Is Monk Fruit Paleo?

Is Monk Fruit paleo?

If you’re anything like most people, you’ll read the title and think, “Oh, monk fruit. That’s great! …What’s a monk fruit?”

Monk fruit has been a hot topic in the Paleo community recently, as it may have potential as a new (and possibly Paleo!) sweetener. Monk fruit, also sometimes known as luo han guo, is a unique plant grown only in China. It got its name from the Buddhist Luo Han monks, who were some of the first to cultivate the fruit hundreds of years ago.

But with all of the toxic compounds and negative side effects associated with other artificial sweeteners, can monk fruit really be a part of the Paleo diet? Or is it just another Paleo no-go?

What you should know about monk fruit

Many people who have tasted monk fruit say that it tastes like chocolate or molasses, and its flavor isn’t the only thing that has people talking. The sweetness in monk fruit comes from a type of glycoside called mogrosides, and these mogrosides are full of antioxidants that help the body function healthily. Additionally, monk fruit helps to reduce oxidative stress on the body, so your body receives the support that it needs to function at full potential.

One study on the effects of monk fruit on the body showed no toxic effects; in fact, the animal subjects were given large amounts of the luo han guo sweetener (3g per kg of their body weight—on a 10lb dog, that’s 30g of sweetener!), yet they showed no ill effects and did not gain weight.

So then, what negative effects does monk fruit have? Aside from the rarity of its habitat (only in Guangxi, China), Paleo experts agree—it’s great!

What do other Paleo gurus say?

Mark Sisson says: “Legend has it that the monk fruit vine sustains its caretakers by enveloping them and transmitting pure life-force directly into their hearts. And if you have the climate to grow monk fruit, you might try setting up that whole symbiotic relationship/lifeforce exchange thing (perfect for people who telecommute). I’d say it’s worth a shot if you’re looking for a non-caloric, natural sweetener. Verdict: Primal.”

Jane Barthelemy says: “Luo Han Guo is a 100% natural Paleo sweetener. I suggest caution in buying Luo Han Guo as it is often mixed with other ingredients such as cane sugar or dextrose (a corn sugar), [but] I believe it to be a very good concentrated sweetener.”

So is monk fruit Paleo?


Monk fruit is a promising addition to the Paleo diet, offering sweetness and nutrition all in the same package. Be careful when buying in order to avoid monk fruit mixed with artificial sweeteners like corn.

Some Paleo experts suggest Swanson Vitamins as a good supplier of high-quality monk fruit extract, and if you want to powder it yourself, ask any Chinese medicine herbalist for Plum Flower brand momordica fruit.

Images: Copyright (c) dolphfyn –

The Microscopic Danger Lurking in Grains and Peanuts

the microscopic danger grains peanuts

Maybe you’ve already given up corn, wheat, peanuts, or and other grains.

After all, they’re not very nutritious to begin with.  

But if you are still eating any of those foods, here is a bit more cause for concern:

Masked Mycotoxins Are Efficiently Hydrolyzed by Human Colonic Microbiota Releasing Their Aglycones

What Are Mycotoxins?

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How to Gain Weight on a Paleo Diet

How To Gain weight on a paleo diet

If you’ve ever asked this question (or if you’re wondering right now), then you, my friend, are in a generally enviable position.

Unlike the rest of us, you probably have very little trouble losing weight, and of the 2, it’s almost always easier to gain weight than to lose it.

And doing while Paleo might be a little tougher than doing while eating a standard American diet, but it’s not impossible at all.

How to Gain Weight on a Paleo Diet

Putting on weight is really a matter of doing 3 things, whether you’re Paleo or not…
[Read more...]

Are Grits and Hominy Paleo?

are grits and hominy paleo

The standard American diet’s favorite Southern sidekick, grits, and hominy, a popular ingredient in the Mexican soup, posole, are enjoyed by many.

But are they Paleo-friendly indulgences or not-so-Paleo?

Fun Facts About Grits and Hominy

Both hominy and grits are made from corn that has been dried and ground, with the germ and hull removed. First the corn is soaked in an alkali solution, then processed to crush and sift out the kernels.
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What Is Stevia And Should You Eat It?

what is stevia and should you use it?

What is Stevia?

Stevia is a leafy green shrub-like plant (it’s part of the Asteraceae family and is related to the daisy and ragweed).

There are many different species of stevia (one species is called “candyleaf” and is native to New Mexico, Arizona and Texas). Another species is called Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni (sometimes you’ll see it called Rebiana or Reb A), which is native to Paraguay and Brazil, and that’s the species that typically used to sweeten food.

But, when people ask what is stevia, they’re typically referring to stevia extract that we buy in stores either as a solution or as a fine white powder. You can, however, grow your own stevia plant in certain parts of the world (generally places where it doesn’t get too cold).

History of Stevia

Stevia has been used in South American cultures (like the Guarani Indians) for over 1500 years. In South America it is often known as yerba dulce, and it is used for a variety of purposes including to sweeten local teas and as a medicine.
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7 Little-Known Health Benefits of Pumpkin

7 little-known health benefits of pumpkins

As a kid, I never thought of eating pumpkin.  It may sound odd to some of you, but I thought it was just something that we carved faces in.

And it smelled disgusting to me.  Why would anyone actually eat that?

Well you can, and many people do (shocking, I know).  And even more shocking, it’s actually both delicious and nutritious.

I still wouldn’t recommend chowing down on the jack-o-lantern that you’ve had on your porch for a few weeks, but here are 7 reasons that pumpkin – including the pumpkin seeds inside – are superb for you.

7 Cool Health Benefits of Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds

1. You Can See Better.  Ever wonder why pumpkin is the color it is?  To a degree it’s because of the carotene in pumpkin.  Beta-Carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A, which is important for a variety of reasons, including being critical for your eyes, not to mention your heart, lungs, and kidneys.
[Read more...]

Why Go Paleo? A Guest Post by Brendan Brunner

Why Go Paleo? A Guest Post by Brendan Brunner

Brendan Brunner researched and wrote this piece about the Paleo Diet because he was curious about trying it out and wanted to know more.

Why Go Paleo?

In this day and age, many Americans are looking to make a positive health change. We live in an era where “more than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9%) are obese.”1 Related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers have become more common. Digestive diseases like Crohn’s, Celiac, and Irritable or Inflammatory Bowel Syndromes are regular medical diagnoses. In response, people are searching for ways to regain their health. One path would be to use the Paleo diet.

[Read more...]

Is Popcorn Paleo?

is popcorn paleo?

Popcorn is viewed by many as a low-calorie way to curb hunger, especially when eaten plain with no salt or butter.

And of course, you just can’t watch a movie without grabbing a bag of the stuff, right?

However, a lot of questions have been left unanswered—like whether popcorn should be a part of your Paleo lifestyle, or whether it fits into Paleo goals at all.

The Facts About Popcorn

Popcorn comes from a specific type of maize called – wouldn’t you know it – popping corn.
[Read more...]

We All Just Need to Chill Out!

we all just need to chill out - paleo stress

I love reading studies and science.  

I’m a geek like that.  

But very few articles have fascinated or entertained me as much as this article from the Scientific American:

Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime

This article, which is a surprisingly easy and enjoyable read, goes through more science and research into the brain and the need for downtime than I’ve ever seen.

I can’t possibly regurgitate everything that the article covers, but here are a few of the more salient points:
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The Skinny Gut Diet – Book Review

The Skinny Gut Diet

Book Title:

The Skinny Gut Diet
Click here to purchase this book.

Plus – to celebrate the launch of this book, we’re running a giveaway so you can win a copy! Enter by clicking here.

Book Author(s):

Brenda Watson, C.N.C.
Leonard Smith, MD.
Jamey Jones,B.Sc.

Overview of Book:

The Skinny Gut Diet provides a comprehensive overview of what many people, and professionals, are beginning to talk about, or at least are hinting at – the connection between gut health and overall health, between the gut and the brain, and between gut health and weight loss. Not a diet book or a cookbook, The Skinny Gut provides basic information about our bodies, about connections to food and offers recipes geared towards better overall health and weight loss. Together these are the picture of a complete guide to changing the way you live and eat.
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How the History of Halloween Can Make YOU a Little Bit Healthier

halloween paleo

I’m a little bit of a history junkie.  I like learning about history just because I think it’s fun.

But every once in a while, knowing the history of our traditions can be both fun and useful.  That’s certainly the case when it comes to Halloween.

Halloween, along with Thanksgiving, is surely viewed as one of the least healthy times of year.  But do you know how Halloween started?  

It’s a supremely fascinating story.  More importantly, though, this story can actually help you become a little bit healthier today.  

Let’s take a quick trip back in time…

The Ancient Origins of Halloween

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Is Chicken Paleo?

Ah, those chicken wings—as a staple of the American diet, you can find them nearly everywhere, from restaurants to family get-togethers to football Sundays.

Health-conscious people are eager to tout the goodness of chicken as an alternative to red meat and as a delicious source of protein.

But is chicken really all that nutritious, or does it have toxins that should make Paleo dieters wary?

Potential Health Concerns with Chicken

Chickens are raised in a variety of ways throughout the country, with the most common suppliers of chicken growing grain-fed farmed birds in large quantities.

These chickens are raised quickly on a predetermined diet and health plan that includes medications and little exercise.

Other sources of chicken give the bird free range and allow them to scavenge, feeding themselves on bugs and whatever else they can find. These birds are markedly different from the chickens produced by large companies, and all of this difference can make it difficult to decide if chicken really should be a Paleo choice.
[Read more...]

How to Eat Your Way to Happiness

The link below isn’t an actual study (I couldn’t get my hands on it), but it’s a very interesting article that discusses and extrapolates on the study:

Gut Bacteria May Exacerbate Depression

In the study that the paper discusses, patients who were depressed were tested for leaky gut (a condition whereby the intestines let too many things through into your bloodstream).

Leaky Gut Leads to Depression

Researchers found that 35% of patients tested positive for leaky gut. And it’s likely that more than that may have had minor cases of leaky gut that would not have shown up on the tests.
[Read more...]

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Corn: Why It’s NOT Healthy or Paleo

is corn paleo?

Everything about whether or not a food is Paleo really comes down to 2 questions…

1. Is it nutritious?
2. Is it potentially toxic?

Unless we’re talking about a specific person’s reaction to a food, those are really the only 2 questions that matter.

Healthiness is a Spectrum

Asking these 2 questions doesn’t mean that any particular food needs to be the most nutritious food that you could eat or that it needs to be 100% non-toxic. It’s really more of a spectrum.
[Read more...]