I have already experienced and survived the first gross cold of the season. I, fortunately, did not succumb to this illness, although all of my acquaintances and coworkers got hit with it. It is the worst hearing a cascade of different coughs at varying octaves throughout the library and knowing “the cold” is coming for you next.
BUT! I started immune system preparation early this year by drinking bone broth the second it was cold enough outside to drink a hot beverage again. (Living for soup season!) Bone broth is a seasonal must have for me, and I do believe it has positively contributed to my stellar immune system (for the most part, I am definitely not immune to everything, unfortunately. I am hoping to get sick a few less time then last year but I swear it is inevitable). I love the taste too; I know it can be difficult for some people to enjoy, but there are other ways to consume it other than drinking it, too. You can mix it into stews and soups, or cook vegetables with it to achieve the same benefits as drinking it.
Bone broth is great for other things besides your immune system too. Check out all of the awesome ways bone broth is beneficial to us in addition to immunity, below:
1. Protect Your Immune System :
Eating chicken noodle soup is a tale as old as time. I always believed this was a myth, but when I started to dissect this myth, the truth came out. Chicken broth was and is the OG of the broth movement. The anti-inflammatory properties of chicken broth have been easing respiratory illness symptoms for decades now. Not only is the warmth comforting but the minerals and nutrients in bone broth are attributed to buffing up our immune system.
2. Joint Health :
it is no secret that collagen is revered for its joint strengthening properties. In fact, collagen has been used as a supplement by athletes in formal studies to deduce whether or not its properties were really effective or not. Check out the study here. Still skeptical? Test out bone broth yourself to see if it really has a strengthening effect on joints.
3. Improve Cognitive Function :
If you are looking for a warm beverage to replace caffeine in your diet, bone broth is the way to go. The umami taste of bone broth combined with the amino acids and collagen make it the perfect, if not superior, replacement to coffee or caffeinated beverages. By decreasing your caffeine intake over time and replacing with bone broth which contains fat, your body is able to draw its energy from the fat instead of a chemical dependency on caffeine molecules.
4. Improve Skin Quality :
In the same fashion that collagen helps increase the elasticity and buoyancy of our joints, it also has the same effect on our skin, nails and hair. As we age the elasticity of our skin and the strength of our nails and hairs weans. Consuming bone broth directly contributes to replenishing our stores of collagen.
5. Heal Your Gut :
This is the reason I initially started drinking bone broth. The act of drinking a warm mug of bone broth in the morning is appealing in itself, but once I realized the gut healing properties of bone broth, they were a game changer. The gelatin in bone broth has been proven to have an anti-inflammatory affect in our gut, as well as introducing healthy bacteria to our gut microbiome. And you know what they say about the gut (if you don’t, start here.)
6. To Get a Wide Variety of Minerals :
According to Chris Kresser, the following minerals have been found prevalent in bone broth:
When we talk about getting our minerals from our food, this is one of the foods we look up to. The abundant mineral, nutrient, and amino acid properties in bone broth make it an easy choice when you’re looking for simple ways to supplement.
7. Sleep Better :
Glycine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter – found in bone broth has been studied to reveal its anti-inflammatory and anxiety reducing effects on our bodies, which could help us sleep better. Thinking of a warm mug of bone broth before bed instantly makes me sleepy.
You Can Make it Yourself!
You can either purchase the bone broth, my fave right now is from Bonafide Provisions. They have bone broths of different varieties including Chicken, Beef, Turkey, & Frontier (a blend of lamb, beef, turkey, & bison bones). They also have delicious pre-made soups you can purchase like broccoli cheddar. For those that are okay consuming dairy, the broccoli cheddar is GOLD. Imagine Panera broccoli cheddar but 100 times richer, more flavorful, and so much better for you. You can get 20% off all Bonafide products when they use the code: PFW at checkout! Check out their products here.
You can make bone broth at home. Bonafide Provisions has a super easy recipe to do so, here. I used to make my own at home often but the smell in the crockpot is pretty overwhelming after a while. I imagine an instant pot would be an effective alternate to making it in a crock pot!
Best of health & wellness to you!
The gut microbiome is far from a foreign topic these days. Every credible (and non-credible) health based website advertises articles on how to “heal the gut”,”improve gut health”, or “reverse gut damage”. The less credible articles offer details on “quick fixes” to repair the gut, but we know that gut health takes a combination of measures and constant management to be a happy gut. Some of these measures include stress management, proper sleeping patterns, and elimination of gluten and other anti-nutrients.
I share a few more helpful ways to maintain gut health, here.
One key method to helping and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is eating fermented foods. Did you know some pickled foods are produced allowing probiotics to cultivate in a similar way as fermenting? I love kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha as much as the next person, but sometimes the powerful vinegar taste of these fermented foods can leave my palate overly saturated. Or, I can get tired of eating the same probiotic foods every day. While supplementing can solve this problem (check out my fave probiotic here) I really prefer to ingest as much as my nutrients through the food I eat versus supplementing.
So How About These Pickled Foods
Did you know there is a huge variety of pickled foods available for our consumption? People seriously pickle everything, and have been for centuries. Some pickled foods sound pretty disturbing to me, but most of them that I have tried have been delicious. Some examples include:
- Pigs Feet
- and Watermelon, to name a few.
It is so important though that we recognize the difference between the pickling process that kills the good bacteria and the pickling process that preserves it.
Pickled vs. Fermented
Fermentation produces a sour flavor in foods and beverages. This is a result of the natural reaction from combining bacteria and natural sugars with the base food or liquid. Pickling is when an acid, like apple cider vinegar, creates the sour taste instead of naturally produced bacteria. Vinegar is combined with heat and sugar to produce this taste, but this process kills off the natural probiotics and bacteria. To get the most optimal nutrients out of your pickled foods, make sure vinegar is not an ingredient used in production.
Important Note Regarding Pickled Foods:
Like sauerkraut, pickled foods can be found in the non-perishable section of your grocery store. If these items aren’t in the refrigerated section, they ARE NOT full of probiotics. Acid has been used to pasteurize and kill the good bacteria off for a longer shelf life. Make sure you are buying pickled foods that are found in the refrigerated section. Or, make your own, as the pickled veggies and proteins found in the refrigerated section can be expensive.
My Fave Pickled Foods
- Pickled Eggs – I know this sounds gross, but you’ve trusted me on things like liver and other offals before, so trust me on this one. Pickled eggs are delicious. Depending on where you are purchasing them from, or if you’re making your own, the recipe can vary from garlic pickled eggs to pickled beets and eggs, each having a particular flavor. There is a reason pickled eggs have been a well known snack amongst bargoers and European farmers for years. They are a quick protein rich, probiotic full snack that is easy to make and keep on hand.
- Pickled Herring – I recently have gotten into this vinegary, protein rich snack via inspiration from Diane Sanfilippo. There was something off-putting about eating pickled fish raw, but pickled herring is savory and salty, and rich in nutrients. Pickled herring goes great by itself on a cracker, or with a non-dairy cheese spread like kite hill. Get it here.
- Pickled Onions – If you have ever had a legitimate mediterranean salad or dish, you are probably familiar with pickled onions. They are usually bright pink and have a strong vinegar taste. Pickled onions pair well with romaine or arugula and olives on a salad, and this is an easy way to create a delicious amount of flavor with only a few ingredients. These can also be made at home in a quick pickling way- check out this efficient and delicious quick pickling recipe on Cassy Joy’s website, here.
- Pickled Vegetables – The variety is unlimited when it comes to pickled veggies. Things like the most known pickled food, cucumbers, and olives, jalapenos, pearl onions, carrots and broccoli can all be pickled the same way as the other foods above to maintain their probiotic content and a strong pickled taste. You can even batch pickle things like eggs, beets and carrots in the same container to give you a variety of veggies to eat.
Personally, I want to try the pickled watermelon but haven’t been able to find it locally. I want to hear from you if you have tried this though! Seriously- Please drop a line and let me know if it tastes as weird as it sounds. Is it salty? Sweet? Just pickle-y?!
Anyways, pickling is an easy way to switch up your method of getting probiotics in your diet. If you get sick of kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, or kombucha, or are just looking to try something new, give the world of pickled foods a shot.
I am going to go snack on some pickled herring in the meantime. Catch ya later, loves!
I just bought a few sweaters on sale, which means spring is basically here, right? FINALLY! That, coupled with Daylight Savings Time allowing the sunshine to stick around later in the evening, is really contributing to my fantastic mood these days. I feel a little indifferent about Daylight Savings Day in general; studies show it can contribute to an off kilter circadian rhythm for a short period of time which can have unfortunate side effects. But, it is absolutely refreshing to have the sun still shining at 7:00 PM.
As we know, the rotation of crops allows a change of produce every season, varying by climates. Spring brings a new harvest, showcasing some of my favorite fruits and veggies. I am super stoked because it is APPLE SEASON! And even though I don’t eat as many apples as I used to (apple variety in the UK is limited year round) I still get nostalgic about seeing the baskets of apples at my local market.
Which brings me to another fantastic part about this time of year – the farmers markets. I love meeting the kindred spirits that have contributed to growing, picking, and preparing the foods I enjoy. This interaction really puts a face to the farm that I am sourcing my food from, and I allows me the option to track the source of my food.
Spring crops include spinach, collard greens, swiss chard, apricots and more. I have my faves though, and to give you a hint, apples are not included on this list. We must switch up our diets every now and then, and I realize some of my favorites don’t get as much airplay love from me as apples, so I am walking through each one, below!
Some of my fave spring fruits and veggies include:
Broccoli is literally one of my favorite foods in general. This delicious food had a special place in my heart way before I was paleo, and beginning when I was a younger child. I am not sure how I got so lucky to have such a nutrient rich food like broccoli in my lineup, but I am thankful. Broccoli is rich in many nutrients like Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Manganese, Phosphorus, Choline, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron Calcium and Niacin to name a few. In order to capture the benefits and nutrients found in broccoli, try steaming it. This is a great way to enjoy broccoli especially if you find raw cruciferous vegetables tough on your digestive system.
These days it is kind of unheard of to not like this amazing fat rich superfood. I love mashing avocado with canned salmon and adding a little salt for a savory, sustainable meal. I usually eat it by the fork but I am sure it would be great with some crackers, like these gluten free crackers from Simple Mills, if that’s your thing. Avocado contains a great amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, which is what they are most known for. But, avocados also contain Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and B-6, Riboflavin, Magnesium, and Folate.
There are an absurd amount of varieties of mushrooms available. I love Laetiporus mushrooms; they are often called the “chicken of the woods” because of their chickeny – hearty flavor. Porcini mushrooms are insanely delicious too. You can grind these up and make a powder blend out of them that goes great on steamed veggies (like broccoli!). Mushrooms are thought to benefit our immune systems, and contain a decent amount of Vitamin B, Copper and Selenium. In order to capture the nutrients found in mushrooms you must cook them.
Have you tried frozen pineapple yet? It is AMAZING and a fast and easy way to do dessert. I have to be careful eating pineapple though because the acidity gives me canker sores. I did hear recently that if you soak pineapple in salt water it helps destroy the bio-glycosides and bromelain found in pineapple, which are plant enzymes that cause the prickly burning sensation. Pineapples are full of Vitamin C and Manganese, and fiber.
I could eat cabbage by the head. This versatile veggie has been a staple of various cuisines for centuries, and with the amount of species available along with its unique taste, it’s easy to see why. If you chop up cabbage and throw a little avocado or coconut oil on it with a splash of apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees, you get this delicious side veggie dish that is hearty and nutrient rich. Cabbage is delicious raw too, cut up into little strips and drizzled with a mayo or avocado based dressing, like this one. Cabbage contains Vitamin K, Vitamin C and B6, Manganese, Fiber, and Folate. Check out this recipe from Danielle Walker for corned beef and cabbage with parsnip turnip puree. Turnips and parsnips are both spring veggies too!
So that is it for my spring season favorite staples. You can find a full list of seasonal produce here. This is just the start of the seasonal crop rotations! Summer brings a longer list of produce available to us, including cucumbers, watermelon, mangos, bell pepper and more. I usually like to freeze some of my spring produce if I have access to a freezer, just so I can stretch the availability of my favorite foods like broccoli.
This is definitely the season where I start craving salads (for some reason), I am no longer looking for the hearty meals of winter. All of these foods can be chopped up and used as salad fixings, a common theme amongst much of the spring seasonal produce list.
So whether its salads, smoothies, or steamed, I hope you get to wander to your local farmers market and pick up some of these seasonal, nutrient rich gems!
Today I want to share a fantastic new treat with you, Biena Snacks!
If you are an avid follower on the podcast, you know I have been working through finishing my dissertation, amongst other things. Which I LOVE continuing my education, especially at Oxford. However, working towards a PhD can leave little time for much else.
Much like all of our lives, we are working through to-do lists trying to determine and assign priorities. Do I spend my small amount of free time with my loved ones, sleeping, dancing? I most definitely don’t want to spend it cooking, meal prepping, or thinking about what I am going to eat next.
I have been all about convenience when it comes to my snacks lately. That’s where Biena Snacks come in. Biena Snacks are lightly roasted chickpeas formulated to maintain their nutrient content and still remain delicious. I don’t eat chickpeas often, as they can be disruptive to my gut and gut flora, but on occasion these can be a delicious treat.
You may be asking, “are chickpeas paleo?” And my answer is, does it really matter? If chickpeas work in your diet, than go for it! Chris Kresser released an awesome blog post about whether or not chickpeas or legumes in general are paleo, check it out here. You make the call 🙂
So what’s up with these snacks? They are high in fiber and protein on top of being delicious. I have tried to roast my own chickpeas in the past and they usually come out soggy or overly cooked (Anyone with a decent roasted chickpea recipe, send it my way!) Biena Snacks are great because they literally have a flavor for everyone. My fave is the honey roasted- which is more of a treat than a snack. The honey roasted doesn’t have an overpowering honey taste, but this flavor does have cane sugar, which is why I typically only consume as a treat.
Other flavors include roasted sea salt, cinnamon crunch, and more. Check out all the flavs over here.
Most of their snacks are gluten-free and vegan too. The company is very transparent regarding their ingredients; all can be seen on their website.
Another bonus bit about Biena Snacks is that the company was founded by a woman, Poorvi Patodia. So if you are looking for a new snack option that’s convenient and delicious, check out Biena Snacks. PfW followers get 20% off with this code: paleo4women. Check out their website here.
Happy Friday y’all!
Collagen peptides have been a buzz worthy topic amongst the paleo community for years now, and I personally think they’re great. I can’t use them currently because they’ve got a lot of calcium in them and I’m working on a magnesium deficiency, but I’m working really hard to get those magnesium levels up, in part because I want to be able to take collagen peptides.
But what exactly is a collagen peptide, and how can it benefit you?
Most well-known for the role it plays in our skin, collagen also makes up the majority of the muscoskeletal system, including joints, bones and ligaments. Collagen benefits the skin, nails and hair. Yet perhaps more importantly, collagen peptides can also really help improve systems inside the body, especially the gut.
Collagen peptides are short chain amino acids. They come from protein. But, they are unique because they contain four specific amino acids: hydroxyproline, arginine, glycine, and proline. If your body lacks any of the four amino acids composing collagen peptides (which is easy to do if you don’t regularly eat skin or bone broth or gnaw on bones), it may be difficult for your body to produce collagen. This is why I value the supplements.
The difference between collagen and gelatin
Gelatin and collagen peptides often get confused. I myself accidently purchase gelatin originally instead of collagen peptides. One of the main differences between the two is the ability to dissolve into cold and hot substances. Gelatin is only able to dissolve into hot liquids and will congeal. it’s good for things like making jello. Collagen peptides on the other hand stay liquid at room temperature. In my opinion, although technically flavorless, gelatin has a more noticeable taste and smell than collagen peptides. Whichever you choose to use, don’t worry; they have the same amino acids. Check out my favorite gelatin supplement here!
Why I started using collagen peptides
Collagen is known to help rheumatoid arthritis, osteosis, and in general, strengthen bones, joints and ligaments. Because collagen is the primary component making up our bones and cartilage, it is believed that consumption of the peptides will lead to easier reproduction of collagen in the body and replenishing supplies which as a result, promotes elasticity in the joints.
I have really bad knees. I’m not sure if I ever told any of you that!
AND My gut health really matters to me, so I am really eager to get back to taking peptides.
Finally: Of course, we all know I’m super vain. Perhaps most (and worst!) of all, I really value the collagen supplements for their ability to help my skin be as smooth and elastic as possible.
– Collagen is high in glycine and proline that are essential in creating new collagen in the body . Collagen peptides stimulate production of collagen in the body, allowing an increase of collagen production. Because it is the primary component in our bones and cartilage, it is often used by athletes to prevent injuries, and heal existing injuries in bones, tendons and ligaments.
What else can collagen be used for athletically?
Collagen is also used as a supplementation pre- and post-workout because of its ability to stimulate collagen production internally. Its content of Gylcine and Arginine may also help the synthesis of Creatine in the body. Creatine is widely known as the athlete’s supplement because it has demonstrated the ability to improve exercise and strength performance. Collagen also can contain up to 18 grams of protein in a twenty-gram serving.
Improved Skin, Nails and Hair
Collagen peptides improve the epidermis moisture content which can result in several additional positive symptoms (woooo!) including:
▪ Promote younger looking skin
▪ Improve skin moisture level
▪ Prevent the formation of deep wrinkles
▪ Improve skin suppleness.
▪ Replenish moisture levels in hair
▪ Support nail growth
As I had mentioned, because of its elasticity collagen is essential in connectivity tissue growth. Those with leaky guts, or penetrative holes in the gut, may benefit from supplementing. Glycine is thought to reduce GI inflammation, aid digestion, and reduce symptoms of leaky gut. Research has shown that people with autoimmune disorders like Inflammatory Bowel Disease had shown depleted levels of collagen in their system, leading researchers to believe the lack of collagen contributed to inflammation levels.
Where can you source high quality collagen?
Vital Proteins sources from grass fed, pasture raised bovine hides in Brazil, which still supports grass systems. Being pasture raised and grass fed, there is no risk of having RBGH in their products. This, paired with a Brazilian law prohibiting hormones in bovine feed, result in a pure sustainable version of collagen. Vital Proteins also ensures the cows are raised in a happy environment. You can find their collagen peptides here.
Great Lakes Collagen and Gelatin also source their products from grass fed and pasture raised Argentinian and Brazilian cows. They have guaranteed that their laboratories remain free of insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, steroids, antibiotics, or hormones. You can find this brand, here.
I have noticed increased elasticity in my skin, as well as relief in my joints after consistent use. It took about a week of use to notice these benefits; however the other benefits may take consistent long term use to produce results. Collagen is a supplement that has a wide spectrum of positive benefits, and sourcing from a sustainable and non-toxic companies like Vital Proteins and Great Lakes can improve skin quality, hair and nail strength, and gut health to name a few.
What are your thoughts? Have you tried collagen peptides?
I feel like I’ve been bombarded lately with questions about fad diets. They’ve always been around, but they just don’t seem to go away.
It just seems shiny and new to try a “new” diet instead of sticking to the fundamental principles of a healthy one.
I’ve been noticing this more and more, with the incredible popularity of “keto” which is pretty much paleo circa 2012, and with new books sent to me for my feedback like The Sirtfood Diet (Find it here).
I was able to read and review The Sirtfood Diet, a plan that claims to help you lose 7 pounds in 7 days, all with the power of what they call “Sirtfoods” which are essentially antioxidants, polyphenols, and other health supportive compounds.
What are the kinds of foods the Sirtfood diet wants you to eat? Things like buckwheat, soy, strawberries, turmeric, red onions, kale, dates, garlic, and olive oil, among others. Besides buckwheat (for some) and soy, I had a hard time figuring out how these foods were so lacking in typical healthy diets like the authors claim.
Most people who promote a paleo diet include ample amounts of these, and sometimes the dark chocolate and red wine pictured on the cover, as well-rounded parts of the diet.
Reservetrol, a healthful component the diet authors claim is often missing is available in fabulous multi-vitamin supplements like this one and in many foods like blueberries and cranberries, besides red wine.
Polyphenols are also common across the range of plant based foods and are even available as powders to mix with smoothies (like this one). Most paleo authors value and promote the inclusion of lots of plant based foods in the diet.
Here’s the truth as I see it. The reason you might lose 7 pounds in 7 days is because the first three days consist of 1000 calories of mostly green juice. This is a common trend among fad diet plans- starve you during the first week while you’re motivated (while also telling you that you aren’t starving but are instead “detoxing” which is why you feel like you’re starving) and then working calories up to more maintainable levels so you continue to lose weight but think you are eating much more.
You’re losing water that first week. A little fat is lost too, but its almost scientifically impossible to lose 7 pounds of pure body fat in one week for the average person. It requires a caloric deficit that not even 1000 calories a day can meet.
I have no issues with a diet that supports the inclusion of healthy ancient foods. My mind has changed over the years with regard to gluten-free grains and other dietary components, so long as they are healthy FOR YOU.
The key to lifelong weight loss is learning how to heed your internal cues. Learning your body, understanding its needs, and feeding it nutrient dense food. There doesn’t need to be a special superfood protocol. There just needs to be balance.
I’m never going to say its ok to eat mostly bacon and butter. They’re nice as inclusions, but they don’t have the nutrient density that vegetables do.
I’m never going to be cool with women fasting. Thankfully the Sirtfood diet and I agree on that one (though I still think 1000 calories a day for a woman is pushing it, even for 3 days). If the choice is between you eating or not eating, I’m always going to say, eat.
But eat what makes your body feel good. I know what that looks like for most people- vegetables, fruit, meat, fat. Eat those things, in balance with the other things. with a focus on quality. That’s all you really need. And that’s what Weight Loss Unlocked is all about.
If weight loss has become a struggle following that paradigm, then you should look into seeing a professional. A good functional nutritionist in your area can help you get to the bottom of what is going on and provide a structured plan that will help you reach your goals, along with the accountability and monitoring to help you truly maintain that weight loss.
Please, oh please, don’t just go looking for another crash diet. In the end, you’ll lose much more than some money and a few pounds.