Category Archives: Nutrition

Tips on eating and maintaining a healthy diet, and information on the physiological benefits of good nutrition.

A Break Up Letter to Bacon

baconFor a lot of people, when you say you’re going ‘on the paleo diet’ general feedback you get from your friends is something like – you’re mad, you’re crazy, why would you do this?, don’t you know it’s dangerous, sure but bread tastes soooo good.

One of the stalwart answers to these (and many more) complaints of the paleo/primal diet usually centres around the fact the diet allows, and in fact encourages, a relatively large intake of meat. Delicious, delicious meat. With none more popular than that thinly sliced fat infused breakfast meat from heaven, bacon. I mean bacon is just the bomb. The end.

So when I said to my paleo/primal friends that I’m no longer eating bacon, the feedback was something like – you’re mad, you’re crazy, why would you do this?, don’t you know it’s dangerous, sure but bacon tastes sooooo good. So by way of explanation I offer you this treatise on the matter – My Breakup Letter To Bacon (o.k. I’m actually breaking up with all domesticated meat, but bacon is the one who really disserves the letter).

 

Dear Bacon,

 

We’ve had some really wonderful times together, times that I will never forget and will always hold dear. Like the time I put you on pancakes with eggs and poured maple syrup over you. Or the time I interlaced you into a pizza base and created a Meat-zza. That time especially.

But unfortunately all good things must end, and it’s time for us to go our separate ways. I just feel I need some space away from you, so I can discover who I am without your influence.

It’s not you it’s me. Actually that’s not really true It’s half me and half what I’m doing to you. Allow me to delve into this dichotomy further.

Firstly, me:

I am a human being and as such I am subject to influence and adaptation to my environment. My environment has shaped me. Historically that environment has been a wild one, the same as every other creature on this Earth. However since the onset of agriculture I have shaped my environment, controlling it in order to make my life easier. Ergo I now control my development, willingly or not, in a closed loop system. I want to find out what happens when we’re no longer in that system, both physically and mentally (I’ve heard stories from other hunters and survival people that sustained consumption of wild caught protein can bring about a change in psychology).

It also strikes me as weird the homogenization of our diets. Four animals rule our protein intake – cow, pig, sheep and chicken – and nearly all meals contain a variant of one of these beasts (the main exception being seafood).

And Now you. I can’t bury my head in the sand any longer and believe that all my meat comes from a paradise farm somewhere where all the animals are sung to whilst eating the finest organic grass. When it’s time for them to die they just slip off to sleep and never wake up. No, the reality is concrete floors, steel pens and electrocution – a scene very far from nature, but then again so is the animal that is being ‘harvested’. These animals are very different from their progenitor species, bred to be docile with a high yield.

boar

Boar – The progenitor of the pig

pig

Moderna day pig (the wonder animal) in it’s ‘natural’ surrounds

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aurochs

Aurochs – progenitor of the modern cow species. Taking on wolves like a boss

cow

The modern cow…

 

Let’s talk about the creation of species with the implicit outcome to harvest them for meat. I mean this is something directly out of sci fi when you think about it (The Matrix, The Island). But as I said before, this is in essence a closed loop system; one I think we have very little idea what the impact is on our development.

I’m not even going to go into the environmental impact of our current animal farming practices here. Or my thoughts on whether the amount of people eating meat should be and the disconnect between the original form of what we eat and how it is finally presented (but I will go into these at a later date).

 

So, sadly, it’s over between us (for a little while at least). Don’t call me anymore. And if you receive a late night message on Saturday just ignore it. It’s better this way.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Stuart.

 

 

In all seriousness though the aim of this experiment is to see what (if any) changes occur and how feasible it actually is to do this (as I’ve found thus far, sourcing wild meat can be tricky). This is not a ‘holier than thou’ preaching session on what you should. It’s just one man’s attempt to regain connection with a food system that is almost as removed as we can possibly take it. This is not for everyone, I get that, but then again neither is breathing.

 

I don’t view my dietary habits as a set of rules or a goal to attain, I view it as a continuum, an ongoing self experiment.

And this is just the next step down my own personal rabbit hole. Curiouser and curiouser (and hungrier).

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Fermenting foods

kim chiHi All,

Sorry it has been a while. I have been busy getting my eldest daughter enrolled in High School for 2014, attending Open days and nights and also trying to give my Aussie Paleo Chef profile a bit of a caveman kick in the butt.

Anyhow, this rattle is about my new found favourite accompaniment for meat dishes, (in particular, steak) fermented vegetables. Don’t be deterred by the name, your Paleo palettes will love the sour, salty, crunchiness of this pile of absolute goodness.

There are a great range of raw fermented vegetables these days available from good Health food stores.  German sauerkraut (which is simply fermented cabbage) is the most famous and common of all the varieties and compliments homemade curried beef patties like nothing else. Korean Kim Chi, which is usually a spicy blend of cabbage, carrot, apple, pear, ginger and chilli, is my personal favourite with a juicy steak.  Kim Chi can take some working up to as it can be very spicy but once you are used to it, you will be addicted.

A natural probiotic, fermented foods improve digestion. Fermenting foods is essentially partially digesting them before we eat them. They also restore proper bacteria in the gut and are rich in enzymes. These enzymes enable us to properly digest, absorb and make use of our food. Put simply, we can ingest a huge amount of nutrients but unless we are actually absorbing them they are of no use.

Aside from the health benefits, fermenting foods preserves them, is cheap to do (once you know how) and adds a whole lot of flavour to your meals.

The process of fermenting vegetables (also called lacto-fermentation) isn’t difficult; however I would suggest using a culture starter to achieve a more consistent product. There are natural bacteria in the air and on vegetables at any given time and with a little salt and water fermentation can be achieved (this is how it has been done for thousands of years) but this can be a bit of a hit and miss affair. Most culture starters will include a basic recipe/instruction for the process but as you become more experienced with fermentation try experimenting with different spices, vegetables and even fruits. The products sold at stores are quite expensive considering they are really so cheap to make, it just requires a little time and some loving care, however once you have mastered the art you will save yourself a fortune, greatly increase your stomach health and really bring your food to life.

I would highly recommend you explore the world of fermented vegetables, get an idea of what suits your palette and then try and incorporate these type of vegetables into your diet on a regular basis. There are a host of reasons to be eating fermented vegetables, and in terms of ‘superfoods’ this truly is one.

 

kim chi steakHere is a basic recipe for Sauerkraut, I’ve added a few extra ingredients, I love the extra flavour.

Ingredients

1 x head of cabbage (red or white/ or half of each)

2 x medium carrots

5 cloves garlic

1tbs juniper berries

1tsp each of dill and caraway seeds

2 bay leaves

1 tbs peppercorns

1 pkt culture starter mix

Method:

In 1 cup of water warm dissolve 1tbs honey and the culture starter mix. Cover this and allow to begin to ferment. Don’t worry about the honey, the bacteria will feed on this and by the time your vegetables are ready for consumption there will be no sweetness, the bacteria would have already consumed and utilised the honey for reproduction.

Shred/slice the cabbage, carrots and garlic (if the vegetables are too fine the finished product will be like mush. 1cm slices of the cabbage, 3mm x 3mm sticks of carrot and garlic slices2-3mm thick). In a large bowl mix the vegetables with the spices until well combined.

Firmly press the vegetables into an airtight (sunlight free jar/ ideally a fermenting crock). Pour your starter mix onto the vegetables and continue to press down and add more water unti the vegetables are fully submerged and atleast 5cm from the top of your jar/container. Using a small plate or something similar weigh the vegetables down to ensure they remain submerged the entire fermentation.

Leave the crockpot/ jar at room temperature for 7 days (ideally about 20-22’C). Do not open the crockpot during this time. After the week, harvest (or jar) your vegetables. At this time I stir through some dried seaweed flakes, usually dulse or nori. This will assist creating a nice saltiness in the creation. Your vegetables will keep in the fridge indefinitely.

Enjoy in good health

Daniel Barrett

Aussie Paleo Chef

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Cut the Fruit for Your Kid’s Health? – Fructose in the modern child’s diet

Apple fruit
This post has been inspired by a friendly confrontation on fructose content in children’s diets hat I had with a teacher from my children’s school. Before I start I should state that, for the most part, the body of this blog is my personal opinion, however I have included scientific facts where possible to substantiate my beliefs

One evening, at a get to know your child’s teacher event, a staff member bailed me up to query her observations. “Mr Barrett,” she began. “I have noticed that your children generally bring far less fruit to school than the other students. Also I have never seen them with fruit juices, cordials, soft drinks, and even in the heat of summer an iceblock. Do you have any particular views on this as it is obvious their diet is distinctly different to the other children?” Needless to say she had now opened a can of worms and this is basically the response she got:

To begin, let’s look at fruit poppers, cordials, soft drinks and iceblocks. As a rule, there is a nasty little ingredient hidden in nearly all of these products, named High Fructose Corn Syrup, or HFCS. It is made via a process involving heat, mechanical breakdown, chemicals and enzymatic action to reduce corn starch into syrup that contains 90% fructose. This is then mixed with glucose syrup to produce a variety of HFCS’s used in carbonated drinks, drink syrups, canned fruits, sauces, soups condiments, baked goods and many other processed foods. Scarily, this stuff is damn cheap to make (due to Governments subsidising corn crops) and is sweeter than table sugar, therefore very palatable to our increasingly overweight population. In a basic sense, fructose has a structure that differs from that of natural sugar and our bodies our simply unable to metabolise it (or at least very poor at it). In scientific terms there is no chemical bond between the fructose and glucose, therefore no digestion is required and they are absorbed more readily into our blood stream. The fructose goes straight to our liver and triggers the production of fats, including cholesterol, and is a major cause of liver damage, or “fatty liver”. The glucose triggers big spikes in insulin, our major fat storage hormone. Combined these features lead to an increase in metabolic disturbances that promote appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and the list goes on!

HFCS’s also contain contaminants such as mercury and medical and nutritional experts do not support the use of HFCS in the human diet. If you would like to frighten yourself a little more read this article by a DR Mercola, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/sugar-may-be-bad-but-this_b_463655.html.

So what does fruit have to do with all of this I hear you ask. Good point, firstly we need to look at fruit consumption from an ancestral perspective. The original human were Hunters and Gatherers and a result would only had access to sweet fruit seasonally, meaning it was consumed in very small quantities on very few occasions. So let’s discuss sugars, as the body sees them.

Glucose is the good sugar; it can be used by all our cells for energy and is essential for some parts of our bodies. The best sources of natural carbohydrates are starchy vegetables such as Kumera and Yams. Starch is a complex polymer of glucose molecules that disassembled in our digestive systems and absorbed as glucose. Now generally our bodies can handle small amounts of fructose very well, it has for a couple of million years, but in over consumption becomes toxic. Unfortunately this means you can have too much fruit. Fructose can only be metabolised by the liver and is therefore useless to the body. Excess fructose damages the liver and has the same effect on the organ as alcohol. Fructose reacts with proteins and polyunsaturated fats in our bodies 7 times more than glucose. This reaction creates Advanced Glycation End products which are products that create damage in our cells and lead to inflammation and a host of chronic diseases. Fructose increases uric acid production which in excess can cause gout, kidney stones, and aggravate hypertension. The body’s cells cannot use fructose as a source of energy but the gut can. Excess fructose can cause gut flora imbalances, promote bacterial overgrowth and pathogenic bacteria. Fructose can cause all the problems associated with the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, heart disease etc. Cancer cells thrive and proliferate very well with fructose and excess fructose also affects brain functioning, especially as it relates to appetite regulation.

You have probably been scared enough by now so it is important for me to profess that I do send the children to school with some fruit, usually berries, just not all the time. I substitute fruit with carrot, cucumber, celery, capsicum and seed butters. I never allow them to have fruit juices, which are simply concentrated forms of fructose but rather eat the whole fruit.  From time to time I put whole fruit into the blender with coconut water and make smoothies or mix the puree with soda water and freeze for healthy iceblocks. I laugh when I see long lines of people dressed in expensive exercise gear lining up at juice bars in shopping centres and food courts, living the delusion they are doing themselves good. They might as well drink coke!! Another important thing to remember is that because someone looks healthy on the outside does not necessarily mean everything is just as rosy on the inside.

As I’m sure you can imagine I don’t get asked questions any more about how I feed my kids, but I know I am doing the right thing. They are healthy, fit and love their grub. The other kids in the playground are forever trying to do “deals” to swap food with them, and we are the creators of new food trends amongst the children. We make our own jerky and dehydrated vegetable chips, and eat a wider variety of foods than all of them. I know I am doing all I can to ensure my kids have great longevity and a disease free existence.

So the next time you say to your kids I don’t mind how much fruit you eat because it is good for you, question yourself, “is it really?”

Something to think about.

Until next time, love your grub,

Daniel Barrett.

The Aussie Paleo Chef

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The New Australian Dietary Guidelines – My thoughts

6688989961_3a74da45edThe Australian Government released it’s new Dietary Guidelines recently (following a 3 year review) and some of the new guidelines seem to be causing a bit of a stir. A friend of mine asked for my thoughts on the matter so I thought I’d post my views up here.

I was studying nutrition when they were drafting this so it’s something that I have been waiting on with interest. Being of the Paleo persuasion, I am never going to feel that they go far enough with their recommendations, but at least it’s a (sort of) step in the right direction (albeit via omission rather than admission). Here’s my views on a few of the key changes:

Limiting Sugar

Finally, there is a recommendation to limit sugar. As good of a step as that is, it’s also an admission that they have the evidence of how bad sugar can be in our diets, so why not say that? Well one reason is probably because of the uproar that this small change has already caused (check out this article on the matter from abc news).

Low Fat Foods

I’m super happy that they took out “Aim for low fat versions of foods” as these things are invariably a chemical cocktail. The new recommendation of aiming for good fats instead of bad fats is fine, but I feel they are still basing the saturated fat bashing off one old study that showed correlation not causation between sat fats and heart disease.

The Food Pyramid

Thank Odin they have eradicated the pyramid, which, in my opinion, is one of the worst things to happen to nutrition. Also grains have slipped down the list to be replaced by fruit and veggies. It’s not a win, but it’s a start.

Exercise

The recommendation for exercise has gone from 30 mins a day to 60, and in the case of formerly obese people, 90 mins a day. Unsurprisingly I think this recommendation is awesome, however a little more detail into the types of exercise and into what actually constitutes exercise would be better.

 

At the end of they day they (the Government) are dealing with a bell curve of statistics, and they have to do the best for the most whilst bringing no harm (or as little as possible) to the few, so although I feel the recommendations are a little weak, they are still miles better than what they used to be.

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Coffee in the Paleo diet

IMG_1678People often ask me, as a Paleo eater and as a Chef do you still drink coffee. The answer to that is a simple YES. Being a chef you are either a coffee junky or a drunk. I like to think I have chosen the right addiction. I still enjoy my morning coffee, however these days I only have one, at most two a morning and I do things a little differently. True coffee isn’t 100% Paleo, in that it requires high temperature processing required for today’s consumption, however there is no denying its highly beneficial health properties.

Not all coffees are created equal

Just like fats not all coffee is created equally. There are two main types, Arabica and Robusta. Robusta is grown at lower altitudes exposing it to more pests and diseases. As a result Robusta has evolved to combat these threats through a higher level of plant lectins, or poisons which make it more hazardous for human consumption. Arabica, grown at higher altitudes has much less plant lectins and its health benefits far outweigh the negative impacts (which are mainly due to over consumption).

It’s well known that coffee is a stimulant, so it can be (and often is) used to ‘boost’ cognitive function and increase alertness, but it has a slew of other potential benefits. Studies have shown links between coffee drinking and a reduction in the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

White or Black?

If you drink it black then you are already doing better than me but if you still require that slightly creamy touch you can try Organic Almond milk or my choice, Organic Coconut cream. The cream gives the coffee a decadent smooth richness as well as a touch of sweetness (and it froths up well). To crank up the health benefits even more, I add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon (the greatest natural tool for regulating blood sugar levels) to my coconut cream when I froth it. It complements the cream beautifully as well as being one of coffees best culinary friends.

 

So fellow paleo-ites no need to feel guilty about your morning coffee, but why not try making your morning coffee a little more Paleo tomorrow

Daniel.

Aussie Paleo Chef

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Hints and Tips for Paleo eating

Here’s just a few things that I’ve picked up on my Paleo journey. Little hints and tips that don’t particularly fall into any category but are definitely good to know.

“Breakfast” Foods

It is a good idea to dump the notion that there are breakfast foods, lunch foods and dinner foods. To our ancestors, food was simply food and eaten when available and when they were hungry. Don’t be afraid to eat meat, fat and veggies breakfast lunch and dinner, your body is already genetically coded to do so, and what’s more: IT IS DAMN GOOD FOR YOU.

Salt

If you haven’t already ditched the salt do so. Sea salt, Himalayan salt, all that crap, get rid of it. Sodium inhibits the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Sea vegetables however are a fantastic seasoning alternative, low in sodium, salty in taste and an excellent source of iodine. Iodine is found in every cell in the body and is responsible for the production of all the hormones in the body. Adequate iodine levels are necessary for proper immune system function. A variety of Sea Seasonings can be found at most health food stores now so do yourself a big favour, throw out the salt and season with seaweed, you’ll love it. (I’ll put the caveat in here for Australians  that most table salt is fortified with Iodine, which our soil lacks naturally, so keep that in mind too when cutting salt – Stuart.)

Fat ratios in grain fed meat

Don’t be tempted to consume grain fed, supermarket meat. The fat ratio in these meats is imbalanced and in reality no better for you than a fast food chain burger. Don’t be afraid of dietary fats, eat them, eat loads of them, it is the body’s desired form of fuel. Natural dietary fat stabilises the brain, it improves blood flow to this organ whereas sugars and starch destabilise the brain.

Spice things up

Spices can turn any meal into an amazing experience

Spices can turn any meal into an amazing experience

Experiment with spices, these will make your foods taste so much better and most have significant positive health impacts. Cinnamon is the greatest tool available to our bodies for regulating blood sugar levels and controlling insulin responses, while turmeric, which is an antioxidant is one of the few anti-inflammatory substances that crosses the blood-brain barrier and can do marvellous things for people with neuro-inflammation, a real problem in depressive and cognitive disorders ).

So there you have just a few quick tips for Paleo eating, I hope you all got something from it. I love nothing more than sharing and learning Paleo ideas and concepts so if you have any questions, specific requests or suggestions for me let’s get in touch and get this community in full swing!

Remember that results are a reflection of effort, be prepared to work for your goals and of course, eat clean, train dirty and love your grub,

Daniel.

Aussie Paleo Chef

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How to shop and eat Paleo

Hey again guys, Daniel here,

Today I’m going to take you through how I shop and what I prepare for my family in a week. It’s kind of a ‘Week in the life of…’ but focussed mainly on the food. Hopefully it gives you some insight into how you to can prepare fantastic Paleo meals for a family without spending a lot time or money.

Shopping

I have set aside Sunday afternoons (3-5pm) for grocery shopping at my local markets. The quality of produce is far greater than your average supermarket, however as this is the last couple of hours of trading at the fresh food markets (they’re open Thursday – Sunday), the providores dramatically reduce prices in order to sell their stock (rather than having to add to their inventory of frozen stock). The point being that I get to feed my family with fantastic produce at a great price. A typical family of four is a good yardstick to use (that’s pretty much what I buy for each week).

So here’s a rundown of what my shopping looked like last week. I haven’t included fruit and vegies in here, nut you’ll be able to figure it out from the weekly meal menu below.

From the Seafood Monger I bought 1kg of fresh white bait, 2.5 kg of mussels and 2 rainbow trout all of which was great quality at bargain prices.

From the organic butcher I bought 1.7Kgs organic beef ribs, a 1.4kg organic bolar blade roast, 800gm of organic beef rump steak, 1kg kangaroo mince, 800gm free range chicken breast and a beautiful free range pork neck roast weighing 1.2kg

So that covers off the meat (protein) that I have had to purchase for the family for the week. As I stated before, purchasing this amount of meat can be expensive but if you shop around and shop at the right time you can often dramatically reduce your weekly food bill.

Weekly Family Menu

Below is a quick menu of meals for the week that I prepared for the family. If you have any questions or would like specific recipes feel free to ask in the comments section or on the Tengeri facebook page.

Just before I start I have a quick recommendation. Try and start each day with a lemon detox drink first thing in the morning. Simply squeeze half a lemon into a glass, top it up with warm water and down it before you even think about food. This will kick-start your metabolism and cleanses and detoxifies the digestive system, flushing out impurities and creating a clean slate for your system to receive all the nutrients you will eat during the day. If your digestive tract is clogged up with toxins and waste from the day before it inhibits your body’s ability to convert nutrients into energy.

You will also notice there are a few garnishes and sauces that pop up. I usually prepare a batch of these on a Sunday to have on hand during the week. They can be the thing to turn ordinary leftovers into an amazing meal.

Sunday (night)

I mixed the whitebait with couple of organic eggs some fresh herbs, a few spices and a sprinkle of coconut flour made some awesome fish patties, which I served with sweet potato, coconut mash and a watercress, ginger and kale salad.

Monday

I smoked the trout at home (it’s a hobby of mine) and we feasted on Smoked trout scrambled eggs with garlic spinach and grilled mushrooms for breakfast.

For lunch we had the left over seafood patties served cold, spread with Paleo lemon mayo and topped with cucumber, tomato and coriander salsa.

Dinner was the mussels, steamed with Thai spices, coconut milk, Chinese cabbage, red capsicum and sliced mushrooms. A really easy dish to prepare but so tasty.

Tuesday

Tuesday brekky was kangaroo mince stir fried with broccoli, bokchoy, chilli and spinach, topped with an organic poached egg and coconut/chilli sauce.

Tuesday lunch I dropped the leftover mussels and sauce into cauliflower puree to create a soup, garnished it with cherry tomatoes and rocket salad on the side. Yummo!

Tuesday dinner, slow cooked beef ribs served with sweet potato chips, garlic spinach and grilled tomato.

Wednesday

Wednesday brekky is smoked chicken breast omelette topped with a broccoli, mushroom and garlic stir-fry.

Green drink

Wednesday lunch, cold left over ribs with a smoothie containing:

  • 2 bunches of spinach
  • half a cucumber
  • handful of mint
  • half a frozen mango or banana
  • 200ml coconut water.

(You will need a good blender, smoothies done in a quality machine will transform your 21st Century Paleo experience.) We will have this smoothie again on Saturday and I will outline its health benefits there.

Dinner Wednesday was Slow Roasted Pork neck, stuffed with rosemary and garlic, seasoned with turmeric, coriander seeds and cumin, and served with crunchy cabbage (raw sauerkraut), roasted peppers and pureed apple.

Thursday

Organic Beef BurgerThursday brekky was Kangaroo, cumin and lemon zest patties with garlic spinach, raw organic tomato sauce and garlic mushrooms.

Lunch turns up cold shredded pork neck (leftovers) with a watermelon, mint, ginger and rocket salad. Might sound strange but it was awesome, drizzled with squeezed lime and extra virgin olive oil.

Dinner was those yummy rump steaks, served with sweet potato rosti’s and Paleo tempura vegies, cauliflower, capsicum and broccoli (fried in coconut oil and coated in a chestnut flour batter.)

Friday

Friday brekky was a simple scrambled eggs mix served with shredded left over pork neck tossed through homemade sauerkraut and drizzled with chilli and coconut sauce.  Sauerkraut again, I can hear you complain, well…

Fermented foods naturally heal the gut mucosa and nurture a healthy inner ecosystem. In fact probiotic rich foods are an essential component in maintaining clear, healthy skin as well as a clear, healthy mind. For those wanting to prolong a youthful appearance fermented raw vegetables go a long way towards achieving that as well as providing sulphur, which fights disease, inflammation and infection.

For lunch on Friday we halved some bell peppers to create a ‘boat’ and filled these with shredded smoked chicken, mixed herbs, avocado puree and wild rocket.

Dinner was again kangaroo, this time mixed with an egg and some coconut flour, seasoned with sautéed onion, garlic, capsicum, wakame (a variety of seaweed ) and a few spices, rolled into koftas or skinless sausages and served with curried broccoli, grilled mushrooms and Chinese cabbage.

Some of you may be aware of the chemical CLA (conjugated lineolic acid). It is understood by biochemists that this chemical is possibly the greatest aid in reducing body fat and building lean strong muscle. There are no quality CLA supplements so leave that idea alone, however it occurs naturally in grass fed meats and is found in greatest concentration in our kangaroo meat. So if you want to look ‘hot’, start eating plenty of Roo.

Saturday

As a family, we choose to fast on Saturdays, this doesn’t mean not eating at all but rather simply extending the night-time sleeping fast until mid afternoon (of which the health benefits are extraordinary ), at this time we have a smoothie, usually containing a bunch of spinach, half a cucumber, a handful of mint, a small knob of ginger, half a frozen mango and coconut water. Green juices or smoothies are the best medicine you can give your body. The juicer/blender predigests the veggies for you, leaving you with loads of bioavailable nutrients that can enter your system quickly, the chlorophyll content oxygenates your blood, increasing circulation and providing a fresh burst of energy.

On Saturday night we enjoyed the beef bolar blade roast, accompanied by roasted sweet potato, and a stir-fry of mixed green veggies. If you’ve been good all week enjoy a couple of glasses of red wine or a glass or two of gold tequila with lime and soda water, after all, Paleo existence is about sustainable balance.

Sunday

Sundays is the indulgent brekky day for us. I usually knock up Paleo pancakes (made with coconut and chestnut flours, raw organic honey and coconut oil), we spoon organic blueberries onto these and dollops of coconut cream, and yes in coming weeks I will provide the recipe for these.

Sunday lunch is leftover beef roast with shaved fennel and a typical garden salad.

Snacks

Snacks throughout the week entail trail mixes of raw cacao nibs, seeds, nuts and dried ginger; bars made of nut meals, dried fruits and seeds and healthy oils and my personal favourite dehydrated kale chips (most good health food shops have a variety of these now). Apart from water, Coconut water is an excellent source of hydration. I drink one or two a day and you can really feel your body being invigorated.

So there you have it. We’ve been through an entire week, from the shopping cart to the table, fed a family of four and done so in a healthy and, more importantly, exciting way. Preparing gourmet quality food need not be expensive or time consuming, it just take a little practice and fore thought.

In my next post I’ll go through some of my hints and tips for eating Paleo.

Until then, eat clean, train dirty and love your grub,

Daniel.

Aussie Paleo Chef

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Introducing the Aussie Paleo Chef: Daniel Barrett

Hey everyone, I realise it’s been a while since I’ve posted here on the Tengeri main site, as some of you will be aware I’ve been focusing my efforts into the Tengeri Daily Natural Activity site. However I will be putting up more information through this blog soon, and to start off the new year I’d like to introduce you my good friend Daniel Barrett, ‘The Aussie Paleo Chef’, who will be a regular contributor to Tengeri.com.au.

So without any further a-due in his own words…

From the Aussie Paleo Chef, Daniel Barrett.

Daniel chef head

Primal Foods for the Modern Day Hunter Gatherer

A big cheerio to all my fellow modern day HG’s out there. I’m Dan, a 38 year chef whose vision is to make modern day Paleo, sustainable and enjoyable food for the modern family. Paleo to me is a lifestyle of clean eating, active living, work life balance and above all excellent health and youthful exuberance.

I’m a single father (who has full care of my children), and as a result no longer have time to cook in restaurants. Leaving the commercial kitchen is not all bad however, as the foods I once loved compromise my principals on health and lifestyle and (possibly most importantly) after being Paleo for a few years, TASTE.

One of Daniel's Paleo creations: Seared wild boar with a cherry and ginger sauce, served with shaved fennel, braised red peppers and Chinese broccoli

One of Daniel’s Paleo creations: Seared wild boar with a cherry and ginger sauce, served with shaved fennel, braised red peppers and Chinese broccoli

I am annoyingly passionate about food, it consumes most of my thoughts, but nowadays my culinary creations are an attempt to turn Paleo, into a 5 star experience. You see, I believe that food should excite you, something that you should look forward to. Food need not be a thing you should ‘just have to force down’, or ‘I’ll eat it because it’s good for me’. Every time I eat I find it sexy, I want to paint myself in the stuff, and every single meal is tasty and satiable.

So that’s my basic philosophy on food, health and life in general. In my next post I will show you exactly what I mean by providing you a snap shot of my week in food. I will show you not only what I’m eating through a brief menu but also where and when I’m shopping in order to make the most of my time and money.

So until next time, eat clean and train dirty.

Love your Grub

Daniel

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Eat fat, get thin – The fat myth

Eating fat will make you fat, right? Wrong. There is a massive perception that consuming dietary fats will automatically lead to you being overweight, but the truth is we not only need fat in our diets to survive, but we want them in order to thrive.

Looking at the Paleo diet from an outsiders perspective, it can seem like a high protein high fat diet. In fact the first comment I usually get from people when I describe what I typically eat in a day is “That sounds like you’re eating a lot of fat”. My answer: “Yes, I do”, which is usually followed by a lengthy explanation on why eating fat is not as bad as you think.

Our bodies need fats for many essential processes. Fat plays an essential role in brain activity and function of the entire nervous system by insulating nerves (in the form of myelin sheaths), it insulates and cushions vital internal organs and is integral to all cells in the body. But more pertinently for us now, it can be used as a source of energy.

Fat adaptation

The easiest macronutrient for the body to use as energy is carbohydrates, but with a restricted amount of carbohydrates available on the Paleo diet, the energy needs to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is from fats, which are generally a high energy density food. The problem being that for most people their bodies are geared toward burning carbohydrates for fuel and are thus pretty sluggish when it comes to utilising fats as an energy source.

In order to burn fat efficiently the body needs to become good at it, or ‘fat adapted’. Lets use the analogy of running on different surfaces to illustrate. Running your body on carbs is like running on a flat hard path, its easy and everyone can do it. However if you put that same runner on sand they would find it rather difficult to run and would not run efficiently at all. If the runner continues to train on sand though they would become more efficient and would end up running better on the sand.  Likewise if you feed the body fats and restrict carbs, it will get better at utilising fats as the predominant energy source.

Without carbs our body needs to rely on something else to create that energy so it converts protein to glucose in what’s known as ‘gluconeogenisis’ (don’t worry you won’t be tested on this). To make this conversion the body breaks down fat, which in turn creates a by-product called ketones. The ketones provide a replacement for the glucose needed in the body, thus reducing the need to convert protein to glucose in the first place. Perfect!

The Lag

There is a period that many (or most) people go through on their way to becoming fat adapted. It’s a period usually defined by feeling sluggish, under performing and just generally feeling like crap. It’s The Lag. Because the body doesn’t just instantly switch gears to being fat adapted there is a period where the energy from fats is less than the energy that would have been there from carbs – a lag. This is usually felt keenly by those who enjoy punishing themselves with frequent bouts of ‘high intensity, multi modular, functional fitness’ (you know who you are). Needless to say pushing to the limit is not advised during this stage but remaining active on some level is.

Good fats Vs Bad Fats

Not all fats were created equal, there are fats that we should lean towards and those that we should restrict. Rather than launch into a full blown science lesson (which if you are interested you could find here),I will just point you towards a quick guide to what oils you should be using – check it out at Paleo Diet Lifestyle’s blog on the subject, or for a really handy resource for shopping purposes check out Robb Wolf’s guides.

Hopefully that helps straighten out things and possibly opens up some eyes to the difference between what you are being told and what is actually good you. So now go and clear out your cupboards and go fat shopping.

Happy eating,

Stuart.

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Product review – Chi coconut water

Recently there seems to have been a proliferation of choice for pre packaged coconut water. Considering the benefits that coconut water naturally has this isn’t really that surprising. Coconut water is packed full of electrolytes, magnesium, potassium and sodium which makes it ideal as a recovery drink. It’s kind of like nature’s ready made sports drink.

I believe that fresh from the source is the best for food, but sometimes it’s not practicable for us lug around drinking coconuts, so that’s where pre packaged coconut waters come in. I recently tried one of the newer products on the market, Chi coconut water, and I must say I was pretty impressed

The first thing I noticed about this coconut water was its lack of sweetness. Although this may seem like a strange thing to be impressed about, anyone who has cut sugar from their diet will know that one of the side effects is that you can taste the sweetness in all sorts of products and learn pretty quickly to avoid over sweetened products.

Chi coconut water doesn’t have the sickly sweet taste of some other products, something which is reflected in the fact that Chi water has only the naturally occurring sugar levels – 1.2 gms per 100 ml (whereas other can have up to 4.2ml per 100ml)

I also often find it difficult to stomach coconut water straight after exercise (when it’s most beneficial) but Chi has a subtle taste which I found pretty easy to drink. Trying to stomach anything after a big workout can be hard so having something that doesn’t have an overbearing taste is ideal.

In summary, I give Chi a thumbs up and definitely recommend you give it a try.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was contact by Chi coconut water to ask my thoughts on the product. Apart from being sent a sample of their product I received no remuneration of any sort for this review.

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