Nuts and seeds: an awesome whole food

In a previous post, 12 “On-the-go” Healthy Snack Options, I had mentioned nuts and nut butters as one of those easy snack options to have on hand. Nuts and seeds are a great way to curb any hunger throughout the day. They can make great salad toppings, and their flour can be used instead of the traditional refined flours or breadcrumbs, just like in An Italian Meatball Recipe, Paleo-Style.

Fun Fact: Peanuts are not nuts, but legumes.

Nuts and seeds: why they are good for you

Nuts and seeds provide:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Enzymes 
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

Nut butters

Nut butters pair well with cut-up raw vegetables, dark chocolate squares, or say, a slice of bread made with almond flour. The best nut butters are raw and cold-processed, with no added ingredients besides salt. I usually go to Thrive Market to buy nut butters.

Sidenote: Buying raw nuts and seeds is best. Next would be dry roasted. Make sure there are no vegetable/seed oils or added sugar.

Storage

It is recommended to keep nut butters in the fridge. The same goes for nuts and seeds and their flours: put them in the fridge or even the freezer for long-term storage. Nuts and seeds can be kept for approximately six months, and up to a year if they are still in their shell. If you detect any “rancid, oily smell or discoloration,” do not eat them. As nuts and seeds have a hard protective shell, buying organic is not a must with these.


In summary

When eating primal or paleo, nuts and seeds are great nutrient-dense options. They are delicious on their own and when paired with other healthy foods. My personal favorites are pistachios and walnuts. Just make sure not to overconsume them. We want to watch our consumption of healthy omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (like in raw nuts and seeds), as we want to strive to have an omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio under 4:1, as mentioned in my post about Why We Must Consume Omega-3 Fats. To buy a variety of nuts, Nuts.com is a great site to check out.

So head to your favorite online store and enjoy one of the best snacks ever!

References

Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017, pp. 220-23.

—. The Primal Blueprint : 21-Day Total Body Transformation. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2016, p. 116.

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Is it okay to consume dairy if you decide to go primal?

A couple of weeks ago, I went to an Amish farm to buy more goat cheese, one of my favorites! Have you ever tried goat cheese? It is perfect as a snack when you are in a rush. I like to put goat cheese in my salads. It pairs so well with the green lettuces. 

In The New Primal Blueprint, Mark Sisson states, “The Primal Blueprint stance is that certain forms of dairy can provide excellent nutrition and enjoyment for those who can tolerate dairy consumption without digestive distress.”

Which dairy is okay to consume?

According to The New Primal Blueprint, when you want to buy dairy products, you want to get pasture-raised/grass-fed or organic dairy. And the best picks are:

  • Raw
  • Fermented
  • Unpasteurized
  • Unsweetened
  • High-fat

This means you can buy things like:

  • Ghee
  • Butter
  • Full cream
  • Aged cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese 
  • Greek-style full-fat yogurt
  • Half and half
  • Kefir
  • Raw whole milk

Buying pasture-raised/grass-fed or organic dairy products means that you bypass the conventional dairy filled with hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics. In Food Fix, Dr. Mark Hyman specifies, “Find dairy from heirloom cows that contain A2 casein, which doesn’t cause the same digestive or inflammatory problems as modern cow products.” A2 casein is a protein in milk, “perfectly safe,” as opposed to A1 casein (a lectin-like protein). You also get A2 casein with goat and sheep dairy.

Sidenote:  Lectins are natural plant toxins that can damage the thin lining of the small intestine.

Whey is the other protein you find in milk. And lactose is a carbohydrate you find in milk.

In summary

Buying high-quality products is a must with dairy. If there are no farms near you, there are some online sites you can check. In a previous post, I mentioned US Wellness Meats. There is also an online site called Organic Pastures that you could check out. Consuming dairy is okay, provided the dairy you buy is pasture-raised/grass-fed or organic. See how your body reacts to your food picks and adjust accordingly. Dairy is an awesome treat that I am happy to still be able to enjoy whenever I feel like it!

References

Gundry, Steven R. The Plant Paradox Quick and Easy : The 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Live Lectin-Free. New York, Ny, Harper Wave, An Imprint Of Harpercollinspublishers, 2019, p. 257.

Hyman, Mark. Food Fix : How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet-One Bite at a Time. New York, Little, Brown Spark, An Imprint Of Little, Brown And Company, 2020, pp. 54–55.

Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017, pp. 237–240.

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Why the right type of fat matters

While most people may believe that all fats are not healthy for you, fats that we consume on a daily basis can actually be quite healthy.

Well-sourced fats (saturated, monounsaturated, and some polyunsaturated) can be a prime source of energy and keep us satiated for long periods of time. As our cell membranes are mostly made out of fats, eating the right fats is a top priority that you shouldn’t skip out on. Saturated fat (found in coconut oil, butter, lamb and beef tallow, for instance) is important to cellular function and to a large number of hormonal and metabolic activities. Chemically-altered fats are the fats to avoid. Also, we want to watch our consumption of healthy omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (like in raw nuts and seeds), as we want to strive to have an omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio under 4:1, as mentioned in my post about Why We Must Consume Omega-3 Fats. So what are the fats and oils to consume?

Sidenote: Oils are composed of fats. When you think of cooking oils, think fats.

The 10 “Primal-approved fats and oils”

These are fats and oils listed in The New Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson.

  • Animal fats: Chicken, duck, or goose fat; lard (pork fat); beef or lamb tallow; recycled bacon grease; and other animal fats. All these are great for cooking as they don’t oxidize at high temperatures.
  • Avocado oil: a mostly monounsaturated fat like olive oil, but with a high smoke point of 400 degrees (204 degrees C), so we can cook with it, which is what I buy avocado oil for.
  • Butter: great for cooking with too.
  • Coconut oil: another awesome choice to cook with.
  • Dark roasted sesame oil: because of its strong flavor, it works great in wok recipes.
  • High-omega-3 oils: these would be borage, cod liver, krill, salmon, and hemp seed oils. Great on cold dishes like salads. You can learn more about omega-3 fats in the following post: Why We Must Consume Omega-3 Fats.
  • Macadamia nut oil: this is another oil with a high smoke point (413 degrees F or 210 degrees C), great for cooking (or drizzle over food).
  • Marine oils: these refer to the high-quality fish and krill oils that we consume as supplements usually. For instance, every day I take Carlson fish oil.
  • Olive oil: extra virgin (and first cold press) only. It can be used for cooking, but only at low temperatures. Otherwise, it is great for dressings and to drizzle over food. You can learn more about olive oil’s health benefits in the following post: Olive Oil: a Daily Wellness Must.
  • Palm oil: unprocessed palm oil only can be used for cooking with too.

In summary


All the above oils are primal-approved, provided they are high-quality, well-sourced oils (the recommended animal fats have to be from pasture-raised animals). Knowing the above, it is easier to bypass the traditional vegetable/seed oils (canola, corn, soy, safflower, sunflower). These vegetable/seed oils are easily damaged by exposure to light, heat, oxygen, without even mentioning cooking itself.

Among the primal-approved fats, certain fats will probably work better for you than others, so always stay tuned to how your body reacts to what you are consuming. Now to your favorite fat(s) and happy cooking!

Reference

Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017, pp. 241–43.

You can also find me on Instagram.

An easy way to start eating primal/paleo

Do you ever wonder how easy or difficult it is to make the switch and start eating healthier? Does eating paleo or primal entail buying a whole set of new cookbooks or recipes to download? Not at all. Of course, there are many paleo/primal websites now that can help you discover the advantages of ancestral eating, such as Mark’s Daily Apple. But know that you can also simply start by picking your favorite recipes and change a few things only to make these recipes paleo/primal-friendly. The recipe below is an Italian meatball recipe that I have been making for more than two decades. And as I am now eating primal/paleo, I keep making it by just tweaking a few things.

How to change an old family recipe into a paleo-friendly goodness

So my original meatball recipe calls for:

  • 3 lb ground round
  • 1 lb bulk sausage
  • 1 handful of parsley
  • ¼-½ lb parmesan cheese
  • 1 big chopped onion
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • I tablespoon of salt
  • Pepper

Now to make this recipe primal/paleo-friendly, first I want to make sure that the meat is well-sourced (How to Source Beef has different links to websites you can purchase your meat from). The parsley has to be organic. The cheese becomes optional, but if you still want to add some cheese, it has to be well-sourced too, from a local farm or sites like US Wellness Meats. The onion can be organic or not, it doesn’t matter as much for onions, as mentioned in What to Buy Organic. Instead of using bread crumbs, I add ½ cup of a paleo nut flour blend that works just as well. The eggs have to be well-sourced (no eggs from CAFO chickens). Celtic or Himalayan salts work best, along with freshly ground organic pepper. So now we have:

  • 3 lb well-sourced ground round
  • 1 lb well-sourced bulk sausage
  • 1 handful of organic parsley
  • ¼-½ lb well-sourced cheese
  • 1 big chopped onion (organic or not)
  • ½ cup paleo nut flour blend
  • 2 well-sourced eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Celtic or Himalayan salt
  • Freshly ground organic pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and shape meatballs out of the mixture. Next, you add the meatballs to your favorite organic paleo-friendly tomato sauce and let simmer 3 to 4 hours. The tomato sauce can be made from scratch of course, or if you are in a rush, there are different paleo-friendly options too at Thrive Market, for instance.

In summary

Remember that taking it one step at a time is probably the best approach for most to make any change long-lasting, as mentioned in a previous post: What foods to Get Rid of First. With that in mind, picking an old favorite recipe and changing just a few things to make it a healthy ancestral option is an awesome incentive. It is a small step that can make you feel good about how effortlessly you can eat better in no time!

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