If there’s one characteristic that most modern diets share, it’s the push for whole grains.
Major organizations like Mayo Clinic and the American Diabetes Association insist that opting for whole grains is a more nutritious, heart-healthy option for managing weight and insulin resistance.
However, we know that most diets have gotten a few things wrong…
When a cereal grain (wheat, corn, barley, rye, etc.) is growing in the field, it already counts as a “whole grain”—that is, it has all of its parts intact. The parts of a grain—the bran (skin), germ (seed embryo), and endosperm (the germ’s food source)—are all kept together when they are harvested and turned into food.
This is different from refined grains, where only the endosperm is kept. If you think about refined grains, then, you’ll notice that we’re not actually eating the actual grain (the germ) at all!
Apparently, Native Americans used bury their dead along with Butternut Squash in order to provide nourishment to the deceased on their final journey.
I don’t think that happens too often any more, but if you’re not very familiar with butternut squash, I’d encourage you to work on changing that.
In Paleo-land, sweet potatoes are hugely popular, and I completely understand why. I love sweet potatoes, after all. But if you want a bit of variety from your starchy tubers, one excellent choice is butternut squash.
When Louise and I roast veggies, butternut squash is usually one of the first veggies we choose. It’s sweet (but not too sweet) and subtly complex.
In addition, Butternut Squash is versatile and can be prepared many ways, and it’s relatively inexpensive.
However, there are many other reasons that butternut squash is an amazing addition to a healthy diet—its nutrient profile is well-rounded, for instance.
As recently as 3 years ago, I had zero idea what kefir was.
You may or may not be in the same boat, but I couldn’t even pronounce the word. (If you’re wondering, it’s pronounced kuh-FEER.)
Kefir is a type of carbonated dairy product that has been around for a very long time.
Evidence shows that people have been fermenting drinks for thousands of years (around 5000 BC for the Babylonians), and kefir is one such drink.
Heralded around Europe and Asia for its healing properties in centuries past, kefir can be made from the milk of any ruminant (any animal that does not completely chew the vegetation that it eats, including goats, cows, sheep, and other milk-producing animals).
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.
Fun fact: The avocado was at one time called an “alligator pear” for its dark, rough skin.
Another fun fact: Later, sailors began using the creamy insides of the avocado as a kind of topping on biscuits called “midshipman’s butter.”
Regardless of what you choose to call it, there’s no doubt that the avocado is an awesome addition to any meal.
It seems like a silly question, right? But it’s an interesting one, nonetheless.
This is a guest post from our friend Joel Runyon, who runs ImpossibleHQ.com. You can find the original article here.
You can’t escape it.
Even after you cut out the usual culprits – desserts, candy, and simple carbohydrates – there are still plenty of places sugars manage to sneak into.
It’s simply everywhere.
A good Paleo diet cuts out most processed foods and sugars, which sounds fairly straightforward, but when you realize how prevalent sugar is in different types of food, it’s not always easy – especially if you have a penchant for it. After all, sugar has some of the addictive properties of crack.
The question that comes up a lot is:
When it comes to convenience, it’s tough to beat deli meat.
Ham, turkey, salami, prosciutto, roast beef, and dozens of other options are sold in almost every grocery store, and they require no preparation whatsoever to eat.
Traditionally, lunches and sandwiches rely heavily on such cold cuts, but there are a ton of popular news articles that paint these meats as incredibly unhealthy.
There are a lot of reasons bandied about as to why deli meats may be unhealthy. I’ll quickly look at them one-by-one:
Let’s face it—sweet things taste good.
And that’s no surprise; primal humans often found that sweet things like fruits were packed with vitamins and minerals that gave them the energy to survive. In addition, sweet usually meant “safe” when it came to food in the wild.
Because of this, people are somewhat hard-wired to enjoy a sweet treat.
Nowadays, the Western diet is jam packed with sugar in every food you can think of. The difference, though, is that where there’s sugar now, there’s not necessarily nourishment (nor is most processed food safe if you take a long-term view).
But what about artificial sweeteners? No or very few calories, so what’s the harm, right?
Soy scares me more than a little.
Not because it’s unhealthy or anything – that’s a given.
It scares me because it’s used to make fake versions of almost everything.
Cheese, milk, noodles, shrimp. It’s just weird.
Going out on a limb here, but I’m probably going to upset some vegans…
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…
I visited Japan for the first time in 2014, and one of the things I was blown away by was the food.
The sushi was way better than I even expected, and I generally ate tons of great food for cheaper than I expected.
But one of my favorite discoveries – and stick with me here – was sardines.
I know!! Who would have thought?
But in the town that is near Mount Fuji, they’re famous for their young sardines, also known as “Shirasu”. You can buy them fresh or dried (we went for fresh), and they’re absolutely delicious.
As it turns out, I’d spent my whole life being afraid that I’d hate this little fish, only to find out just how great they are.
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?
Want to cut back on calories?
Drink a diet soda.
Want to get away from sugar?
Drink a diet soda.
People have been debating over the health effects of the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas—sucralose, stevia, and aspartame—for quite a while now.
So should you use diet soda as a way to curb not-so-wholesome sugar cravings, or should you avoid diet soda forever?