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Is beer paleo alcohol larger paleo network-min

Is beer paleo?

I’ve randomly had a few questions about beer this week, along the lines of “is beer paleo” and “which beer is the most paleo friendly” and (perhaps more accurately) “which beer is the least bad on a paleo diet“

So it looks like beer is one of the things people miss most from their pre-paleo days.

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So firstly, what is beer made of?

Beer tends to be made with rice, wheat or barley and hops. Yeast enables to sugars in the barley and wheat to ferment into something resembling beer. The problem, is with the wheat. As we know, grains are avoided on a paleo diet, because they contains anti-nutrients, namely phytates, lectins and of course (in the case of wheat) gluten. There are some gluten-free beers available, but as is the case with “health foods”, often removing one ingredient (i.e. gluten), requires lots of additives to successfully remove it.

If gluten is your main issue, you may have luck looking for beer made with rice or the grain sorghum. Clearly still grains, but gluten-free.

The other thing to consider is the sugar content, which can be significant. Whilst cider can be a good alternative to beer, the issue of sugar content is still there. Spirits like tequila or vodka may be a better alternative if you’re looking for a replacement alcoholic beverage (but with a soda water mixer, rather than a juice or soft drink mixer).

But ultimately, if you want to enjoy an occasional pint, personally, I think you should enjoy your favourite craft beer as an occasional treat, instead of tolerating a gluten-free version. Let’s face it, it’s not going to taste as good – and it’s never going to be a health food.

Do you (still) drink beer? Have you found a good brand – and does the gluten content have any adverse effects on you?

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8 Signs That You Are Gluten Intolerant

The Paleo diet is completely gluten free, since it omits grains entirely. When going Paleo many people (who previously thought that had no issues with gluten) find that many symptoms they used to have completely disappear. It also seems common for a rare gluten exposure to have quite an impact, even though the person may have consumed gluten everyday previously. Are you gluten intolerant?

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What’s the difference between celiac disease & being gluten intolerant?

Celiac disease is a severe, sudden immune reaction to the protein gluten, which has immediate autoimmune reactions. It prevents the sufferer from absorbing essential nutrients. Gluten intolerance is on the same spectrum, but the reaction to gluten is not so sudden – and even harder to clinically diagnose. Unfortunately tests for celiac disease and being gluten intolerant are not as advanced as you might imagine – and it can be very difficult to get a clinical diagnoses. The best way to find out how gluten affects you is to undertake a strict elimination diet – luckily the Paleo diet does just this.

8 signs that you are gluten intolerant

  1. Gastrointestinal (GI), stomach and digestive issues; perhaps gas, bloating, cramping, constipation, diarrhea or IBS
  2. Headaches or migraines
  3. Fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue
  4. Sudden mood shifts, irritability or depression
  5. Dizziness, balance problems and tingling or numb hands and feet
  6. Another autoimmune disease diagnose (perhaps as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Ulcerative colitis)
  7. Hormone imbalances or unexplained infertility
  8. Inflammation, swelling or joint pain

If you’ve got any of these symptoms and still consume gluten, it’s definitely worth strictly excluding gluten – and going strict Paleo – for 30 days.

And why you mustn’t go “gluten-free”…

You can’t fail to notice the commercialism of “gluten-free”. There is a gluten-free version of everything – and often the ingredients are quite frightening. To achieve the properties that gluten provides in things like break and cakes, the manufacturers often have to use dozens of ingredients that you probably haven’t heard of. Not Paleo – and not good for you either. Whilst gluten is a particularly problematic protein, lots of other grain proteins are believed to have similar reactions. The healthiest way to go gluten free, is to avoid substitutes – and eat real, whole, Paleo foods! Instead of buying gluten-free bread and cakes, find alternatives to bread – and change your diet completely!

How does gluten affect you? Do you completely avoid gluten? I’d love to hear your comments, below!

The Paleo Diet Lectins Grains Gluten Wheat-min

Lectins & The Paleo Diet

No matter what type of food we eat, we can’t avoid Lectins as they are in absolutely everything we consume on a daily basis. Lectins are proteins which are found in animals, plants and our very own bodies and they have a number of functions which offer a means of protection to us. They can help to control the protein levels in humans but are also protective for plants as well. It is also thought that the right Lectins can also be beneficial in acting as a defense mechanism against serious illnesses, such as cancer.

Lectins can be useful for the body, but they can also be damaging, depending on the type of Lectin. There are many different types of Lectins found in different foods, so it is important to ensure we are taking in the right ones which offer the best benefits to our bodies. The function of Lectins also depend a lot of the individual and how sensitive their digestive system is as to how they will react to specific types of Lectins. The foods which contain particularly harmful Lectins include grains and legumes, which is why they are forbidden on the Paleo diet. These foods have the potential to destroy all of the good nutrients and vitamins in your body which makes you more susceptible to suffering from serious illnesses, such as heart disease and obesity.

If you consume the wrong Lectins and your body rejects these, it will also start rejecting all the good foods you eat, which means they will be of no benefit to you whatsoever. In order for the body to function effectively, it is essential that we absorb the right minerals and nutrients, which is why it is important to avoid legumes and grains on the Paleo diet. There are plenty of foods which contain Lectins which are good for our body and act as a way of protecting it, so it is important to be aware of the right foods to eat in order to get the most out of our bodies and feel as healthy as we can.

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Gluten is one of the harmful Lectins that can cause a lot of problems with the digestive system, which is why many people who have particularly sensitive guts have to eat gluten-free foods. Gluten-free foods are becoming standard in supermarkets and restaurants these days, which shows how much of a problem gluten can be. Gluten is often found in wheat products including the high sugar and high fat foods we are advised to avoid as part of the Paleo diet. These harmful Lectins can attack the body and cause a lot of damage to the intenstine which results in a leaking gut, not to mention a lot of pain. Bad Lectins can completely destroy the immune system, leading to issues such as extreme weight loss, diarrohea and sickness. It can also cause more serious illnesses, such as diabetes.

There are ways of reducing the presence of bad Lectins in legumes and grains, including soaking and soaking them, but it won’t completely destroy them so it is much better to avoid them completely. The Paleo diet encourages the avoidance of these food groups for a reason; they are not good for the body.

Nuts and seeds also contain Lectins but again, they are only beneficial to the body if you eat these in moderation. There are many of us who can’t stop eating nuts when we start, so if this sounds like you, it is best to just avoid eating them. There are plenty of nutritious foods on the Paleo diet which will offer good Lectins as well as plenty of other important vitamins and nutrients which are essential for a healthy body.

Overall, Lectins won’t pose problems for most people, but there are a number of people who have particularly sensitive guts, which means the bad Lectins, such as those found in grains and legumes can end up causing issues with the digestive system. Sufferers of a sensitive gut are not always born with this; it can develop over a number of years and become a worse problem in later life. It is better to completely avoid these, which is why the Paleo diet is such a beneficial one to follow.

Do you avoid lectins, or prepare foods to minimise their effect?

How To Recover From An Un Paleo Christmas diet unhealthy-min

How To Recover From An Un Paleo Christmas

How’s your Paleo diet going this Christmas?

Did you keep it Paleo, or did all the SAD traditional food get the better of you this Christmas?

No matter what your intentions or plans, at this time of year it can be easy to get swept along with family and friends – and find yourself eating all the foods you’d normally avoid. Be it tradition, peer pressure or a one off – at this time of year above all others – it’s easy to fall off the Paleo wagon.

So what now if your Paleo diet has gone by the wayside?

How does it make you feel? Chances are a rare gluten exposure will make you feel far worse than it would have before you went gluten-free. Once you get gluten out of your system, a one off exposure often seems to have a far bigger impact that it did when you regularly ate gluten-laced food. If you’re used to a relatively low carb diet a sudden influx of sugar can leave you feeling moody, tired and lacking in energy – and above all crave another sugar hit. A vicious circle you don’t want to get into!

 

Perhaps you’re thinking that as you’ve been eating un-Paleo, you might as well continue until the weekend? Or New Year? Or until those cakes and chocolates the neighbours brought have finished?

But the best course of action is to get straight back onto your Paleo diet. If you can’t bear to throw away the remaining non-Paleo food – give it away to your non-Paleo friends or neighbours! Remove the temptation.

Bone broths are a great nourishing way to get back into a good dietary routine – particularly if you’ve had a bad reaction to a gluten exposure.

How was your Christmas? Did you keep it Paleo? I’d love to hear your comments below.

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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 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?”

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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!

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Paleo Pet Food

I’m looking after some dogs at the moment, in the owners home. I’d assumed animal nutrition – Pet Food – would be difficult to get wrong – but I couldn’t have been more incorrect with that assumption.

Surely dogs are supposed to eat raw meat? That would make a lot of sense, as in the wild what else would they eat?

The tins of dog food we’ve been left contain the following ingredients:
Meat including chicken, beef, lamb and pork; vegetables; vegetable protein; pasta; vegetable oil; cereal; gelling agents; gluten; vitamins & minerals; vegetable fibre; flavours; colouring agents.
Looking at some other brands of Pet Food, these certainly aren’t the worst either.

We’ve also been instructed to boil up pasta and add it to the food to keep the weight of the dogs down. This is, apparently, on instruction of the vet. I can’t think of a single good reason to give animals pasta.

Sadly as these aren’t my dogs I can’t change their menu, but it has made me wonder how different the dogs would be on a different diet – and what the ingredients in their food is doing to them?

Have you got dogs, cats or other pets? What Pet Food do you feed them? I’d love to hear what happened if you changed their diets to a more natural way of eating.

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Eat more gluten magazine article paleo network-min

Eat More Gluten!

I can’t wait for the day when the “health” magazines start advocating more of a Paleo approach, with real food and eating of  fat encouraged.  But it seems like we still have a long way to go.

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I came across the snippet below in the March edition of “Weight Watchers” magazine.  Just in case any of their readers had been considering avoiding carbs, they warn that

“carbohydrates provide the body and brain with their primary source of fuel and are essential for energy levels”

Interesting. I tend to have fewer than 50g of carbs a day, so presumably I must have no energy?  Yet, bizarrely, I find I have more energy than ever before.  Just yesterday I had so much energy I felt compelled to break out into a sprint on my way home.  But I must be mistaken! It says so in a magazine after all.

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Without eating enough carbohydrates you might get

“fatigue, light-headedness, headaches, sugar cravings and irritability”

and they advise that you choose carbohydrates like

“wholegrain bread and cereals, grainy crackers, oats, fresh fruit and low-fat dairy”

Well, I’ve somehow managed to avoid any of those symptoms.  I’m not sure that avoiding sugar cravings, by eating foods that break down into sugar, really counts either.  And as for low-fat dairy being a good source of carbohydrates?

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The other article I read was from the March/ April 2012 edition of “Australian Diabetic Living”.  They ran a piece on Celiac disease.  The question was

“Should I avoid gluten products, just in case I might have Celiac disease?”

My answer would be that since gluten has detrimental effects on so many people, even those who don’t test positive for Celiac disease, it certainly should be avoided by everyone.  Given how long gluten stays in the body for, I think a strictly gluten-free diet is the right approach, for everyone.  Did they come up with a similar answer?

“No.  You can actually make it harder for your body to digest gluten if you cut most of it from your diet without good reason”.

Unfortunately there were no references for this startling revelation, which I’d have been very interested to check out.  So basically the diabetic magazine wants its diabetic readers to make sure they eat lots of gluten – which often come hand in hand with the not so diabetic friendly refined carbs?

What do you think?  Do you struggle to find the energy to function without bread and cereals?  Do you make sure you eat lots of gluten, to, er, help your body digest the gluten that you eat?

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Low Gluten Cakes

Well this was a new one for me.  I walked past a Gloria Jean’s coffee shop today and noticed this sign for a “Low Gluten” Hazelnut Chocolate Torte.

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From what I’ve read about Gluten, it really is an all or nothing protein. Nora Gedgaudas spoke a lot about Gluten in her recent seminar, particularly about how gluten takes months to leave the body.  Going 100% gluten-free seems to be the only way to avoid the negative effects gluten can have.  Of course going strictly 100% gluten-free is also the only way to identify whether gluten has a negative impact.   The significant numbers of people who are intolerant will be effected even by a cross contamination – so “low gluten” just isn’t going to do it!

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“Low-fat”, “low-calorie”, “low-carb”, “low-cholesterol”; “low” seems to be the word signalling a healthy product.  I can almost guarantee anything with the word low in the title isn’t Paleo.

I’ll have to keep a look-out for “Low Trans Fat” cakes, I’m sure they’ll be good!

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Gluten Free Expo Conference Paleo Event

The Sydney Gluten Free Expo

I went along to the Gluten Free Expo yesterday, at the Sydney Showground.

Gluten Free Expo Conference Paleo Event

I’m not sure why now, but I expected it to be very Paleo friendly and full of Vibram clad feet. Surely going completely grain free would be the natural conclusion for those with Coeliac disease? Ditching the bread and refined carbs in favour of real, whole food?

The Gluten Free event was sponsored by Coles and the stands were almost all offering packaged, processed food. Crisps, pasta, processed meats, ready meals, breakfast cereals, cakes and sweets. They all seemed to have removed gluten and replaced it with more sugar, other grains and lots of chemicals. I studied the ingredients on every stand and managed to find one little jar of spices, that would get the Paleo seal of approval! One product!

Gluten Free expoPerhaps a Paleo stand at next year’s expo beckons!

Going Gluten Free?

It’s well worth trying to remove Gluten from your diet. So many people don’t tollerate it well, without being full-blown Coeliac. When constantly exposed to Gluten, it’s hard to even realise what impact it has on your body. It isn’t until all traces of Gluten are out of your system that you can begin to understand how it affects you.

Gluten intolerance seems to be strongly correlated with inflammation issues such as IBS, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, autoimmune diseases, HD, ADD, ADHS, Autism, indigestion, stomach complaints and many other health complaints.

If you’re looking to go Gluten Free, the Whole30 is a great program to use to kick this off with! I haven’t ever heard of anyone regretting going Gluten Free!