Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Clean Eating Thursday Recipe Linkup – Holiday Pie Recipes

Clean Eating Thursday Recipe Linkup - Holiday Pie Recipes

It’s definitely that time of year! Time for family, friends and pie. Lots and lots of pie.

I know, all in moderation, right? But still. Pie.

So today I’ve invited clean eating bloggers from around… Read more →



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2016 in Review: The Top 14 Developments in Ancestral Health

2016 review text on a napkin with a cup of coffee2016 is just about over. I’m not a big party animal, as you probably know. Instead of bashes and balls, what I look forward to most of all at the end of a year is the quiet reflection on what impacted me most. Which science developments, business achievements, and thought evolutions characterized my 2016 more than the rest?

Put another way, what were the most exciting developments of 2016 in the ancestral health world?

Let’s take a look (in no particular order):

1. Legumes went back on the menu, if you like them.

It’s become quite clear that legumes do not belong in the same category as grains, which is where they languished for over a decade. Legumes are rich in prebiotic fiber, provide many vitamins and minerals, and seem to improve glucose control, not worsen it.

Eat ’em if you want ’em.

2. A Primal ranch dressing finally came out.

You don’t know how many emails I got asking for a Primal-friendly ranch. Recipes have always been there, but a surprising number of ingredients go into ranch. Few people keep everything on hand required to make it right.

So I made one. It took months of development, but I made one.
Skeptical husbands, picky kids, vegetable haters will all lie prostrate before PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Ranch, see—nay, know—the error of their ways, and be welcomed into the fold.

3. Nina Teicholz was right.

In 2015, science and nutrition journalist Nina Teicholz penned an editorial in the British Medical Journal criticizing the failure of the USDA’s diet guidelines to “reflect much relevant scientific literature.” Establishment critics and academics went berserk, even going so far as to demand the BMJ retract her editorial.

Last week, after over a year of battles, independent reviewers finally gave Teicholz the win. The critics lost. Her editorial stands.

4. We settled the “meat problem,” if only until the next study comes out.

More than any other dietary component, meat has been the most consistently controversial. It clearly played an integral role in human evolution, particularly of our energy-hungry brain. It’s delicious, contains vital nutrients, provides the densest collection of essential amino acids, and yet hundreds of millions of people are convinced it will give you cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. How do we square these seemingly opposing factions? How much meat should we be eating? And how should we optimize our meat-eating?

5. The birth of Primal Health Coaching.

The PB Expert Certification was cool, but it wasn’t enough. Teaching is different than knowing. The latter is necessary but not sufficient to accomplish the former.

In June, I introduced the Primal Health Coach Program: an enhanced education course that teaches you the science behind the Primal Blueprint and gives you tools, tips, and tactics for disseminating that information to clients and for running a successful business.

6. Gluten sensitivity really is real.

The story of non-celiac gluten sensitivity has featured more twists and turns than your average long-running will-they, won’t-they relationship storyline of a late 90s sitcom. Skeptics claimed it was all just a collective delusion, and several studies seemed to suggest it might be psychological rather than physiological. Then in July, 2016, a new study confirmed what many people already knew to be true: gluten sensitivity is real, and those suffering from it have leaky guts and elevated systemic inflammation.

7. PRIMAL KITCHEN™ restaurants became real.

Although we have yet to break ground (that happens early next year), the first PRIMAL KITCHEN™ restaurant will be in Culver City, CA. I’ve signed the papers, hired contractors, drawn up plans. It’s going to happen. It’s real.

8. More HDL isn’t necessarily better.

HDL is “good” cholesterol, yet research shows that elevating it to extremely high levels results in greater cardiovascular disease. Instead of HDL actively “scavenging” damaged lipids, higher HDL levels may simply be a byproduct of healthy lifestyle practices, like eating more fat, exercising, and generally leading an anti-inflammatory way of life.

9. Recent ancestry matters.

On this blog, we’ve always looked at human ancestry from 30,000 feet. We are all humans with the same basic machinery. We all digest fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. We all secrete insulin (to varying degrees), require oxygen, and drink water. That’s all true, but recent research into human genetics shows that recent ancestry can determine how we metabolize nutrients.

Whether it’s fatty acid metabolism in the Inuit, the “thrifty gene” in Samoans, or vitamin D requirements, we’re beginning to understand and integrate the lessons of our recent ethnic ancestry.

10. Exercise is important for weight loss.

For years, I’ve said that weight loss is 90% diet. It’s true that how much and what you eat are the most important factors when losing weight, but exercise helps determine what kind of weight you lose. We’re not trying to lose muscle and bone. We want to lose fat while preserving muscle. If the net weight declines, so be it. But fat loss is the ultimate goal.

Exercise is really, really important for weight loss:

It empties out glycogen, giving us a place to store incoming glucose.

It improves sleep and glucose control, and makes stress less harmful.

Strength training prevents muscle loss during dieting—and can even promote muscle gain.

11. Men and women are different—and that’s awesome.

This isn’t a “new” development, of course, but its acknowledgment throughout the ancestral health community has certainly expanded. Back in May, I gave my 12 essential tips for Primal women, laying out the areas where men’s and women’s needs diverge a bit. There are plenty of others, too.

Stay tuned for more MDA articles geared toward women in the near future.

12. CRISPR looms.

I wrote about the implications of CRISPR, the gene-editing tool that researchers use to study genetics (and transhumanists hope to use to create super-humans). Now they’re even using it to target RNA in live cells, which could be huge for diseases like muscular dystrophy and neurodegeneration.

I’m cautiously excited about CRISPR.

13. Evolutionary biology may be getting an overhaul.

Earlier this year, evolutionary biologists descended upon London’s Royal Society to debate whether evolutionary biology needed reworking. Was the standard Modern Synthesis theory complete, with its focus on natural selection as the primary driver of evolution, or should it expand to include other mechanisms and inputs like plasticity, creativity, culture, and epigenetics?

14. We’re born to move.

This year, scientists strapped sensors onto Hadza hunter-gatherers and tracked them throughout their daily routines. Young, old, man, woman—it didn’t matter. Everyone studied engaged in at least 2 hours of moderate physical activity per day on average. Furthermore, even the eldest among them remained fit and healthy on into their 70s.

Sedentary living is often portrayed as a necessary consequence of success. When we no longer have to physically work for our livelihood, we move as little as possible. But the Hadza research shows that movement is in our DNA, and that we must resist the temptation to be still.

That’s it for me, folks. What were your biggest takeaways from 2016? What are you looking forward to most in 2017?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care and have a fantastic rest of the year!

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The 7 Worst Calorie Offenders at Your Christmas Table

The holidays are flowing with food and drink, but Christmas dinner is the ultimate over-the-top meal os the season. Although you should enjoy delicious food at your Christmas feast, you don’t need to feel bloated and have indigestion at the end of the night. Certain dishes, however, rack up the calories more than others. Here are the seven worst calorie offenders at the Christmas table.

  1. Eggnog

One cup of eggnog on average contains 340 calories, 21 grams of sugar and 56 percent of the daily recommended maximum of artery-clogging saturated fat. If you’re a heavy cream fan, know that it adds 50 extra calories per tablespoon. If you like your eggnog spiked, add about 150 calories per 1 1/2 fluid ounces. When all is said and done, you’re talking more like over 500 calories a drink.

Instead try: Food Network Kitchen’s Low-Fat Eggnog

  1. Prime Rib

Ribs just scream calories, with one serving of prime rib (about six to eight ribs) providing over 1,600 calories. Many folks can easily down six ribs, but let’s not forget the additional calories that will be consumed from the rest of the food on the table.

Instead try: Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Pepper and Black Olive Sauce

  1. Baked Ham

Three ounces of bone-in glazed ham contains about 190 calories and 11 grams of fat. A typical serving of ham recommends 1-pound servings per person, which ups the calories to 760 and grams of fat to 44. As traditional hams are smoked or cured, the sodium levels also are very high, with 1 pound containing about 4,300 milligrams, which is about double the recommended daily maximum.

Instead try: Orange Baked Ham (and stick to 3- to 4-ounce portions)

  1. Mashed Potatoes

One serving can contain 400 calories, mainly from the butter and heavy cream. Mashed potato recipes typically call for one stick of butter, which runs about 816 calories. Use 1/2 cup of heavy cream and that’s 200 more calories. You have 1,000 calories in your dish without even including potatoes!

Instead try: Smashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

  1. Creamed Spinach

Heavy cream and butter are the main culprits in this bad boy, jacking up the calories to more than 300 per 1/2-cup serving. Given that spinach contains 25 calories per cup, that’s a lot of extra calories from artery-clogging saturated fat.

Instead try: Parmesan Creamed Spinach

  1. Pecan Pie

One slice of commercially prepared pecan pie contains close to 550 calories. Besides your traditional high-fat crust ingredients (butter), the nuts add a boatload of calories. Top your slice with 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream and this delicious dessert just hit a whopping 700 calories.

Instead try: Lighter pies like these (without the a la mode)

  1. Cookies

One regular-sized cookie contains about 100 calories. Mindlessly munch on these babies and you’re talking about hundreds (if not thousands) of extra calories.

Instead try: Any of these 10 healthy cookie recipes (and be mindful of how many you eat)

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.



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Evolving Motherhood

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Good morning!! Now that was a nice little breakfast : ) Coffee, toast, berries & eggs!

A topic I have been meaning to write about for a while is the realization that the lifestyle of motherhood is ever-changing. When Mazen was a newborn and in the baby years after that, my mom’s group would meet up almost every afternoon. We would talk and breastfeed and hold our babies while they slept. We shared tips and supported one another. As an extrovert, those days with my friends saved me from long hours without adult interaction. We had such a glorious time, and it never crossed my mind that we were in a temporary phase of motherhood that would come to an end.

When our children started to crawl and walk (and second babies were born), the frequency of playdates started to wane. As much as we tried to keep the crumbs off the floor and the toy fights at bay, it just became a big commitment for someone to open their home to 10 wild kids. Things got broken and stained, and before we knew it we just stopped going to playdates at each other’s homes.

The kids kept getting bigger, needing more space so we moved the playdates outside to yards and parks or the Discovery Museum or the pool so the kids could have space to roam. Our time together became focused on chasing our little ones and keeping them out of trouble, and while it was still great to see each other, we often felt like we hadn’t really been able to catch up because we were so busy with the kids. And it was challenging to always plan playdates out in public around the weather and around our kids’ schedules, especially when the second generation of babies started to become mobile as well.

So for a while I really longed for the days when Mazen was a baby. I was sad that I didn’t realize how much I would miss those days until they were gone. But like most parts of motherhood, things evolved again.

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Recently I decided to do a reunion playdate at my house and had maybe 10-15 kids there. We created a “no shoes and no snacks outside of the kitchen” rule to keep the white carpets from getting destroyed. Now that the older kids are 4-5 years old we noticed that they played together nicely, and tears were at an all-time low. The play date went really well! I am hopeful that we will find a happy medium to connect with our friends (notice they are “our” friends – both Mazen’s and mine – now!) as they continue to grow up.

Lunch mix: hot tea, leftover kale, chicken and mac, and a Siggi’s for dessert.

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And for dinner – a meal from Plated with beef, kale, noodles, and mushrooms. Yum!!

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I’m curious as to whether any of you experienced what we did regarding the social aspects of motherhood?

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