Recommended Grocery List

If we fail to plan, we plan to fail. Eating healthy begins with a good grocery list and having an idea of what meals to make for the week ahead. More tips and advice below.

Produce – focusing on seasonal produce and organic if possible

  • Veggies – lots and lots!
  • Sweet potatoes – great for sweet potato chips or just oven roasted with butter or coconut oil.
  • Mushrooms – use these in everything, from eating raw to throwing in eggs.
  • Wild green
  • Broccoli – usually buy frozen in bulk, therefore, no stress on consuming it before it may spoil.
  • Zucchini, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, all pending on the planned meals for the week.
  • Cauliflower – use as cauli mash or cauli rice.
  • Fresh herbs – can really change the way a meal tastes, and provide antioxidants and helps detoxify our body.
  • Avocado – helps heal us from the inside out.
  • Frozen berries – for those nights I want something sweet – coconut cream, cocoa nibs and berries.
  • Bananas – so good frozen
  • Jicama – full of fiber and great for dicing in a stiry-fry, salad or slice cylinders and use as a chip.
  • Lemons/Limes

Health Tips:

Eat fermented foods daily. You can find options at Whole Foods (including Kombucha), fermented vegetables at the farmer’s market and online at wisechoicemarket.com.

Overall diversify the types of produce you eat weekly, even simply rotate the type of salad greens you eat.

Meat/Seafood

  • Anything grass fed/free range at a good price – beef, lamb, venison, pork
  • Nitrate free bacon – shortcut or Canadian bacon
  • Organic, free-range poultry – opt for skin-on, bone in. Both of these elements are mineral rich and good for our body.
  • No nitrate, hormone free, gluten free deli meat (Boar’s Head, Applegate, Columbus
  • WILD Salmon, tilapia, scallops, calamari, tuna, cod, shrimp – usually buy frozen and some fresh if eating same day.
  • Sardines

Health Tips:

If you don’t have access to quality protein sources there are some great online stores and possible local CSA’s. I recommend US Wellness Meats, Tropical Traditions, Vital Choice (awesome seafood) and Eat Wild websites. Amazon is great for getting certain ingredients, including jerky.

Choose wild caught fish and not farmed. The nutritional profiles in wild are better and contain fewer toxins.

Dairy

  • Organic (grassfed is even better) butter
  • Full fat, organic and grassfed cheese
  • Free range, organic eggs

Compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture contain: 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega- 3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene.*

Aisles

  • Pickles
  • Oils such as coconut, macadamia nut and high quality olive oil
  • Nuts – store them in a cool place, heat can turn them rancid
  • Coconut flour and cream/milk
  • Dark chocolate and cocoa nibs
  • Himalayan sea salt
  • Hot sauce and spices
  • Tea and coffee (organic coffee)
  • Raw honey (real raw honey)
  • Salsa ( no corn or wheat ingredients)
  • Chia, hemp, whole seeds (soak chia seeds overnight in water or unsweetened almond milk/coconut milk to have a porridge like texture)
  • Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)

References:
Lopez-Bote, C. J., R.Sanz Arias, A.I. Rey, A. Castano, B. Isabel, J. Thos (1998). “Effect of free-range feeding on omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-tocopherol content and oxidative stability of eggs.” Animal Feed Science and Technology 72: 33-40.

Dairy & Bone Health

For frequent viewers and those new to my site, you will know or become familiar with the notion I do not advocate a diet rich in dairy, especially not pasteurized, grain-fed, non-organic dairy. Yet, with this, common questions arise regarding the avoidance of dairy and bone health.

Firstly, bone health is more than getting enough calcium. As far as nutrition, and not even addressing the importance of anaerobic exercise, bone health encompasses proper amounts of magnesium, calcium and fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, and K2.

Some nutrient-dense food sources abundant in calcium includes dark leafy greens (kale, broccoli), bone broth, sesame seeds, dried figs, sea vegetables, to name a few. Furthermore, eating a whole food (not whole grain) diet increases your absorption rate of these important minerals. To clarify, this also mean limiting or avoiding grains. Grains contains phytates and phytates bind to the minerals we consume, reducing the overall absorption rate. So what does this mean? The nutrients listed on a bread (grain) food label will not all be absorbed. The phytates will leach to the minerals and therefore, you will have some nutrient-dense urine. Too far? Sorry.

However, the bottom-line is a diet including whole, natural food, including quality protein will make us thrive. Some people can continue eating dairy, but I do not recommend for it to be the center of our plates.

Know this, not all dairy is one in the same. Raw and grass-fed dairy products are far superior to pasteurized, homogenized,  processed, low-fat dairy. It is important to get dairy from cows raised naturally, healthily and to eat full fat dairy – that is where the naturally occurring (not fortified) vitamins A, D and K2 are found along with healthy fatty acids (CLA).

If ranked, raw dairy is the winner as far as nutrition content and overall health benefits. Second, grassfed dairy and third would be organic dairy. If you can get raw, grassfed and organic dairy, rock on! But it’s not all that easy. A few brands I recommend for patients who can handle dairy (who do not have an auto-immune condition, who do not have type 1 diabetes in their family medical history age pending and who do not have a weak digestive track) include:

  1. Noosa Yoghurt
  2. Join a CSA and get raw dairy through a farmer
  3. Natural by Nature Grassfed, Dairy Products
  4. Eat Wild Grassfed Products
  5. Trader Joes has a Raw Cheddar cheese
  6. Whole Foods has raw cheese
  7. Kerrygold butter (can be found at more supermarkets, including Trader Joes)
  8. US Wellness Meats 

Indeed, we can live and thrive without milk, cheese, cream, okay maybe not butter (or ghee from grassfed cows), but health and healthy bones include consumption of a combination of natural nutrients. The best way to help your frame is to eat foods in its natural state. Furthermore, it is not supported to supplement with calcium for recent data indicates detrimental affects on our health when doing so. (1,2,3)

Ironic enough, our country (USA) has the highest occurrence of calcium supplementation and the highest occurrence of osteoporosis. The Nurses’ Health Study followed 72,337 women for over 18 years and found that dairy intake did not reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related hip fractures.(2)

This is some food for thought, don’t you agree?

Fueling our bodies and our health with whole, unmodified food is and will always be the answer.

1. Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Willett WC. Comment on the IOM Vitamin D and Calcium Recommendations. Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source, 2010.
2. Zoler ML. High Vitamin D Intake Linked to Reduced Fractures. Family Practice News, 2010(November 16, 2010).
3. Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Orav EJ, Willett, WC, et al., A Higher Dose of Vitamin D is Required for Hip and Non-vertebral Fracture Prevention: A Pooled Participant-based Meta-analysis of 11 Double-blind RCTs, in The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2010 Annual Meeting2010: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
4. Tsukahara N, Ezawa I. [Calcium intake and osteoporosis in many countries]. Clin Calcium. 2001 Feb;11(2):173-7.
5. Feskanich D, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Calcium, vitamin D, milk consumption and hip fractures: a prospective study among postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77(2): 504-11.

Similar articles on this topic:

Raw Milk Reality: Is Raw Milk Worth the Risk?

Raw Milk – Interview with Mary McGonigle-Martin

Drinking Raw Milk Is Worth The Risk, Advocates Say

Milk 101: Whole, Raw, Organic, Low-Fat, etc

Vitamin D – And I Thought I Knew It All

Upon my return to the USA, I was flabbergasted (in a good way) by something called “Meet-ups.” Two years go by and a whole new social community has developed with these interest group gatherings. Happily I am in numerous Meet-up groups catered to Entrepreneurs, to a Walking group (yes!!!), Paleo’ers and more. So as you can tell, I jumped on Meetup.com joined some Meet-ups that suit my interest and bang, I started attending some meetings.

Today’s post addresses a Paleo Meet-up held in Columbus, Ohio, where Dr Oliver hosted a lecture on vitamin D. After working as a dietitian on the Got Milk campaign, a few years back, I thought I was well-versed in vitamin D research. However, Dr Oliver showed me otherwise. Some information I noted includes the following:

  • It is estimate that up to 90% of people in the Midwest could have insufficient levels vitamin D
  • Everyone should consider testing to see where their levels are – you can go to your GP or order one online at http://www.grassrootshealth.net and http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/.
  • The amount of Vitamin D to supplement is unique to each person and the amount of vitamin D needed to increase one’s level varies. Personally, I take about 3,000-5,000IU of D3 (AnabolicLabs) a day. My last lab showed my levels at  54 nmol/L.
  • The best source of vitamin D is the sun. Besides fatty fish, free range eggs, cod liver oil there are few foods to offer substantial levels.  Ideally spending 15 minutes in the sun at peak times can offer 50,000 IU of vitamin D, according to Dr Oliver. So the question begs to ask, “What are you doing on your lunch break?”
  • When supplementing you want to consider D3 (as well as K2). Indeed a lot of pharmaceutical companies sell D2, yet, D3 is relatively cheap and a lot of the research on vitamin D supplementation has been done on D3.
  • If a woman is breastfeeding or lactating her vitamin D needs will increase to 7,000 IU a day. This is above the RDA, yet, in my opinion as a RD and Dr Oliver agreeing, this 7,000 IU is optimal and perhaps not enough.
  • The RDA for children increased a few years ago and it is now 400 IU, however, there are studies suggesting the needs are much higher. For toddlers the RDA is 600 IU, however, a suggested amount from this meeting would be 1,000-2,000 IU.
  • Overall vitamin D absorption varies – regardless if it is from the sun or a supplement. People with darker skin need to spend more time in the sun to get equal amounts of vitamin D as someone with fairer skin.
  • If capable get your vitamin D levels checked during the winter months. If your levels are low, check again in 3 months to see if you are supplementing enough.
  • Vitamin D supplementing is a very easy thing to do – and people will reap the health benefits even without diet change. However, absorption is better when individuals remove grains from their diet, as seen in Dr Oliver’s patient population.
  • Vitamin D is crucial for bone health – calcium supplementing is not necessary and can even be harmful. The USA is the country with the highest osteoporosis and the highest to supplement with calcium. Please discard calcium chews and the likes if you have them in your cabinet.
  • There are populations who are contraindicated to supplement with vitamin D and this includes individuals who have hyperparathyroidism, hypercalcaemia, granular disease in the lungs, fungal infections in the lungs, cancer/lymphoma and people who have a feeling of being unwell when they are in the sun.
  • Adequate amounts of vitamin D can help those who are experiencing joint pain. Often patients will see a doctor for back pain, etc, and vitamin D may be the solution, not steroids.

As a dietitian, I surely always recommend food first for health, however, there are some key supplements I advise most people to consider taking. Vitamin D is one of them, as is magnesium, a concentrated fish oil, and probiotics, as long as they are no medical or pharmaceutical contraindications to taking these. These recommended supplements help reduce chronic inflammation.

If you want more advice or information on finding high quality supplements as well as dietary advice, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Also, come November 20th (Tuesday) I will be hosting the Paleo Living Columbus gathering. Hopefully you can make it if you are in the area. More information here.

Additional Supporting Vitamin D Research:

Gluten & Dairy Free Pizza

Is there such a thing? Pizza with no grains for the base and no cheese. We had a craving, got creative and ended up satisfied. Give this meal a try and definately experiment with the toppings.

Ingredients:
Organic, sugarless tomato paste
Oregano
Meat – salami, chorizo, pepperoni
Vegetables – spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc
Eggplant
Spices to your liking

Directions:
Slice the eggplant long ways or in cylinders; I prefer long-ways even though the pictures show cylinders. Place on the oven grates and back for 15 minutes on 375 F. Carefully pull out of the oven and place on a cookie baking sheet. Add the tomato base and begin to build your pizza. Bake for another 10 minutes, same heat, and then you are done. If you build your pizza without cheese, I suggest spraying some nice olive oil ontop before you begin to eat.

Overall, I was very pleased with what we made and my blood sugars liked it just as well. The pizza base is very low carb and the fatty meat provided good flavor and balanced the macronutrutient (protein to carb to fat) ratio. Even for the non-diabetic this pizza has a low insulin response.

Cheers to you and good health!

 

No Excuses

Whether or not you are on the Dukan Diet, the Paleo Diet, Weight Watchers or Fast Food only, you are in the power of your own well-being  No one can defend your health better than yourself. Not your doctor, not your partner, husband or wife and not your mother. You know your body better than anyone and you cannot neglect the opportunity to feel your best, perform your best, sleep your best and be your overall best person. Clearly it is not easy, yet, the overall effort is well worth it.

If you think you could tweak your state of health in any way (diet, fitness, sleep, stress), I empower you to make change now. If time is the problem, start small by adding a little more fitness in your day, staying hydrated, putting aside time for enough sleep, surrounding yourself in a positive environment and more.

Everyone’s needs are different including fitness patterns and eating regimes. Yet, it is not as clear to know what exactly works for our individual DNA. This takes a conscious effort to understand and time.

If I could offer one piece of advice on diet, it is to do a personal experiment to figure out what food ingredients make you feel your best. How? There are various ways of doing this but the quickest results can be revealed with a modified elimination diet. This includes the removal of dairy, legumes and/or grains (including all sugar) from your diet for 3-6 weeks. If this is too much, try removing just one of the 3 food groups listed above.

Am I crazy? Yes. But I care about your health just as much as mine. I certainly get push-back with this modified diet idea but, more often than not, by the end there is always some sort of success through the transition.

Are you on-board to give this a shot?

Maybe some background information can serve as inspiration. Once upon a time I attended a convention, Food As Medicine, put on by many credible health and medical experts. During the seminar, at some level, the practitioners preached a gluten and dairy free diet. As a registered dietitian I sat in my chair taking notes thinking 1) “These doctors have to be nuts, who would avoid whole grains and cheese? And, 2) “Thank goodness I am not intolerant to these foods, I can never imagine living without them.”

Fast-forward to today – if I had as much of a crumb of bread I am put out for at least 2 days. I may bloat, I get skin blemishes, I become depressed (and I am happy person), I get endless food cravings, sleep disturbances and my blood sugars become unbearable to control. On the flip-side  my diabetes is much more stable on a gluten free, dairy free and legume free diet AND I require less than half of the insulin I needed on a ‘balanced diet’. This is amazing, especially since many endocrinologists find type 1 diabetics require more insulin with age. Most days I average 9 units of basal insulin (Novolog) and thinking back to my high school days, I used to require 20-24 basal units of insulin per day. I am also 10 years older since I graduated from high school.

Regardless of present symptoms or lack of, these foods (dairy, gluten, legumes (lectins)) can cause inflammation in our bodies, which simply leads to bad things and poor health outcomes. Three to six weeks of an elimination diet can help put the proof in the pudding and help you understand what really makes you feel your best.

This personal inclusion is to help demonstrate how food can affect us. Proponents of a ‘balanced diet’ of whole grains, low fat dairy and legumes, argue that consumption of novel Neolithic and Industrial era foods is responsible for the current epidemic levels of obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer in the US and other contemporary Western populations.[1]

Have a think about it. This is just an idea for anyone looking to feel better and better manage blood sugar levels.

If you think it is something you want to give a shot, it is important to be strict for the whole 3 weeks (at least), allowing for no variables. Once the 21  or 42 days expire, slowly add in any of the restricted foods you have missed and ask yourself how you feel. If you notice any intolerance, reach for many other nutrient dense foods like seasonal vegetables, grass fed meat, seafood, coconut milk, nuts, seeds, berries, dark chocolate, fruit and more.

Food is one of the best pleasures in life; just make sure the choices you make are worth it.

Cheers to you and good health! If you need any help. that is what I am here for. There are no excuses in neglecting your own well-being.

 

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[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic-style_diet

Legumes, Why Should I Stop Eating You?

Legumes, also known as hummus, refried beans, chick peas, black beans, peanuts, soy beans etc, all contain lectins (specialized proteins). Indeed, all plant foods contain lectins but the lectins in grains (such as wheat), dairy and legumes cause an inflammatory response in your body and are resistant to cooking and digestive enzymes.

Overall, research on legume lectin is young and there is a lot more to be explored. However, for this post I have pulled some data for those of you trying to eat paleo day in and day out while ‘digesting’ the biochemistry of Neolithic food.

Lectins are inflammatory, toxic or could be both.  Mark Sisson writes in his new book, “Lectins are natural plant toxins that suppress immune function, interfere with normal protective gut barriers, and promote inflammation (skin, joint, reproductive, allergies and more health related issues) by allowing undigested protein molecules to infiltrate your digestive tract and trigger an autoimmune response – a situation characterized by the familiar term, leaky gut syndrome.”

But what if I have just a small portion of beans or a spoonful of peanut butter, would there be much harm? Yes.

In the Lancet, Dr. Wang and colleagues revealed that lectins can get into the bloodstream in as little 1-4 hours after subjects ate a handful of roasted, salted peanuts, and these lectins can cause damage beyond the gut – commonly in joints, brain, and skin of affected individuals.

But I already have type 1 diabetes and I am grain intolerant; the damage is done. Can I not possibly have a little bit of peanut butter? No.

Research supports the strong possibility that mild stimulation (inflammation) can further worsen gut injury and autoimmune disease. Avoidance of certain food lectins can help achieve optimal health and heal a damaged gut. This serves as a basis for ongoing research and probable success of the paleo diet.

There you have it, “Goodbye peanut butter. I will miss you but challenging my health just is not worth it.”

Regardless if you have an autoimmune disease or a food intolerance, dairy, legumes and grains contain toxic ingredients (lectins) and intolerance can be asymptomatic (silent). If eating paleo is not suiting you at this time, just try your best to eat your best. More great research on the paleo diet in relation to inflammation, disease and performance can be reviewed here.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kelly

Additional articles on this topic:

Dear Food Diary – 3/12/11 – Christmas BBQ Party…

Today, Saturday, I am prepping for a gathering of friends to celebrate Christmas. Let’s see how I behaved at the BBQ, keeping in mind these few goals:

1. Avoid all dairy and grains
2. Drink plenty of water and do not over eat on anything
3. Avoid all dairy

Breakfast: 9AM
Long black
I was not hungry when I first woke up so I waited an hour or so. I also had rubbish sleep last night, so I will be interested in how my cravings run today.
Protein, Coconut oil smoothie
Fish Oil
Probiotics
CoQ10
Allergy meds

Exercise: I have graduated from my walks and am back in the gym! Do not get me wrong, I love walking the parks but I am beyond ready to get my heart rate up and to life some weights.
11AM: Kettlebell workout – wow, I am out of shape.

12noon: met Schmidtty at the market and picked up some wild barramundi for tonight’s barbie! Enjoyed some preservative free sausage samples.

Lunch: 1:35PM
1/2 banana and nutbutter
Ham, deli

Exercise: 4 mile walk with friend

Snack: 4PM
Blueberries and Glutamine fortified jelly (Jell-O)

Party begins 6PM
Grazed in sweet potato chips, sliced pears and apples, hard boiled egg, wine and some tuna-like dip (gfree no doubt)

Dinner: 8PM
Wild barramundi
Prawns
Salad, Greek-like

10PM
Bites of my husband flourless chocolate cake (to.die.for.)

Dear Food Diary – 2/12/11

Today, Friday, I ate:

Breakfast: 8AM
Protein smoothie
Water
Probiotics
Fish oil

Chaotic morning, no appetite around noon. Drank water, ran errands, session in the gym (rowing and lifting).

Lunch: 4PM
1/2 kangaroo burger

Company Christmas Party: 6:30PM
1 1/2 glasses of Pinot Noir (not sure what kind, but it was awesome)

Dinner: 8:30PM

Steer, South Yarra, VIC, Australia

Sauv Blanc, New Zealand, Marlborough (If you ever crave a ncie crisp white wine, always look for one from New Zealand. You will never go wrong.)
Appetizer – 1 scallop with pork belly
1 cheese poof (not sure what it was made of but was ensured it was gluten free)
Lamb (delish)
Dessert – brie & cheddar cheese, grapes, raisins on the vine and more cheese poof bread balls

You may be wondering, “Hey Kelly,  what is up with the dairy when you have trialed this experiment with bad results?” And I am thinking yes, I did cave and I need to take one day at a time on making it goal to eat clean and to consume foods that are best for my metabolism, diabetes, and grain intolerances. Let’s see how I do moving forward, yeah?

Cheers to you and good health!

Dear Food Diary

Today, 29/11/11, I ate…

Breakfast: 9AM
1/2 medium banana
Sunbutter

I woke up around 6:30AM but I was not at all hungry. Those that are reading this and keep up with nutrition advice may be shocked I did not eat something within a 30 minute window of waking up. Contrary to popular belief there is no reason we need to eat within 30 minutes or immediately after waking up. We should not even be restricted to 3 square meals a day. We should eat when we are hungry and some research suggests eating during daylight hours only.

As you can see in my log, I have been doing so but once I have a constant schedule and have stable, consistent blood sugars and my sleep is good I will be more tuned into my hunger signals and may not follow the consistent pattern you have been seeing in the past few food logs. Have you ever heard of Intermittent Fasting? This is the direction I intend to go. I have done it in the past and helps with insulin sensitivity and more.

Exercise: 4 mile walk

Lunch: 12:30PM
Vegetable juice (beets, carrot, celery, lemon, ginger, mint)
1 hard boiled egg
ham, deli
Water

Snack: 3PM
Almond butter (Geesh, I love this stuff)
Never could you guess I am trying to avoid nuts and seeds. Nuts are my candy.

Dinner: 5:45PM
Kangaroo burger with cheese
Mashed avocado

Cheese is not considered paleo and with this craving I once again learned I should always steer clear of dairy. For one reason or another, dairy always exasperates my blood sugar. The above dinner is a low carbohydrate meal but my post meal blood sugar was abnormally high. Can anyone else relate to this occurrence? Some of the more well known paleo medical folks, such as Rob Woff, suggest that anyone with an auto immune disease should not consume dairy because of the inflammation it causes. 

Till next time. Cheers to you and good health!