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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?

borderline paleo food paleo network-min

Borderline paleo food

Eating a strict paleo diet is simple; meat, veggies, eggs, nuts, seeds and a little fruit. Right? What about all those borderline foods? Are they paleo, or not?

borderline paleo food paleo network-min

Dairy

Dairy is a huge grey area for a lot of people following a paleo diet. Strictly speaking, a paleo diet omits all dairy, since it contains lactose and casin, which a lot of people can’t tolerate and other components, such as IGF-1 which may be harmful. Of course, dairy encompasses a huge wealth of foods, some better than others. Fermented dairy, such as kefir and traditional yoghurt, is going to be a lot better than highly processed dairy, such as skim milk. The key is to try it for yourself and find out what works for you.

Fruit

Yes, the fruit we’re encouraged to eat every day is a food I would consider borderline paleo. Fruit, being carbohydrate, is packed full of sugar. Yes, it contains vitmains and is natural – but the sugar can’t be ignored. Of course, not all fruit is equal, and whilst I’d avoid high sugar fruit like apples and melons, berries are great as they are far lower in sugar.

Safe starches

There’s been a lot of talk lately about safe starches.  A safe starch is a carbohydrate that is low in anti-nutrients, such as phytates, for example sweet potatoes, plantain, yucca, tapioca, white potatoes and white rice. To slow down the glucose release, and lessen the insulin response from the carbs, they are best eaten with fat and protein. Why are these borderline? Clearly rice is a grain – and white potatoes are a nightshade. Whilst paleo is not, by definition, low carb, many people do take a low carb approach and should therefore take a considered approach with safe starches.

Non-paleo “Vegetables”

Corn on the cob and green beans might sit nicely on the plate masquerading as vegetables, but they’re not. Sweetcorn is a grain and the green beans legumes; both food groups which are excluded on a paleo diet.

Paleo sweeteners

Whilst honey and stevia might seem like far more natural options than table sugar, the fact is, in your blood stream they’re all the same. Whilst some sweeteners may more natural than others, they’re best off avoided.

Paleo baked goods

The more popular paleo becomes, the more popular paleo breads, paleo cookies and paleo cakes become. They might be made with almond meal and coconut flour, and use dates as a natural sweetener – but take care with these. They often still have a lot of sugar and are best kept as an occasional treat.

Pseudo grains

We know how bad gluten is – wheat is a grain strictly avoided on paleo. There are a lot of other pseudo grains that don’t contain gluten, that are become popular, especially amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa. Whilst a lot better than conventional grains, it’s worth bearing in mind that gluten-free and paleo aren’t the same thing!

 Manufactured meat

So we know meat is paleo, but it becomes a lot more borderline when we look at things like bacon, sausages, hamburgers and cured meats. If you’ve not made them yourself, you need to know how they’ve been made, as many processes will use sugar, soy and chemicals that most definitely aren’t paleo

The Paleo Diet Phytonutrients Anthocyanins Catechins-min

Phytonutrients & The Paleo Diet

Phytonutrients are compounds which are found in natural plant based foods and these are known to offer a range of health benefits to the human body. The bright colours which are found in a range of fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, pepper and squash are thought to be the cause of phytonutrients.

There are a range of phytonutrients found in our foods and these all offer different benefits to our health. Anthocyanins for instance, are thought to help us burn fat more easily and these are found in foods such as blackberries and blueberries. Another member of the phytonutrients family is carotenoids which may help to reduce our risk of cancer and can also help to slow down the ageing process. These are found in carrots, tomatoes and lettuce. Catechins are those phytonutrients which act as a great accelerator for weight loss and these are mainly found in green tea. Flavonoids are abundant in cherries, grapes and berries and these also help to reduce the risk of cancer. It is, therefore, a good idea to have a mix of these foods so you are consuming a variety of types of phytonutrients which will offer a range of health benefits.

The benefits of phytonutrients are wide ranging and are of upmost important as they include a reduction in the chances of suffering from life threatening illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. It is also thought that phytonutrients can help reduce our chances of suffering from mental health illnesses, including Alzheimer’s. The reason for this is that foods which are rich in phytonutrients also act as antioxidants, which can do wonders in improving our immune system and the function of our hormones. They are important nutrients for helping our bodies to heal more effectively and are a good way to promote the healthy functioning of our main organs.

The Paleo Diet Phytonutrients Anthocyanins Catechins-min

It is important to consume a good mixture of phytonutrients, which is why the Paleo diet is the most successful in ensuring our bodies remain healthy for as long as possible. As we follow the diet, we are consuming lots of different fruits and vegetables, which provide us with a range of phytonutrients for a healthier lifestyle. Nuts and seeds also contain phytonutrients which makes them a great choice for a snack on the Paleo diet. They are also present in herbal teas, which is a good enough reason to switch from coffee to this healthier drink choice.

These food groups are not only important for a high intake of phytonutrients, they also provide the body with a range of other nutrients, which all work together to maximise the health benefits. The Paleo diet is a great way to ensure we are consuming the right mix of a variety of healthy foods to get the best possible benefits from them. There are many diets which don’t even consider the benefits of phytonutrients and other plant based nutrients and this is the reason the Paleo diet is one of the most successful and important around.

A healthy meal on the Paleo diet will usually consist of a good portion of meat or fish, together with a serving of fresh fruit and if you stick to eating this every day, you will be promoting your intake of phytonutrients, as well as all of the other health benefits these offer. A snack of nuts and seeds or fruit will offer additional health benefits and will help you to look and feel as good as you possibly can.

Phytonutrients can also be found in supplements but it is much more effective to consume the right foods and take good care of our diet, as this can offer other health benefits and is a much better way of managing our intake of these nutrients. It is just about having good awareness when following the Paleo diet and ensuring we consume a good mix of different foods, rather than sticking to the same all the time.

The addition of these phytonutrients will not only reduce the risk of suffering from serious illnesses, but it can also help to reverse the illness, which is why it is vitally important to start and stick to the Paleo diet at any time in our lives. The sooner we start to realise the health benefits of the Paleo diet, the more we can look forward to a long and healthy life.

Free food office workers paleo diet-min

Free Food?

Over the last few years, every company I have worked for has supplied some kind of food. Most commonly free fruit for all employees on a weekly, but usually a daily basis.

Most companies have also supplied unlimited free soft drinks (i.e. cans of coke and other fizzy drinks) and a few offices have even offered free breakfasts in every kitchen. Free breakfast usually consists of a huge range of different types of bread, “healthy” margarines, spreads and jam. There is also typically a wide choice of breakfast cereals and of course, skim milk to pour over the cereal.

Free-Fruit-Cereal-Bread-Corporate-min

Paleo Food?

Whilst it’s nice to have things provided for free, unfortunately, on a Paleo Diet, nothing typically provided in an office environment is “proper food!” The fruit tends to be the fruit highest in fructose (and also cheapest), such as apples and bananas – never berries, which would be a good on occasion.

The breakfast foods on offer are all very high in refined carbohydrates, which cause a big spike in blood sugar levels – and then a crash soon after eating; making a rapid return to the refined carbs very likely. On top of the effect on blood sugars, bread and cereals are all grain based. This means an inflammatory reaction in the gut as well as having an acidic effect on the body. Not an ideal choice.

Unfortunately the typical office food on offer needs to be easy to store and prepare; bread and cereals couldn’t be any easier to store – and are ready to eat as they are. These types of foods are also very cheap for a company to provide and popular with the low-fat-healthy-whole-grains conventional wisdom crowd.

Paleo food would be a lot harder for a company to provide in a work place environment. Most of the Paleo options would need to be freshly made and made with good quality ingredients; not very realistic in an office setting.

Until beef jerky, kombucha and bacon are common place in the office, I’d rather go without the free food and bring in my own.

Does your employer supply any food or drinks? What do they provide – is anything Paleo?

Free food office workers paleo diet-min

Paleo green smoothie recipe juice diet-min

Recipe: Green Smoothie

Now we’re coming into summer, it’s a great time to enjoy an ice cold Paleo Smoothie. Instead of relying on fruit, it’s far better to make green smoothies using vegetables.

Almond butter and coconut milk are great ways to add in some good fat.

Paleo green smoothie recipe juice diet-min

Recipe: Green Smoothie
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Total time: 
A delicious way of getting some sneaky green goodness into your diet
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 8 frozen strawberries
  • 30g (2 tablespoons) almond butter
  • 250ml (1 cup) coconut milk
  • 250g (2 cups) spinach
Instructions
  1. Freeze a (peeled) banana and some strawberries overnight in the freezer.
  2. Put the bananas, strawberries, almond butter and coconut milk in the blender.
  3. Fill the rest of the blender with spinach (kale would also work well, if you can get hold of it!)
  4. Blend, and enjoy!

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Do you often make smoothies? What are your favourite ingredients? Share in the comments below.

80 paleo breakfast ideas primal diet network suggestions recipes-min

80 Paleo Breakfast Ideas

If it wasn’t for struggling to come up with different Paleo Breakfast Ideas, I’m sure more people would make the transition over to Paleo. Unfortunately, Breakfast seems to be associated with cereal, toast, bagels, crumpets and sugar laden foods.

Breakfast doesn’t have to equal grains! tweet this quote

I think a lot of people also get stuck in a breakfast rut making the same dish every day. Well, it’s time to break it up – try something new for breakfast tomorrow!

My biggest tip is to get used to seeing breakfast as fuel – it’s just another meal! And who wants to start the day off with a big sugar crash?

80 paleo breakfast ideas primal diet network suggestions recipes-min

I’ve come up with lots of great Paleo Breakfast Ideas for whatever your Paleo situation (no time, dislike eggs, want to drink breakfast, child friendly, SAD substitutes, vegetarian/ vegan or keen to impress) – there are certainly lots of options.

To prove the point, here is a HUGE list of 80 Paleo Breakfast Ideas to inspire you. And if you want even MORE, check out my very own Paleo Breakfast Recipe book, with over 100 pages of beautifully photographed step-by-step recipes.

Easy Paleo Breakfast Ideas

Here are some Paleo Breakfast Ideas for when you have a little bit of time in the morning:

1. Bacon, eggs, avocado, mushrooms & tomato

2. An omelette with your choice of meat, vegetables and of course – egg yolks as well as whites

3. Make a frittata with your favourite veggies, meats and cheese (if you’re more Primal than Paleo)

4. There’s nothing like steak and eggs for breakfast!

5. For a nutritionally dense Paleo Breakfast Idea, chop up chicken liver and scramble with eggs, mushroom, onions and capsicum (bell peppers)

6. Scrambled eggs mixed with diced bacon and avocado (my personal favourite!)

7. Soft boiled eggs and wilted spinach

8. Lots of nations wake up to soup – make a soup with bone broth – or try coconut milk and leftover meat and veggies

9. Sweet potato, sardines and a poached egg

10. Try substitution bacon for skirt steak and serve with pumpkin

11. Bake an egg in an avocado

12. Bone broth with an egg whisked in

13. Smoked salmon and fried eggs for a great protein boast

14. Smoked haddock with poached eggs and wilted spinach

No Time?

When you need a good, quick Paleo Breakfast and have no time to cook and prepare, here are some fast ideas:

15. Paleo Breakfast Casserole – the night before put your choice of ingredients in your slow cooker – and wake up to an instant hot breakfast

16. Egg muffins – cook these up with your favourite veggies and meat in a big batch – and help yourself from the fridge all week

17. Make up a batch of salmon and zucchini croquettes to dig into all week

18. Black Coffee

19. Got a couple of minutes? Scramble an egg in a mug in the microwave

20. The day before, roast some sweet potatoes, and some chicken and have waiting in a container ready for breakfast

21. Make up a breakfast salad the night before with nuts, olives, avocado – and dress with extra virgin olive oil to serve

Grab & Go/ Travel

With no time to eat at home, these are some Paleo Breakfast ideas you can have on the go, eat on the road or perhaps at work.

22. Take a can of tuna/ mackerel/ kippers/ sardines and some pre-cut raw veggies

23. Make a Paleo trail mix with your favourite nuts and dried fruit

24. There’s nothing wrong with beef jerky for breakfast!

25. Hard boiled eggs travel well and can be prepared in advance

26. Make a BLT sandwich using capsicum (bell pepper) as the “bread”

27. Coconut yoghurt

28. Take a halved avocado and a spoon

29. Pork scratchings/ crackling/ rind (whatever you like to call it!)

30. Make up nut balls with nuts, seeds, spices and coconut oil and store in the fridge

SAD Substitutes

If you’re missing your old SAD breakfasts, there’s a Paleo Diet grain-free equivalent for almost everything…

31. Make a Paleo cereal with your favourite nuts, berries and seeds in a bowls of almond milk

32. Or try a Paleo cereal using dried fruit, seeds and nuts and serve with coconut milk and a pinch of cinnamon

33. Paleo granola can be made up from your choice of nuts and served with coconut milk

34. Make up banana bread with almond meal – and bananas!

35. A coconut muesli with nuts, seeds and coconut flakes served in coconut milk

36. Make up a noatmeal – or a Paleo porridge substitute using ground nuts, seeds, eggs and coconut milk

The Paleo Recipe Book

Leftovers

These deserve their own category! Make sure you cook up extra dinner the night before – and you have a ready made breakfast. What’s wrong with steak for breakfast? tweet this quote

37. Sauté onions and mushrooms – and last nights leftover meat and serve over poached eggs

Something Fancy

If you have the time, there are some great Paleo Breakfast Ideas that are perfect for an occasional treat. I very rarely use nuts and nut flours, but they are great for special occasions – and especially good for showing your SAD friends just what is possible when you go grain-free:

38. Paleo pancakes with almond meal take a bit more time, but are well worth the effort

39. Or try sweet potato pancakes

40. Waffles can be made with coconut flour or almond meal and served with a berry sauce

41. A Paleo NoOatmeal is far better than the SAD equivalent and can be prepared the night before, and cooked up in the morning

42. Raspberry Crepes made with coconut flour or almond meal served with fresh raspberries & whipped coconut cream – and a pinch of cinnamon

43. Scotch eggs; coat hard-boiled eggs in Paleo Sausage mixture, cover in almond meal and baked – amazing with poached eggs

44. A Paleo platter with a selection of fruits, cold meats, pickles, olives, sun-dried tomatoes & blanched veggies

45. Make bacon baskets using a cake case as a mould and bake eggs in them

46. My salmon burgers

47. Stuff capsicum (bell peppers) with salmon, mushroom and tomato and top with pine nuts

48. Sliced onion wrapped with smoked salmon on a bed of lettuce

49. Your favourite seafood & veggies

50. Serve scrambled eggs in an orange half

No Eggs!

It’s easy to make every Paleo Breakfast include eggs – and it can be easy to get fed up of eggs! Here are some egg free Paleo Breakfast Ideas:

51. Kippers and dried figs

52. Paleo Sausages and kimchi

53. Pan fried zuchinni served with guacamole

54. Stuffed portabello mushrooms

55. Sautéed minced (ground) beef, greens, onions and carrots

56. Sausages with sauerkraut & stir fried veggies

57. Trout with mushrooms and tomato

58. Fry kidneys and serve with broccoli

all without eggs!

Intermittent Fasting for Breakfast?

Since I’ve been Paleo, I quite often skip breakfast altogether – have you tried skipping breakfast?

Eat Stop Eat

Paleo Breakfasts For Kids (and big Kids alike!)

If your family has recently gone Paleo, here are a few suggestions your children and toddlers will love!

59. Egg & roasted vegetable soldiers

60. Make berry muffins with eggs, coconut flour, nuts and berries

61. Raw or blanched veggies served with nut butter, guacamole and salsa dips

Paleo Vegetarian/ Vegan Options

If you still can’t face meat in the morning, how about these ideas? Or you could always try a smoothie!

62. Poached eggs and sweet potato (or even yam) hash browns

63. Sauté some greens, squeeze on some lemon and add an egg

64. Fry eggs in a capsicum (bell pepper) ring or onion ring

65. Steamed broccoli with sweet potatoes

66. Mash up a hard-boiled egg with avocado

67. Try scrambling eggs with mushrooms, onions and a home-made tomato salsa

Fruit Friendly?

It’s common to minimise fruit intake on a Paleo Diet, due to it’s high fructose content. If you’re targeting weight loss, it can be a good idea to minimise fruit and nuts. However, if you’re all for fruit, here are some fruity Paleo Breakfast Ideas. Remember berries have a lower fructose content and are loaded with antioxidants.

68. A nice simple fruit salad – served with whipped coconut cream

69. Even easier – a piece of fruit and a few berries

70. Make a warm fruit custard with eggs & coconut milk on the stove, nutmeg, cinnamon, berries a banana and some nuts

71. Chop up a kiwi fruit in coconut cream (or heavy cream if you do dairy too)

72. Wrap cubes of melon in prosciutto

Primal Breakfast Ideas

If your diet is more Primal than Paleo and you include some dairy, here are a few Primal Breakfast ideas for you.

73. Greek yoghurt with nuts, berries and your favourite spices

74. Apple and cheese is a winning combination!

75. Try the paleo cereal suggestions in raw milk instead of coconut

76. Bacon and tomato wrapped in cheese and lettuce wraps

Drinkable Breakfasts

A nice alternative – or something hand to have on the go is a smoothie or shake. There are some good options. Make sure you add in fat, perhaps an avocado or some coconut oil and enjoy your breakfast drink!

77. Green smoothies; try adding in Kale and spinach for a vitamin boast

78. Make an anti-oxidant berry smoothie with coconut milk

79. A veggie juice with coconut milk, carrots, broccoli and celery

80. A banana smoothie made with frozen bananas , coconut milk and almond butter

I hope I’ve given you some inspiration! If you’re after even more, please check out my very own recipe book, the Paleo Breakfast Recipe Book with a recipe to suit every single paleo breakfast situation! I’d love to hear your favourite Paleo Breakfast Ideas in the comments below! What’s on your menu?

Cutting back on fruit fructose natural sugar health paleo diet-min

Cutting Back on Fruit

I’ve definitely started to notice there are a lot more Paleo friendly stories in the media recently.  Perhaps the tide is finally turning?

I used to eat a lot of fruit and was always under the impression that you could never have too much.  It’s good for you, right?  Since I’ve got more and more into Paleo I’ve drastically cut back my fruit consumption from several pieces a day – down to maybe one or two pieces a week.  Fruit contains a lot of fructose, which means it elevates blood sugar.  I limit my carbohydrate intake in my Paleo diet, so fruit doesn’t feature very often.  I’ve been feeling great since I’ve been limiting carbohydrates, so I’m definitely on the right track.

When I do have fruit, I make sure I go for something in season.  I also choose a fruit with a good nutritional profile, and a lower fructose content.  Berries are a really good choice as they contain antioxidants and relatively lower sugar than many other fruits.  Now we’re almost coming into summer fresh berries are becoming more and more abundant, so it’s definitely time to enjoy them.  I eat a wide variety of good quality grass-fed organic meat and vegetables, so I am certain I am not missing out any nutrients by omitting regular fruit from my diet.

The Sydney Morning Herald posted an article this weekend on the role of sugar in obesity, in which Dr Taylor talks about how he believes sugar, not fat is behind the rise in obesity.  Dr Taylor is running the Epworth Sweet Study in Melbourne where 100 participants are restricting carbohydrate (and fruit) intake, with positive results.

Hopefully articles like this will become more and more common place.

Have you limited your fruit intake?  Which types of fruit do you value the most?

Cutting back on fruit fructose natural sugar health paleo diet-min