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Paleo Diet Recipe Primal Herby Almond Nut Pâté-min

Recipe: Herby Almond Pâté

Almonds really do have to be one of the most versatile foods in the world, and are life savers for those following a Paleo diet. Whether you use them for Paleo baking as a replacement for flour, or enjoy as a dip for veggies, you may be surprised to know they make a delicious Almond Pâté! Great as a dip for crudités or just on its own as an appetiser.

Herby Almond Pâté Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 40ml apple cider vinegar (or 20ml cider vinegar + 20ml lemon juice)
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp raw honey (optional)
  • Good pinch sea salt

Herby Almond Pâté How To:

Drain and rinse the almonds.

Add to the food processor along with all the other ingredients. Blitz until combined – around 30 seconds was plenty for me.

The flavours combined perfectly, but there was still a nice crunch to the Pâté. You could blend for longer if you would prefer it smoother!

Paleo Diet Recipe Primal Herby Almond Nut Pâté-min

How to season cast iron cookware skillet pan paleo diet primal

How to season cast iron cookware

If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a cast iron frying pan for Christmas this guide will tell you exactly how to season and look after it to make sure it does the job and lasts for a long time. If you haven’t got any cast iron cookware, it’s definitely worth looking out for second-hand. So long as it has no cracks or chips it will be as good as new once you clean and season it.

After having bought so many cheap pans, only for them to fall apart soon after, I’ve found cast iron so much more durable. They also distribute the heat really evenly, so they’re great to cook in. The other huge plus – is no Teflon. What happens to that stuff when it starts to flake off in your dinner…?

If you find everything sticks to your cast iron pan, you’ve probably not seasoned it properly.
How to season cast iron cookware skillet pan paleo diet primal

How to season your cast iron cookware

Seasoning (also known as curing) just means filling up all the tiny holes and craters in the surface of the iron with grease/ oil to leave a smooth continuous non-stick surface.

If your pan isn’t non-stick, is rusty or hasn’t been seasoned yet, you’ll need to start by thoroughly cleaning the cast iron pan with a hot soapy water (this is fine to do before you season it, but not after).

I used lard to season my cast iron pan, but coconut oil should work well too. Firstly rub the oil all over the pan, but just lightly. Then rub off the oil with a paper towel.

Next, put the pan upside down in the oven (make sure you have a large tray on the bottom shelf to catch any drips). The oven will need to be at about 250 C (450F) and this stage will take about half an hour. Then, take the pan out of the oven and allow it to cool. You’ll want to repeat this process 3 or 4 times.

When you cook in your pan, you’re repeating this process, since the fats in your cooking will be continuing to fill any tiny holes in the surface again.

Do you cook with cast iron? How do you find it? Is this the method you use to season your cookware?

Stop being a fat bitch lola berry weight loss plan cover

Stop being a fat bitch

As someone who’s struggled with weight loss, I was surprised to see the name of Lola Berry’s new diet plan – “Stop Being a Fat B*tch”. Yes, you did read that correctly.

Stop being a fat bitch lola berry weight loss plan facebook

Whilst the intention was apparently noble, there was a huge back-lash. With people shocked that she’d chose such an emotive title. These comments summed up the reception of the name of her diet program:

  • Is this a joke? What the hell. This is horrible.
  • How about we teach never to call yourself ” a fat bitch ” – that’d be first mindset lesson in weight loss.
  • Oh my. As a psychotherapist that works specifically with women that are struggling with long term weight issues, I find this completely inappropriate and demeaning. If I REALLY try, I think I can just manage to glimpse where Lola is coming from but it is waaaaaay off the mark and will actually cause more harm than good. This is a classic example of why people need to stay within the boundaries of which they are qualified – I don’t go giving nutritional advice so please leave the mindset stuff up to those of us that are qualified.
  • Wow, what a disappointment. In a time where orthorexia, fat shaming, weight stigmatism and eating disorders are on the rise, this title only serves to perpetuate all of those problems, regardless of the intention of the book. Utterly shocked.
  • Seriously? Isn’t this encouraging people to call women struggling with weight issues a fat bitch? Disappointing. What about those struggling with auto-immune diseases that are overweight due to illness and need assistance in eating strategies to help with their healing? Are they a fat bitch because of their illness?
  • That’s a horrible degrading title, I honestly thought you had more integrity than that. This is a career killer.
  • “Fat” women don’t need any help with self hatred. We usually carry it around with us as a visible reminder. Bitch a word used by (primarily) males to shame and assert dominance over women who don’t conform to society’s ideal- it’s not motivational, it’s demeaning and petty.
  • I’m in shock!!! Lola Berry we are here to help rid the cultural definitions of what beauty is and to free women from this brainwashing so that they can be comfortable in their own skin, and be empowered to make what ever choices they want for themselves and that includes how they look and feel about themselves. Not re-affirm these ideals of the mainstream -which are only created in the first place to suppress the feminine. By doing so you are affirming that there is something wrong with “not fitting into the mainstream’s definition of beauty” and as a result feeding the insecurities of women which is a seed set in our psyche by western media. I hope when you come to speak at a an inspirational women’s event later this year that you choose to leave this thinking behind you, it does nothing but support the continual suppression of feminine.
  • As a nutritionist I really feel bad having looked up to you and admired you – you might have called yourself that horrible phrase but how about dropping that phrase from positive conscious thought – why emphasize it when it’s so demeaning? As women we should be empowering each other – as nutritionists we should be inspiring and empowering people to make positive choices and sadly I think the title of your weight loss program misses the mark

It looks like the name is going to be changed, with Lola Berry apologising for the upset:

I’m really sorry the name of the eating plan has upset lots of people, that’s not my intention at all. The whole point of it was to evoke a change in self talk, but I can see how it’s too strong and I’m sorry for that. The content is all about changing your mindset to achieve your health goals. So, I would love you guys to name it. What would you like it to be called?

I’d love to hear your thoughts (please comment below), do you find the title offensive, or do you appreciate the sentiments behind it?

soybean oil hiding ingredients vegetable PUFA fat paleo diet canola

Soybean oil in hiding

If you read the ingredients labels, you’ll have noticed soybean oil is hiding everywhere. Sometimes, you might even see it in a “partially hydrogenated” form, or listed as “may contain canola oil and/ or soybean oil” – as if it’s of no importance what you’re actually consuming. I’ve written before about the problem with soy, but soybean oil is another level.

Soybean oil is high in linoleic acid, as the fatty acid break-down of soybean oil is highly skewed towards PUFA’s (poly-unsaturated fatty acids) – not a healthy ratio and unstable at high heats. On top of this it is commonly genetically modified and highly processed. In other words to be avoided.

soybean oil hiding ingredients vegetable PUFA fat paleo diet canola

The problem is soybean oil is everywhere – and for some reason I’ve noticed it in far more foods in Australia that I did living in the UK. For example, the exact same product, Heinz Salad Cream contains Soybean oil in Australia – and not in the UK version:

Australian Heinz Salad Cream Ingredients:

Soya Bean Oil [Protected with Antioxidant (319)], White Vinegar, Sugar, Egg Yolk, Salt, Mustard, Food Acid (270), Stabiliser (412), Colours (171, 101), Herb Extract.

UK Heinz Salad Cream Ingredients:

Spirit Vinegar, Rapeseed Oil (25%), Water, Sugar, Mustard, Pasteurised Egg Yolks (3%), Modified Cornflour, Salt, Stabilisers – Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum, Colour – Riboflavin.

OK so neither have good ingredients, but it’s interesting how they are so different between the two countries. So different that they’re a completely different product. My salad cream tip? Avoid Heinz and make your own easy paleo mayonnaise.

Where else is Soybean oil hiding?

I’ve also seen it in:

  • Vinaigrette’s/ salad dressings
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sauces
  • Hummus
  • Crackers

Some brands such as Paul Newman’s seem to use Soybean oil across almost all of their products.

So the moral of the story is – check the ingredients carefully – and if you can’t find a good version – make your own!

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?

Coconut-Oil-Spray-Whats-The-Point-paleo-diet

Coconut Oil Spray – What’s The Point?

Initially I was really impressed when I saw Coconut Oil Spray for the first time in Coles, my local grocery store.

But on reflection, Coconut Oil spray seems to be a bit of an oxymoron, don’t you think?

Why Spray Cans?

Spray cans of cooking oil became popular to enable the low-fat brigade to cook in as little oil as possible. The spray tin enables you to coat the bottom of the pan, using far less oil than you’d use if you poured it in. But we’ve moved on from low-fat, haven’t we? Chances are, given that you’re reading this blog, you’re careful to incorporate decent amounts of fat in your diet. Coconut oil is probably the most popular cooking oil amongst those who follow a Paleo diet. Most of my Paleo friends will use generous amounts of coconut oil in their cooking – and then pour the oil from the pan onto their plate when they’ve finished. You can’t so this with a spray can of coconut oil!

Added Ingredients?

The ingredients also include butane and propane which are obviously required to enable to spray mechanism to work – but I wonder if this has any impact on the oil – and whether there is any residue in the oil when it makes it onto your plate? Another reason I’d prefer to spoon my pure coconut oil straight into the pan, and not take the chance that any of the propellants come into contact with my food. The cans are also highly flammable, another plus for the humble jar of coconut oil!

Coconut-Oil-Spray-Whats-The-Point-paleo-diet

Who Buys It?

I find it odd that this particular store only stocks the spray and not the oil in normal jar form (my other local supermarket, Woolworths, stocks jars of coconut oil, but not the spray, which is far more useful). Given the choice, I’m sure almost everyone would opt for a jar of coconut oil, rather than the spray?

I can’t really see who the coconut oil spray is aimed at. Compared to the nasty seed oil sprays, it’s far higher in fat (this is a good thing); surely the conventional wisdom junkies would steer clear? And of course those of us in the know about coconut oil would find the small delivery of coconut oil frustrating? So who is it for? Answers in the comments, if you can offer some suggestions…

I can see that the can is convenient – but a jar of coconut oil and a spoon is hardly inconvenient?

Would you use Coconut Oil in spray form? I’d also be interested to read your comments (below) as to whether coconut spray is widely available where you live too?

No fat paleo diet zero fat low fat-min

Why I Propose a No-Fat Paleo Diet

I propose a Paleo style diet, based on a Zero Fat, Low Carbohydrate, Moderate Protein and High Lipid intake, when compared to a SAD diet.

I think it’s time to replace the word “Fat”, when discussing dietary fat, with the word “Lipid”.  A straight swap.  Find.  Replace all.

Paleo Dietary Fat Body Fat-min

Despite the increasing understanding of the importance of dietary fat, so many people are still afraid of it.  They would rather have margarine with 20 ingredients they can’t pronounce (never mind procure) – rather than butter.  They would rather have breakfast of 97% fat-free cereal, swimming in skim low-fat milk – instead of bacon and eggs.  They will only eat the leanest cuts of meat (with all visible fat trimmed of) in a wholegrain sandwich – rather than meat and vegetables.

When people talk about fatty foods, the word fat is usually spat out with contempt.  An avocado is not the image that comes to the mind of the average person, on hearing the term “fatty foods”.

Sadly the word “fat” immediately conjures up images of excessive body fat, rather than fat of the dietary variety.  Someone overweight is refered to as “fat”, not “carbohydrate overburdened”.  This negative connotation is, of course, going to make people think twice about consuming more fat in their diet.  If people are reluctant to consume more fat it’s going to be harder to encourage them to reduce refined carbs and make safe, sensible dietary choices.

What if we were to rename dietary fat?  What if all of the nutritional labels had to change?  What if the word fat only related to body fat from this point forwards?

Nutritional labels could detail the triglyceride, glycerol and fatty acid components of food products, with not a single reference to “fat”.  Or quite simply the word “Fat” could be replaced with the word “Lipid”.  Fat could even be called Steve – I don’t think the actual name matters – what matters is that it is no longer called fat, with all of the negative associations that brings.

Whilst I and most of the people reading this are interested in nutrition, most people just aren’t interested and probably never will be.  But these are often the very people who need to change how they eat.  They need to understand it’s the refined carbohydrates making them fat and ill, not the dietary fat.  To go a step further and make these people realise how essential a good fat intake is to their body, is likely to be a step too far.

No fat paleo diet zero fat low fat-min

If you ask the general public to play a word association game, starting with the word fat, how many would come up with words like health, brain function and energy?  I think the words more likely to be associated with fat, are along the lines of overweight, unhealthy and ill.  Associations like this do nothing to encourage people to increase their healthy fat intake – and decrease their carbohydrate intake.

I think people would react a lot more positively to advice to increase their lipid consumption, than they do when told to increase their fat consumption.  Perhaps with the word fat completely banished, the fear of fat will start to dissolve.

Entire countries have been renamed in the past.  Is it really inconceivable to change the term we use to refer to dietary fat?

Do you think changing the word for dietary fat would help to remove the resistance to consuming it?  Which word would you choose to replace “fat” with?

Is a fat tax coming to Australia New Zealand-min

Is a “Fat Tax” Coming to Australia and New Zealand?

With Denmark having just been the first country to introduce a “Fat Tax”, the online community has been awash with criticism.  Will governments in Australia and New Zealand impose similar legislation onto us in the future?

What’s happening in Denmark?

Denmark already had additional taxes on sugar, chocolate and soft drinks, but they have just introduced a tax on saturated fat.  A tax of 16 kroner ($2.95 AUD/ $3.72 NZD) per kilo of saturated fat, where the product contains over 2.3% fat, will be passed onto the consumer.  This would add about 50 cents AUD to the price of a pack of butter.  So if my calculations are correct, that would add on about $2.50 AUD to the one litre tin of coconut oil I bought last week – but under 30 cents AUD to the same volume of cheap, nasty vegetable oil?  The calculation sounds overly complex and it based on the fat used in creating a product, rather than the percentage fat in the final product.  This sounds like a recipe for Frankenfoods, rather than whole, unprocessed foods…

The motives of Denmark, which are to increase the countries average life expectancy, may be honourable.  However, their execution is based solely on the incorrect lipid hypothesis; despite it now becoming more widely accepted that saturated fat is not the cause of obesity and heart disease.

I also have serious concerns about a government deciding what we should or should not eat.  Where people have access to health information and resources it should be their choice what they eat.  This is even more imperative where the government in question is basing their health views on incorrect, outdated fads such as the lipid hypothesis.  Such a fat tax penalises eating a healthy Paleo diet, despite this being, what I would consider, the healthiest diet going.

Would-a-Fat-Tax-Target-the-Right-Fats Australia New Zealand-min

Would a “Fat Tax” target the right fats?

What about Australia?

With 60% of Australian adults and 40% of children being classed as obese, the “Obesity Policy Coalition” is lobbying for a “fat tax”, using the proceeds gained from “unhealthy” foods to subsidise “healthy” foods.  I’ve found it very hard to get to the bottom of what this coalition considers “unhealthy” foods, but have written to them to ask them to clarify this (I’ll keep you updated if I get a response).  Looking on their site however, I fear they subscribe to the lipid hypothesis – which may mean they would endorse taxing on a similar basis to Denmark.

A proposal was bought to the Australian government in 2009 by the “National Preventative Health Taskforce” calling for a tax on “unhealthy foods” (again, I’ve not been able to see exactly what they define as “unhealthy” in this context).  This was not responded to by the government.  Indeed the federal health minister Nicola Roxon has recently said that the government are putting their efforts into tackling obesity using methods other than administration.  Hopefully this means no “fat tax” in Australia in the near future.

And New Zealand?

The “Food Industry Group of New Zealand” last week spoke out on the new tax in Denmark, saying it is very unlikely to have any positive effects on obesity levels.  They feel the tax will make food more expensive and could actually put health of children and elderly at risk.  They will not be recommending a similar fat tax in New Zealand.

So it looks like in this part of the world, we’ll continue to be free to make our own food choices.  I’m interested to see how the new tax is received in Denmark and how it changes the eating habits and health of the nation.

What do you think?  Should government dictate what we eat, using taxes?  Would a tax on all foods that aren’t Paleo be justified?

Conventional wisdom bad advice paleo diet primal-min

More Health Advice/ Conventional Wisdom

Another gem from my afternoon of reading “health” magazines in all of their Conventional Wisdom glory.  This one was in the October issue of “The Australian Healthy Food Guide”, in an article all about fat.

Conventional wisdom bad advice paleo diet primal

  • Choose a canola, sunflower or olive oil reduced fat table spread instead of butter

This sounds very similar to the advice in yesterdays post, based on an irrational fear of saturated fat.

  • When cooking, use spray oil wherever possible

I’ve not seen spray coconut oil, so can only assume they must mean spray “vegetable” oils.  The whole reason for spraying is to use less fat.  In that respect I guess it’s better to use less vegetable oil – but none would be a much bigger health improvement.

  • For salad dressings, choose a vegetable or seed oil such as canola, sunflower, olive, soybean, sesame or peanut

+1 point for the olive oil.  But I’d personally rather have my salad undressed – with a serving of meat & an avocado to make sure I got some good fat with my lunch.  As for putting soybean oil on my salad – what a horrible thought – don’t do it!

  • Choose low-fat varieties of foods whenever possible

Instead of natural, whole foods, with no added or altered ingredients, go for Franken foods instead!?

  • Choose reduced-fat or skim dairy foods

Fat soluble vitamins in the dairy can’t be absorbed, without the fat.  Also without the fat, the sugar content is proportionally higher – increasing the insulin effect.   Not to mention the fact fat is not the villain?

Fat is essential for so many functions.  It is a great energy source, without the crash and burn of relying on carbohydrates for energy.  I wonder how many more years it will take before health magazines catch up?  Will they actually tell us to increase our intake of good fats and give up the grains?  One day?

Conventional wisdom bad advice paleo diet primal-min

Margarine or Butter paleo diet primal health nutrition-min

Margarine or Butter? Seriously?

I couldn’t help myself.  I read through October’s Issue of “Good Health” magazine today.  Our ideas on what constitutes good health couldn’t be much further apart.

I thought conventional wisdom was starting to come round to realising that natural, animal fat maybe isn’t so bad after all.  Clearly not.

So, let’s compare the ingredients: –

Butter

  • Cream

Margarine (this example is Flora)

  • Water
  • vegetable oils (including sunflower oil) (so other vegetable oils are also in the mix, with a high omega 6 ratio)
  • plant sterol esters (12.5%) (this is an additive that reduces cholesterol, but interferes with absorption of fat soluble vitamins & hormones)
  • modified tapioca starch, salt (1.0%) (this is a chemically altered thickener)
  • buttermilk
  • Emulsifiers: Mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids, sunflower lecithin
  • Preservative: Potassium sorbate, citric acid, vitamin E, flavouring (often synthetic chemicals), vitamin B6, folic acid
  • Colour: Beta carotene, Vitamins A, D and B12

So, this article specifically mentions trans fats.  Well, as Julianne Taylor clearly explains, “trans fat free” margarine doesn’t sound too great either.  And as for the trans fat in butter – natural trans fats are created in the stomachs of ruminants (like cows) – and have a completely different fatty acid profile to trans fats found in artificial foods.  A lot of evidence suggests that these natural trans fats may actually be beneficial.

Margarine or Butter paleo diet primal health nutrition-min

Margarine, seriously?