Have you ever heard of Hunter-Gatherer diets (ie the Paleolithic diet, Stone-age diet, etc)? It's all about eating plants that grow in the wild, and eating the meat of animals that were free to roam and eat natural diets (for example, free-range eggs). No grains, legumes, alcohol, coffee, or dairy - sorry! You're gonna have to get friendly with honey, plenty of produce, free-range meats, and nuts. The original idea behind this diet is that the biology and genetics of the human body has not changed much from our earlier days. Thus, the diet from "back then" should work great, especially compared to today's American diet & associated diseases (diabetes, obsesity, etc). One of the main problems that critics agree on is that the Paleo diet is confusing. Yes, it's an awesome health move to cut down on processed grains and sweets, but why can't one eat legumes?! What if I stumble across some beans growing in the wild and eat them? Since it is considered a fad diet by many health professionals, little research has been done to investigate health effects. US News and World Report has a list of best rated diets here. Please comment below with your thoughts on the Paleo diet!
With Halloween and the holidays right around the corner, it might come in handy to speak the language of your intestines. Do you have any food allergies? Do you know the difference between allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity? According to Wed MD, almost 30% of Americans think they have a food allergy, but only 4 to 5% have true food allergies. Allergies cause the immune system to get involved. This means your body makes histamine, which starts an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can show up as hives, eczema, itchy mouth, nausea, diarrhea, sneezing, and even anaphylaxis. Food intolerance, on the other hand, is caused by not having enough of the specific enzymes needed to break down what you ate. The most familiar example is lactose intolerance, which can be fixed by taking lactase enzymes when eating dairy. Other tell tale signs of intolerance include diarrhea, gas, bloating, stomach pain, nausea, headaches, and migraines. See the University of Maryland's write up about common food intolerance culprits here. Lastly, food sensitivity is a general term that includes any adverse reaction to a food (unless, of course, you get food poisoning, which is caused by eating spoiled food). Do you have a favorite dessert recipe that makes your intestines happy? I'm dying to make this raw, vegan, non-gluten, no refined sugar dessert (Has nuts, though). Let me know if you try it!
Need more energy in the morning? Consider starting your day off with a smoothie! According to a great article by Wed MD on energy, "You feel better, mentally and physically, when you've had a meal that combines carbs and protein." Fruits are a great way to get carbs without processed sugars and flours. Now for protein, how do you know if you're getting enough? See this handy article that explains how much protein you need and where to get it, even if you're vegetarian. Below are some smoothie ideas that combine carbs + protein. If you have a favorite smoothie recipe, please share! Oatmeal Smoothie 1 cup Water 1 cup Oats 1.5 cups Kale or Spinach 2 cups Chopped Fruit (1 banana, plus berries or whatever you have lying around) 1/4 cup Peanutbutter Add 4 Ice cubes (add ice after everything else is blended; it will add a nice texture & cool things down) Berry Smoothie - Easily disguises tastes like kale and flaxseed, Hooray! 1 or 2 Bananas 1/2 cup Frozen Berries Almond Milk (or Water - gives it a thinner consistency. Add ~1/4 cup at the beginning. At the end you can add more if you want it thinner) 1 spoon of Peanutbutter (gives a nutty taste, if you're into that sorta thing, plus a smoother texture) Kale or Spinach (optional, but adds a ton of nutrients, fiber, and a great plant source of calcium. The taste is hidden by the rest of the ingredients) Flax seed (optional. A plant source of Omega 3 fats. Also makes your hair + nails grow strong and faster!) 1 other fresh fruit of your choice (Optional, but makes it even more delicious! Choose from: peeled orange, pineapple, or any fruit sitting in the fridge that needs to be eaten) A few ice cubes (add at the end for texture) Want more? See this woman's facebook page - a ton of smoothie ideas here!