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bacon wrapped chicken drumsticks legs pancetta recipe paleo diet

The Ultimate Guide to Making Perfect Bacon Wrapped Chicken Drumsticks

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

Is bacon really bad unhealthy nitrates processed paleo

Is bacon really so bad?

Whenever I even mention the b word I get called out. Yep, apparently bacon is highly processed and must be avoided at all costs.

But is it really bad?

Almost everything we eat is processed in one way or another. We buy our meat cut, or maybe ground. We buy our meat dried or frozen. When I think of processed meat, I think of meat that has been ground up, combined with chemicals and other dubious ingredients and given a completely new form and shape (think “chicken” nuggets and hot dogs). Bacon is not processed like this.

Bacon bad for you nitrates sodium cured processed pork belly preserved Paleo Network

Why is bacon so different?

Bacon has been around for a long time, from the days we needed to preserve our meat to enable us to keep it for longer without it going bad. I don’t think the fact it’s preserved is the issue – the issue is how it’s preserved – and there are a lot of differences here.

Traditionally, bacon would have been preserved using salt, but since we’ve all got so worried about the wrong things being unhealthy, we now avoid sodium like the plague – so many modern techniques use ingredients that are a long way from natural, to preserve the meat.

If you’ve looked at the ingredients on packs on bacon, you’ll have seen huge differences. Looking at my local store, they offer bacon with contents between 83% and 95% pork – clearly the lower pork content bacon is to be given a wide berth.

But what about the other ingredients in packages bacon? Here are the ingredients I found, in various quantities:

  • Water,
  • Salt,
  • Dextrose (Corn), Dextrose (Maize),
  • Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein (Maize)
  • Sucrose, Sugar (yes – they add SUGAR to bacon!)
  • Mineral Salts (450, 451, 452),
  • Antioxidant (316),
  • Sodium Nitrite (250).
  • Food Acid (325)

But did you know you can get bacon uncured, without any of this? If you have a butcher like mine, you’ll be able to get pasture raised uncured bacon, without any of these additional ingredients.

What about nitrates?

Nitrates are a big talking point when it comes to bacon. Well, even unprocessed bacon contains nitrates naturally, and believe it or not celery is high in nitrates – and we don’t see warnings on sticks of celery. For more information on why dietary nitrates aren’t a bad thing – check out these studies: Inorganic Nitrate Suplementation Lowers Blood Pressure in Humans: Role for Nitrite-Derived NO Hypertension, 2010, 56, 274-271 and Dietary Inorganic Nitrate Improves Mitochondrial Efficiency in Humans.Cell Metabolism, 2011, 13, 149-159.

As for the sodium, when you eat a natural paleo diet – it’s often actually a good thing to get more sodium into your diet.

And the fat content?

Of course, a huge argument against bacon is the saturated fat content. Yes, bacon is a lot higher in fat than turkey. But I don’t need to tell you why eating fat is not a problem, do I?

What do you think about bacon? Do you eat it often? Where do you get yours?

Brussels sprouts made nice paleo recipe bacon primal-min

Recipe: Brussels sprouts made nice

Didn't think you liked Brussels sprouts? Hold back your judgement until you've tried this recipe!

Brussels sprouts are such an amazing source of nutrients packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and so much goodness, if you've not liked them so far it's definitely worth giving them another try.

This recipe is a great side to a meaty dinner, or perfect on its own, with a serve of cauliflower rice.

Brussels sprouts made nice paleo recipe bacon primal-min
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Recipe: Brussels sprouts made nice

Course: Sides

Ingredients

  • 100 g 3.5 oz Brussels sprouts
  • Splash olive oil
  • 8 rashers bacon diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled & diced
  • Knob of butter or use extra olive oil, if you don't do dairy
  • Sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of hazelnuts chopped

Instructions

  • Peel the exterior leaves off the sprouts & remove the tough ends. Cut the sprouts in half & finely slice them.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and fry the bacon for a few minutes. Add the carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes, making sure you keep stiring to prevent it from sticking.
  • Add the butter (or extra olive oil) to the pan along with the sprouts, and stir for another five minutes. You need to keep heating until the sprouts have started to soften, but still have some crunch in their texture.
  • Season and serve, garnishing with the coriander (cilantro) and hazelnuts.

Brussels sprouts made nice paleo recipe bacon primal-min

I'd love to hear how you cook Brussels Sprouts to make them taste amazing! Please share you secrets in the comments below!

Bacon coleslaw paleo recipes-min

Bacon Coleslaw

Trust me, you've not had coleslaw until you've had bacon coleslaw!

Bacon coleslaw paleo recipes-min
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Bacon Coleslaw

Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a green cabbage shredded
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 3 spring onions trimmed and finely sliced
  • 4 rashers of bacon* cooked until crispy, then finely sliced
  • For the dressing:
  • 150 ml 1/2 cup paleo mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • *Use a good quality organic bacon for best results

Instructions

  • First, combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl thoroughly.
  • Add in the vegetables and bacon, and mix together well. Season to taste and serve.

 Bacon coleslaw paleo recipes-min

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Braised Wild Rabbit with Glazed Apples, Bacon and Shallots paleo dinner recipe winter-min

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Recipe paleo paella seafood-min

Recipe: Paleo Paella

Yet another recipe that proves cauliflower rice is just as good (if not better) as the real thing. I love the combination of flavours and textures that is unique to Paella – what other dish in the world will you find prawns, anchovies, chicken and bacon altogether, delicately infused with smoked paprika and saffron? I can’t think of any, so what better reason to enjoy this super easy one pan dish with the whole family.

Recipe paleo paella seafood-min
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Recipe: Paleo Paella

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cauliflowers
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken thigh fillets
  • 6 – 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon diced
  • 1 large red onion sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic diced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • A pinch saffron
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 litre home made or organic chicken stock
  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 2 large handfuls green peas
  • 15 – 20 large prawns shelled
  • 6 Anchovies diced
  • Black pepper
  • Handful fresh oregano

Instructions

  • Blitz the heads of both cauliflowers in your food processor until it resembles rice (you may need to do this in separate batches depending on the size of your food processor). Set aside.
  • Heat the coconut oil in your largest, heavy based pan. Dice the chicken thighs into thumb sized pieces. When the pan is at a high heat, fry the chicken for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Set aside, keeping the juices in the pan.
  • Return the pan to a medium heat. Add the bacon, sliced red onion, garlic and paprika and stir fry for a couple of minutes, making sure they don’t burn. Add the cauliflower rice, paprika and bay, before pouring in the stock and sprinkling on the saffron. Don’t put the saffron in the pan before the stock – it’s very delicate and this will impair the flavour.
  • Return the chicken to the pan. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir regularly.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, green peas, prawns and anchovies to the pan for a further 5 minutes cooking time. When all the liquid is absorbed, serve garnished with the fresh oregano. There’s no need for salt thanks to the anchovies, but season with a generous amount of black pepper.

Recipe paleo paella seafood-min

Are you a Paella fan? What do you put in yours?

Paleo Network Recipe Bacon Jalapeno Fritta Breakfast-min

Recipe: Bacon and Jalapeno Frittata

Does food get any more comforting and soul nourishing than a giant slab of frittata? It’s one of my favourite meals to have for breakfast, lunch, and even as a snack – so I always make a giant version (between 6 and 8 eggs!) and keep it in the fridge for sustenance throughout the week. Frittata flavour combinations are endless, but this one has to be my favourite; smoky, crisp bacon balanced beautifully by spicy-sweet jalapenos.

Paleo Network Recipe Bacon Jalapeno Fritta Breakfast-min

 Bacon and Jalapeno Frittata Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 6 rashers smoked organic streaky bacon, diced
  • 2 / 3 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 8 – 10 button mushrooms, diced
  • 6 large free range eggs
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 Bacon and Jalapeno Frittata How To:

1)    Preheat the oven to 375F / 180C. Grease an 8 inch round pie tin with some coconut oil and set aside.

2)    Heat 1tbsp of coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon, jalapenos and mushrooms and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the bacon begins to crisp up.

3)    Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat together. Whisk in the coconut milk until the mixture becomes light and air bubbles appear.

4)    Add the contents of the frying pan to the mixing bowl, and season to taste with a little salt and pepper. Pour the frittata mixture into the pie tin.

5)    Transfer the pie tin to the middle shelf of the oven, and bake for 25 – 30 minutes. To check if it is done, pop a toothpick in the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s done!