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So, what is the Paleo diet?

What is the paleo diet

First, it is important to state there is no such thing as ‘the Paleo diet’ per se. Pre-agricultural diets were regionally variable and seasonally cyclical. In colder climates, they tended to be meat-based as the land was either under snow for much of the year or of poor quality and only suited to grazing. In warmer regions fewer red meats were eaten and fruits and plants dominated. Although the ancestral diet may have varied in content, it was more nutrient dense than that of today. So, although no standardised Paleo diet exists, the Paleo diet is usually defined by what it excludes, and is generally accepted as being, legume and dairy free.

It is thought that the advent of agriculture around 10,000 years ago marked the demise of the nomadic way of life, giving way to the cultivation of grains and legumes and the domestication of animals for milk. Archaeological remains suggest an abrupt decline in health at this time. Loss of stature, arthritis and other diseases associated with poor mineralisation seem to coincide with the introduction of grains into the diet. Ten thousand years might seem like a long time to those of us who hope to live to around 80 but is, in fact, the evolutionary equivalent of the ‘blink of an eye’, and would not have given us enough time to adapt.

However, there is archaeological evidence that some hunter-gatherers were eating grains much earlier than this. It seems the closer to the equator, the greater the intake of plant-based foods, which in some cases may have included wild grains. This may explain why gluten (and dairy) intolerance is more prevalent in colder latitudes, and why those with Scandinavian or north European ancestry are poorly suited to a vegetarian diet. What the hunter gatherer diet seemed to have in common was that they were highly nutritious and all contained meat or fish. They provided good levels of minerals, saturated fat and fat-soluble vitamins, with little or no grain or dairy and variable amounts of protein, most of which was derived from meat.

Much of the diet was raw which further increased the nutrient density and provided good levels of fibre. I suspect that rather than being historically accurate, the modern assumption that the Paleo diet was a high protein diet results from the misplaced fat and carb phobia diet that is still influencing nutritional thinking today. In fact, the food group most highly prized in the ancestral diet was saturated fat. Carbs have been given a bad press because they are nearly always derived from grains, a food group that causes problems in a number of people.

However, carbs from vegetables and fruits are much easier for the body to handle. A diet high in raw vegetables and salads does not have the same effect as a diet high in cereals, although both are high in carbohydrate. Whilst it may seem impossible to imagine a diet without grains, they are easily replaced by alternatives such as vegetable pastas, and coconut, seed and nut flours in baking and break making. Nuts can be fermented into cheeses, coconut cream into yoghurt and soft cheese, and the milk from nuts and coconuts can be made into delicious desserts and ice-creams, making Paleo eating varied and enjoyable.

What is also known about the Paleo diet is that it contained virtually no sugar. Refining has enabled us to concentrate sugars in quantities that our bodies are ill equipped to handle. For example, a soft drink contains the equivalent of eight and a half feet of sugar cane – an impossible quantity to get through in its unrefined state. The high proportion of carbohydrates in the modern diet compounds our inbuilt predilection for sweet foods.

Until technology got involved in food production, foods that were bitter were generally poisonous and those that were sweet were usually safe to eat, but that doesn’t apply today since many foods are laced with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners – and they definitely aren’t safe to eat. Our first food, breast milk, contains a sugar called lactose and thus the early association between feeding and being loved is established before we are capable of conscious thought. Eating is associated with emotion, and this is one of the reasons sweet foods can be comforting, and why we can feel deprived and miserable when trying to give them up.

Despite their pervasive presence at nearly every meal today, in Europe and America grains were only elevated from animal fodder to dietary staple at the time of the industrial revolution, cultivating in us a taste for stodgy, high-carbohydrate foods, which has been a contributory factor to the obesity epidemic. The Arabic nations seem to have been eating grains the longest, and their wheat sensitivity and carbohydrate intolerance are rare. The rapid increase in degenerative disease that has characterised the last 100 years demonstrates that most of us have struggled to adapt. It is estimated that 80 per cent of cancers are related in some way to diet, and it is probably evident to you that much of the food we eat today could not be described as healthy.

In fact, much of it wouldn’t be recognised by even our recent ancestors. Not only are the foods themselves different – the result of selective cultivation or the products of technology – but the ratios of fat, protein and carbohydrate have been reversed. Fat phobia flourishes, and grains – previously dismissed as mostly animal feed, as I have said – now form the foundation of almost everything we eat. In addition, some of what passes for food isn’t food at all but a concoction of chemicals, conceived in the laboratory rather than grown on the land. Modern grass eaters, particularly cows, may not have had access to grass, and non-organic crops will have been forced to grow in demineralised soils, which is why today’s produce contains an average of 80 per cent less nutrients than it did only 50 years ago.

This blog is taken from Go Paleo – Feeding the Urban Caveman by Eve Gilmore. You can read the first chapter here!

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Super Fruity Flapjack Recipe

Fruit is a great cleanser of the liver and blood and provides many essential nutrients, such as Vitamin C, which is required on a daily basis. Fresh or home-juiced fruit will aid in weight loss and improve metabolism and the immune system. Juicing one lemon and consuming the juice throughout the day in teas, on fish and salads and in drinks will give the system an enormous cleansing boost. Berries are also highly nutritious. Cherries are anti-inflammatory so can provide pain relief.

Most fruits are diuretic and have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties so can relieve many ailments. They will also clean the blood, kidneys and liver, protect the heart, lungs and eyes, and clear the skin. Tangerines and raspberries possess properties which metabolise fat so can help with losing weight. Pineapple rehydrates the system so is good to consume after sweating or during fever. Try to eat at least three fruits of different colours every day.

Dried Fruit

This is an important part of the diet as it provides a concentrated form of fresh fruit’s nutrient and mineral content. Dried fruit can help avert cancerous tumours and aid digestion. One tablespoon of powdered maqui berry, from a reliable source, per day can help protect against cancer as it is very high in antioxidants. All dried fruits replenish energy and should be added to breakfasts, meals or eaten as snacks throughout the day instead of unhealthy, processed, sugary food bars. Making flapjacks with oats, honey, coconut, nuts, seeds and dried fruit can provide a way to stop hunger and revitalise the body instantly during the day. Consume a small handful of different dried fruits or a mix of them once or twice a day.

Healthy Heart Flapjacks

Flapjacks are a great way to gain the fibre and nutrients required throughout the day and this version also helps lower cholesterol, improve the digestive and immune system and nourishes and protects the bones, brain, eyes and heart. Because flapjacks take time to be digested, they will also stop hunger for a long time after consumption. They make a great breakfast, mid-morning or evening snack. Ingredients do not need to be measured exactly. Experiment and mix and match fruit, nuts and seed ingredients for personal taste and availability.

Ingredients

  • 500g porridge oats (other grains can also be added if required)
  • One table spoon of honey
  • One tablespoon of rapeseed oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Quarter of a teaspoon of nutmeg
  • One tablespoon of maqui berry powder
  • Pinch of ground unrefined sea salt
  • Five stoned and chopped dates
  • One handful dried chopped apricots
  • One medium peeled mashed banana
  • One small handful of raisins
  • One tablespoon of dried goji berries
  • One small handful of chopped nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts etc.)
  • One small handful of mixed seeds (flaxseeds, hempseeds, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and watermelon)
  • One tablespoon desiccated coconut

Any or all of the following but add more oats to the mixture so it is not too wet

  • One handful of stoned cherries
  • One handful of raspberries
  • One handful of cranberries or blueberries

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F 180°C/160°C fan, Gas 4
  • Place all ingredients (except berries and cherries) into a food processor and mix to a very stiff paste-like consistency
  • If too dry add a little water and mix further
  • If too wet add more oats
  • Then add the cherries and berries gently folding them into the mixture
  • Press the mixture into a non-stick (rapeseed oil greased) shallow baking tin or tray
  • Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until set with a brown crispy top. Use a skewer to test the middle. It may take longer if fresh fruit has been added
  • Take out of the oven and cool slightly before cutting into portion sizes then leave to get cold in the tray. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Nutrients and Benefits of The Flapjack Ingredients

  • Apricots (protects the heart and eyes)
  • Bananas (adds fibre and potassium)
  • Cherries (adds anti-inflammatory pain relief especially sour cherries)
  • Coconuts (adds lots more fibre and has antimicrobial, antifungal, antivirus and rehydrating properties)
  • Cranberries and blueberries (protects the eyes, liver and the whole body against arthritis, cancer and urinary tract infection)
  • Dates (protects against heart and eye diseases)
  • Lemon (adds vitamin C, cleanses the liver, pancreas and intestines and helps with weight loss)
  • Raisins (protects against heart disease and arthritis)
  • Raspberries (increases metabolism of fats)

This recipe and blog is taken from Nature Cures: The A to Z of Ailments and Natural Foods by Nat H Hawes. For more natural nutrition and home remedies from Nat visit Nature Cures.

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Spotting the Signs of Emotional Eating

For many who are compulsively driven to eat for emotional reasons, not hunger, food has become a manifestation of self-loathing and a complex method of self-harming, or even a way of failing to thrive. These people crave food, avoid food, binge on food and obsess about food. Thinking about food fills their every waking moment. Food has become a way to celebrate and commiserate with themselves. In fact, it is their everything – except a natural way to sate hunger or be a source of healthy nourishment.

Typically, emotional eaters feel their appetite for food is out of their control and is counter to their heart’s desire to be slimmer than they are. They feel their inability to resist their food cravings proves how worthless they are as they trade their dreams of being slimmer for swallowing down foods they consider to be ‘bad’ or ‘forbidden’. They also often believe that the excess weight they carry is their own personal failing and visible proof for all to see that they are weak, inadequate or just plain greedy. The story they tell themselves continues with the common beliefs that if they were stronger, or had more will-power, or were simply just ‘better people’, then they would find it easy to manage their weight-versus-food-intake without the daily time-consuming over-thinking that they endure.

Every emotional eater has his or her own unique set of circumstances and history, but there are often similarities in thinking and in the belief system that defines each emotional eater. For instance, emotional eaters judge themselves harshly and their self-talk – the quiet voice that everyone hears within their own mind – is particularly critical and unforgiving. We also understand that emotional eaters can be triggered to binge eat when experiencing negative or challenging emotions, such as loneliness, sadness or anger.

Disordered thinking around food that emotional eaters may experience makes it particularly challenging to establish a nutritionally balanced way of eating that can be sustained for the long term. This is particularly true for those who are attempting to stabilise their weight after years, or possibly even decades, of yo-yo dieting.

Emotional eaters do not generally fare well following a type of diet that brings any of the following circumstances into play:

1. Diets that promote low-calorie eating to a level that induces hunger can quickly feel unendurable and trigger strong self-sabotaging behaviour.

2. Diets that rely on low-fat foods to restrict calorie consumption can increase the occurrence or severity of low moods, even to the risk of increasing the incidence of depression.

3. Diets that replace foods containing real sugars with chemical sweeteners can still spark compulsive sugar cravings and out-of-control bingeing.

4. Diets that replace meals with fake-foods, such as shakes, snack bars, instant soups or variations on this theme, often fail for emotional eaters when they are challenged with the inevitable reintroduction of real food.

5. Diets that promote or exclude whole groups of food, impose excessive or irrational rules or demand a specific cooking methodology can all help encourage unhelpful over-thinking about food that emotional eaters are already prone to. This includes the eating of only ‘free-from’ foods, including gluten-free (without a confirmed medical need), or following a strict macrobiotic diet, or eating only raw foods.

Do you obsessively follow all the latest healthy eating crazes, or recognise other symptoms of emotional eating? Read more from Sally Baker and Liz Hogon in their books How To Feel Differently About Food and 7 Steps to Stop Emotional Eating.

Sally Baker will be speaking at The Best You Expo at ExCel in London on 4th March 2017.

This blog is adapted from How To Feel Differently About Food by Sally Baker and Liz Hogon.

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What is emotional eating?

There is no single definition of typical emotional eating. It’s a common misconception that all emotional eaters are overweight. Many are within normal weight range but only because of their obsessive dieting, bingeing and disordered eating that will be a well-kept secret they share with no one. The same negative judgements emotional eaters make about themselves are common to the overweight and the obese, and the dangerously underweight for that matter. All share the trait of unrelenting over-thinking about food coupled with harsh, critical self-judgements.

To give you a sense of a typical emotional eater you need to understand that their innate sense of self-worth – how they actually see themselves as a worthy person – is closely linked to the numbers on their bathroom scales. A pound lost, or a pound gained, can set the tenor of their entire day. Also, foods are never neutral. They are forensically studied and determined to be good or bad.

Emotional eaters battle with their own body’s hunger and cravings. They know there have been times when they have succumbed and eaten one ‘bad’ food only for it to start a tsunami of overeating, or even bingeing and purging, with all the accompanying feelings of shame and self-loathing. An emotional eater’s attitude towards him/herself and food is not logical. The extent of his/her preoccupation with food and body weight is often a private source of great personal distress and shame. The reasons for this all-consuming link between food, body weight, self-definition, and how the individual feels about being him/herself in the world, are varied and inevitably complex.

Let’s be clear, and define emotional eating as a behaviour that occurs only in the developed world, the lands of perceived plenty. Negative selfjudgements; obsessive over-thinking about calories; skipping meals; bingeing and purging; or any of the other many aspects of emotional eating do not exist in countries of food scarcity or where people struggle for survival. It’s noteworthy that as third world countries emerge economically onto the world stage they open their doors to western influences and their seductive power. The socially mobile classes of any indigenous population quickly develop a taste for western fashion, and music, as well as western foods. The Standard American Diet of refined carbohydrates, calorie-dense fast-foods and fizzy drinks is now exported all over the world. Adopting it is a way of aping western consumption, and values, and can be found in the cities of China, Russia and India, as well, increasingly, as in more remote outposts. It also causes sectors of the population of these countries to judge themselves negatively against the narrow, westernised standard of perfection. With that comes self-dissatisfaction – a step on the road to emotional eating that was not apparent just a few decades ago.

Are you an emotional eater?

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you think you might be an emotional eater:

Too much on your plate?

Swallowing down your anger with food?

Frustrated at your yo-yo dieting?

Eating when bored, or on your own?

Feeling out of control around food?

Eating in secret?

Bingeing and purging?

Feeling sad and eating to fill a void inside?

Rewarding yourself with food after a hard day?

If you answer yes to any of these questions you might be an emotional eater. For more information about how to understand and manage your emotional eating, read Seven Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating – targeting your body by changing your mind by Sally Baker & Liz Hogan.

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Give the gift of health this Mother’s Day

We love our mums. They spend all year looking after us, but how often do we go the extra mile to make them feel special? What better time than Mother’s Day to show our mums we care about them, and what better way of showing them than giving the gift of health. Our books help all kinds of people look after their own health and happiness, so we’ve put together our Top 3 Health Books for Mums…and we’re offering a 16% discount with code ‘HEALTHY16’.

Top 3 Health Books for Mums this Mother’s Day

Love Your Bones 9781781610718

 

Love Your Bones by Max Tuck from £4.99

Millions of women and increasing numbers of men worldwide are suffering the pain and debility associated with osteoporosis. For the 1 in 3 women over age 65 already affected by the disease, the cost in both financial and personal terms is astronomical. In this thought-provoking book, Max Tuck shows not only how we can prevent bone loss but also how we can rebuild bone density, giving detailed guidance on how to do this, including essential specific exercises. Based on proven science, the latest technological developments, a passion for nutritious food and her long experience as a Health Educator and Veterinary Surgeon, Max’’s comprehensive action plan will enable you to slash your fracture risk and improve your health, even into advanced age. With an easy to follow and entertaining writing style, she provides new hope and inspiration for a stronger and more vibrant future.

 

 

Nature Cures 9781781610398Nature Cures by Nat H Hawes from £14.99

Nat Hawes has spent more than 10 years researching and compiling this fascinating compendium of foods and their health-giving-properties. Her sources range from a lifetime of experience travelling abroad to research via libraries and university websites and include a vast range of scientific papers which she has analysed and summarised in everyday language. She reviews both the health problems that can be helped by nutritional interventions and the healing properties of the full spectrum of natural (as opposed to processed) foods and drinks. The book complements and is supported by Nat’s internationally popular website  www.naturecures.co.uk, which has been re-launched for the publication of Nature Cures and has received more than one million hits, and counting.

 

 

The Mediterranean ZoneThe Mediterranean Zone by Dr Barry Sears from £3.50

In The Mediterranean Zone, Dr Barry Sears, founder of The Zone Diet, shows you how to eat a delicious and sustainable diet that will: Stop weight gain and strip away ‘toxic’ fat; Free you from inflammation and hormonal chaos; Reverse diabetes and protect you from Alzheimer’s; Lighten your mood as well as your body; Allow you to break out of the diet-and-exercise trap for good! Incorporating the principles of the Zone diet and the fundamental benefits of the much-loved Mediterranean diet, the Mediterranean Zone offers an easy-to-follow guide to eating and living better, based on the latest scientific research.

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to enter coupon code HEALTHY16 at checkout for 16% off all last minute Mother’s Day orders!

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Zone Diet goes Mediterranean

The Zone Diet: Eating for a longer, leaner, healthier life

The Mediterranean Zone represents the final part of Dr. Sears’ trilogy on anti-inflammation nutrition that started with his first book, The Zone, written in 1995. The Zone Diet is for anyone looking to take control of his or her life. It is germane to weight loss, managing chronic disease, or improving athletic performance. All three areas are ultimately controlled by the ability to reduce inflammation. The Mediterranean Zone provides the final part of his dietary roadmap to a longer and better life, as described by The Zone Diet.

The newest book on the Zone Diet: The Mediterranean Zone by Dr Barry SearsThe focus of The Mediterranean Zone is on the emerging role of polyphenols in both improving human health and slowing the aging process. Polyphenols are the chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their color. We now know that at higher levels they are critical for controlling gene expression, especially those genes involved in the synthesis of anti-oxidative enzymes, controlling inflammation, and activating anti-aging defense mechanisms as well as controlling the microbes in our gut.

Why is it more important to eat omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6?

Whereas omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. However, you need a balance to maintain a stable inflammatory response. Ideally the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet should be about 2:1. Today in the developed world it is closer to 20:1. That’s why our diets have become more pro-inflammatory.

The reason that an individual stops any diet is because they are always hungry and tired. This is not the case following the dietary guidelines in The Mediterranean Zone, or in any Zone Diet. By stabilizing blood sugar, balancing hormonal levels, and reducing inflammation you are never tired or hungry between meals. The benefit of that freedom from hunger and fatigue is that you will also live a longer and better life.

Welcome to the Zone!

The Mediterranean Zone is available now or for more information on Dr Sears visit www.drsears.com.