You can stuff bacon into practically any food and end up with a more delicious version of that food. From chocolate to skewered chicken, bacon makes almost everything better (bacon jam, anyone?).
And yet, you’ve probably heard for most of your life that bacon is a heart attack waiting to happen. Luckily, we now know that’s just not true.
But the real question…
If food were a game of hide and seek, canola oil would be just about the worst player ever.
Canola oil is absolutely everywhere you look. From mayonnaise to nuts to cooked vegetables – canola oil is in just about every food you can imagine. [We found this new mayo that uses avocado oil instead of canola oil – it’s sold here.]
Canola oil is a bit of a unique substance. We know that sunflower oil comes from sunflower seeds and olive oil from olives, so naturally, canola oil comes from canola seeds, right? As it turns out, there is no such thing as a canola seed. Canola oil is made from rapeseed (a very bright, yellow flower), and its name comes from a hybrid of the phrase “Canada oil.” It used to be called LEAR (Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed).
Many mainstream scientists tout the benefits of canola oil for lowering the risk for heart disease. They often point to its 2:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which is a fairly good ratio.
However, that’s a bit misleading.
One comment I often get from people who are just starting to clean up their diets is that they miss crunchy foods.
And it’s true.
When you cut out all chips, crackers, cookies, and other grain-driven foods, the only crunch you’re generally left with is raw veggies and some fruits.
The answer to today’s Is it Paleo is going to be pretty obvious, but it’s worth talking about because it’s easy to forget just how many foods are made from processed ingredients that wreak havoc on our bodies.
A reader recently asked me whether cacao butter is good for cooking.
I didn’t really know the answer off the top of my head, because I’d never actually thought about using cacao butter to cook.
I love cacao, but I guess I thought my food would taste funny.
Anyway, I decided to do a bit of research…
Growing up, there were few foods I disliked more than broccoli. (Collard greens was one of them – I just couldn’t stand the smell when I was a kid.)
Fast-forward a couple decades, and I want to put broccoli and collard greens in everything. My mom would be proud, except that she doesn’t actually like broccoli. Oh well.
Your own mom might have tried to feed broccoli to you as a kid, and it turns out that she had good reason to do so—broccoli is a true superfood. This famous green has been linked to a variety of positive health effects in nearly all of the body’s systems, from the circulatory and immune systems to mental health.
Just what sort of healthful benefits is broccoli packing in those green bunches?
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)!
One of my biggest weaknesses is chocolate. This probably started off during childhood…
I lived a few miles away from the Cadbury’s chocolate factory (which some claim is similar to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory), and ended up eating quite a lot of Cadbury’s chocolates. (The original story by Roald Dahl was partially inspired by Cadbury’s.)
But this post is not about me or my chocolates. This post is all about Devin Plaut and his drive to make delicious Paleo chocolate truffles.
I use chocolate and cocoa/cacao powder in many of my recipes, so this question of whether there’s any difference between them has come up several times. This post will explain the answer.
Sometimes you just need bread crumbs for a recipe, and that can be tough when you’re trying to stick to a Paleo diet.
That was the case when I was making meatloaf. If you don’t use bread crumbs in this meatloaf recipe, it’d just be this dense chunk of meat (not very tasty!).
So, how do you make Paleo bread crumbs fast?
I love cooking with a ton of spices – it makes the food flavorful, more varied, and just amazingly delicious! So, with the ton of spices I had in my cupboard already, it only made sense that I would start making my own blends. I made this Paleo Cajun Seasoning to go with the Popcorn Shrimp (recipe here).
I was at one of Nom Nom Paleo’s book signings recently, and an audience member asked what was the best way of preventing egg muffins from sticking to the muffin pan. Diane Rodgers and Melissa Joulwan were also there, and some interesting answers came up.
I had my own thoughts about what would work to prevent sticking, but I went ahead and did some experiments (i.e., I made some egg muffins under various conditions)! And since egg muffins are a fantastic pre-prepared Paleo breakfast/snack, I thought I’d share my findings here so no one has to scrub their muffin pan again.
Below are my 3 best methods for preventing egg muffins from sticking to the muffin pan:
I love cooking. It keeps me healthier, it means that pretty much everything I eat is delicious, and it’s fun.
But this wasn’t always the case. I didn’t always like cooking, and, in fact, it was only a few years ago when my most common cooking experience consisted of throwing some noodles into some water. (Not exactly healthy or delicious.)
That all changed when I decided to get serious about being Paleo. It wasn’t easy at first, especially since I had a busy job. But I’ve learned a lot, and I can now say that learning to cook well is totally worth it, both in terms of health and taste.
Here are my 3 secret steps to becoming a better Paleo cook:
A lot of Paleo recipes call for coconut products in them, and while coconut allergies are very rare, it does occur for some people. If you cannot eat coconut products, then here are some ways of modifying Paleo recipes to avoid coconut.
Except in cases where coconut is used just as a topping, coconut is often present in Paleo recipes as coconut flour. Coconut flour is a binding agent that holds foods – especially baked goods – together.
There are a number of alternatives like almond flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot powder, and chia flour. Most other “Paleo” flours will work as a substitute, although it may require some experimenting, because different flours cook at different temperatures, dry out at different rates, and bind either better or worse.
You might have seen coconut oil sold many places or mentioned on websites and wondered what the heck you should be using it for.
Well, I used to think coconut oil was just for cooking until my friend pointed out that her grandmother had used it as a hair product forever. Of course, from then on, I started encountering different uses for coconut oil everywhere – I even read about it being used as a sun-burn cream in one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books (you know, the guy that wrote The Great Gatsby and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).
So, to help you start using coconut oil, here are 67 of my favorite uses – and to prove I’m not making all this up, I’ve provided links to some excellent skin care recipes, food recipes, as well as scientific studies and testimonials.
Now, go get yourself a jar of coconut oil and start using it!
And if you’re looking for even more info – here’s 9 ‘Secrets’ Why You Should ALWAYS Eat Coconut Oil.
1. To cook with instead of vegetable or seed oils. Coconut oil naturally has a high smoking point, is highly stable due to its high saturated fat content, and imparts very little “coconut” flavor to your foods. I use it to cook pretty much everything – check my recipes if you don’t believe me!
2. In your coffee/tea instead of creamer. Yes – that’s right, use coconut oil, not coconut milk! In case you’re confused about this, here’s my video showing you exactly how to make it.
3. To wash your face with instead of soap. It sounds strange, but oil washes impurities out better than soap and it doesn’t dry your skin! It takes a week to get used to it – the skin on your face is so used to being dried out by soap and facial cleansers that it’s producing extra oil to counteract it. So, it’ll take a little bit of time for your skin to stop producing all that extra oil. Be patient – it’s worth it!
4. To brush your teeth with. Coconut oil has many antimicrobial properties which can make it good at killing off bacterial in your mouth. To make your own toothpaste, simply add 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil (melt it in the microwave very briefly so that it’s softened) to 2-3 Tablespoons of baking soda. Mix to form a paste and spread on your toothbrush. (The baking soda whitens your teeth.)
Here’s my video of a coconut and olive oil blend toothpaste recipe.
5. For oil pulling. This is similar to the previous use in that it helps with oral hygiene. Oil pulling has long been a popular practice in India and with Ayurvedic practitioners. It involves swishing oil around your mouth for 20 minutes before spitting it out. The idea behind the practice is to remove bacteria from your teeth and mouth, which can then alleviate various other illnesses (including arthritis and fatigue). This practice has enjoyed renewed attention in recent years due to Bruce Fife’s popular book, Pulling Therapy.
6. As a body moisturizer. Our skin absorbs whatever creams we put on it (think of all the topical pain relief medications that work because it gets absorbed through our skin). So, instead of pumping random chemicals from your moisturizers into your skin, many people (including myself) choose to use coconut oil instead. I like to use it at the end of my shower so that it’s more easily absorbed and before my skin has had a chance to dry out.
7. As a sun-screen. This is not a high SPF sunscreen, but a 2013 study found that coconut oil absorbs 20% in the UVB region (this equates to something under SPF 10 – there’s disagreement as to the exact number). So definitely use other forms of natural sun-protection when you’re out.
8.As a hair conditioner. I started using coconut oil as a hair conditioner a while ago, coupling it with diluted apple cider vinegar as the “shampoo.” Don’t use too much and just rub it on the ends of your hair so you don’t end up with oily hair!
9. As a supplement. It’s suggested that taking coconut oil as a supplement can help with weight loss and increase your “good” cholesterol. I think it’s just good in general – it’s not a magic pill!
10. As a massage oil. Coconut oil doesn’t get absorbed into your skin quickly, which ensures your skin stays slippery for longer thereby making it perfect for you to enjoin a long massage!
11. To reduce scars. I’ve never tried this myself – but some people seem to have had great success with it.
12. To treat lice. Apply it to your hair. There have been studies showing it is effective.
If you’re like me, then there are a lot of periods of your life when things get crazy hectic, and I mean really crazy hectic!
During those periods (e.g., finals at school, when all your kids are suddenly at home during the summer, or when work is overbearing), what you eat becomes less of a concern as Everything Else takes over!
I definitely recall that when my workload at the law firm increased, my diet would take a dramatic turn for the worse (let’s not even talk about my sleep and exercise!). Suddenly, the vending machine would unceasingly call my name and every dish on every take-out menu would make my mouth water.
I thought those stressful times were over when I quit the law firm life a month ago, but then the wedding planning kicked in. I’m sure anyone who has ever planned their own wedding will sympathize with me when I say that the week leading up to the wedding was definitely a bit stressful (and that’s a huge understatement)!
And to have to cook during that week for the entire family?? Hell, NO!
Thankfully, I had a system in place already which made eating healthy and Paleo for that week a breeze, and I’m going to share with you that amazing 3-step system in this post.
And don’t worry, I’m not just giving you some general fluff advice like “remember to plan your meals in advance” – these are concrete step-by-step details!