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:
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!
This coffee is what I’ve been loving recently! And I’m showing you how to make it in my very first video on YouTube – I even designed my channel art last night (*feeling smug*).
Please subscribe to my YouTube channel here or click the link the video – I have more videos in the pipeline, including one on my favorite salad.
1. Start slow – by this, I mean that if you’re not used to eating much fat, then I would put in just 1 teaspoon of ghee + 1 teaspoon of coconut oil initially until your body adjusts after a few weeks.
2. Use good ghee – this is the ghee I use (it tastes absolutely AMAZING – in fact, I love licking my spoon after scooping the ghee out)! Pure Indian Foods Grassfed Organic Cultured Ghee
You might be wondering why cultured ghee, so this is what Pure Indian Foods say is special about “Cultured Ghee” as opposed to “normal ghee:”
I hate how some people think that Paleo is not delicious to eat.
Have you ever had people ask you: “What do you eat if you don’t eat bread?”
I get asked this a lot, and my reaction is usually a fake laugh while inside my head, I’m thinking “ARE YOU CRAZY??”
But they’re not crazy, because we’re so bombarded by the food industry with crappy food that we forget what truly good food really is. One of my first reactions to Paleo many moons ago was: “What can you eat if there’s no cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner?”
I was faced again with this issue when planning my wedding (which is this Saturday). I have 60 non-Paleo family and friends attending, and they’re probably all wondering “ARE THEY GOING TO SERVE ME JUST BACON AND SWEET POTATOES?” (That’s a pretty delicious image, but not really wedding style.)
So, I had to go in search of a caterer who would cook a scrumptiously delicious and visibly beautiful wedding meal. Many of you probably think that was seriously difficult. After all, it’s hard to even find a single Paleo restaurant to eat at!
But it was surprisingly not hard at all, and Joshua Charles is the man who is making my wedding so special. I can’t thank him and Marian enough for making our Paleo Wedding dream become reality. (His team is even going to cook EVERYTHING in olive oil, coconut oil, or butter/ghee!)
In case you don’t believe me, here is the menu and some photos from the tasting (courtesy of my good friends, Caroline and Wayne, who did the tasting in California for us while we were still in NYC).
They’re in recipes, on restaurant menus, in stores, and on Facebook. It’s like the world went quail egg crazy!
Are they healthier? Do they taste better? What is it???
So, I thought I’d cook them to see what all the fuss was about.
Along the way, I did some digging (on the internet) and found these 3 little known facts about Quail Eggs.
Check out this easy quail egg salad as well.