Posts

Gelatin – The Secret Superfood bone broth paleo primal nutrition healthy-min

Gelatin – The Secret Superfood

Forget Goji Berries, Spirulina and Peruvian Maca Root, there is one ‘Superfood’ that you can guarantee your ancestors would have consumed in abundance that you’re probably not getting enough of now – Gelatin. As conventional wisdom has seen us spurn traditional cuts in favour of lean muscle meat, our intake of gelatin has dropped to almost zero. However, the body still craves it – and here’s why.




Found in the connective tissue, bones and cartilage of animals, gelatin is extremely nourishing in a number of ways. It is the best source of dietary collagen, which has been proven to increase the elasticity of the skin and therefore keep you looking young. In fact, the amino acid profile of gelatin, in combination with its high levels of collagen make for great support for healthy skin, hair and nails. It contains 6 grams of protein per tablespoon – and whilst not a complete protein in itself, it helps create a more balanced amino acid profile when taken with other proteins and therefore optimise assimilation. Maybe that’s why roast beef and gravy taste so good!

Gelatin is also fantastic for anyone who suffers from digestive problems. It is unique in the way in which it attracts water molecules during digestion, consequently improving the rate in which food moves through the digestive tract. What’s more, gelatin has been proved to carry gut healing properties, and has been shown to reduce the likelihood of developing a food allergy or intolerance. Strongly anti-inflammatory, Gelatin has also shown to play a significant part in healing Asthma, Chron’s and Colitis.

Gelatin – The Secret Superfood bone broth paleo primal nutrition healthy-min

How to increase your intake

The obvious way to increase your intake of gelatin is by making your own home made stock and bone broth. Pay a visit to your local butchers, and pick up any gelatin rich cuts you can lay your hands on – chicken and pigs feet, ox tail, or even any leftover bones they have out the back. Simmer them very gently for at least 24 hours in a stock pot with hot water, herbs and veggies, and you’ll have plenty of nourishing broth to see you through the week. Drink it as it is, or use it as a base for soups, sauces and gravies.

If time and logistics are against you making your own bone broth, consider taking a high quality gelatin supplement. You can add this by the spoonful to smoothies, or make your own Paleo approved gummies by using gelatin and fruit juice!

10 (and a Half) Ways to Add More Fat to Your Diet paleo diet LCHF low carb high fat-min

10 (and a Half) Ways to Add More Fat to Your Diet

A big factor in my own weight loss and controlling my hunger has been increasing my fat intake. I find that when I eat more fat, I am full for far longer, don’t feel hungry, feel more energetic and have much better weight loss results.

So many foods are actually high in protein, not fat. As excess protein is converted into glucose, I’m careful to not eat more protein than I need to – which makes it even more important to increase fat intake.

Exactly how do you add more fat to your diet?

Dairy is a popular source of fat, so a key factor is how well you tolerate fat. You may be better on a strict Paleo diet, with no dairy – or on a lacto-Paleo (or Primal diet), which allows the inclusion of dairy. Weston A Price is also an approach which includes dairy. Instead of being strict about it for the sake of being strict, I think it’s far more important to learn how your body tolerates (or does not tolerate) dairy. I used to avoid all forms of dairy, recently however, I’ve been experimenting with dairy, specifically butter, which I’ve been eating with most of my meals. If you do decide to have dairy, make sure it’s good quality, perhaps you can have raw dairy, where you live.

10 (and a Half) Ways to Add More Fat to Your Diet paleo diet LCHF low carb high fat-min

Top 10 ½ ways to add more fat to your diet:

1. Avocados

Avocados are a great source of fat – and very versatile. You can eat them on their own with a spoon, or sliced up alongside your dinner. Or you can get inventive and cook a curry with avocado, or even make a smoothie or mousse with avocado.

2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is such a good oil – and being stable at high temperatures, great to cook with. When you cook in coconut oil, be generous with your serving – and if you’ve cooked meat for example, pour the remaining oil over the meat before you serve it.

3. Coconut Milk

If you like the taste, coconut milk or cream is a good base for many meals and smoothies. In fact, coconut is a great source of fat generally, get some coconut flakes to snack on!

 4. Animal Fats

Perhaps the best fat sources, lard, tallow, mutton fat, bacon fat and even goose fat (though careful with the omega ratio) are great to cook in.

 5. Butter (and ghee)

Butter is my current favourite. I add a generous wedge of butter to all of my vegetables just before I serve them. Many of the nutritional goodness of vegetables is fat soluble, so adding fat to your veggies is a good way of making sure you get the maximum nutritious benefit. Butter can be added to almost anything – and it tastes great.

6. Olive Oil

Whilst I wouldn’t cook with it, olive oil is fantastic to dress a salad in. Sprinkle on a few nuts, add a boiled egg, some meat, avocado and perhaps some cheese and you can make a big improvement to the fat content of a salad.

7. Pork Crackling

Not only does pork rind taste great, it’s another good source of fat. A word of caution though – it’s really important with pork to ensure it’s high quality – ideally pasture raised and organic.

8. Eggs

Eggs are a great fat (and protein) source. Just make sure you eat the yolk! If I make cauliflower rice I often stir in an egg just before I finish cooking it as a hidden boost.

9. Bones

Ok, so I’m not suggesting chewing on bones, but some good quality grass-fed bones make a great bone broth full of good fat.

10. Nuts

Whilst you have to be careful with nuts as they can have a poor Omega 3/ Omega 6 ratio – and they can be easy to over indulge in – they are a great fat source. I prepare a small serving of nuts to take to work with me, making sure I have a good mix to ensure I get the different nutritional benefit each type gives.

10 ½. Nut Butters

On a similar thread, nut butters such as almond, cashew and macadamia are also good, with the same note of caution about the Omega balance.

I’d love to hear your views on eating more fat. How much fat would you estimate you eat, and what are your top sources?

Sleeping on the Floor paleo diet natural health no bed hammock back mattress-min

Sleeping on the Floor?

The more I learn and think about evolutionary health, the more links I find with every aspect of my life.

Since I went from more of a Primal diet, to a strict Paleo diet, my previous sleep problems appear to have completely vanished.  I’m now tired in the evenings, fall asleep quickly without even noticing, sleep soundly all night – and wake up before my alarm.  This change in sleep has made it very clear what an essential role sleep plays to overall health and well-being.  I’m quite convinced that even with a perfect Paleo diet and a great fitness regime, without good sleep it would be impossible to attain optimal health.

This has got me thinking about where and how I sleep.  I suspect like you, I sleep on a bed with a big mattress and pillows.  This must be very far removed from how our ancestors slept for millions of years!

I’ve found some great resources on sleeping that suggest the body is under strain being upright all day, and therefore needs the resistance of a hard service to enable gravity to help realign and reshape the body.  This makes a lot of sense.  Even a relatively hard mattress won’t have enough resistance to enable your bones to realign – where as the ground clearly would.  It makes sense that when sunk into a mattress the lungs are not in the same position and have a reduced area – resulting in less oxygen, which is crucial, especially in enabling the body to relax and repair overnight.

I also wonder about the effect on the body’s temperature regulation, of sleeping on a mattress and under covers.  Is this another detrimental effect of sleeping on a mattress?

Sleeping on the Floor paleo diet natural health no bed hammock back mattress-min

Every time I’ve been camping and have slept with just a thin foam layer between myself and the ground, I have had a fantastic sleep – but I’ve also woken up very stiff and sore the next morning.  Perhaps the discomfort is due to being used to a soft mattress and will reduce after a few days?  Perhaps a bit of discomfort is not a bad thing?  As with camping, I also slept very well when I travelled to Japan sleeping on hard futons on the floor; again this was not comfortable, but resulted in very rejuvenating sleeps.

Sleep posture also appears to be an important factor to consider, something I’ve not given much thought to in the past.

I’m therefore planning to conduct a sleep experiment, of at least a week, where I will sleep on the floor each night.  I can then compare how I feel each morning, how well rested I am and how my fitness is affected (for example, if it would promote better posture and alignment, I’d expect this to show in my gym sessions).

Have you ever slept on the floor in the interests of your health, or is this a step too far?  I’d love to hear your comments on all things sleep related!