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Did you guess the health food rights from the ingredients answers revealed-min

Did you guess the health foods right?

Last week I showed you the ingredients from five “health” foods – did you guess them right? Well, none of them are what I would class as a health food. Wouldn’t you agree?

Did-you-guess-the-health-food-rights-from-the-ingredients-answers-revealed-labels-min

Product one – this will help you lose weight

Atkins: Endulge Caramel Nut Chew Bar

Another reason why Atkins just isn’t paleo. Just because it’s low carb, doesn’t make it healthy as the chemicals in this ingredients list demonstrate. What ever happened to eating real food?

atkins_endulge_bar_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

Product two – it’s never too young to start being healthy

S-26: Gold Soy Baby Formula

I assume for babies who are intolerant to dairy or for vegan parents? Introducing Soy baby formula….
s-26_gold_soy_formula_baby_milk_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

Product three – start your day the right way

Sanitarium: Up & Go Chocolate Flavoured Milk

This is marketed as a good nutritious way to start your day. Right. I think I’ll just have a normal paleo breakfast instead, thanks…
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Product four – the best bet for children everywhere

Cottee’s: Coola No Added Sugar Cordial

No added sugar – so it must be good for you, right? Surely no one needs any of these chemicals. Is it so hard to drink water?
cottee_coola_no_added_sugar_cordial_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

 

Product five – watch your cholesterol

Flora: Salt Reduced Sunflower Margarine Tub

And the biggest scam of them all. Avoid butter and have margarine instead….
flora_salt_reduced_margarine_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

 

How many did you guess the health food from the ingredients right? Any “health” foods with ingredients that shock you? Share in the comments below!

Guess the health food from the ingredients-min

Guess the health foods from the ingredients

There are a lot of “food” products out there with health claims, and sadly a lot of people who take the claims on face value – and don’t give much thought to the ingredients….

I’ve found five popular products (I cringe to call them foods) with health claims in my local grocery store and I’d love you to take a guess as to what each product is…

Guess the health food from the ingredients labels-min

Product one – this will help you lose weight

Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product

Ingredients: Chocolate [Sweeteners (Maltitol, Sucralose), Chocolate Mass, Cocoa Butter, Sodium Caseinate, Milk Fat, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin, Flavourings, Salt], 14% Roasted Peanuts, Sweeteners (Maltitol Syrup, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Neotame, Whey Protein Isolate, Inulin, Bulking Agent (Polydextrose), Butter (Cream, Salt), Water, Palm Kernel Oil, Peanut Butter [Peanuts, Emulsifier (Mono and Diglycerides), Salt, Antioxidant (Mixed Tocopherols)], Non-fat Dry Milk, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Salt, Flavouring

Product two – it’s never too young to start being healthy

guess-ingredients

Ingredients: Corn Syrup Solids; Vegetable Oils [Palm, Soybean, Coconut, Oleic Sunflower, Oleic Safflower]; Soy Protein Isolate; Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin); L-Methionine; L-Tyrosine; Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids from single-cell sources [Arachidonic Acid (AA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)]; Taurine; Nucleotides (Cytidine-5′-Monophosphate; Disodium Uridine-5′-Monophosphate; Adenosine-5′-Monophosphate; Disodium Inosine-5′-Monophosphate; Disodium Guanosine-5′-Monophosphate); L-Carnitine; Antioxidants (Mixed Tocopherols concentrate, Ascorbyl Palmitate); Lutein. Minerals: Calcium Phosphate; Sodium Citrate; Magnesium Chloride; Potassium Chloride; Potassium Citrate; Potassium Hydroxide; Potassium Bicarbonate; Ferrous Sulphate; Zinc Sulphate; Copper Sulphate; Potassium Iodide; Sodium Selenite. Vitamins: Vitamin C; Choline; Inositol; Vitamin E; Niacin; Pantothenic Acid; Vitamin A; Vitamin B2; Vitamin B1; Vitamin B6; Vitamin D; Beta-Carotene; Folate; Vitamin K; Biotin; Vitamin B12.

Product three – start your day the right way

Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Skim Milk Powder, Cane Sugar, Wheat Maltodextrin, Soy Protein, Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Canola), Hi-Maize? starch, Corn Syrup Solids, Inulin, Fructose, Cocoa (0.5%), Cereals (Oat Flour, Barley Beta Glucan), Minerals (Calcium, Phosphorus), Food Acid (332), Flavour, Vegetable Gums (460, 466, 407), Vitamins (C,A, Niacin, B12, B2, B6, B1, Folate), Salt.

Product four – the best bet for children everywhere

Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product
Ingredients: Water, Food Acids (Citric Acid, Malic Acid), Flavour, Sweeteners (Calcium Cyclamate, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose), Thickener (Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose), Preservatives (Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Metabisulphite), Colours (Tartrazine, Brilliant Blue).

Product five – watch your cholesterol
Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product

Ingredients: Sunflower Oil (34%); Water; Vegetable Oils; Salt; Milk Solids; Emulsifiers (471, Soy Lecithin); Preservative (202); Food Acid (Lactic Acid); Colours (Annatto, Curcumin); Vitamins (A,D); Flavours.

So what do you reckon the healthy food products are? Make your guess in the comments below – and watch this space for the answers next week!

11 weird unusual paleo ingredients you need to try

11 unusual paleo foods you need to try

If you’ve noticed you’re eating the same few foods day after day, maybe it’s time to shake things up?! Here are 11 unusual paleo friendly ingredients to change up your diet!

11 weird unusual paleo ingredients you need to try

Kelp noodles

Who needs spaghetti when you can have these instead?

Fish eyes

Packed full of nutrition

Porcini powder

Add some of this into stews for a really deep flavour

Lambs necks

Cheap and a great base for a stock

Mineral Mountain Salt

So you’ve tried pink Himalayan and Celtic sea salt, how about mountain salt to get some different minerals into your diet?

Banana flour

I know, I know, it’s high in fructose. But if you’ve got a special occasion coming up, this would make for an interesting paleo baking session!

Sweet potato flour

Another interesting ingredient to experiment with

Cricket bars

Yep, insects packed for your convenience

Aji Amarillo

Next time a recipe calls for chilli, try some Aji Amarillo instead for more of a sweet spicy flavour

Black garlic

And better still, try fermenting it

Dulse flakes

A really good way to get more iodine into your diet, but warning – they do have quite a strong flavour!

Which unusual foods have you tried lately? Have you tried any on my list – and if so – what did you think?! Let me know in the comments, below.

Do You Really Know What You've Been Eating horse meat scandal paleo diet-min

Do You Really Know What You’ve Been Eating?

Have you read about the horsemeat scandal in the UK? It seems that many products being sold as containing beef, have actually contained horsemeat. More and more products are being discovered across many brands as well as the supermarkets own brands. Most of the products are processed ready meals, with things like lasagne and spaghetti bolognese having been added to the scandal so far. Initially it was claimed “some” of the meat was horsemeat, but now it appears in some cases 100% of the meat has been found to be horsemeat.

Paleo Diet Horsemeat Scandal

One of the French food companies involved in the scandal, bought the frozen meat from a Cypriot food trader, who had bought it from a Dutch food trader, who had purchased the meat from two slaughterhouses in Romania. The French company then sold the horsemeat to a factory in Luxembourg, which was then sold under the Swedish brand Findus. This meat appears to be making it’s way into countless brands and products – with Findus just being the tip of the iceberg.

There is also concern that the horses may have been given the horse drug bute (phenylbutazone), which depending on the source you read, could be very harmful to humans if it gets into the food chain.

What ARE You Eating?

Most of the outrage so far seems to be at the fact that people have been eating horsemeat. Which yes, is outrageous and completely unacceptable (can you imagine if a similar scandal happened with pork?) But isn’t the biggest issue here that no one knows exactly what is in these processed food products? If they didn’t even know (and tell the consumers) that a frozen lasagne contains 100% horsemeat and 0% beef, how can we have any confidence about the other ingredients in the meal?

Even if the “beef” label is right on a product, with so much trading and smoke and mirrors masking the origin of the meat, I think we can be fairly confident a frozen ready meal is never going to contain grass-fed organic meat. In fact, I wonder how many different animals have contributed to the meat found in one ready meal? I guess it could be hundreds.

And what about the other ingredients? Is the tomato base of the spaghetti bolognese mainly tomatoes?  Or is it bulked out with cheaper chemicals? Are the tomatoes that are used organic, or rather grown in glass houses with chemicals to help them grow as quickly as possible. Can we even be certain the tomatoes aren’t genetically modified?

Paleo Diet GMO Tomatoes Ingredients

How Can You Get Confidence About Your Food?

The only way to be certain about what you’re eating is to make it yourself. However busy you are, I don’t think there is ever a good reason to by ready made instant meals. It’s just not worth it. It’s also very important that as well as making your own food, you’re careful about the ingredients you use, particularly meat. It really is worth buying organic, grass-fed, pasture raised meat, from as close to the farm as you can get it (perhaps you can order from the farm directly, or use a local butcher who does). Always ask your butcher where the meat is from and how it was raised – and if he doesn’t know, it’s probably time to find a new butcher.

For most people reading this, ready meals aren’t likely to be an issue. But eating out probably is. It always bothers me that when you eat at a restaurant, or in a food court, the same issues apply. Where do they get their ingredients from? If they don’t make a big thing about their meat being grass-fed and organic, well, it probably isn’t. In the long term, the best thing is to ask in the restaurant. Hopefully this way the message will get through that people care, and want to eat good quality ingredients. There are some good restaurants who pride themselves on their local, seasonal organic produce – you just have to find them.

Isn’t it ironic that the sale of raw dairy, from a small farm with well raised animals, is illegal in many places; yet it seems to be common practice to sell food products without even being able to trace what the contents is, or where it comes from?

What are your thoughts on the food industry and the ingredients they use? And what about the horsemeat scandal? I’d love to hear where you stand, so please share your comments below.

Do You Really Know What You've Been Eating horse meat scandal paleo diet-min

Kitchen Heaven or Kitchen Hell paleo diet-min

Kitchen Heaven or Kitchen Hell?

As I mentioned in my Paleo Pets post, I’m currently house sitting and looking after someone’s dogs

I always look in peoples shopping trolleys with interest, but living in someone else’s house offers such a unique insight into what people really eat. The pantry in the house I’m staying in could not be any further from mine. And I find it really sad.

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Obviously fresh food was used up before they left, but even so, it appears that almost all of the families meals come from tins, packets and jars, with expiry dates far into the future and lists of ingredients I don’t recognise.

The kitchen counters are full of gadgets like toasters, popcorn makers and microwaves – all absent from my kitchen. Meanwhile gadgets that I rely on in my kitchen are no where to be seen – a blender for soup and sauces; weighing scales for trying out new recipes; a big stockpot for broths and a slow cooker are very evidently missing. Instead of measuring cups and a julienne peeler I’ve found a pizza cutting wheel and an ice cream scoop.

The pantry is filled with a fat fearing agenda. There are all sorts of fat-free, reduced fat and low-fat instant options. Even the olive oil is “light” – but of course the fat of choice appears to be canola oil. The spread options (for bread, I presume) are low fat margarines. There is a shelf full of cereals, all boasting some amazing health benefits (and lots of mention of wholegrains) on their packaging.

I’ve been really surprised to find the herbs and spices (of which I have a rather large, regularly refilled collection in my own kitchen) consists of just a packet of cooking salt and an unopened jar of black peppercorns. I suppose when you reheat and eat out of packets and jars, all the taste you need is provided for, by the unrecognisable ingredients listed on the packet. With some good meat or fish, vegetables and a handful of the Paleo ingredients I can use my herbs and spices to make literally hundreds of completely different meals, with far superior tastes to anything the packets could provide.

Water doesn’t appear to be the drink of choice, judging by the collection of shockingly coloured cordial bottles and shelf of soft drinks bottles.

The other interesting comparison is in the cooking materials themselves. Plastic (for use in the microwave and for storing food) is in almost exclusive use, and most of the cookware is non-stick. I used to use this type of cookware too – until I started to replace my pots and pans with safer options.

Tellingly the kitchen also houses two medicine cupboards full of all sorts of medications. My medical supplies are housed in a small container and consist of paracetamol (not used this year as I just don’t get headaches any more), some old forgotten about inhalers (my asthma disappeared without trace a couple of years ago), some out of date antihistamines (my allergies have also disappeared) and some plasters (bandaids for any Americans in the house).

I can’t accept it takes too long to bother to prepare proper food, it definitely isn’t more expensive than buying everything in packet form. I think for some people opening and reheating from a packet has just become a sad habit, that is hard to break.

The effort to buy low-fat and “healthy” cereals clearly indicates an desire to be healthy – it’s just sad that the intention has failed so strongly in execution.

Have you seen such a SAD kitchen recently? Do you think this is typical?

Kitchen Heaven or Kitchen Hell paleo diet-min

Is this paleo friendly ingredients-min

Is It Paleo?

I’m sure, like me, you’ve seen lots of question on Paleo forums, asking if a particular processed food is Paleo.  Perhaps friends, inspired by your positive changes, are making similar nutritional moves themselves –asking for your guidance on what is and isn’t “Paleo” along the way.

Is this paleo friendly ingredients-min

A Return to SAD Foods?

The food raising the question generally seems to be some kind of snack or sauce, perhaps a nod towards the person’s previous SAD diet.  Often the first ingredient is arguably “Paleo”, perhaps some kind of meat, vegetable – or as it often the case in processed foods – water.  But the further down the list you go, the ingredients become less and less agreeable.  There is often some form of sugar or sweeteners, preservatives, stabilisers, my favourite “natural flavours” – which really could mean just about anything  – and perhaps the catch all “spices”.  So maybe there isn’t a lot of wheat; but not a lot is still some wheat!  Things like gluten seem to linger in the body for a long time, so complete abstinence makes a lot of sense – there’s no such thing as low-gluten.

The other issue is that nutritional information panels don’t display the quality of the ingredients.  If they don’t specify that the beef is organic and grass-fed – I think we can assume it almost certainly is not.  Would you have bought the ingredients yourself – and if not, why are they suddenly acceptable just because they’re in a packet or bottle?

Unless you’ve made something, from ingredients you’ve sourced and understand; can you ever really know what you’re eating?

No Time?

Processed foods are, no doubt, easier, quicker and cheaper.  That’s surely part of the reason we’re in this nutritional mess in the first place.  As with lots of things in life, the best things generally aren’t the easiest things!  Yes, you can buy mayonnaise for a few dollars and use it instantly – or you can invest time and make your own Paleo Mayonnaise knowing exactly what you’re eating – and what you’re not.  I know which I’d rather.

I often wonder whether the person asking the question is hoping to gain approval to revert, at least in part, to their old pre-Paleo ways.  Whilst some processed foods are clearly a lot more Paleo-friendly than others, I do wonder where to draw the line.  If you “allow” a mass-produced tomato sauce with a few dubious ingredients – perhaps that canned chicken soup doesn’t look so bad?

So, is it Paleo?

Almost everything I buy doesn’t have a nutritional label.  Meat from the butcher, eggs and vegetables generally don’t come in packets with nutritional information – and if they do, they are the only ingredient – or I don’t buy it.  The only exceptions in my supermarket trolley that I can think of are coconut milk (if I could grow my own, I would!) and nut butters, which I very rarely use.

As a general rule, I think it’s fair to say; if you have to ask, it isn’t Paleo!

Are there some border-line foods that you consider Paleo?  What do you buy that has an ingredients list?

Kangaroo Jerky recipe how to make paleo diet-min

Kangaroo Jerky

I hadn’t had jerky much before I went to the AHS in August.  I’d tried it, but wasn’t that impressed.  At the AHS the US Wellness Meats company supplied lots of jerky – so I had to try it!  It tasted fantastic; completely different to any jerky I’d tried before.  The beef jerky I tried contain grass-fed beef and salt.  No nasty ingredients whatsoever. But I’m in Australia. What about Kangaroo Jerky?

Dried meat like this is full of protein and such a great snack, being so portable and easy to store.  When I got back I was really keen to take advantage of living in the land of kangaroos – by trying Kangaroo Jerky!  I think Kangaroo is such a good meat, as it isn’t farmed and is a great protein source.

Kangaroo Jerky Processed Package-min

Unfortunately all of the commercial Roo Jerky’s I’ve found so far are heavily processed with lots of undesirable ingredients such as sugar, soy sauce, canola oil and lots of artificial ingredients and flavours.

Kangaroo Jerky Ingredients-min

I don’t have a dehydrator yet, but have found a few recipes for home-made jerky, which I’ll be trying soon (I’ll keep you updated!).  In the meantime I’m going to check out a few local farmers markets here in Sydney at the weekend – hopefully I’ll be able to source some Paleo approved, local, organic, grass fed jerky!

I think Jerky will be a great snack to keep at work and to take to the gym.

Have you found some good Paleo Jerky?  Have you tried Kangaroo Jerky?  If you have a recipe for making your own I’d love to try it!

Kangaroo Jerky recipe how to make paleo diet-min

paleo sausages

Paleo Sausages

I’ve found an amazing organic butcher, really close to where I live.  I’ve used them for almost all of my meat for a while.  I was there earlier this week buying some bacon (the best bacon I’ve had in Australia, actually) and pork, when I mentioned what a shame it is that all of their sausages contain flour (though they only use rice flour, which is obviously a lot better than many alternatives out there).  He asked me if I wanted some special grain free Paleo Sausages made up for me!  I had no idea they would do this.

I could choose whatever I wanted to go with the organic beef, but he suggested capsicum (bell pepper), shallots and salt – I thought that would be a great combination for my first batch.  Even more exciting the castings for all of their sausages are made the proper way – from intestines, instead of synthetic castings, which can be made of all sorts of materials like  collagen, cellulose, or even plastic.  I certainly don’t fancy eating any of those!

I picked up my order today, which worked out at about 30 sausages for the 2kg batch.

Paleo sausages and eggs-min

I’ve just had my first taste – and they were fantastic!

This is the ingredients for one of the better ranges of supermarket sausages: –

Ingredients: Beef (76%), Water, Potato Starch, Sea Salt, Dehydrated Vegatables (Onion & Garlic), Dextrose (Tapioca or Maize), Mineral Salt (451), Sugar (Cane Sugar), Preservative (223), Spices, Herbs, Natural Colour (160c), Natural Flavour, Yeast Extract, Herb Extract

And this is the ingredients for my Paleo sausages: –

Ingredients: Organic Beef, Capsicum, Shallots, Salt

There’s no comparison is there?

Have you made your own Paleo sausages, or had them made?  I’d love to hear your suggestions of ingredients for my second batch!