybe agree with yourself to be 80/20 paleo. That is 80% of your diet is paleo, and you’re ok with up to 20% “not paleo”. If you strive for 100%, but achieve 80% you won’t be disappointed with yourself.

How easy do you find it to stick to paleo? What tips would you give to others finding it hard to stick to a paleo diet?

Natural alternatives to soap paleo healthcare skincare recipe-min

Natural Alternatives To Soap

So you’re careful to eat a natural paleo diet, but what skincare products do you use? Have you looked at the ingredients in the soap you use?

While soap is considered a necessity by most people for keeping clean, if often comes loaded with chemicals. Soap can also be very drying to a lot of skin types and strips the skin of its natural moisturisers and of its natural defences.

While there are many natural soaps based around essential oils and herbs, there are alternatives to keeping your skin clean without the need for soap.

Essential Oils

For some added fragrance when it comes to bath time, try adding some essential oils to the bath water. Camomile or lavender make an ideal combination if for relaxing, peppermint oils are good for stimulating and lifting your mood, and ylang ylang and geranium essential oils will increase your feeling of well-being.

Natural alternatives to soap paleo healthcare skincare recipe-min

Epsom Salts

Some people find that once they have stopped using soap their skin becomes much drier. For some people this might be temporary, while for others the skin can continue to remain dry. Adding some Epsom salts to a tub of bath water will help soften the skin. Epsom salts are also believed to have many health benefits. The magnesium content helps to relax nerves and muscles and reduce stress. Epsom salts are also thought to reduce toxins in the body and relieve muscle cramps and pain.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is great on the skin – and if you have dry skin, applying coconut oil will certainly help.

Instead of using soap, try filling a muslin cloth with your selected herbs and then add in five to ten drops of essential oils. Tie the muslin cloth to the bath tap and let the aromas spill out.  The muslin cloth can also be used to exfoliate the skin and slough away dead skin cells without the need for an exfoliator, which can be damaging to some skin types.

Do you use a commercial soap, or have you found a more natural alternative? Share your suggestions and recipes in the comments section.

Paleo Primal Diet Health Benefits Massage why good for you healthy natural muscles-min

8 Reasons Why You Should Have A Regular Massage

With a massage in Sydney typically costing over $100 for an hour, it has always been a very occasional treat. On my recent travels to Indonesia however, I found Balinese massages were offered almost everywhere – and the going rate worked out at somewhere between $4.50 and $12 an hour. With prices like that, I thought I’d conduct my very own experiment, which basically involved having as many massages as I could and seeing if I felt any better for it!

The first few were quite sore, probably because I had some muscle tension. By the end of the trip, the soreness had completely gone. I noticed my sleep was better (though being on holiday probably has a big part to play), I felt relaxed and I’m certain I am a bit taller!

Having got back and researched it a bit further, there are lots of reasons for having regular massages.

Paleo Primal Diet Health Benefits Massage why good for you healthy natural muscles-min

The Benefits of Massage:

1. Posture gradually improves as the muscles around the spine become more flexible and less tense.

2. Circulation is encouraged, which is good for muscle recovery and healing

3. Massage encourages deeper breathing, helping oxygen circulate encouraging healing and growth

4. Joint flexibility is increased and tension relieved


5. A calm mind is encouraged by massage along with a completely relaxed body.

6. A massage is claimed to boast alertness and improve attention.

7. The cortisol that is decreased by massage is said to boast your lymph flow and immune cells (though I think the massage I had by the sneezing, sniffing masseuse in Bali probably didn’t have such a benefit to my immune system)

8. The decrease in cortisol and increase in serotonin and dopamine provided by the massage may also reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

If only a daily massage was an affordable option!

What benefits have you gained from massages? Do you regularly have them?

Paleo Alternatives to Pasta friendly recipes-min

Paleo Alternatives to Pasta

Pasta is one of the un-Paleo foods there is! Mainly made of the grain wheat, pasta generally contains gluten, which many people don’t tolerate well. The lectin in the grains has an inflammatory effect on the gut, upsets the acid balance in the body and of course results in a spike in blood sugar levels. All in all, pasta is definitely one to avoid.

However, so many popular dishes contain or are based on pasta. But this doesn’t mean you have to go without when you start eating a Paleo diet. There are lots of ways to substitute pasta with some great paleo friendly alternatives.Paleo Alternatives to Pasta friendly recipes-min

Noodles & Spaghetti

Kelp noodles are available in some health food shops. These seaweed noodles look just like regular noodles, but are far more nutritious.

Sweet Potato Vermicelli is found in some Asian stores. Made from sweet potato starch, it is more processed than other pasta alternatives, but a better option than regular pasta.

Zucchini noodles can be made yourself using a zucchini and a mandoline slicer, a julienne peeler or a spirooli spiralizer and cooking in some oil over a medium heat.

Spaghetti can be made from the spaghetti squash fruit. When this particular variety is cooked, a fork can be used to scrape out the flesh into spaghetti like ribbons.

Lasagne

A paleo lasagne can be made with alternating layers of zucchini (courgette) and eggplant instead of pasta sheets. Alternatively, try using alternating layers of sliced meat, such as ham or turkey for an extra meaty lasagne.

Ravioli

Use thin ribbons of zuchini or summer squash to wrap around your raviloi filling

Gnocchi

Use some mashed sweet potatoes, eggs and sweet potato flour to make your own gluten-free gnocchi.

Not quite pasta, but another SAD alternative is to replace rice with cauliflower rice.

Do you miss pasta? What do you use to replace pasta in your favourite recipes? I’d love to see you pasta replacement tips in the comments below!

paleo cauliflower rice recipe primal diet-min

Recipe: Cauliflower Rice

Rice is a great side for many meals – but why have the grain rice, when you can have a far more nutritious Paleo alternative? This recipe is quick and easy and can be varied by using different herbs and spices. You can also stir in an egg whilst cooking, to make an egg fried rice; or make it a dish in it’s own right by adding more vegetables such as capsicum (bell peppers) and zucchini.

This rice is so good, I’ve served it up many times without people even realising it isn’t “normal” rice!

Ingredients:

  • Half a cauliflower
  • Half an onion
  • Coconut oil
  • Pinch cumin
  • Pinch paprika
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt to taste

Method:

Grate the cauliflower florets by hand, or in a food processor, until the consistency resembles rice.

Dice the onion into small pieces and fry in olive oil over a medium heat

Once the onion starts to turn golden add the grated cauliflower and spices and stir for a few moments ensuring it doesn’t burn. Add more oil if necessary.

Serve and enjoy! You can also make extra to store in the fridge, ready to be reheated with dinner.

How do you make cauliflower rice? Or perhaps you make a rice alternative using something other than cauliflower? Do share, in the comments below.

paleo cauliflower rice recipe primal diet-min

Paleo Alternatives to Bread friendly recipes no flour-min

Paleo Alternatives to Bread

Bread. On a Paleo diet – it is one of the first things to go; whereas on a SAD diet it is a staple. It’s no wonder giving up bread is such a shock to people considering a Paleo Diet.

“I couldn’t live without bread”

“I’d never be able to give up bread”

“What do you eat if you don’t have bread?”

Paleo Alternatives to Bread friendly recipes no flour-min

I’m sure you’ve heard these comments before too. Perhaps you found giving up bread to be the hardest thing about transitioning to a Paleo diet – or the one thing that is preventing you from going fully Paleo?

The longer you abstain from bread, the less you’ll miss it. There are some great recipes for Paleo Breads made with coconut flour or almond meal; but instead of trying to substitute one type of flour for another – how about some of these alternatives to your favourite SAD bread meals?!

Paleo Sandwiches

Sandwiches are one of the most popular lunch options, mainly because they are convenient to eat on the go, without getting your hands covered in food! They’re filling and you can prepare them ahead of time. Perhaps you’re missing sandwiches, filled rolls or wraps? Instead – why not try these Paleo sandwich options instead: –

  • Make wraps with lettuce (try romaine leaves) to hold the filling in place
  • Use cooked cabbage leaves to encase your filling
  • For an iodine boast and great flavour make your wraps with Nori (or other seaweed) wraps
  • You can also make (or buy – but check the ingredients) coconut wraps
  • Cut a large capsicum (bell pepper) into two flat pieces for a Paleo alternative to sandwich bread
  • Use a knife and fork! I often order a sandwich in a café – without the bread. Shop bought and restaurant sandwiches often hide very small fillings – but when you order it without the bread you usually get a far more generous portion of the filling!

Paleo Burger Buns

The best think about a burger is the meat – never the bun. So go bun-less, or try these: –

  • Chop the stalk of two large flat or Portobello mushrooms – the perfect size for a burger bun
  • Encase your burger patty with the top and bottom of a large tomato

Peanut Butter Sandwiches

White bread filled with peanut butter seems to be a popular pre-Paleo combination. But let’s face it – it’s the peanut butter that’s popular – not the bread in this snack. Clearly peanut butter is out as it’s a legume – so try

  • Nut butter (almond butter, macadamia nut butter, cashew nut butter – or make your own) and use as a dip for crunchy raw vegetables like carrots, celery, capsicum (bell peppers) and cucumber.
  • Or slice some eggplant and layer on the nut butter!

Egg and Soldiers

Missing dipping slices of toast into soft boiled eggs? Once you try dipping in roasted vegetables, you’ll wish you’d always done it!

Lasagne & Garlic Bread

Once you’ve gone to the effort of making a Paleo lasagne, roast some zucchini sticks and garlic as a far more enjoyable accompaniment.

Breadcrumbs

Try using a nut flour as a Paleo alternative

Croutons

If you’re used to a crunch with your soup, try some pork crackling (rinds) as a Primal alternative!

Which bread meals or snacks do you miss the most? I’d love to hear what your favourite bread substitutes are!

Paleo Doughnuts donuts recipe sugar gluten free-min

Paleo Doughnuts

Why pick the fake version when you can have Peach Doughnuts instead?

Paleo-Diet-Primal-Dounughts-Donuts-Peaches-min

PINK DOUGHNUTS INGREDIENTS: Donut: Enriched Unbleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron as Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Enzyme, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Palm Oil, Water, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Whey (a milk derivative), Skim Milk, Yeast, Contains less than 2% of the following: Salt, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda), Defatted Soy Flour, Wheat Starch, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Cellulose Gum, Soy Lecithin, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Artificial Flavor, Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Enzyme, Colored with (Turmeric and Annatto Extracts, Beta Carotene), Eggs; Strawberry Icing: Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Contains 2% or less of: Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Sodium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Citric Acid, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Agar, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Natural and Artificial Flavor, Red 40.

PEACH DOUGHNUTS INGREDIENTS: Peach

I know which one I’d rather!

Paleo Doughnuts donuts recipe sugar gluten free-min