Herbal Immunity-Boosting Juice

I’ve been a little under the weather lately. Below freezing temperatures, dry central air, combined with the daily stresses of work and not enough sleep, my body is finally saying “ENOUGH!”

I’ve posted about juicing before (check out The Ins and Outs of Juicing ) . I’m a huge fan. I think it’s a great way to sneak in extra nutrients when you are feeling under the weather, or just assist you in reaching your daily quota of fruits & veggies. I no longer own a juicer myself (I currently have a Nutri Bullet, which is almost preferable in the sense that all the fiber and roughage stays intact – as opposed to a juicer, which does strip away those goodies), but during a trip home this past week I decided to break out my dad’s Jack La Lanne’s Power Juicer (highly recommended, by the way) and make some juice for myself and the family.

This particular blend of juice that I chose is packed with nutrients and is a great pick me up if you are feeling under the weather and need an immune system boost – loaded with the herbs ginger and turmeric known for their medicinal effects, this blend is anti-inflammatory, anti microbial, rich in antioxidants (Vitamin C, lycopene, caratanoids – all prevent damage to cells), as well as B-vitamins, Vitamin A, and Potassium, among many others.

I can honestly say, I drank a glass of this before I went to bed and another glass in the morning when I woke up, and I felt significantly better. Less congested, more alert, and overall more energetic. In no way is this a magic formula, but there’s no denying the benefits of extra nutrients in times of stress.

Again, this made about 72 ounces of juice – adjust the quantities as needed, but I prefer to make a large quantity at once – less cleanup and makes it less tempting to skip juicing because I don’t feel like cleaning the machine.

THE INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds of carrots
10 apples
1\2 heaping cup ginger pieces (I bought the root and chopped it up)
5 large oranges
2 orange bell peppers
2 TBS turmeric

THE PROCEDURE:

Wash all produce, well . Each juicer is different and comes with different instructions for use, so follow those set by the manufacturer. The juicer that I used is pretty user friendly and has a pretty strong motor – the (large) oranges needed to be cut into quarters to fit into the opening, and the apples cut into halves, but otherwise everything went in whole. I didn’t peel the oranges – they went in skin and all, but that’s a personal decision. The pepper went in whole (seeds and all) with the exception of the stem. Throw the herbs right in, too.

THE RESULT:

Anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory cold-fighting goodness!

The verdict?

All 72 ounces were gone by morning between 4 people, so I’d say a success! I will be keeping this in my arsenal the next time I’m feeling under the weather. Do you have any favorite juicing recipes to share?

6 easy ways to up the fiber in your diet

In my previous post, I talked about how important fiber is to our body – from keeping you “regular” to lowering your risk of diabetes to knocking your cholesterol down a few points, the benefits are many.

One thing to keep in mind, is to make sure you drink enough fluids – upping the fiber without upping the fluids can lead to constipation, because the way fiber works is absorbing or dissolving in water – if you are dehydrated, it won’t serve it’s purpose.

There are many simple ways to incorporate extra fiber into your diet – here are a few easy ones:

1. Snack on nuts and seeds.


1 serving (1oz) of nuts\seeds has anywhere from 2 grams of fiber per serving (walnuts) to 10 grams per serving (chia seeds). For more information on how to incorporate chia seeds into your diet, check out my previous blog post, 5 Yummy Ways to Use Chia Seeds. Other great nut\seed varieties include pumpkin seeds (2) , sunflower seeds (3) , and almonds (4). A serving is about a handful (or 1\4 cup), so it’s a great snack choice. Just keep in mind portion control, as they are very calorically dense

2. Up your intake of fruits and vegetables.

This is a no brainer – fruits and veggies are chock full of this nutrient, among many others. It’s always best to choose the whole food versions over the juice version. A few notable ones to mention are peas (9g\cup), broccoli (5g\cup), avocados (7g per half), raspberries (8g\cup). Eating your fruits and veggies first in a meal can assist with weight maintenance, also, as you tend to eat less of the meal overall.

3. Incorporate fiber powder into your daily routine

2 tsp = 3g fiber, if using the generic brand (Equate) of Benefiber at Walmart. $9.17 for 90 servings (12 ounces). It can be mixed into a glass of water, your coffee or tea, or as an extra in an smoothie. It’s tasteless, and dissolves completely in hot liquids, so you don’t even realize it’s there.

4. Snack on popcorn

This whole grain snack has about 3 grams per serving, depending on the brand, although if you are like me you don’t stop at one serving – 1 bag (4.5 cups) has about 8 grams. It’s a nice cheap and quick snack, and if you buy a reduced sodium version it’s even more guilt-free.

5. Flaxseed

Full of Omega 3 fatty acids, this grain gives 4g of fiber per 2 TBS. It can be added to smoothies, yogurt, and is also a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. You can either choose the whole seed varieties and grind it yourself, or buy the ground version.

Bottom line: The more processed a food is the less fiber it usually has. Choose whole grain over refined versions whenever possible, and read the back of nutrition labels to check fiber content. Whenever you see “100% whole wheat flour” as the first ingredient, fiber is kept intact. Ingredients indicative of more processed versions include “white flour”, “wheat flour” and “enriched flour” – in these versions, the wheat and bran have been removed, which is what provides the fiber. Maintaining an adequate fiber intake is essential to good health – practice these tips at home to up your own intake.

5 reasons to up the fiber in your diet

5 Reasons to Up the Fiber in Your Diet - find out why you need to increase the amount of fiber you eat on a regular basis, TODAY.

Fiber is essential.

If you are like most people, you don’t get enough. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women 50 and under should be getting 25 grams a day, men 50 and under should be getting 38 grams a day.

What is fiber?

Fiber is a general term for a group of plant substances that the body is unable to digest. Fiber is classified into two groups, “Soluble” and “Insoluble”, based on their ability to dissolve in water. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water – it absorbs it, creating “roughage”, keeping you regular and promoting a “full” feeling. You can find it in wheat bran and most vegetables. Soluble fiber does dissolve in water, creating a “gel” that prevents the body from absorbing certain undesirable substances – such as cholesterol. It can be found in beans, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, as well as psyllium fiber powder.

The average American gets around 15 grams per day. This is a problem.

So why up the fiber?

1. It lowers the risk of heart disease.

Heart disease is a blanket term to describe several diseases that affect the heart & blood vessels (such as heart attack, stroke, and angina\chest pain). Studies have shown that consuming a high fiber diet (specifically soluble fiber) reduces the risk of heart disease by influencing several factors, including the lowering of blood pressure and cholesterol. Soluble fiber “binds” to the LDL (your “bad cholesterol), preventing all of it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Additionally, digestion of fiber produces short chain fatty acids, which prevent your body from producing cholesterol. Lower levels of cholesterol = lower risk of heart disease.

2. It keeps you regular.
Because our body doesn’t digest fiber, it acts as “roughage”, absorbing water as it passes through your digestive system, acting as a “sponge” that sweeps away toxins and other extra materials your body does not need. By preventing constipation, adequate fiber intake also prevents diverticulosis – a condition in which small pouches form in your intestine – can lead to a painful condition called diverticulitis, if those pouches rupture. A high fiber diet has been proven to prevent this uncomfortable condition.

3. It can help you lose weight.
Similar to point #2, as the fiber absorbs water in your digestive system, it swells, creating a feeling of fullness that could lead to consuming fewer calories over the course of the day. When fiber is digested, it produces two hormones that produce satiety (fullness). Intake of fiber prevents the body from absorbing 100% of the calories it consumes – furthermore, because fiber is indigestible, not all the calories are absorbed by the body. In a way, some calories in a high fiber food are “freebies” – your body doesn’t even register that they’ve been consumed.

4. It helps prevent diabetes.
One of the many benefits of fiber is glucose control. Similar to protein and fat, fiber slows down digestion – as a result, slows down the emptying of your stomach contents (too-quick digestion leads to spikes in blood sugar), leading to better glucose control. Additionally, by reducing the risk of obesity (by helping with weight control), the risk for development of diabetes is even lower (as we all know, obesity is a risk factor for diabetes).

5. It helps prevent cancer.
Studies show that the risk of mouth, colon, breast, and small intestinal cancer are DECREASED with high fiber intake. The short chain fatty acids that are produced when fiber is digested have “anti cancer” effects. Additionally, the roughage that fiber produces prevents toxins from sitting in the body for too long, sweeping them out like a broom – toxins that could be potentially carcinogenic (“cancer causing”). There are also studies suggesting that fiber prevents absorption of excess estrogen – a risk factor for breast cancer.

Coming Soon: ways to add fiber to your diet.

SOURCES:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16407729
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/69/1/30.full
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257631/

Why it’s absolutely OK to choose a mini workout over a 2 hour gym sesh

I for one, am not a fan of working out. I will admit it. I’m OK once I’m into it, but it’s mustering up the motivation to actually go and do it that’s the problem. And honestly, who has time to keep up with 1-2 hour gym sessions? It’s a myth that you need to be in the gym for hours to see results. It’s that time of year, where about 37% of Americans will make the resolution to get in better shape – but only about 8% will stick to it.

What’s the disconnect?

A huge reason we don’t follow through on our resolutions is the goals we make for ourselves are unrealistic. You know, just as well as I do, that committing to the gym 5 days a week for an hour is not a realistic goal for most of us. And if you are anything like me, it can be all or nothing – if you know you can’t commit for an hour, you’re not going at all.

Setting goals that are too difficult to maintain is a recipe for disappointment. Some days, a 7 minute workout may be all you can manage. And I will tell you, not only is a 7 minute workout better than nothing, but you WILL be sore for days if you do it right!

However, not just any 7 minute workout, but a HICT 7 minute workout.

I do THIS 7 minute workout on the days that I don’t have the time or the motivation to make it to the gym. It truly is a “KILLER” ab workout! (Please excuse the ridiculously over-fit fitness model).

HICT is performing a series of exercises one after directly after the other, using proper form and at high intensity with minimal rest between exercises. It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity (a huge factor in preventing diabetes), reduce body fat, and increases your V02max (the total amount of oxygen your body has available to use during exercise – improving this number improves your endurance and is a marker of overall fitness)

A study published by the American College of Sport’s Medicine Health & Fitness Journal found that HICT (High Intensity Circuit Training) using your own body weight as resistance with very little rest in between sets can produce both aerobic and metabolic benefits, that can last for up to 72 hours after exercise! For it to work, you must push yourself at 100% through the entire duration of the exercise, without rest. If you take any rest periods before the 7 minutes are up, it negates the purpose. If time permits, you can repeat the 7 minute exercise 2-3 times to produce a full workout.

Although first time around, I would do it ONCE. My boyfriend and I did this yesterday in front of the TV, and I am feeling it today!

Is this workout by itself a substitute for the recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week? Probably not, but it’s a great workout for those days that you just can’t get a 30 minute run in, without giving up on the workout altogether. To make it a more substantial stand-alone workout, you can repeat it 2-3 times with a few minutes of rest between sets (30 seconds or less!).

There are many mini workouts out there – if you have your own that you prefer , share it with me! HICT workouts are a great way to combat the excuse of “no time” for exercise – if nothing else, you can find 7 minutes!

Source: http://www.academia.edu/22670179/HIGH-INTENSITY_CIRCUIT_TRAINING_USING_BODY_WEIGHT_Maximum_Results_With_Minimal_Investment_LEARNING_OBJECTIVE

COCONUT OIL : superfood or hype?

Can I just start out by saying that I really, really, really do not like Dr Oz.

Or rather, I dislike the outrageous claims he makes on national television without having the scientific evidence and clinical research to back them up.

Last year on his show, Dr Oz told us that “superpowers” are what coconut oil is full of.

…..what???? Where did you get this, Dr. Oz????! That’s a pretty bold statement considering how little solid research we actually have.

One of the things I am most proud of as a dietitian is that we are truly focused on evidence based research. We do not (or most of us, anyway) become swayed by the fads and claims of the media. When presenting nutritional information, we carefully highlight if things are “still being researched” and use words like “potential” and “possible”. That’s because we can’t make hard and fast claims off of one or two clinical trial or a few testimonies. You cannot make guarantees that may never actually come true. It’s just wrong, not fair to the general public, and an abuse of power.

That being said, there is a decent amount of research in progress on the effects of coconut oil on the body. Some of the trials are neutral, others are supporting the benefits, but there still ISN’T enough research to make an educated claim.

Let’s go over two of the most common claims:

1# COCONUT OIL IS A CURE FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE:

Dr. George Cahill in the 60’s was the first to discover that the brain is actually able to use ketones for energy.

Why is this important?

Our brain , in normal conditions, uses glucose for energy to process information. During starvation, when our glucose supplies are depleted, our body uses its fat stores for energy and uses “ketones” instead of glucose. The problem in Alzheimer’s disease is that the brain starts to forget how to use glucose and begins to “starve”. In an ideal situation, the brain would switch to ketones for energy , avoid starvation and also the progression of disease, keeping mental function intact. Part of the reason that coconut oil has been toted as a “cure” for Alzheimer’s disease is that the oil is composed of 60% medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) which are a faster metabolizing fat that produces small amounts of ketones when broken down for energy. The problem is, this small amount of ketone production from dietary intake alone is not enough to counteract the starvation of the brain because the levels are not high enough to make a substantial difference.

There ARE documented cases of individuals (google Dr Mary Newport and her husband Steve Newport, for example) who have testimonies to the benefits of coconut oil in combatting mental diseases. But, there just isn’t enough solid research to make a true, scientific claim. The studies available are preliminary at best.
The NIH is currently in the middle of a 3 year study to determine the effects of coconut oil on adults with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The study is set to conclude in December 2016. I’ll definitely be following up on this one.

#2 COCONUT OIL PROMOTES WEIGHT LOSS

This claim comes from the fact that coconut oil is primarily composed of MCT’s, like I mentioned earlier. This type of fat is more easily broken down by the liver and is a quicker energy source for the body. There is some indication that this type of fat produces a mild thermogenic (calorie-burning) effect when broken down for energy.

One particular study divided two groups of obese women into one group which consumed 30ml of coconut oil and another group which consumed 30ml of soybean oil. Both groups followed a reduced calorie diet and exercise program. The group who consumed the coconut oil experienced a reduction in abdominal fat.

Yet another study involving animals found that the group of animals consuming a controlled amount of MCT’s did not experience any difference in body fat loss compared to the group consuming a placebo oil.

Another study involving 30 adults did find that those adults who consumed coconut oil as a part of their diet and exercise program did experience, on average, more fat loss than their placebo counterparts.

There are multiple smaller studies performed on the effects of MCTs on fat loss, but many of them have limitations or just simply didn’t include enough information in their trials to come up with an educated result. More research is needed to come up with a conclusion.

The take away….
Even though there’s still alot of questions unanswered, I see no harm in substituting the fat in your diet with coconut oil. I would treat it just like you would any other calorie dense item: in moderation. I think coconut oil has alot of potentially promising benefits that we just need to take with a grain of salt, and I’m really looking forward to the results of the Clinical studies that are in progress to learn more.

Thanks for reading! Would love to hear any opinions, opposition or agreement.

My references and sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058
https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/clinical-trials/coconut-oil-alzheimers-disease
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26667739
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25997382
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25301680
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25865422
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25636220
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18326600

Mango Avocado Salad

mangoavosalad

One of my favorite things to do is make recipes I come across on Pinterest or random magazines. I have to really be in the mood to cook for no reason and I can usually get pretty inspired after a few minutes of scrolling. I actually found this recipe in Cosmopolitan magazine and I was surprised because Cosmo isn’t typically a place I go to for recipe inspiration. I made this the other day and it is super, super yummy! I only got to have a small amount of it, because when I came home *somebody* had eaten it all (Mom, that means you…).

I had to tweak the recipe a little bit because I found that the amount of liquid the recipe ended up calling for would have made it a SOUP, especially because the fruit releases juice on its own. The recipe originally called for 3\4 cup of greek yogurt, if you decide you want it to be a thinner consistency. Totally up to the individual, but less yogurt was my preference. The cayenne pepper was actually a nice little unexpected kick. I would really start with less and work your way up because it’s not supposed to be overly spicy. It cuts nicely through the tartness of the lime and the sweetness of the fruit.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lime
2 tbs Agave syrup
Two whole grapefruit
1 whole avocado
1 whole mango
Cayenne pepper to taste
1\2 cup plain greek yogurt

PROCEDURE:

Slice the grapefruit, avocado, and mango into long thin pieces (discard of skin and rind).

In separate bowl, combine the juice from the lime, agave syrup, and 1\2 greek yogurt.

Arrange the grapefruit, avocado, and mango in alternating slices on a plate.

Gently spoon the yogurt\lime\agave mixture over the fruit slices.

Finally, sprinkle a TINY bit of cayenne pepper over the fruit. It doesn’t need to be much more than you would do as a garnish.

SERVINGS:

Approximately 4.

Dietitians get fat, too.

DIETITIANS GET FAT TOO

 

It’s been awhile.

I’ve been seriously lacking inspiration for a new post these past few weeks. A big reason for this is probably because I haven’t been on my A-game with taking care of myself. I’m a dietitian, I’m supposed to have that all under control, right? So I haven’t been able to bring myself to post anything. But then it hit me, maybe some people would appreciate hearing this, that dietitians struggle with the same things they’re teaching. That we are not perfect. That we wake up some mornings hungover and not able to fit into our pants. So here goes….

I gained weight. Too much of it. 17 pounds, to be exact.

I convinced myself the scale didn’t work, that it needed new batteries, that my boyfriend’s scale was actually the accurate one (the one that made me literally the same weight every time I stepped on it no matter how much wine I had last week… It’s in the trash now, by the way)

I kind of had to accept the facts when I couldn’t fit into my pants anymore.

I’m not fat by any means. But I know that the more unintended weight we gain as we get older, the more we put ourselves at risk for yucky diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, etc. etc.

I decided to put down my pride and make this into a lesson learned for both myself and whoever is reading this blog of mine: so, what did I do wrong?

1.) I drank too much.
I don’t mean that I got drunk every night. But the CDC’s recommendation for women (defined as “moderate alcohol consumption”) is no more than 1 drink daily. Going by this recommendation, I drank too much. A bottle of wine is far too easy to polish off in two nights (a bottle of wine is 5 servings).


2.) I ate too many of my calories after dark.

It is very easy for me to control my portions and choose the right foods during the daytime hours. I experience very little temptation and I am often so busy with work that I am able to distract myself. It’s when I get home that I find myself starving and craving all the wrong foods. Over the winter months this became especially difficult.

3.) I snacked too much.
I. Picked. At. Everything. Boyfriend munching on chips? I had four or five of those. Bowl of popcorn at work? Handful of those. Cooking dinner? Spoonful here, forkful there. The worst part of this habit is, you don’t feel as if you are consuming much of anything so you subconsciously write off the calories. It is so easy to consume hundreds, even thousands of calories without even realizing it.

4.) I stopped working out.
Back in June, I sprained my ankle badly. I had been training for a race and took a bad step during a run. It took months to heal, and it wasn’t until November or December that I was pain free. I truly love to run, and not being able to do this for so long was extremely discouraging. Instead of taking up another low impact activity, I threw in the towel all together. This, combined with my fairly sedentary job, did not help the situation.

SO, what now?

Baby steps.

It’s not going to happen overnight, but the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one in the first place! I’m not going on some crazy diet. I don’t believe in eliminating anything that you can’t keep up with for a lifetime. I’m going back to the basics. I already know what my downfalls are, and I’m addressing them directly:

1.) Moderation! I’m not giving up my wine by any stretch of the imagination. But, I am going to cut down considerably. The body really doesn’t know how to process alcohol except to store it as fat. That, coupled with the fact that when I drink I become magically hungry, practicing moderation will do me some good.

2.) I am going to make a conscious effort to stop picking. Chewing gum has worked for me in the past. I find that if you keep your mouth occupied , it keeps you from picking at food when you aren’t really hungry.

3.) Back to working out..I just picked up a yoga class recently. We meet once weekly, and my hope is that keeping up my flexibility will prevent me from becoming injured again when I build up the cardio to start running again. For now, only power walking for me.

4.) The kitchen is closed at night! Late night snacking will be cut down considerably. In the past I have set myself up for failure by not doing enough planning : I don’t eat enough during the day, and so when I come home, my body is all ready to make up the deficit. By making a conscious effort to eat enough of the right foods during the day, my body will not be crying for food when I’m trying to wind down for the day.

I hope at least someone benefited from this. Just know, you are not alone, and dietitians struggle too.

Potassium : the underdog nutrient

POTASSIUM

What is Potassium?

Potassium is an electrolyte in the body (like sodium, magnesium and chloride) that helps regulate the body’s intra-cellular functions by conducting electricity. One of the main purposes of this electrolyte is to regular muscle contractions, and your heart is one of your body’s biggest muscles.

What are the benefits of potassium?

There are many, but for the sake of this article I’m focusing on its role in preventing cardivascular disease. I am sure you have heard often that too much sodium (salt) will contribute to high blood pressure. This is because sodium constricts the blood vessels of the heart which in turn elevates the total pressure of the blood against the heart walls. High blood pressure is dangerous because it is a stepping stone for heart disease, which includes heart attacks and strokes. Potassium performs the exact opposite – it is a “vasodilator”, which means it RELAXES the blood vessels of the heart. In theory, potassium can help to counteract some of the negative effects of too much sodium in the diet. While sodium elevates blood pressure, potassium lowers it.

How much Potassium is enough?

The FDA recommends a DV – Daily Value (for a 2,000 calorie diet) of 3,500mg daily. Most people are unaware of what foods contain potassium, other than bananas. Potassium isn’t publicized as much as other nutrients\minerals in spite of its essential nature (such as Calcium, for example) which is why I call it the underdog nutrient. Here is a helpful table highlighting some good sources of potassium:

Potassium-List

As you can see, bananas are on the list but they are well surpassed by lima beans, raisins, and spinach. Go figure! 🙂 Hopefully this short article raised your awareness of the importance of potassium and how powerful it is in counteracting excess sodium in the diet. It is one of the simplest ways to combat heart disease. I do feel that if potassium got as much publicity as sodium, it might be easier for the average consumer to make the connection between the two. Oh well, I guess that’s the RD’s job 🙂

SOURCES USED:

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0216p12.shtml

Elite Fitness Plus

Pumpkin Banana Oat Smoothie

drop me in the water

This is a simple, nutritious smoothie you can whip up ahead of time for breakfast in the morning or for a snack. I generally prefer to eat my meals rather than drink them, but sometimes a smoothie hits the spot and this one is actually pretty filling. Provides a decent amount of protein & fiber for sustenance, and while it does contain sugar, none of it is added and it all comes from the milk and banana. You can add more liquid if it’s too thick for your taste.

I say to use a high powered blender because of the oats, but any blender will do. I use my Ninja and it does the trick.

Ingredients:

1 whole banana

1\4 cup pumpkin puree (canned)

1 and 1\2 cups milk of choice (I used 2%)

Dash of cinnamon

1\2 cup old fashioned oats

Mix all ingredients in a high powered blender.

Makes about 2 8oz servings.

Nutrition:

Serving size: 8oz
Calories: 223
Fat: 6g
Protein: 7.5g
Fiber: 4.5g
Sugar: 16g

The Paleo Diet

CLASSY (1)

 

What is the Paleo diet?

It consists of anything that can be hunted, fished or gathered. This also means exclusion of the following : grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, salt. It is based on the premise that if we eat the way our ancestors eat, we will avoid the chronic diseases of our current generation such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc, and will overall be healthier.

Generally, when a diet requires you to omit entire food groups, it is a huge red flag. There are plenty of proven health benefits to be found in both dairy AND whole grains. Low fat dairy has been suggested to aid weight loss benefits in addition to providing Vitamin D and Calcium. Whole grains have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and provide a great source of fiber. Exclusion of entire food groups (ones that have proven to provide more benefits than they do harm, for that matter!) also tends to make the meal plan hard to stick with.

Dairy and grains are not the source of our diseases – Americans tend to eat these, especially grains, in excess. Anything in excess will cause problems. Completely eliminating these food groups as a response to this is not the answer.

Another thought to consider…just because our ancestors ate a particular way does not mean that it’s good for us. Nutrition is a constantly evolving science and we are making new discoveries every day. What we know about the recommended dietary guidelines for Americans tells us that an average day for the Paleo diet is lacking in carbohydrates and exceeds the recommendations for protein and fat.

Elaborating on my previous point, how exactly did this author of the Paleo diet determine just what our “ancestors” ate?
Considering the following information, the premise of the book is a bit off:
Depending on the climate, the diet varied widely. Archeological scientist Christina Warinner goes into more detail in her TEDTalk, “Debunking the Paleo Diet.” The diet “has no basis in archeological reality.” Artic dwellers ate more meat; those in Mexico ate legumes, fruits, nuts, and beans and flowers. Their wild game consumption mostly included rabbits. Warmer climates had a higher plant consumption. My point being, that the diet of paleolithic times cannot be limited to what the author of the Paleo diet has specified. There were so many variations based on the climate that there is no “one diet” of this time period.

Am I completely against the Paleo diet?

No.

I think it has a lot of wonderful components. It encourages the consumption of fruits and veggies, which the majority of Americans are lacking. It encourages the follower to avoid added sugars (recommendations are 10% or less of total calories) and excess salt.

Will you lose weight? Probably, but only if you work a calorie deficit into your plan.

If anything, I’d recommend taking the good aspects of the Paleo diet (avoiding added sugars, avoiding processed white flour, and loading up on fruits & veggies) and tweak the aspects of it that science really doesn’t support (dairy & grains are not bad, people.) What you end up with won’t really be the “Paleo” diet, but it’ll be a diet supported by science – more good for the long haul and less jumping on the fad diet bandwagon.

Resources used in the development of this article:

Ted Talks

EatRight