Is All Sugar Bad for Me?

IS ALL SUGAR BAD?

Sugar is tricky. When you look at only good clinical studies (Randomized Double Blind Trials), sugar is only a problem in caloric excess. A lot of people try to argue for more, but the science isn’t there.

However, I think you can easily say that processed sugar in general is a big problem, based on those studies.
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Lemon Fried Avocado Recipe [Paleo, AIP]

lemon fried avocado paleo recipe

I was frying some eggs one day and pondering what to eat with my fried eggs when I saw some avocados in our fruit bowl.

I’d once come across a recipe for grilled avocados, so somehow my brain connected some dots and went:

Why not fry some avocado slices in coconut oil!

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What Does it Mean to Eat Seasonally, and Why is it Important?

What Does it Mean to Eat Seasonally, and Why is it Important?

Our ancestors ate whatever grew around them. It was all they had.

I, on the other hand, love being able to go to the grocery store and get whatever produce I want, no matter what time of year it is. I do NOT eat seasonally. (More on me in a moment…)
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What to Say Next Time Someone Claims that Beef Increases Greenhouse Gases

how to answer beef causes greenhouse gases

For the past few years, it’s really perturbed me every time I hear someone say or see someone write that beef cattle are contributing to global warming.

The argument I hear is that beef cattle release a lot of methane (a greenhouse gas) and thereby contribute to global warming.

The problem is that this argument is ridiculous, and it has been for a very long time. Fortunately, I’m at least seeing a couple articles starting to refute it, such as this one:
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How To Make Cashew Flour At Home

How To Make Cashew Flour At Home

Cashew flour is a great gluten-free, grain-free flour that can be used in place of other nut flours when baking or cooking.

You can purchase cashew flour from Trader Joe’s (review of it here) or you can get it on Amazon here, but it’s also super easy (and often cheaper) to make your own at home, and this post will show you just how easy it is (plus there’s a list of Paleo recipes using cashew flour at the bottom of this post)!

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Why is dairy not allowed on a Paleo diet?

Why is dairy not allowed on a Paleo diet?

Dairy is a confusing topic within the Paleo diet and there’s a lot of debate still about it, so I hope this article will clear that up for you if you’re confused, or just skip down to the section listing the types of allowed dairy if that’s all you’re after.

Why Is Dairy Not Allowed On A Paleo Diet?

Let me start by stating that dairy is a highly nutritious (and delicious) food source, and humans have consumed animal milk for millennia. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you to eat though!

So how do you determine if dairy is right for you??

Like many people, the reason why you’re going Paleo is probably to lose weight or heal a health condition like digestive issues, autoimmune, inflammation, or controlling blood sugar, and unfortunately, eating dairy typically does not help you achieve any of those goals!

In particular, dairy has been closely linked to digestive and inflammatory issues for many people (e.g., sinus problems, joint pain, acne, IBS, bloating, gas).

So while dairy (especially in the full-fat, fermented, or raw forms) may be good for a very healthy individual, it’s generally not great for most people with existing health or weight loss issues.

What’s Wrong With Dairy Products?

There are 3 main reasons for avoiding dairy if you have health issues (please share the infographics below):

Why is dairy not allowed on a Paleo diet?

1. Lactose

As Jeremy has written before in this article, many people of Asian or African heritage (plus a lot of other people) are lactose-intolerant. This just means you’re missing an enzyme (lactase) to break down the lactose sugar. So the sugar continues down into your intestines where bacteria in your gut feed on it and cause digestive discomfort (e.g., gas, bloating, diarrhea).

Even if you don’t experience digestive discomfort (I did a lactose test and didn’t notice anything), it’s still best to eliminate dairy for 30-60 days and then reintroduce it to see how you feel. After I reintroduced dairy, I found that I definitely could not tolerate it!

According to Chris Kresser, it may be possible to cure lactose intolerance through probiotic treatment, but of course, lactose is not the only thing you need to worry about in dairy products.

Another issue with lactose is that it (along with other components of milk) tends to raise your blood sugar levels higher than you would think given that milk has a low glycemic index (GI), and this could be a problem for you if you have blood sugar issues.

2. Casein Protein

Casein is a type of protein found in dairy (different to whey protein that you might be familiar with). While casein allergies and intolerances are starting to be diagnosed, most people with mild intolerances typically don’t know!

And mild casein intolerances often show up in joint pain, digestive issues, and foggy brain. Given that casein intolerances are difficult to diagnose, even Mark Sisson who generally advocates for eating dairy products suggests doing a 30-day dairy elimination test.

3. Whey Protein

Whey is another type of protein found in dairy, and you’ve probably come across it in protein shakes. However, whey intolerances or allergies are very rare.

The main issue with whey protein that has been reported is the fact that it can raise your blood sugar higher than expected unless you take it with other foods, so if you have blood sugar issues, you might want to forgo the whey protein shake or else add some fats (like coconut milk) into the shake as well to help lower that blood sugar spike.

Cutting Out Dairy Cured My [Fill In The Blank]

When I first heard about the possibility that I was lactose or casein intolerant, I was highly incredulous! I had drank milk my entire life without ill effects so I must clearly be ok.

If this is your reaction, then please please still give the elimination test a try. All you have to do is forgo all dairy products for 30-60 days and then reintroduce them to see if you experience any negative symptoms. You might discover that dairy was causing you an issue you never even realized you had!

There are tons of anecdotal stories about how giving up dairy can cause huge beneficial changes in your health. The most common stories I’ve heard include sinus problems disappearing (this one seems to be pretty common), acne clearing away, no more digestive issues, and decreased arthritis and joint pain. Just read through the comments on these two pages (here and here) if you want proof of these stories.

It All Comes Down To Gut Health

Why is dairy not allowed on a Paleo diet?


As Chris Kresser explains in this article, “[i]f someone has compromised intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut”, it’s more likely that their immune system will respond to potentially allergenic components in milk.”

So if you have any digestive problems or if you’re allergic to gluten, then you’re probably not going to tolerate dairy products all that well!

Why Does The Primal Diet Allow Dairy Then?

Mark Sisson’s Primal diet permits dairy, and this is often considered the main difference between the Paleo and Primal diets (see this article about Primal vs Paleo). So, why would Mark allow dairy if it’s so problematic?

Personally, I think Mark is very fair in his treatment of dairy – as Mark says, dairy is very nutritious and very delicious, and we should only avoid it if we need to. Unfortunately, many of us don’t tolerate dairy well due to existing health conditions, and Mark recommends testing to see how well each of us tolerates dairy.

What Types of Dairy Are Allowed On A Paleo Diet?

So, if you do tolerate dairy ok and want to eat it, then the following forms of dairy are best if you can get it!

Please note that we generally recommend everyone stop eating all forms of dairy for 30-60 days initially. Then you can re-introduce dairy in the allowed forms listed below to see if you react to it at all.

dairy products allowed on a Paleo diet


Raw or Fermented Dairy – e.g., raw milk (if you’re worried about the safety of raw milk, read about this new study), raw cheeses, yoghurt, kefir, and ghee (which may be ok for you without eliminating it first, but there are suggestions that many ghee brands still contain a fair amount of casein and lactose in them).

Note that you should pick the full-fat dairy option for all the above products and make sure they don’t have added sugars (many yoghurts and kefirs have added sugars in them)!

Why Is Raw Dairy Better Than Pasteurized?

For many people, the thought of consuming raw dairy products is terrifying (my mum is one of those people), so why should you overcome that fear if you’re looking to consume dairy? What’s so great about raw milk??

Most milk you buy in the stores is pasteurized, and pasteurization destroys all the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that could help you digest the milk. Quite a few people (including Chris Kresser) have found that they can tolerate raw milk just fine whereas they can’t drink pasteurized milk.

However, finding raw dairy products can be tough as it’s still illegal in many countries as well as US states. California is one of the few states in the US where you can get it in stores! And if you live in New York, you can often find co-ops to get raw milk from places like Amish farms in Pennsylvania.

So, Should You Eat Dairy?

As with everything, this is your life and your choice. We highly recommend giving up dairy for 30-60 days first to see how you tolerate it, but dairy is a super nutritious food source, and if you tolerate it well, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue to eat it.

Just don’t fool yourself into thinking you tolerate dairy without doing the elimination test first!

Images: Copyright © Dmytro Sukharevskyy from Fotolia

How to Use This One Fruit to Reduce Your Cholesterol

avocado to reduce cholesterol

To be fair, I think that concern over cholesterol is fairly overblown. It’s not that it’s never a problem, but it tends to be more of a symptom of other underlying issues, rather than a problem in and of itself.

However, I know that most folks are still concerned when they see their cholesterol start to creep up. If that’s you, then you’ll likely be interested in this recent study.

(No matter what, the resulting advice is still good for anyone…)
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Paleo Barbacoa Recipe – Guest Post

paleo barbacoa recipe

Sydney is the cook and writer behind the blog Paleoptimistic as well as the @paleoptimistic Instagram and Twitter accounts. She strives to put an optimistic spin on life whether it be teaching Spinning® classes or concocting something yummy in the kitchen. She started Paleo with her fiancé to help him conquer his Crohn’s Disease (which is currently in remission thanks to Paleo!), as well as to help them both treat their ADHD without medication. For more inspiration and motivation on following a healthy lifestyle, check out Sydney’s blog (paleoptimistic.com) and follow her on Instagram and Twitter (@paleoptimistic)!

This Paleo barbacoa recipe is simply divine – you can make this barbacoa recipe with venison, which is what Sydney used, or you can use another meat of your choice (Chipotle serves a beef barbacoa)!

There is also a recipe below for a sweet potato rice side dish, and she recommends serving the barbacoa with the sweet potato rice, some sauteed vegetables, and some guacamole.

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Is Alcohol OK to Drink on a Paleo Diet?

Is Alcohol OK to drink on a paleo diet

No.

I’ve said various things in the past about alcohol, and you’ll hear different answers from other people who talk about eating a Paleo diet.

But I don’t care anymore. Alcohol is not healthy, despite what many people say to the contrary.
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Garlic Ghee Pan-Fried Cod Recipe

paleo Garlic Ghee pan-fried cod recipe

If you think garlic butter tastes good, then you’ll love garlic ghee too! This is a really simple and delicious way to cook fresh fish filets. I love it with cod, but you can use this recipe with other fish too, like haddock or tilapia.

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Review of Primal Kitchen Mayo

Review of primal kitchen mayo

Mayo (short for mayonnaise)…a creamy combination of eggs and oil in an emulsified state. It’s delicious and an amazing addition to many dishes.

So, what’s wrong with the regular mayo you buy in the stores?

The main issue is that they use bad oils (non-Paleo oils that oxidize easily and/or are high in omega-6 fats). For example, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise contains “canola oil” or “soybean oil.”

primal kitchen mayo mark sisson

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The #1 Cause of Acne and the Smart Way to Treat It

The #1 Cause of acne

There’s a lot of money being made in treating skin conditions.

From acne to psoriasis to rosacea to dandruff, skin conditions are big business. Your local grocery store quite possibly carries more skin care products than vegetables.

Having a lot of money around an issue like this is both good and bad. Take this recent article, for instance:
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Foam Rollers Help Decrease Arterial Stiffness

Foam Rollers Help Decrease Arterial

I found out about foam rollers about 6 or 7 years ago from Mark Sisson’s blog. It was actually the first post I ever read by Mark.

And just this past week, he pointed me toward an incredibly interesting study on Foam Rollers:

Acute Effects of Self-Myofascial Release Using a Foam Roller on Arterial Function

If you don’t know, a foam roller is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a cylindrical piece of foam that you use to “roll” many parts of your body. Most athletes use foam rollers, and for good reason. It’s an excellent way to massage out your muscles, reduce soreness and stiffness, and gradually improve flexibility in some areas.

CLICK HERE to Download Our Paleo Money-Saving Guide

But the study above seems to indicate that foam rollers are also good for your heart health. When it comes to your heart, one of the primary dangers is hardening and stiffening of the arteries. But in the study, researchers found that people who regularly used a foam roller had significantly lower stiffness in their arteries.

The study doesn’t propose much in the way of causal mechanisms, so there are various possible explanations. However, given how cheap foam rollers are and how easy they are to use at home, what’s the downside to trying?

Easy Paleo AIP Breaded Fish Recipe (Using Cod)

Paleo AIP Breaded Baked Cod Recipe

This is the AIP (autoimmunne-friendly) version of the regular breaded fish recipe (posted here). This recipe is nut-free, dairy-free, and egg-free, but it still tastes great.  I used cod here, but you can use other types of fish instead.

Enjoy with the garlic ghee sauce – it’s tasty, really easy to make, and highly nutritious! This is a great way to get more fish into your diet.
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