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Raw Food Diet

THE RAW FOOD DIET

The raw food diet is about eating mostly uncooked and unprocessed foods, this also includes anything that has been refined, canned, pasteurised, homogenised or produced with synthetic pesticides.  Also avoid foods with chemical additives.  The reason for this is to get all the nutrients and enzymes that are naturally in our food.  We need enzymes for all bodily functions and heating our food to any temperature more than 48°C (112°F) destroys the natural enzymes found in our food.  You may have heard this diet being called raw foodism and some call it raw veganism however it is not the same.  Raw foodism does allow animal products and includes raw egg and raw fish; raw veganism does not include any animal products.

PROS:

Weight-loss:  The raw food diet does result in weight-loss as there are less calories in raw food.  The raw food diet also excludes a lot of food connected with weight gain such as processed junk food and food with added sugar.

You can begin slowly:  Not all your food has to be raw as long as most of what you eat is.  It has also been shown to be a much healthier option to switch to the raw food diet slowly as it gives your body time to adjust.  Therefore, you can start introducing more raw food slowly into your diet.

It is easy to get your five a day: The raw food diet includes a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables so it will ensure that you are getting five a day

Increased energy levels:  Those following the raw food diet have reported that they feel a lot more energetic and focussed.  Others have reported that it has resulted in them having healthier skin and stronger hair and nails.

Better digestion:  Research has shown that raw food is much easier for our bodies to digest than cooked food.  Difficult digestion can lead to a number of health problems.

You can still have sweet food: The raw food diet does can include some sweet foods and puddings.  There are many recipes available on the internet to satisfy your sweet tooth.

CONS:

Lack of research:  Though more research is being done, not all the reported health benefits can be backed by research.  Some are anecdotal or there is no evidence that a reported health benefit was directly linked to the raw food diet.

Less calories:  Fewer calories does mean that the raw food diet does help with weight-loss but following it long-term can be dangerous.  It is extremely difficult to get all the calories one needs in a day from eating raw food.  This lack of calories leads to huge loss in body fat which can lead to many serious health problems.  This diet must definitely be avoided by pregnant women and those with health problems should speak to their doctor first.

You may have to take supplements: Though the raw food diet does not promote supplements your GP may recommend them as cutting out cooked food can result in some deficiencies.

Conclusion: The raw food diet definitely has some benefits and is a great way to lose weight.  However, there are health risks connected to following this diet in the long-term.

 

    Vegan Diet

    THE VEGAN DIET

    The vegan diet excludes all foods that come from animals, this includes meat, dairy products and eggs or anything that contains these foods.  This may sound very restrictive and you may feel you would have to cut out too many foods however, there are many websites, books and blogs that contain delicious vegan recipes as well as suggestions about vegan alternatives to some of the non-vegan foods you enjoy.  As with all diets, the important thing to remember is that you must remain healthy.  Vegans are still required to eat at least five fruit and vegetables a day though this is easy to do with a vegan diet.  Make sure you eat dairy alternatives like soya milk and soya yoghurt.  Meals should still contain carbohydrates such as potatoes and rice.

    PROS:

    Weight-loss: There is extensive research to show that the vegan diet does result in weight loss and also reduces one’s BMI

    Lower blood sugar levels: Many studies show that those following the vegan diet have lower blood sugar levels, higher insulin sensitivity and are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Vegan diets also lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.

    Many health benefits: Other research suggests that those following the vegan diet have less chance of developing high blood pressure or dying of heart disease.  Other observational studies suggest that the vegan diet lowers the risk of developing Alzeimer’s disease, poor kidney function and cancer.  The vegan diet can also lessen the symptoms of arthritis.  It is important to bear in mind that these are observational studies and more research will have to be done to determine if there is a direct link between the vegan diet and some of the health benefits mentioned here.

    You can begin slowly: If you would like to follow a vegan diet but feel that it would be difficult to cut out so many foods at once you could begin slowly.  For example, eat vegan for two days a week and then slowly increase this as and when you feel you can.  This will also help you to discover delicious vegan recipes at your own pace.

    CONS:

    A lot of initial research: To begin with, the vegan diet will require some research to determine what food you can eat and if not, is there an alternative.  You will find that your change in food choices will become habit and you will stop realising that you are cutting out many foods you used to buy.

    You may have to take supplements: A big concern that many have about the vegan diet is will they get enough protein and iron without any meat or animal products.  All beans and pulses contain protein and iron.  Other vegan foods that contain iron are nuts, some breakfast cereals, wholemeal bread and dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli.  It is a good idea to talk to your GP as they may suggest that you take an iron supplement as well.  There is one vitamin that is only found in animal products and that is B12.  B12 keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA and deficiencies could result in a number of health problems.  Again, speak to your GP about a B12 supplement.

    Having to carefully plan your meals and snacks:  It is important to plan your vegan diet as an unplanned diet may result in one developing a certain deficiency so ensure that you are getting all you need.

    Conclusion: The vegan diet is becoming more popular, especially among some celebrities, as such more and more research is being done.  It is showing signs of having a number of health benefits and it has been proven to be very effective with weight-loss.


      Bacon Sweet Potato Hash

      sweet potato hash

      Vitamin- and Protein-Packed Bacon Sweet Potato Hash

      Ingredients:

      • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4″ pieces
      • 1 lb. of uncured bacon, chopped into bite-sized pieces
      • 1 bundle of kale or chard, stems removed and cut into 1/4″ strips
      • 4 eggs
      • 1 small onion, diced
      • 1 tsp. raw honey
      • dash of cinnamon
      • pinch of sea salt and black pepper

      Yields a large skillet, enough for 4-5 hungry people.

      Directions:

      Fry the bacon in a cast iron or covered skillet until it is nearly crisp but not browned, about 5-7 minutes. With a straining spoon or spatula, take the bacon pieces out of the pan and place them on a rack to drain. Empty the bacon grease from the skillet (save it for future paleo recipes if you want) but don’t wash the pan. Return the pan to medium heat.

      Add the diced sweet potatoes and onions to the skillet and cover. Allow to cook, covered, until the onions have caramelized a bit and the sweet potatoes are fork-tender (about 5-7 minutes). Add the bacon and greens and cover the pan again for about three minutes.

      Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk them until they’re fully incorporated, then stir into the hot skillet with the hash. Reduce the temperature to low and stir continuously until the eggs are incorporated and done.

      Finish by adding a very slight drizzle of honey, a dash of cinnamon, a pinch each of both salt and pepper. You can also add a pinch of chili powder or cayenne if you like heat. Stir to integrate the hash completely, then plate it and enjoy!

        Roast Chicken and Vegetables

        roast chicken

        Roast chicken is pretty much paleo without even trying. Just make sure you season with paleo friendly options.

        Try this recipe below for a particularly tasty Sunday roast!

        Ingredients:

        Whole Chicken (Preferably Organic)

        Approx 2 Fluid ounces (50 mls) olive oil

        One Sprig of fresh Thyme

        One fresh lemon

        Three cloves of garlic

        Freshly ground black pepper

        Sea salt

        Your favourite paleo vegetables (no potatoes!)

        Directions:

        Take out giblets and rinse chicken, allow to dry or dry with kitchen towel.  Add crushed garlic cloves with a little thyme and all of olive oil to a blender and blend thoroughly. Massage this mixture into the chicken until it is well coated then add salt and pepper for some extra seasoning. Slice the lemon in two and place most of whole sprig of thyme in its centre ( ie what’s remaining after previous step), then put lemon into cavity of chicken.

        Add chicken to oven tray and place in a preheated oven (400 degrees Fahrenheit / 200 degrees Celsius), cover loosely with foil and allow to roast for 30 mins.

        Remove foil , reduce oven temp to 330 degrees Fahrenheit (170 degrees Celsius) and finish roasting until cooked (If you pierce chicken with a skewer juices should run clear). Full cooking time will vary dependant on size of bird , (this is generally displayed on the packaging of most purchased whole chickens). Add vegetables to roasting pan and roast until cooked (time varies depending on the vegies chosen – estimate the ideal time to add these dependant on expected time to cook chicken).

        Once chicken is cooked, and oven is switched off, allow it to soften a little, by leaving in still warm oven for 10 or 15 mins before carving. Juices from the roasting tray can be used for a tasty gravy or simply pour over carved chicken for flavour. Enjoy!

          Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

          This is a simple paleo creation of mine which is great as a side with any meal or on its own as a snack, for sharing or just on your own!

          Ingredients:

          4 large sweet potatoes

          Cayenne Pepper

          Black Pepper

          Mixed Herbs

          Garlic Salt

          Paprika

          Olive Oil

          Directions:

          First note that apart from the sweet potatoes I haven’t listed quantities of the herbs, spices and oil. This is because you can either add a little or a lot dependant on how spicy you like them. Experiment with different quantities to find the perfect level just for you, or add some of your own herbs and spices to give a flavour all your own!

          First, peel sweet potatoes and cut into thin wedges, place into a plastic bag (I usually use 2 bags to prevent the oil from leaking), add all herbs to bag, add sufficient olive oil to allow the herbs and spices to stick to the sweet potatoes (this is a judgement call and you can always add more to the bag or the pan if you’re worried about the wedges drying out), close the bag and give a good shake until the wedges are all thoroughly coated. Remove wedges from bag (I usually just empty the bag directly onto the oven tray – though be careful that the plastic doesn’t touch the hot oven tray) and add to a preheated oven tray.

          Place oven tray into the middle of a preheated oven and cook for 20 – 30 mins at 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit) , turning wedges regularly. They’re ready when they look as crispy as you like them. Enjoy!

           

            Paleo Hummus

            hummus

            Ingredients:

            1 3/4 cup diced zucchni
            1/2 cup raw macadamias
            2 TBLSP Tahini and xtra vg ol oil.
            2 1/4 tsp lem juice
            1 tsp sea slt and cumin
            2 Roasted peppers
            1 garlic clove

            Directions:

            It’s possible to enjoy hummus on the paleo diet too, but you need to be creative since chickpeas aren’t allowed. To make paleo-hummus, start by dicing 1 3/4 cup of zucchini. Next place the zucchini, 1/2 cup of raw Macadamia nuts, 2 tablespoons each of tahini (store-bought is fine) and extra-virgin olive oil, 2 1/4 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon each of sea salt and cumin, 2 roasted red peppers, and a clove a garlic into a food processor. All you need to do now is blend the whole mixture until it’s nice and creamy. Place it into a serving bowl and enjoy this dip with raw vegetables to your heart’s content. If you plan to use store-bought tahini, then remember that it tends to settle and will need to be stirred before putting it in the food processor.

              Paleo Porridge

              porridge

              Ingredients:

              3/4 Cup cream from cooled coconut milk

              2/3 Cup of almonds

              Raw honey

              Extra spices to flavour.

              Directions:

              To make good paleo-approved porridge, start by cooling a can of coconut milk overnight until you have cream on the top. The next morning, place 3/4 of a cup of that cream in a saucier on medium heat until it returns to a liquid state. Next, grind up 2/3 of a cup of almonds in your food processor and pour them right into the milk. You can also stir in a small amount of raw honey to sweeten the mixture as you stir. Keep it on medium heat and stir for about five minutes. As you do so, the porridge will start to thicken up. When it reaches your desired thickness, add some extra spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or whichever spice you prefer, pour it into a bowl, and enjoy. This recipe makes one serving.

               

                Paleo Crab Cakes

                crab cakes

                Ingredients

                1 Egg
                2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
                1 tsp Dijon Mustard
                1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
                1/4 tsp Hot Sauce (i.e. Tabasco®)
                1/4 tsp Lemon Juice
                1 1/2 tsp Seafood Seasoning (i.e. Old Bay™)
                Ground Black Pepper to taste
                1 lb fresh lump Crabmeat
                1/4 Cup Almond Flour
                1 Tbsp finely Diced Red Pepper
                2 tsp sliced Green Onion
                1 Tbsp chopped fresh Parsley
                1/3 Cup Almond Flour

                Instructions:

                Grease baking sheet.

                Whisk together in a bowl to blend completely the first eight ingredients.

                Set in a separate bowl the fresh crab meat. Gently mixing in everything with your hands, add the egg and mayonnaise mixture to the crab meat.

                Once combined, add the 1/4 cup almond flour, peppers, green onions, and parsley to mix in.

                Form six patties. In a separate and shallow bowl, set the 1/3 cup of almond flour inside. Completely cover all patties.

                Place on baking sheet and put into the refrigerator to set for approximately an hour.

                Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius)

                Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

                  How long did prehistoric people live?

                  caveman family

                  Whenever I read through posts criticizing the paleo diet I always see the same argument presented. Why would anyone want to mimic the diet of our prehistoric ancestors, when their average lifespan was only 25 – 30 years? There is of course, a very simple answer to this question (Otherwise I wouldn’t be on Paleo myself!) , cavemen (and cavewomen) lived a lot longer than this.

                  So why is this figure quoted? , surely we can trust major scientific journals when this information is quoted? The trick here is in understanding the statistics, and then also in understanding the causes of death. In fact after proper analysis , you may be surprised to know that a recent peer reviewed journal estimates the modal age of death for people in hunter-gatherer societies to be around 68 – 72.

                  If you’re wondering why there is such a difference in mortality figures quoted then let me explain.

                  The over-arching factor here is in the high infant mortality rate. Nearly 40% of hunter-gatherers died before the age of 15, and a large proportion of these died before the age of 5. Of those who reached adulthood, their expected lifespan was much higher than 30 (easily 60) and the cause of death was generally infection or trauma (not heart disease or cancers such as those which plague our modern culture).

                  If we look at modal age of death we get a much higher figure. Corrected modal age of death means the age at which most people died who lived past 15 years of age. By using this figure we correct for the higher rates of trauma and infection which skew the results when looking at ‘average’ life span in hunter gatherers and by correcting for infant mortality we get a better understanding of exactly how long our prehistoric ancestors really lived.

                  These figures are similar in modern hunter – gatherer societies and are also evidenced by estimates from fossil records from our prehistoric ancestors.

                  What’s even more interesting is that following the transition to an agricultural society, the average life span actually dropped (yes – dropped!) to 20 years. Not only did lifespan decrease, after we changed our diet, we became shorter AND had reduced bone mineral density (which gives a fairly strong argument against critics who say we need dairy for our bones). Average (corrected) life span then remained below prehistoric levels until well into the 20th Century and the advent of modern medicines such as antibiotics.

                  In other words, we might not want to mimic prehistoric approaches to medicine, but mimicking their diet provides health, vitality AND longevity.

                  So, if you’re concerned about your health and want to live a fuller longer life, then consider Paleo, and if you need an image to help convince you then check out the picture below of aborigines (take special note of the middle man) prior to the introduction of western foods into their diet. My grandfather never looked that healthy!

                   

                  aborigines

                    Paleo Hamburger Patty

                    paleo hamburger patty

                    Hamburgers are definitely approved paleo food. Aside from not eating them on buns, you need not change most of the ingredients. It’s an opportunity to experiment with new taste combinations.1 lb. ground meat

                    Ingredients

                    1 sweet onion, sliced thin
                    1-2 tomatoes, sliced
                    1-2 bell peppers, sliced in strips
                    8 oz. mushrooms, any kind, sliced
                    Spices and seasonings, your preference
                    Fresh cilantro or parsley sprigs

                    Directions

                    Mix seasonings into meat before frying or grilling. For a slightly unusual spicy taste, try a bit of powdered ginger. Fry burgers with onions, peppers and mushrooms in avocado, olive or unflavored coconut oil. Use homemade paleo-ingredient mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard if desired. Garnish with cilantro or parsley, or wrap burgers in leaves of spinach and enjoy.

                    For a true paleo-burger, use locally raised and grass-fed pastured meat. Bison is preferable. Turkey, chicken or lamb are also good choices.

                    Is cheese acceptable? Many people in the Paleolithic era had milk from sheep, goats or cows. Try taking an “eat like your ancestors” approach. To make an informed decision, discontinue dairy for a month to six weeks, then resume and see how you feel.