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25 Reasons You Should Get More Herbs In Your Diet paleo primal health nutrition-min

25 Reasons You Should Get More Herbs In Your Diet

Instead of using herbs just to add flavour and colour to your cooking, do you ever add them for their medicinal benefits? Since ancient times herbs have been used as medicine in cultures all around the world.  Many modern medicines use active ingredients which come directly from plants – so there’s clearly a lot to be gained from plant medicine.

25 Reasons You Should Get More Herbs In Your Diet paleo primal health nutrition-min

Here are 25 herbs that you probably have in your kitchen – and what they are claimed to be beneficial for.

  1. Basil: full of minerals and a natural antioxidant
  2. Black pepper: anti bacterial, antioxidant and helps to stimulates digestion
  3. Cardamom: fresh breath
  4. Cayenne pepper: antibacterial, rich in beta carotene (pre cursor to vitamin A), reduces pain and helps stimulates metabolism
  5. Celery: stimulates the appetite, diuretic, detoxifing, helps with constipation, relieves rheumatism, helps with kidney stones and eases arthritis symptoms
  6. Chili pepper: rich in vitamin C, anti-inflammatory and natural antioxidant
  7. Cinnamon: regulates blood sugar levels, powerful antioxidant, regulates cholesterol metabolism and promotes good circulation
  8. Clove: powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and mildly anesthetic
  9. Coriander: rich in iron and magnesium, prevents gas, prevents urinary infections, regulates blood sugar level and a natural detoxifier of heavy metals
  10. Dill: anti bacterial, antioxidant and contains a lot of iron
  11. Fenugreek: relieves constipation and said to stimulate muscle growth
  12. Ginger: antiseptic, calms the stomach, anti-inflammatory and an effective natural remedy for motion sickness
  13. Ginkgo biloba: stimulates the circulation, anti-aging and improves memory
  14. Garlic: anti bacterial, anti-viral, lowers blood pressure and has natural antibiotic properties
  15. Mint: rich in vitamin C, calms the stomach and intestines and relieves headaches naturally
  16. Mustard seed: rich in selenium, omega-3, phosphorus, vitamin B3 and zinc, helps against cancer and is a natural anti-inflammatory
  17. Nutmeg: anti-inflammatory and helps to regulates sleep
  18. Oregano: anti bacterial, strong antioxidant and useful as preservative
  19. Paprika powder: anti-inflammatory and a natural antioxidant
  20. Parsley: detoxifies, helps with kidney stones and a natural antispasmodic
  21. Pepper: contains a lot of capsaicin (the ingredient that ensure the ‘heat’), clears stuffy noses, relieves pain and said to be beneficial for prostate cancer
  22. Rosemary: keeps the genes young, strengthens the immune system, improves the circulation and stimulates digestion
  23. Sage: improves the memory, anti-inflammatory and a strong natural antioxidant
  24. Thyme: antiseptic and a natural anti bacterial
  25. Turmeric: often called Curcuma, yellow root or curcumine. Very strong antioxidant, is said have a role in cancer prevention, help with skin infections, anti-inflammatory and relieves arthritis symptoms.

Which herbs do you use in your cooking? Have you ever used plants and herbs for health reasons? Was it successful? I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts in the comments below! And please remember – seek medical advice before using herbs for medicinal purposes!

herbed pork skewers kebabs marinate barbecue bbq recipe paleo diet

Recipe: herbed pork skewers

This is another great barbecue option and can be prepared a few hours ahead and stored in the fridge. The best thing is it is super simple and quick to prepare. If you grow your own herbs, experiment with what you have on hand – fresh herbs give far more flavour than their dried equivalents.

Recipe: herbed pork skewers
Recipe type: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 750g pork fillets
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Dash of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of a lemon
Instructions
  1. Cut the pork into small cubes. The key thing here is to make sure the cubes are all similar in size to ensure they cook evenly.
  2. Mix the fresh herbs together
  3. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and make sure the pork is evenly coated
  4. Refrigerate for a few hours (overnight if you have time) to allow the flavours to marinate into the pork
  5. Thread the pork onto skewers, ready to cook
  6. Barbecue the pork skewers until they’re tender. Make sure they’re cooked right the way through before serving.

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I like to make up a few different types of kebabs to barbecue to add some colour and variety. What are your favourite types of barbecue skewers?

Recipe: Paleo Chicken Schnitzel

Chicken Schnitzel is pretty much the national dish of Australia (perhaps after pie?), which is funny, because if you ask for chicken schnitzel in the UK people think you’ve come straight from the 1970’s.

The only problem with chicken schnitzel is the ingredients. This is what’s in a fairly standard one I saw in the supermarket:

Chicken (52%), Water, Buckwheat Flour, Wheat Flour, Thickener (1404, 415, 1442), Salt, Dehydrated Vegetables (Onion, Garlic), Herbs (Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage), Spices (Pepper), Wheat Gluten, Yeast, Egg Albumen, Sugar, Colours (150a, 100, 160c, 160b), Dextrose (Tapioca, Maize), Mineral Salts (450, 500), Canola Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Soy Protein, Thickener (1404), Yeast, Vinegar, Iodised Salt, Soy Flour, Emulsifiers (411, 481, 472E), Vitamin (Thiamin, Folate), Vegetable Gum (412), Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Wheat Cereal, Flavour Enhancer (635)

Quite alarming when the chicken element in your chicken is barely 50%, don’t you think? Also “chicken” doesn’t really tell you too much, I think we can assume if it doesn’t say free-range, it’s almost certainly not the type of chicken I’d choose to buy. So you know what this means? Yes – it means a paleo chicken schnitzel recipe is called for!

Recipe: Paleo Chicken Schnitzel
Recipe type: Poultry
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 2 free-range chicken breasts
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 230C (450F) if you’re going to oven bake rather than fry
  2. Slice the chicken in half width-ways, creating two thin pieces and pound with a rolling pin (or, if you have a better equipped kitchen than me, a meat tenderiser) until it’s super thin. If you don’t want raw chicken flying around your kitchen, you can wrap it in gladwrap/ cling film for this step. You can keep whole and have proper schnitzels, or slice into strips like I did.
  3. Put the Tapioca flour (or you can use arrowroot flour if you don’t have tapioca) in a bowl, and the egg in a separate bowl. Tip – fill up the Tapioca bowl as you use it to avoid waste.
  4. In another bowl, mic together the almond meal, coconut flour, seasoning and herbs/ spices. I tend to do this in small batches too, to avoid being left with an eggy mess of excess crumb mixture I’ll have to throw away.
  5. Now for the fun part. Dip the chicken pieces in each bowl, turn by turn: start with the tapioca layer, then the egg layer and end with the crumb mixture. Maybe it’s just me, but I find this turns into a huge mess, so small batches of the dry bowls will help here.
  6. You now have a choice and whilst most people will choose to fry, I find I get far better results oven baking. The crumb is evenly golden with the inside cooked but tender. But give both a try and see what works for you.
  7. If you’re oven baking, arrange on a baking tray and cook for about 20 minutes. I always cut into the chicken in a couple of the thickest places to ensure there are no pink bits left. If you’re going to fry about 8-10 minutes in a hot pan in some coconut oil should do the trick – just make sure you turn them a couple of times.

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Do you have a gluten-free paleo version of this recipe that you use? I’d love to hear your secret ingredients!

Herbs Spices Seasoning Moisture Storing Clumping Caking the Paleo Network-min

How to stop herbs and spices clumping together

It can’t just be me – I come to use a particular jar of dried herb, spice or seasoning, to find it completely stuck together and impossible to get out. It’s so frustrating, and seems to be worse with onion and garlic powder, which always seem to cake soon after the containers are opened.

This happens when moisture and humidity get into the container causing it to clump together and form a rock. Whilst the moisture will reduce the flavour and strength of the herbs, a lot of them you can re-invigorate by removing the moisture. Far less wasteful than throwing unused herbs and spices away.

Herbs Spices Seasoning Moisture Storing Clumping Caking the Paleo Network-min

How to remove the moisture

The easiest way is in the oven. I heat my oven to about 125C (250F) and use a metal skewer to get break the clump (or in this case garlic powder) out of the container, onto a sheet of baking paper, on a baking tray.

After just a couple of minutes, the heat will have removed the moisture, and I remove the tray and allow it to cool. Once cooled, I transfer it back into the container using a funnel and it now dispenses freely!

To prevent it happening again

Make sure the containers you store your dried herbs,spices and seasonings in are completely air-tight and always shut the lid/ close the container properly. Storing somewhere cool and dark (or even in the freezer!) will also help prevent moisture coming into contact with the inside of the container.

Avoid the temptation to shake the container directly into a pot of steaming food – this will allow moisture in. Spoon what you need out of the container, away from the stove top.

You can also add some dried beans or rice to the container to absorb any moisture and prevent the mixture from clumping.

Storing the containers upside down will also help prevent air getting in, making them last longer.

Cajun Kale Chips paleo recipe crisps-min

Recipe: Cajun Kale Chips

Kale chips have to be one of the easiest, tastiest, and most fun ways to eat copious amounts of this green superfood. They are really easy to make; they just require a little patience and delicate seasoning. They can be enjoyed sweet (I’ve made both cinnamon and chocolate kale chips, both of which were delicious!) and savoury, but in this recipe I’ve gone for a smoky, slightly spicy, Cajun seasoning. You’re going to love my Cajun Kale Chips!

A quick note – If you’re using salt, sprinkle it on AFTER the kale chips are cooked. Otherwise, it will attract water to the kale and make them soggy. Also, don’t use olive oil, as the kale chips will have a bitter taste. Avocado and macadamia oils are both excellent choices.

Recipe: Cajun Kale Chips
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 4 bunches kale
  • 2 tbsp macadamia nut / avocado oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 160C / 300F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Chop the kale. If you need to wash it, make sure it is COMPLETELY dry before you take any further steps. A bit of dirt never hurt anyone, so I skipped the washing stage.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the kale leaves in the oil. Mix the spices together, and massage them onto the kale.
  4. Place the kale onto the baking parchment, leaving space in between each soon to be chip. You may need to roast them in batches. Transfer to the top shelf of the oven, and bake for 20 minutes – do not open the oven at all in this time!
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before enjoying.

Cajun Kale Chips paleo recipe crisps-min

Sausage, Red Wine & Almond Casserole paleo diet recipe-min

Sausage, Red Wine & Almond Casserole Recipe

After a barbecue at the weekend I had some left over cooked sausages that I wanted to make use of. There was also some red wine left over, so I came up with a recipe for a sausage almond & red wine casserole. I used ingredients I already had in the kitchen, so I am sure lots of tweaks could be made.

It made quite a few portions, so I was able to freeze quite a lot, to use for future meals.

Ingredients:

Barbequed Paleo Sausages
2 Red Onions
2 Brown Onions
1 clove garlic
1kg tomatoes
Tomato puree
2 handfuls of raw almonds
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 glass red wine
Chicken stock
Coconut Oil
Salt & Pepper

Method:

  • I diced the onions and browned them in a pan of coconut oil.
  • I added the crushed garlic, then the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and the stock. I let the mixture simmer for a few minutes whilst I chopped up the almonds.
  • I added the almonds and wine to the pan, and allowed it to continue simmering for a few minutes, before adding the cut up sausages.
  • I seasoned and added in the rosemary.
  • Once the sausages were thoroughly heated I served up the casserole and left the extra to cool ready for freezing.

I enjoyed the casserole on it’s own, but it would also have gone very well with some cauliflower rice.

Sausage, Red Wine & Almond Casserole paleo diet recipe-min

My top 10 herbs and spices paleo primal cooking recipes-min

My Top Ten Herbs & Spices

Since I’ve been Paleo my cooking has got more and more inventive, and I find I’m using a lot of different Herbs & Spices.

This does start out quite expensive if you don’t have any, but I really recommend going out and buying a basic selection to get started with.  Just by changing the herbs you can completely transform a meal.

Herbs-and-Spices paleo my top ten-min

When I went strict Paleo, I already had a lot of Herbs & Spices, but I went through all of my Paleo recipe books and bought all of the herbs and spices that came up in the ingredients list.  I’ve noticed I tend to use a few very frequently, and some are barely used, so thought I’d share my top ten herbs and spices, and what I use them for.

  1. Onion Powder.  Although I use onions too, this is great to add to lots of dishes for extra onion flavour.
  2. Garlic Powder.  I use this similarly to onion powder, to gives an almost sweet garlic taste.
  3. Turmeric.  I’m trying to add this to more and more of my cooking, as it is has so many great attributes – including having anti inflammatory properties.  Turmeric gives a yellow colour and a slight bitter, mustard flavour.  I always add Turmeric to curries.
  4. Cayenne Pepper.  This is a hot spicy chilli pepper, with hot being the word!  I only add a very small amount, but often add it to dishes like chilli, where I want a bit of heat.
  5. Paprika.  This is from dried capsicum and quite a sweet flavour.  It gives food a red colour and I’ll use it in sauces and dips.
  6. Oregano.  I seem to use a lot of this, almost anytime I cook with tomatoes, I add some oregano.  It has a slightly lemony flavour.
  7. Thyme.  I often add this near the end of cooking to ensure the heat doesn’t damage it.  I add it to lots of different things such as stews, vegetable dishes and stocks.
  8. Cinnamon.  This is my current favourite – I use it in almost everything.  Although it isn’t sweet, it’s great as a sweet substitute in tea and NoOatmeal.  I commonly use it in meat dishes as it gives such a great flavour.
  9. Ginger.  This is another favourite which I have to regularly replenish.  I often add this to curries.
  10. Salt.  This is another must have which brings out the flavour in dishes.  I naturally have quite low blood pressure, and as I don’t eat anything processed think it’s quite a good addition to my cooking.  I use Pink Himalayan salt as it is very pure with a great mineral content.  I also have Celtic Sea Salt, which also has a great mineral content.  I would go without rather than having table salt!

Herbs-Spices my top ten paleo-min

Are my most commonly used Herbs & Spices completely different to yours?  Which are your favourite Herbs & Spices and what do you use them for?

My top 10 herbs and spices paleo primal cooking recipes-min