Monday
Apr032017

A Request for Recipes!

A Request for Recipes!

People ask me for recipes for the Paleo or Primal diet. It's great to refer to recipes, but a better approach is to understand this way of eating and why we are doing it. Then, food choices and preparation are easier.

There are three reasons I recommend changing to a Primal diet, and understanding these three factors makes it easier to come up with a healthy meal, no matter where you are or what you are doing.

The first reason is to understand the need to eliminate processed and starch-based carbohydrates and plant-based proteins from your food choices. These are grains, beans, legumes and potatoes and all products that contain them. This also includes sodas, juices and sports drinks.

These foods cause many inflammatory reactions in our digestive system, immune system, nervous system, vital organs, joints and brain. Most of these plant-based nutrients (especially the proteins) are difficult for our bodies to process and therefore, unavailable to us. These foods also cause our bodies to use insulin to normalize our blood sugar, causing fat storage and shutting down our ability to burn fat as a fuel source. This leaves us using blood sugar as our primary fuel source, so we are constantly hungry, and craving these foods.

Inflammation caused by these foods is a huge problem and shows itself as: poor skin conditions, allergies, frequent colds, poor sleeping habits, loss of energy, mood swings, and weight gain, thus contributing to most of the inflammatory diseases of our modern society.

Eating a low carbohydrate diet also keeps us young and healthy, by preventing glycation. When we eat carbohydrates, they are digested and become glucose.  Glucose is blood sugar, which circulates through our bodies and binds to all the proteins.  These glycated proteins, then, make the very damaging substances called free-radicals.  These then attack all the cells that make up our muscles, skin, brain and organs.  All degenerative diseases come from glycated proteins.  Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, and cancer are all caused by glycated proteins, and not by fat or cholesterol.

The second reason is to understand that healthy fats satisfy and keep us from overeating. Dietary fat is missing from our modern diet. The low fat craze or the 50-years has most of us confused about what is good for us, especially when it comes to fat. Most of us have heard that Omega 3 fats are good, but, at the same time, we believe saturated fat is bad.

The truth is both are good. The critical issue is the source of the fat.

The bad fats are derived from grains, vegetables and beans. These fats turn rancid very quickly when heated, and many are manufactured trans-fats which takes years for our bodies eliminate.

Good fats are from animals that eat their natural food. Cows that eat grass, instead of grains. Fish that eat other fish, bugs etc. Butter, ghee, lard and fish oils are great sources of saturated fats. Tropical oils, like coconut and palm oil, are also healthy saturated fats which can be used for cooking.  Fruit oils like olive and avocado oil, and some nut oils are great for very low heat and when used cold.

The use of healthy fat in our diet is essential for us to be well and feeling satisfied. I often (a few times a day) take a spoonful of coconut oil or coconut butter to ensure my fat intake is high enough, especially if I am eating away from home. This keeps me satisfied; feeling great, with lots of energy and no need to snack between meals.

The third reason is to eat your food seasonally and locally. Organic vegetables and produce. Free range, naturally and/or wild fed animals, fowl and fish. When we eat food from our local environment, we are better tuned to our surroundings and in harmony with them. Great food spoils rather fast, so if it comes in a can or box it's likely not good. Example; most grains are stored for years before being processed, then shipped and stored again before being sold.

The better the food, the better the result.

I recommend picking out the protein source first. A good portion size fits in the palm of your hand. Whether it's beef, pork, chicken, fish or eggs, build your meal around protein. If these foods are low in fat, then cook them in a good fat source. Eggs in butter, lard, bacon grease or coconut oil. Then you may want to add a little green, I like fibrous vegetables or a small salad as a supplement to my meals, to help build my immune system with antioxidants.

To summarize, this diet consists of high doses of healthy fats, a moderate amount of animal protein and a small amount of fibrous carbohydrates. Avoid grains (bread, cereals, pasta, pastries, etc.), beans, potatoes, fruit juices, soda, and limit your dairy products. Eat seasonal produce, but go easy on the fruit. It's pretty simple. The hardest part for most people is getting enough heathy fat. Once you adjust that, everything else is easy.

As far as recipes go, just google Paleo or Primal recipes and you will have an endless supply.

Nico de Haan

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