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!
I created this Paleo stuffing recipe several years ago and totally forgot about it until recently (and that’s why the photos don’t look as polished as some of my newer recipes).
What’s so special about this stuffing recipe is that it has sweet potatoes and liver in it for added nutrition, but you can barely even taste the liver in it (in case you’re worried). In fact, this recipe was so good, we ate it by itself as an entree!
I hope you enjoy it for Thanksgiving or just for dinner one night.
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).
We’re quite a ways past the days of arguing whether or not carbs are evil. It’s pretty clear by now that there are healthy carbs (sweet potatoes, fruits, etc.) and unhealthy junk (breads, pastas, pastries, donuts, etc.).
But from anecdotal experience alone, it’s become pretty clear that some folks just don’t handle eating carbs as well as other folks. Even if they’re carbs from whole foods.
And in fact, this may be due to a genetic predisposition:
Variety is always touted as an excellent thing, whether we’re talking about food or anything else.
But when it comes to food, there’s a mounting body of scientific literature that points to variety (in certain contexts) being a big problem. In particular, there is a phenomenon in every human known as sensory-specific satiety. This means that we get full faster when eating the same food, rather than a combination of different foods.
This 2009 study examined this very phenomenon:
The reasons we overeat are numerous and varied. But obesity researchers almost universally agree on one of the biggest reasons: food reward.
The (oversimplified) idea behind food reward is that certain foods cause us to crave them. This is different than a food simply tasting good. For instance, I think pork belly is delicious. But once I’ve had a reasonably-sized meal, I have no desire to eat more pork belly. And I never go to bed craving pork belly.
On the other hand, a chocolate chip cookie sounds good to me just about any time. It doesn’t matter if I’ve just had a huge meal – a chocolate chip cookie will still be tempting.
The reason this occur is generally due to a specific combination of fat, sugar, and salt that our bodies have a hard time resisting. This combination never naturally occurs. It’s only something we create in modern foods.
The 2009 study above didn’t really address the issue of food reward, but it addressed a related reason that we overeat. As I mentioned above, it dealt with the concept of sensory-specific satiety.
In the study, the researchers fed the participants in the study fries and brownies. But the fries and brownies were fed to the participants either with or without condiments (ketchup, mustard, and vanilla cream). And in one circumstance, participants were given fries and brownies without condiments and then with condiments.
What the researchers found is that the participants would eat much greater quantities of both the fries and brownies when the condiments were available.
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, since you probably think that ketchup, mustard, and vanilla cream make fries and brownies taste better. But while that might be true, what this study shows is that the participants got tired of the foods (even though fries and brownies are generally pretty addictive). However, once new flavors were introduced, the participants suddenly weren’t as full and were able to eat more of the fries and brownies.
What’s the takeaway here?
Our bodies know when we’ve had enough natural foods (foods that haven’t been combined with too many other natural or processed foods). But when we start engineering and combining foods, our bodies aren’t able to properly control the amount we eat.
Images: Copyright (c) Giuseppe Porzani from Fotolia
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.
Leslie Auman is the owner and founder of The Whole Life Balance. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Check out her Paleo Chocolate Pistachio Truffles Recipe here.
We asked her some questions about what got her into Paleo and why she enjoys helping people on a Paleo lifestyle.
1. What got you interested in the Paleo lifestyle?
I discovered the Paleo diet on Pinterest almost two years ago. This was before “recommended for you” pins, so someone that I followed had repinned the pins I saw about it. I read a little bit about it and learned about how it cuts out all processed food and focuses on real foods like meats, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. It was appealing to me, as I could guess at the benefits of cutting out processed junk food. I decided to give it a try and never looked back!
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:
This is a guest post by David Siler.
“I’m going to starve if I have to go 10 hours without meat!”
My wife and I, with our granddaughter were getting ready to drive to Oregon from central California, to visit family. My wife was putting some fruit and veggies in a small ice chest for our trip. That was fine for them, but I just don’t feel like I’ve eaten unless I’ve had some protein, preferably a nice, juicy, piece of meat!
As it turns out, my fears were unfounded.
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?