If you follow an ancestral diet, you’ve probably given up the consumption of grains. And that’s a good thing. Not only are grain-based foods unnecessary from a nutritional perspective, they also promote inflammation, contain anti-nutrients and contribute to a leaky gut.
But what about the pseudograins, including quinoa buckwheat and amaranth? While these foods bear a resemblance to grains in their taste and texture, they are actually the seeds of broadleaf plants and are biologically unrelated to grains. They are often touted as a safe alternative.
Unfortunately, however, despite their despite their genetic differences and “healthy” reputation, pseudograins can have many of the same health-harming effects as their grain-based counterparts.
In fact, three of the compounds known to cause digestive and immune problems found in grains are also found in pseudograins.
The Health-Harming Trifecta in “Paleo-Friendly” Pseudograins
These compounds, including lectins, saponins, and protease inhibitors are designed to protect the plant from being consumed. They do this by causing digestive irritation to the animal (or person) eating them. But the damage these little compounds can create does not end with a benign “belly ache”.
Take a look at the research on how these compounds – just like true grains – can also damage the gut, promote inflammation and contribute to immune dysfunction:
Lectins are a type of protein that acts as a component of the plant’s natural defense mechanism. Lectins can strongly interact with the proteins in gut cell membranes, increasing intestinal permeability. Once this occurs, lectins are able to pass through the “leaky gut” into the bloodstream. This contributes to systemic inflammation and increases the risk of autoimmune illness. While many foods contain lectins, those that are heat-stable (like the ones found in grains, pseudograins and legumes) appear to have the most harmful effects.
Saponins have a molecular structure similar to detergents. These compounds can interact and combine with cholesterol molecules in the cell membranes. This process also creates micro-tears in the gut, allowing a variety of harmful substances to leak into the bloodstream. Saponins can also damage the membrane of red blood cells, causing these cells to break down. What’s more, they act as adjuvants – triggers that can cause a cascading inflammatory and immune response. Small doses of saponins are found in fruits and vegetables and may actually be beneficial, helping to enhance nutrient absorption. However, the large doses found in pseudograins have been shown to compromise the integrity of the human gut.
Protease inhibitors are compounds found in pseudograins (as well as grains and legumes) which inhibit the digestion of proteins. But the protease inhibitors don’t just prevent proteins in the seed from being degraded – they also prevent your body from breaking down other proteins consumed at that time. In response, the pancreas secretes more digestive enzymes to facilitate protein digestion. However, because the protein-dissolving enzyme, protease, is being inhibited, the result is an excess of trypsin. While trypsin is essential, an excess in the small intestine can weaken the connections between gut cells. This too can create a leaky gut and set the stage for inflammation and autoimmune illness.
Protect Your Gut, Protect Your Health
Maintaining – or regaining – a healthy gut is essential to prevent a multitude of chronic illnesses, including autoimmune diseases, food allergies, cognitive decline, mood disorders and more.
Eliminating grains, pseudograins and legumes, while enjoying a diet rich in organic vegetables, healthy fats, grass-fed meats, and nutrient-dense bone broth provides a template for the healthy gut diet on which our ancestors thrived.
Have you eliminated pseudograins from your diet? What was your experience? Share your comments below.
EDITOR'S NOTE – Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
1. Tommy Jönsson,Stefan Olsson, Bo Ahrén, Thorkild C Bøg-Hansen, Anita Dole, and Staffan Lindeberg. Agrarian diet and diseases of affluence – Do evolutionary novel dietary lectins cause leptin resistance?BMC Endocr Disord. 2005; 5:10.
2. Gee JM, et al. Effects of saponins and glycoalkaloids on the permeability and viability of mammalian intestinal cells and on the integrity of tissue preparations in vitro. Toxicol In Vitro. 1996 Apr;10(2):117-28.
3. The Paleo Mom. How Do Grains, Legumes and Dairy Cause a Leaky Gut? Part 2: Saponins and Protease Inhibitors
4. Van Damme JME. Handbook of plant lectins : properties and biomedical applications. Chichester, John Wiley; 1998. p. xiv, 452p : ill ; 26cm. [Ref list]
5. Freed DLJ. Lectins in food: Their importance in health and disease. Journal of Nutritional Medicine. 1991;2:45–65. [Ref list]
6. Freed DL. Do dietary lectins cause disease? Bmj. 1999;318:1023–1024.
7. Johnson IT, Gee JM, Price K, Curl C, Fenwick GR. Influence of saponins on gut permeability and active nutrient transport in vitro. J Nutr. 1986 Nov;116(11):2270-7.
Hello real foodies!
***Don't miss an exclusive recipe and giveaway at the end of this post.***
We've known home chef, blogger, and cookbook author Russ Crandall (aka- The Domestic Man) for many years. Like us, Russ believes in an ancestral, whole foods way of eating. We are so thrilled to share the release of his second cookbook, Paleo Takeout. Available today, June 23rd!
Before we get to the giveaway, Russ has generously agreed to let us share a NEW recipe that can only be found in Paleo Takeout. It's one of our favorites, and we're sure you'll love it too!
SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 2 tbsp expeller-pressed coconut oil
- 1/4 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, to garnish
- 2 green onions, sliced, to garnish
- In a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then reduce the heat to low to gently simmer as you prepare the rest of the meal; stir occasionally.
- Preheat your oven to 250°F. In a wok or skillet, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Combine the tapioca starch, salt, and pepper, then toss the chicken pieces with the starch mixture. With your fingers, dip a starchy chicken piece in the beaten eggs, shake off the excess egg, and then add to the oil. Repeat until you have filled your skillet, being careful not to overcrowd the chicken pieces. Fry the chicken until cooked through, flipping every 2 minutes, about 6 to 8 minutes per batch. As you finish each batch, place the cooked pieces on a plate lined with paper towels; put them in the oven to stay warm. You should be able to cook the chicken pieces in 3 or 4 batches, depending on the size of your skillet.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, finish the sauce. Taste the sauce and add more salt or pepper if needed. If the sauce is too dark and strong tasting, add a little chicken broth to thin it out. At this point, the sauce should be about as thick as tomato soup and should have a sharp but not overwhelming flavor.
- In a small bowl, stir together the arrowroot starch and cold water to create a slurry. Raise the sauce temperature to medium; once bubbling, add half of the slurry and stir until thickened, adding more slurry if needed. Remove from the heat.
Toss the chicken pieces with the sauce, then garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve over Basic Steamed Rice (page 286) or Cauliflower Rice (page 288).
* Consider adding chunks of onion, bell pepper, or even pineapple to enhance the flavor of this dish. These ingredients should be added with the starch slurry in step 4.
* This dish is equally delicious made with sliced pork loin or shrimp.
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If you’ve been eating a Paleo diet for some time, you may find that your usual meal rotations of meat and vegetables can become… well, a little boring.
But there’s a fast and easy way to dress up all of your favorite meals without much extra effort: Sauces.
As you probably know, most store-bought sauces and dressings should be avoided. These usually contain corn syrup or other hidden sugars, as well as unhealthy fats and oils (ie. Corn, soybean, vegetable oils, etc.). Of course, many folks shy away from making sauces at home. They think sauce-making is complicated, time-consuming and best left to classically-trained chefs.
But the truth is there are many simple sauces you can whip up in less than five minutes that will add extraordinary flavor, healthy fats and nutrients to all of your favorite standbys.
Today I’m going to share five Paleo-friendly, low-glycemic, no-cook sauces that will transform your everyday meals into restaurant-quality creations:
Paleo Sauce #1 – Pesto and Pistou
Originating from Genoa, this classic sauce is traditionally made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts and either Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) or hard sheep’s cheese. These ingredients are usually blended with olive oil. The French version (pistou) is made with olive oil, basil, and garlic only.
You can create your own favorite version of pesto (or pistou) using different nuts (Brazil nuts are delicious in pesto and provide a superior source of selenium) and hard cheeses (if tolerated). Fresh pesto is the perfect complement to grilled wild salmon or halibut, shrimp and pastured chicken.
Paleo Sauce #2 – Chermoula
This spice-infused North African herb sauce is a staple of Moroccan cuisine. It is traditionally made with cilantro, garlic, coriander, smoked paprika, chili paste, lemon and olive oil. Chermoula has powerful detoxifying properties thanks to cilantro, which binds to heavy metals and carries them out of the body. Use chermoula as a marinade or spoon liberally over wild fish, grass-fed steaks, grilled lamb and roasted chicken. (Need a recipe? Check out David Lebovitz’s Chermoula.)
Paleo Sauce #3 – Remoulade
Remoulade is a classic French mayonnaise-based condiment that is used worldwide in a variety of cuisines. Similar to tartar sauce, remoulade is often flavored with curry, mustard, horseradish, paprika, capers, diced pickles or shallots, depending on the origin. Create your own version using simple homemade Paleo mayonnaise (made with avocado oil) or Mark Sisson’s newest creation Primal Kitchen Mayo, and whisk in your favorite flavor combinations. For wild salmon and other seafood, I like minced shallot, capers, horseradish and lemon. For grass-fed meats and pastured lamb, try robust-flavored smoked paprika and cayenne.
Paleo Sauce #4 – Harissa
Another North African sauce, harissa is spicy, garlic-infused chile paste that can be used to enliven just about any meat or vegetable. Be sure to opt for organic chile peppers, as this is a crop that is heavily sprayed with pesticides. (Here’s a great harissa recipe from Saveur)
Paleo Sauce #5 - Romesco
Last but not least is the nut and red pepper-based Spanish sauce, romesco, made with roasted red peppers, raw nuts (almonds or hazelnut are traditional), roasted garlic and olive oil. Historically used to accompany fish, romesco is also delicious on pastured chicken and lamb. To make a quick superfood version at home, puree organic roasted red peppers (try Mediterranean Organic, sold in glass jars already roasted) and Brazil nuts with high quality olive or avocado oil and roasted garlic.
Pack more flavor, antioxidants and interest into your Paleo meals with these simple, healthy sauces. They’re quick to whip up, require only a few basic kitchen tools, and will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
Do you have a favorite Paleo sauce recipe? We’d love for you to share it here!
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the author of Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
1. Pesto Genovese: an Ageless Benchmark of Great Italian Cuisine.
2. “Chermoula”. David Lebovitz.com. Web. May 4, 2015.
3. Prosper Montagné (1961). Charlotte Snyder Turgeon & Nina Froud, ed. Larousse gastronomique: the encyclopedia of food, wine & cookery. Crown Publishers. p. 861. ISBN 0-517-50333-6..
4. Aga M, Iwaki K, Ueda Y, Ushio S, Masaki N, Fukuda S, Kimoto T, Ikeda M, Kurimoto M. Preventive effect of Coriandrum sativum (Chinese parsley) on localized lead deposition in ICR mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001 Oct;77(2-3):203-8.
5. Omura Y, Beckman SL. Role of mercury (Hg) in resistant infections & effective treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis and Herpes family viral infections (and potential treatment for cancer) by removing localized Hg deposits with Chinese parsley and delivering effective antibiotics using various drug uptake enhancement methods. Acupunct Electrother Res. 1995 Aug-Dec;20(3-4):195-229.
6. Karunasagar D, Krishna MV, Rao SV, Arunachalam J. Removal and preconcentration of inorganic and methyl mercury from aqueous media using a sorbent prepared from the plant Coriandrum sativum. J Hazard Mater. 2005 Feb 14;118(1-3):133-9.
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
Are you following a “paleo” diet… and yet still find that you haven’t lost all the weight you’d like to? If so, you're not alone.
While following an ancestral diet is a powerful way to provide your body with more disease-fighting nutrients and eliminate many of the inflammatory compounds in common foods, many people find the Paleo diet alone can’t provide the metabolic shift required to melt excess fat.
The reason? Many Paleo diets include high carbohydrate foods like sweet potatoes, rutabagas, tapioca, arrowroot, fruits and many more. And while these foods are fine in moderation, especially for those who are active, they can keep blood sugar and insulin levels high… and fat cells pleasantly plump.
Enter the Paleo Ketogenic Diet.
By maintaining the beneficial framework of the Paleo diet, while strictly limiting dietary carbohydrates, your body can enter a state of nutritional ketosis, where fat burning dramatically accelerates.
So how does it work?
The Effects of Ketosis on the Body
As you reduce daily carbohydrates to less than 50 grams, the body has very little glucose available for use as an energy source. As a matter of survival, your metabolism shifts to utilize fat as your primary source of energy.
It is this shift – from sugar burner to fat burner – that makes the ketogenic diet so powerfully effective.
As the availability of glucose dwindles, the body begins turning dietary and body fat into compounds called ketones. Ketones a very clean source of fuel. Their transformation into energy does not produce damaging metabolic byproducts. They also act as cellular detoxifiers, actually helping to remove toxins and damaged proteins that impair cellular function.
Eating More Fat and Losing Weight
It may seem counterintuitive that a diet predicated on consuming high amounts of dietary fat can actually increase your body’s ability to burn fat.
How does this happen?
Contrary to conventional wisdom, all calories aren’t created equal. The source of calories provides information about how they should be used by the body. For example, when your blood sugar levels rise (as a result of consuming carbohydrate-rich foods), the body secretes insulin to reduce glucose in the bloodstream. Without insulin, we would die from an overload of blood sugar – even from a relatively small intake of dietary carbohydrate. But insulin also has a dark side. High insulin levels promote the storage and accumulation of body fat, primarily in the most dangerous place: The belly.
Belly fat – technically known as visceral fat – doesn’t just look ugly. It has been associated with nearly every chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, PCOS, and many more.
By strictly limiting carbohydrates with a ketogenic diet, we greatly reduce insulin levels. Our body shifts from burning carbohydrates and storing the excess as fat… to primarily burning fat for fuel – even without exercise.
A ketogenic diet has also been found to reduce hunger, boost energy levels, increase antioxidant capacity of the blood and reduce the risk of chronic disease!
The Evidence: Reprogramming Your Metabolism to Torch Fat, Reduce Heart Disease and Stop Diabetes
A meta-analysis recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition evaluated thirteen studies for the effects of a ketogenic diet for long term weight loss. This very low carbohydrate diet was compared to the results of a low fat diet. In addition achieving significantly greater and more sustainable weight loss, the researchers found that those on the ketogenic diet experienced improvements in three of the most important risk factors related to heart disease:
- Decreased triglycerides
- Reduced blood pressure
- Increased HDL cholesterol
Another study, published in the journal Nutrition, evaluated 363 overweight and obese participants over 24 weeks. More than a hundred of these subjects were also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The participants followed either a low-calorie diet (LCD) or a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (LCKD). The researchers evaluated the subjects’ weight, BMI, waist circumference, blood sugar levels, A1C, cholesterol, triglycerides, as well as uric acid, urea and creatinine secretion.
The low-calorie diet (LCD) and the low-carb ketogenic diet (LCKD) both benefited all of the parameters evaluated. However, those on the ketogenic diet enjoyed greater improvements. In fact, the LCKD was so effective at reducing blood sugar that the diabetic participants were able to reduce or eliminate their diabetic medication early in the trial!
In another study published in Nutrition, researchers state:
“Dietary carbohydrate restriction reliably reduces high blood glucose, does not require weight loss (although is still best for weight loss), and leads to the reduction or elimination of medication. It has never shown side effects comparable with those seen in many drugs.”
Similarly, the Journal of Nutrition recently found that a low carbohydrate diet reduced both visceral fat (belly fat) and intramuscular fat while boosting insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes.
Is the Ketogenic Diet Dangerous?
Some of the arguments against a ketogenic diet are focused on potentially negative health effects that may occur as a result of ketosis.
But the truth is, most people following a ketogenic diet are more likely to experience improved overall health without any short term or long term negative effects from this dietary plan.
According to Dr. Michael S Duchowny, MD who evaluated the ketogenic diet:
“Most complications of the ketogenic diet are transient and can be managed easily with various conservative treatments.”
As always, major dietary modifications should be discussed with your health care provider – especially for those with diabetes or other chronic disease, and those on medications.
The Ketogenic Diet: The Ancestral Plan for Effortless Weight Loss and Disease Prevention
Following a ketogenic diet has been shown to be an effective way to reduce body fat, improve waist-to- hip ratio, as well as improve insulin sensitivity, control blood sugar, reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol ratios – all key factors associated with diabetes and heart disease.
And while the ketogenic diet has gained considerable press lately, it is not a “new” diet. In fact, our ancestors were naturally in and of out of ketosis as they hunted and gathered, fasted intermittently, and typically had limited access to carbohydrate-rich foods.
By following this truly ancestral way of eating, we can not only sculpt a leaner, healthier physique, but also help to reduce chronic illnesses and improve quality of life.
Have you tried a ketogenic diet? If so, what did you experience?
Do you want to follow a ketogenic diet? But are you worried that won’t be able to completely cut out those tasty treats that you enjoy? Over on the Healing Gourmet website, Kelley has a recipe for Keto Paleo Dinner Rolls that are grain free, low in carbohydrates, and just perfect for sopping up the last few bites of your evening meal.
Antonio Paoli. Ketogenic Diet for Obesity: Friend or Foe? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Feb; 11(2): 2092–2107. Published online 2014 Feb 19. doi: 10.3390/ijerph110202092
Hussain TA1, Mathew TC, Dashti AA, Asfar S, Al-Zaid N, Dashti HM. Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes. Nutrition. 2012 Oct;28(10):1016-21. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.01.016. Epub 2012 Jun 5
Bueno NB1, de Melo IS, de Oliveira SL, da Rocha Ataide T. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2013 Oct;110(7):1178-87. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513000548. Epub 2013 May 7.
Gower BA1, Goss AM2. A lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet reduces abdominal and intermuscular fat and increases insulin sensitivity in adults at risk of type 2 diabetes. J Nutr. 2015 Jan;145(1):177S-83S. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.195065. Epub 2014 Dec 3.
Alexandra M Johnstone, Graham W Horgan, Sandra D Murison, David M Bremner, and Gerald E Lobley. Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite, and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum 1,2,3. Am J Clin Nutr January 2008 vol. 87 no. 1 44-55
Gibson AA1, Seimon RV, Lee CM, Ayre J, Franklin J, Markovic TP, Caterson ID, Sainsbury A. Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2015 Jan;16(1):64-76. doi: 10.1111/obr.12230. Epub 2014 Nov 17.
Sumithran P1, Prendergast LA, Delbridge E, Purcell K, Shulkes A, Kriketos A, Proietto J. Ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul;67(7):759-64. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.90. Epub 2013 May 1
Rhyu HS1, Cho SY2, Roh HT3. The effects of ketogenic diet on oxidative stress and antioxidative capacity markers of Taekwondo athletes. J Exerc Rehabil. 2014 Dec 31;10(6):362-6. doi: 10.12965/jer.140178. eCollection 20
Paoli A1, Canato M, Toniolo L, Bargossi AM, Neri M, Mediati M, Alesso D, Sanna G, Grimaldi KA, Fazzari AL, Bianco A. [The ketogenic diet: an underappreciated therapeutic option?]. Clin Ter. 2011;162(5):e145-53.
Feinman RD1, Pogozelski WK2, Astrup A3, Bernstein RK4, Fine EJ5, Westman EC6, Accurso A7, Frassetto L8, Gower BA9, McFarlane SI10, Nielsen JV11, Krarup T12, Saslow L13, Roth KS14, Vernon MC15, Volek JS16, Wilshire GB17, Dahlqvist A18, Sundberg R19, Childers A20, Morrison K21, Manninen AH22, Dashti HM23, Wood RJ24, Wortman J25, Worm N26. Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: critical review and evidence base. Nutrition. 2015 Jan;31(1):1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.06.011. Epub 2014 Jul 16.
Emily Deans, M.D .Your Brain On Ketones. How a high-fat diet can help the brain work better. Published on April 18, 2011. Evolutionary Psychiatry.
Patrick F. Finn, J. Fred Dice. Ketone Bodies Stimulate Chaperone-mediated Autophagy. July 8, 2005 The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 280, 25864-25870.
Micheal R. Eades. MD. Ketosis cleans our cells.
Michael S Duchowny, MD. Food for Thought: The Ketogenic Diet and Adverse Effects in Children. Epilepsy Curr. 2005 Jul; 5(4): 152–154.
Volek JS1, Westman EC. Very-low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets revisited. Cleve Clin J Med. 2002 Nov;69(11):849, 853, 856-8 passim.
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By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
If you’re following the paleo diet, your breakfast of choice may be the classic meal of pastured bacon and free-range eggs. And while this certainly fits the bill when it comes to healthy fats and high-quality protein, it doesn’t take long for this morning meal to become a bit ho-hum.
When it comes to making a lifelong change in your diet and getting a broad range of health-promoting nutrients, meal variation is the key to success. So, today I’ll show you twelve boredom-beating breakfasts that will provide you all-day energy and an assortment of age-defying nutrients to boot!
Paleo Breakfast Ideas That Beat Boredom and Boost Nutrition
- Organic Kale, Sausage & Egg Bake: The perfect breakfast when company is over, this nutritional powerhouse can be made ahead and enjoyed through the week. Simply crumble and brown 1lb. of sugar-free pork breakfast sausage in a large skillet. Drain the fat, then add 2 cups chopped kale and sauté 2-3 minutes. Whisk 10 eggs until frothy and season to taste. Add the kale and sausage mixture to a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour the eggs over the top and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until eggs are just set. You can also make this same recipe in a well-greased muffin tin for individual, on-the-run breakfasts.
- Breakfast Sliders in Lettuce Wraps: Beef breakfast sliders are a delicious way to start your day. They a superior source of protein and also rich in CLA (the healthy fat that’s known to promote a lean physique and cellular health). Tuck cooked breakfast sliders into a lettuce wrap and top with avocado (and maybe a dollop of Paleo mayo or salsa) for a hearty hand-held meal.
- Bacon-Wrapped Egg Cups: Use sugar-free pork bacon as a nest for a perfectly cooked egg. Partially cook the bacon in the oven or skillet. Then place bacon strips in a well-greased muffin tin, making a “nest” inside each individual muffin cup. Add an egg (whole or scrambled) to each nest and then bake at 400F for 15 minutes or to desired temperature. Serve with fresh organic berries.
- Paleo Berry Muffins + Chicken Apple Sausage Links: Here’s a great grab-and-go duo. Simply cook up a batch of chicken apple sausages and bake a dozen Paleo muffins made with coconut flour for a breakfast with zero prep time on busy mornings.
- Canadian Bacon + Paleo Pancakes: More like ham than bacon, Canadian bacon is lean and flavorful and makes a perfect addition to grain-free pancakes topped with a fresh apple compote.
- Superfood Whey Protein Smoothie: Use grass-fed whey protein, coconut milk, your favorite organic berries and greens to make an immune-boosting, protein-rich breakfast that you can take along with you.
- Poached Eggs with Wild Salmon: Looking for a way to sneak more omega-3 rich wild salmon into your diet? Try poached eggs topped with flaked Vital Choice wild salmon (from a can or pouch). Add a grain-free English muffin and homemade hollandaise to make it a Paleo Benedict, as time permits.
- Steak and Eggs: This classic breakfast combination can be made in a hurry using grass-fed steak leftovers. Another option? Cut a teres major steak into breakfast portions and cook for the week ahead. Serve your steak and eggs Paleo breakfast with sautéed asparagus, organic greens or mushrooms.
- Paleo Breakfast Salad: Looking for an easy way to get more veggies? A breakfast salad made with your favorite leafy greens and crowned with poached eggs and crisp bacon is a great way to get the classic breakfast flavor… with more veggies to boot.
- Bone Broth Breakfast Soup: While uncommon in the U.S., many cultures start the day with a nutrient-rich bowl of soup made with a nourishing bone broth, veggies and assorted meat or fish. Try a breakfast of bone broth or chicken gelatin with some cooked pastured chicken, organic greens, ginger and lemongrass for an Asian-inspired start to your day.
- Primal Frittata: Raw grass-fed cheese, eggs, green veggies, salsa and your meat of choice make for a delicious meal, any time of the day.
- Pemmican and Nuts: This super-fast, fat-rich breakfast is perfect when you’re in a rush or traveling. Keeping healthy shelf-stable breakfast options on hand can prevent the dietary disasters that so often occur with limited healthy options on the road.
What’s your favorite breakfast meal? Do you make your breakfasts for the week ahead? We want to hear from you!
ED NOTE – For more healthy breakfast ideas, check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free and Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
- Bourre JM. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids for women.Biomed Pharmacother. 2007 Jan 2.
- Siddiqui RA, Shaikh SR, Sech LA, Yount HR, Stillwell W, Zaloga GP. Omega 3-fatty acids: health benefits and cellular mechanisms of action. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2004 Oct;4(8):859-71
Eating one avocado a day as part of a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet can help improve bad cholesterol levels in overweight and obese individuals, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Researchers evaluated the effect avocados had on traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors by replacing saturated fatty acids from an average American diet with unsaturated fatty acids from avocados.
Forty-five healthy, overweight or obese patients between the ages of 21 and 70 were put on three different cholesterol-lowering diets. Participants consumed an average American diet (consisting of 34 percent of calories from fat, 51 percent carbohydrates, and 16 percent protein) for two weeks prior to starting one of the following cholesterol lowering diets: lower fat diet without avocado, moderate-fat diet without avocado, and moderate-fat diet with one avocado per day. The two moderate fat diets both provided 34 percent of calories as fat (17 percent of calories from monounsaturated fatty acids/MUFAs), whereas the lower fat diet provided 24 percent of calories as fat (11 percent from MUFAs). Each participant consumed each of the three test diet for five weeks. Participants were randomly sequenced through each of the three diets.
- Compared to the baseline average American diet, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) -- the so called 'bad cholesterol' -- was 13.5 mg/dL lower after consuming the moderate fat diet that included an avocado. LDL was also lower on the moderate fat diet without the avocado (8.3 mg/dL lower) and the lower fat diet (7.4 mg/dL lower), though the results were not as striking as the avocado diet.
- Several additional blood measurements were also more favorable after the avocado diet versus the other two cholesterol-lowering diets as well: total cholesterol, triglycerides, small dense LDL, non-HDL cholesterol, and others.
These measurements are all considered to be cardio-metabolic risk factors in ways that are independent of the heart-healthy fatty acid effects, said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., senior study author and Chair of the American Heart Association's Nutrition Committee and Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park, Pennsylvania.
"This was a controlled feeding study, but that is not the real-world -- so it is a proof-of-concept investigation. We need to focus on getting people to eat a heart-healthy diet that includes avocados and other nutrient-rich food sources of better fats," Kris-Etherton said.
"In the United States avocados are not a mainstream food yet, and they can be expensive, especially at certain times of the year. Also, most people do not really know how to incorporate them in their diet except for making guacamole. But guacamole is typically eaten with corn chips, which are high in calories and sodium. Avocados, however, can also be eaten with salads, vegetables, sandwiches, lean protein foods (like chicken or fish) or even whole."
For the study researchers used Hass avocados, the ones with bumpy green skin. In addition to MUFAs, avocados also provided other bioactive components that could have contributed to the findings such as fiber, phytosterols, and other compounds.
According to researchers, many heart-healthy diets recommend replacing saturated fatty acids with MUFAs or polyunsaturated fatty acids to reduce the risk of heart disease. This is because saturated fats can increase bad cholesterol levels and raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The Mediterranean diet, includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids--like extra-virgin olive oil and nuts. Like avocados, some research indicates that these not only contain better fats but also certain micronutrients and bioactive components that may play an important role in reducing risk of heart disease.
The above story is based on materials
provided by American Heart Association
- Li Wang, Peter L. Bordi, Jennifer A. Fleming, Alison M. Hill, and Penny M. Kris‐etherton. Effect of a Moderate Fat Diet With and Without Avocados on Lipoprotein Particle Number, Size and Subclasses in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Heart Association, January 2015 DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.114.001355
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
A recent report from the World Health Organization states that the number of cancer cases worldwide is expected to surge by 57 percent over the next twenty years.
For many, this will mean painful, expensive (and potentially deadly) treatments with chemotherapy and radiation. On the other hand, many others will choose a more natural approach to treat and prevent cancer… one that is meant to boost the immune system, curtail the proliferation of cancerous cells, and starve those cells of the very fuel they need to grow.
And one of the most effective natural approaches for doing this is the ketogenic diet. It is certainly not the only thing that should be included in a cancer-fighting protocol, but science has proven that it can be a very important part of one.The Ketogenic Diet: Natural, Effective “Metabolic Therapy” for Cancer
The ketogenic diet is a very low carb diet that is moderate in protein and high in fat. It is well known that the cells in your body are normally fueled by glucose (the form of sugar present in the blood). But when glucose is not available, cells derive their energy from ketones – a byproduct of fat breakdown.
And if you are concerned about cancer this is a very good thing…
You see, cancer cells work differently than normal cells. And while they thrive on glucose, they are unable to make the switch to ketones. Without glucose as a source of fuel, cancer cells begin to die off. Over time, tumors shrink and the diagnosis of “cancer” can disappear.
Dr. Dominic D'Agostino, metabolic therapy researcher at the University of South Florida says:
"Your normal cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose to using ketone bodies. But cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility. So we can exploit that.
In fact, preliminary studies have shown the ketogenic diet to be so effective at resolving a number of different types of cancers (including some in the advanced stages) that it is being called “metabolic therapy.”
Researchers at the University of South Florida found that removing carbohydrates from lab mice with aggressive cancer increased their recovery. The ketogenic diet was also shown to work better than traditional chemotherapy (and, of course, without the horrible side effects).
Another study at Johns Hopkins found that people with brain tumors have a significantly lower survival rate when they have higher blood sugar levels. This provides additional support for the role of a ketogenic diet in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Tips for Following a Ketogenic Diet
With cancer on the rise, the ketogenic diet is providing a safe, natural means of prevention and recovery for many people. And while each one of us is unique, with regards to the macronutrient ratios required to reach ketosis, a general guideline is to keep your carbohydrate consumption limited to 50 grams per day. The majority of calories should come from healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein.
Here are some quick meal ideas for a ketogenic diet:
• Breakfast: Pastured eggs cooked in grass-fed butter
, pastured pork sausage
and avocado. You could also supplement with a tablespoon of coconut oil, avocado oil, fish oil or MCT oil for an added boost of healthy fats.
• Lunch: Wild salmon
over a large organic green salad with Kalamata olives and extra virgin olive oil vinaigrette. Pastured lamb burgers
with mint gremolata, olives and greens (with oil or duck fat
) might be another option.
• Snack: Grass-fed pemmican
, Brazil nuts
, macadamia nuts or canned mackerel
… plus another tablespoon of your favorite healthy fat.
• Dinner: Free-range roasted duck legs
over mashed cauliflower with grass fed butter
and a green salad with olive or avocado oil. Another option: grass-fed ribeye steak
with a generous helping of basil pesto and steamed broccoli. Another tablespoon of your favorite healthy fat before bed.
As research continues to mount that cancer is largely a disease of the metabolism, we have more opportunities to treat it with the safe, natural diet enjoyed by our ancestors.
ED NOTE: Do you want to follow a ketogenic diet? But are you worried that won’t be able to completely cut out those tasty treats that you enjoy? Over on the Healing Gourmet website, Kelley has a recipe for Keto Paleo Dinner Rolls
that are grain free, low in carbohydrates, and just perfect for sopping up the last few bites of your evening meal.
1. WHO: Imminent global cancer 'disaster' reflects aging, lifestyle factors. Tim Hume and Jen Christensen, CNN. February 4, 2014
2. A.M. Poff, C. Ari, T.N. Seyfried and D.P. D'Agostino The Ketogenic Diet and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Act Synergistically to Prolong Survival in Mice with Systemic Metastatic Cancer. PLOS ONE, June 5, 2013
3. McGirt MJ, Chaichana KL, Gathinji M, Attenello F, Than K, Ruiz AJ, Olivi A, Quiñones-Hinojosa A. Persistent outpatient hyperglycemia is independently associated with decreased survival after primary resection of malignant brain astrocytomas. Neurosurgery. 2008 Aug;63(2):286-91; discussion 291.
4. Thomas N. Seyfried, Michael A. Kiebish, Jeremy Marsh, et al. Metabolic management of brain cancer. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Bioenergetics. Volume 1807, Issue 6, June 2011, Pages 577–594
5. Thomas N Seyfried Laura M Shelton. Cancer as a metabolic disease. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010; 7: 7.
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
If you’ve recently transitioned to a Paleo diet, you may feel that finding suitable snack foods is one of the biggest challenges about this way of eating.
And while conventional snack like chips, crackers and trail mix are certainly “off the menu,” it would seem that many widely-available foods (like nut mixes or dried fruit) would fit the Paleo template. Unfortunately, many of these contain unwanted ingredients like added sugars, vegetable oil and soy.
But today I’m going to share with you a dozen healthy Paleo snacks that you can make ahead and take along. Not only will these great snacks satisfy cravings between meals – they’ll also provide your body with a powerful source of age-defying, muscle-building nutrients, and are kid-friendly to boot.
Power Up Your Nutrition with Superfood Paleo Snacks
1. Meatballs & Sliders: Packed with protein and freezer-friendly, meatballs and sliders made with ground grass-fed beef, bison or turkey are a great way to satisfy a craving fast and keep you full until meal time. You can make them plain, add your toppings of choice later, or even include some ethnic seasonings for more interest. For Thai-style, add coconut aminos, lemongrass and ginger. For Mediterranean, try thyme, oregano and basil.
2. Paleo Muffins: Great for breakfast, after a workout or as an afternoon snack with a smear of Kerrygold butter, paleo muffins made with coconut flour and almond flour are a great way to scratch the itch for bread… without derailing your diet on grains. Add organic pumpkin, chia and blueberries for more nutrients and great flavor.
3. Rumaki: Looking for a great way to sneak more superfood liver in your diet? The mock-Polynesian recipe of rumaki - chicken livers and water chestnuts wrapped in bacon is a great way. Opt for coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce.
4. Boiled or Deviled Eggs: Keeping your fridge stocked with soft or hard boiled eggs is a great way to have quick nutrient-rich Paleo snacks on hand. For a more culinary-inspired treat, mix the yolks with mashed avocado or Paleo mayo for tasty and satiating Paleo Deviled Eggs.
5. Wild Shrimp Cocktail: Three ounces of shrimp provides 18 grams of thermogenic protein plus 48% of the daily value for the antioxidant micronutrient selenium. Dip in homemade cocktail sauce spiked with cayenne or smoked paprika for a light snack that will fill you up.
6. Baked Egg Cups: Not just for breakfast, muffin-tin egg cups make a great protein-packed snack any time of day. Simply add 8 organic pastured eggs to a large bowl and whisk in your cooked meat and toppings of choice. Pour the mixture into a well-greased muffin tin (liners may work even better) and bake about 20 minutes at 350 F. Some of my favorite mix-ins include: spicy bison chorizo or pork sausage, salsa, grilled veggies and raw cheddar cheese.
7. Pastured Chicken Drumsticks: Filling, portable and protein rich, marinate drumsticks in your favorite seasonings and grill or bake for a delicious between-meal snack.
8. Multi-Mineral Snack Mix: Make your own shelf-stable Paleo trail mix in batches and keep on hand for quick grab and go snacks. Add selenium-rich Brazil nuts, zinc-rich pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, cashews (all soaked and dehydrated, preferably), and some organic mulberries, goji berries or raisins.
9. Jerky & Pemmican: Loved by athletes for a power-packed source of fuel, grass-fed beef and bison jerky and pemmican make great Paleo snacks that are mess-free and easy to take along.
10. Pork Rinds: Pastured pork rinds are a great way to get a carb-free crunch fix while providing your body with zero glycemic impact cell-building protein. In fact, a 1-ounce serving of pork rinds contains zero carbohydrates, 17 grams of protein and 9 grams fat. That's nine times the protein and less fat than you'll find in a serving of carb-rich potato chips.
11. Canned Sardines, Mackerel & Salmon: Power-packed sources of essential omaga-3 fatty acids, enjoying a serving of canned wild fish as a snack is a great way to optimize your intake of these vital fats. Enjoy them straight out of the can or mix with Paleo mayo and spread on grain-free crackers for a tasty, healthy treat.
12. Superfood Smoothies: Made with organic, non-denatured whey protein, organic berries and greens (try kale, spinach and parsley), a protein-packed smoothie is a great way to get more nutrition into your day and can be especially helpful for picky eaters.
Sticking With It: How Paleo Snacks Keep You on Track
Having plenty of healthy snacks on hand doesn’t just make for more convenience. It can also help you stay on track and avoid temptations that can derail your healthy progress while ensuring that you get the most nutrient bang per bite.
What are some of your favorite Paleo snacks? We want to hear from you!
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
1. USDA Nutrient Data Lab, National Nutrient Database
2. EatWild: The Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
It has people lining up in New York City’s Brodo to buy a steamy $9 cup… it is being called “the natural alternative to Botox”… and it is allegedly Gwyneth Paltrow’s “new obsession.”
You might assume that this wrinkle-fighting, age-defying food is a new discovery from the Amazon rainforest or a remote peak high in the Himalayas. Not true. In fact, there is a good chance that your great grandmother made this timeless superfood in a stockpot with little more than what most people consider “scraps.”
If you haven’t already guessed, I’m talking about bone broth…
What Is Gelatin – And How Does It Fight Wrinkles?
In my last article on the US Wellness Meats blog, I shared the many ways that consuming gelatin-rich bone broth can defy aging and promote healing. It can stimulate a variety of biochemical activities that can reduce inflammation, boost detoxification and keep us feeling young.
And while we all want to feel young, there’s no doubt we want to look young too.
It’s not breaking news that the beauty industry is big business. In fact, Botox alone – the muscle-paralyzing injection made from botulism toxin – grosses nearly $2 billion a year. The industry as whole – including creams, potions, serums and other forms of cosmetic surgery – is estimated at nearly $60 billion annually.
But the beauty and youthfulness of your skin is much less dependent on what you put on the outside. Far more important is what you’re doing to nourish the inside.
Of course, proper hydration is vital. It is also important to get sufficient high-quality protein and healthy fats. But when it comes to wrinkles, the story goes a bit deeper...
Your skin has a unique matrix structure that gives it elasticity and tone in our youth. In this network are numerous players, including three which play starring roles:
1. Collagen: Known as the “beauty protein”, collagen is the main structural protein of connective tissue. The amino acids glycine and proline are its principal components.
2. Elastin: As the name suggests, it provides skin with its elasticity, allowing it to snap back when pinched or pulled. Elastin has the ability to sustain "mechanical resilience" - meaning that it can extend and recoil billions of times. Researchers believe that it is the unique cross-linking of glycine, proline, leucine and valine, that give elastin this property.
3. Proteoglycans: These compounds are made of proteins and sugars. They are designed to attract and retain water. Proteoglycans weave around the collagen network, giving it tensile structure.
A strong network that’s well-hydrated and elastic results in a “plump” fresh-looking complexion.
And here’s where gelatin comes in…
Glycine & Proline – The Common Dominators For a Beautiful Complexion
As you just read, producing and preserving our collagen and elastin are essential for a strongmatrix that gives skin a smooth and youthful appearance. And the two key amino acids for building and maintaining collagen and elastin are: glycine and proline.
And can you guess the food richest in glycine and proline? That’s right. Gelatin.
It’s no wonder that anti-aging specialists are recommending gelatin to their patients and clients. It works.
Julia March, a bone broth advocate and well-known therapist to Hollywood celebrities says:
"My clients see less inflammation, more glow and more toned skin when they drink it. It repairs, strengthens, rejuvenates and heals.”
Making Wrinkle-Fighting Gelatan Recipes
Drinking bone broth daily – made from grass-fed, pastured soup bones, feet and backs – is the best way to get more healing gelatin in your diet. Slow-cooking or pressure cooking meat on the bone and enjoying the broth that accompanies the dish is another great way to sneak more of those wrinkle-fighting amino acids into your diet.
A great way to have this healing tonic on hand is to make a big batch and freeze it individual portions. The pressure cooker will help extract more gelatin from bones and connective tissues, making your money go a bit farther.
Even when you buy the highest quality ingredients to make bone broth, you’re still looking at cents per serving for Mother Nature’s original youth serum.
Are you drinking bone broth? We want to hear the many creative ways you’re incorporating this ancestral food into your modern healing diet.
ED NOTE – Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
1. Danile, Kaayla. Why Broth is Beautiful: Essential Roles for Proline, Glycine and Gelatin. Weston A. Price Foundation.
2. François-Xavier Maquart, Stéphane Brézillon, Yanusz Wegrowski. Proteoglycans in Skin Aging. Textbook of Aging Skin 2010, pp 109-120
3. Fred W Keeley, Catherine M Bellingham, and Kimberley A Woodhouse Elastin as a self-organizing biomaterial: use of recombinantly expressed human elastin polypeptides as a model for investigations of structure and self-assembly of elastin. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2002 Feb 28; 357(1418): 185–189.
4. Kielty CM, Sherratt MJ, Shuttleworth CA (July 2002). "Elastic fibres". J. Cell. Sci. 115 (Pt 14): 2817–28. PMID 12082143.
5. Carrino DA1, Onnerfjord P, Sandy JD, Cs-Szabo G, Scott PG, Sorrell JM, Heinegård D, Caplan AI. Age-related changes in the proteoglycans of human skin. Specific cleavage of decorin to yield a major catabolic fragment in adult skin. J Biol Chem. 2003 May 9;278(19):17566-72. Epub 2003 Mar 5.
6. Tzaphlidou M1. The role of collagen and elastin in aged skin: an image processing approach. Micron. 2004;35(3):173-7.
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
If your goal is to enjoy strength, health and clarity of mind well into your later years, one of your main objectives should be to maintain healthy blood sugar balance.
Of course, consistently high blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes. But it can also dramatically increase your risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer and accelerate the aging process (including adding wrinkles to your skin).
You probably already know that a low-carbohydrate diet is the key to keeping your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. But you might not know just how important it is to also consume adequate amounts of healthy fats.
Time and time again, diets that are rich in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates have been proven to produce healthier outcomes for diabetics.
But before we look deeper into the benefits of healthy fats, let’s take a look at…
How a Low Fat Diet Actually Promotes Diabetes
By eating a low-fat diet, calories that would normally come from fat and protein are displaced by carbohydrates.
A diet rich in carbs causes blood sugar levels to rise. This causes the pancreas to release insulin to escort the sugar from the blood into muscle cells to be used as fuel. But it doesn’t take long before your muscle cells have stored all the sugar they can hold. Then sugar gets shuttled to another place: your fat cells!
Not only does this promote an increase in body fat, it also promotes insulin resistance and diabetes.
Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels with Fat
Unlike carbohydrates, however, healthy fats have no appreciable effect on blood sugar levels. They are also vitally important for the absorption of important fat-soluble nutrients (including vitamins A, E, D & K) and for helping to reduce inflammation in the body.
But the type of fat is key.
Let’s take a look at the three healthy fats you should be eating to optimize blood sugar levels, achieve a healthy weight and ward off degenerative disease:
Omega-3 Fats: “Essential” for Blood Sugar Balance
In the United States, 80 percent of the fats we consume are omega-6, like those found primarily in vegetable and seed oils like corn, soybean and cottonseed oil. Omega-6-rich fats like these have been found to increase inflammation and other key markers of disease.
Omega-3 fats, on the other hand, provide potent anti-inflammatory action. They also improve blood sugar control, reduce triglycerides and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of death among individuals with diabetes.
One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that those with the highest blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – the two omega 3 fats found in fatty fish – were roughly 33% less likely to develop diabetes over the next decade than their counterparts with the lowest levels.
Another recent study published in the journal Lipids found that DHA and EPA omega-3 fats may help to lower body fat by encouraging fat-burning and reducing the number of fat cells. Even more impressive, the researchers found that omega-3 fats act at the genetic level – genetically programming the body to shed fat!
And the benefits of omega-3 fats don’t end there. Multiple studies have shown that these healthy fats dramatically reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke – the leading causes of death among diabetics. Take a look:
• A study in China that followed more than 18,000 men for 10 years found that those who consumed more than 7 ounces of fish or shellfish weekly reduced their risk of fatal heart attack by almost 60% compared to those who consumed less than two ounces weekly.
• In the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed more than 84,000 women for 16 years, death from heart disease was up to 34% lower in women who ate fish at least once a week compared to those who ate it less than once a month.
• In a study that followed more than 79,000 women for 14 years, the women who ate fish at least twice weekly had a 52% lower stroke risk than those who ate fish less than once monthly. In a similar study of 43,000 men, those who ate fish at least once a month reduced their risk of stroke by 43% over those who did not.
To get the diabetes-fighting, heart-healthy benefits of this fat, eat wild seafood – including wild salmon, wild halibut and wild shrimp and scallops – several times each week and consider taking a high quality fish oil supplement.
But omega 3 fats aren’t the only fats that benefit blood sugar and diabetes…
Monounsaturated Fats: Reduce Belly Fat and Blood Sugar
Monounsaturated fats (the best-known sources include avocados, olive oil and nuts) can also help balance blood sugar, banish belly fat and protect against heart disease.
A study published in Diabetes Care found that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats helped to reduce abdominal fat better than a carbohydrate-rich diet. When study subjects ate a carbohydrate enriched diet, belly fat increased. But when they ate a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, belly fat decreased (even without exercise!).
A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found MUFAs have a profound effect on blood sugar. After eating a monounsaturated-fat rich diet for six months, study participants saw fasting glucose drop by 3 percent, insulin fall by 9.4 percent and the insulin resistance score drop by 12 percent. All of these are key factors for warding off diabetes and other chronic disease.
While the traditionally recognized sources of monounsaturated fats should be enjoyed liberally (including macadamia nuts, olive oil, and avocados), there are other excellent sources of this healing fat that might surprise you, including duck fat and lard.
In fact, duck fat is 45% monounsaturated (with 34% saturated and 21% polyunsaturated). Lard is 41% monounsaturated (with 32% saturated and 27% polyunsaturated), making these rich and delicious culinary staples a must-have in your blood sugar-balancing culinary repertoire.
And last, but not least is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
CLA: The “Grass-Fed” Fat for Leanness
CLA is a powerful compound that has been found to benefit blood sugar levels and reduce leptin – a hormone that regulates body fat levels.
CLA is found exclusively in the meat and milk of grass-fed animals, including grass-fed beef, grass-fed cheese, butter and milk. It’s also found in high concentrations in grazing game animals such as elk and deer.
In recent years, CLA has been promoted for a wide range of benefits – from melting belly fat and lowering hunger hormones to balancing blood sugar and even reducing the risk of cancer.
• After an eight-week study, diabetics who added CLA to their diets not only had lower body mass and reduced blood sugar measurements, but also lower levels of leptin – a hormone that regulates fat levels.
• A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that CLA inhibits the body’s formation of fat while preserving muscle tissue. In the study, the group that supplemented with CLA lost an average of six pounds of fat, compared to the placebo group.
• A study published this month in Lipids in Health and Disease found that CLA-rich butter (from grass-fed cows) prevents high insulin levels and increased beneficial HDL cholesterol levels in animals.
CLA also has powerful antioxidant properties and is known to help reduce inflammation – two key factors for a healthy heart.
When it comes to balancing your blood sugar and achieving optimal health, focus on a low glycemic, low carbohydrate, whole foods diet that’s rich in the healthy fats noted above. You’ll get more culinary satisfaction from every bite…. while improving your health at the same time!
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
1. Luc Djoussé, Mary L Biggs, Rozenn N Lemaitre, et al. Plasma omega-3 fatty acids and incident diabetes in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr July 2011
2. Diana P Brostow, Andrew O Odegaard, Woon-Puay Koh,. Omega-3 fatty acids and incident type 2 diabetes: the Singapore Chinese Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr July 2011
3. Lesley V Campbell,Priscilla E Marmot, Jenny A Dyer, et al. The High—Monounsaturated Fat Diet as a Practical Alternative for NIPPM. Diabetes Care March 1994 vol. 17 no. 3 177-182
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5. Hodson L1, Karpe F. Is there something special about palmitoleate? Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013 Mar;16(2):225-31.
6. Walker KZ, O'Dea K. Monounsaturated fat rich diet prevents central body fat distribution and decreases postprandial adiponectin expression induced by a carbohydrate-rich diet in insulin-resistant subjects: response to Paniagua et al. Diabetes Care. 2007 Nov;30(11):e122; author reply e123.
7. Martínez-Augustin O1, Aguilera CM, Gil-Campos M, Sánchez de Medina F, Gil A. Bioactive anti-obesity food components. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2012 Jun;82(3):148-56.
8. Saha SS1, Ghosh M. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect of conjugated linolenic acid isomers against streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Br J Nutr. 2012 Sep 28;108(6):974-83.
9. Dhar P1, Chattopadhyay K, Bhattacharyya D, Roychoudhury A, Biswas A, Ghosh S Antioxidative effect of conjugated linolenic acid in diabetic and non-diabetic blood: an in vitro study. J Oleo Sci. 2006;56(1):19-24.
10. Hontecillas R1, Diguardo M, Duran E, Orpi M, Bassaganya-Riera J. Catalpic acid decreases abdominal fat deposition, improves glucose homeostasis and upregulates PPAR alpha expression in adipose tissue. Clin Nutr. 2008 Oct;27(5):764-72.
11. Close RN1, Schoeller DA, Watras AC, Nora EH. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation alters the 6-mo change in fat oxidation during sleep. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Sep;86(3):797-804.
12. de Almeida MM, Luquetti SC, Sabarense CM, Corrêa JO, Dos Reis LG, da Conceição EP, Lisboa PC, de Moura EG, Gameiro J, da Gama MA, Lopes FC, Garcia RM. Butter naturally enriched in cis-9, trans-11 CLA prevents hyperinsulinemia and increases both serum HDL cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels in rats. Lipids Health Dis. 2014 Dec 22;13(1):200. [Epub ahead of print]