Tweaklet #54 – The Paleo Diet

When you’re exploring healthy eating alternatives and stepping outside the conventional three meals a day, food groups, calories etc, then you have probably come across the Paleo diet and the Keto diet.

Both have gained popularity for a variety of reasons. They can also easily get confused, so over a couple of segments we’ll talk about their differences and their benefits. In this episode, we’re talking about the Paleo Diet.

Paleo follows the principles of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, with its name loosely based on the palaeolithic era and foods that have the longest history of human consumption. So, The Paleo diet refers to a framework for eating. There are no specific foods to eat, just a leaning towards natural, nutrient-dense foods rather than processed foods.

Foods to include on a Paleo diet are Meat, Fish, Eggs, Nuts, Fruits, Seeds, Roots, Unrefined oils and Natural sweeteners.

Foods to be avoided on the Paleo diet are All cereal grains and products made with grain flours, Legumes, Dairy, Refined sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks, Refined vegetable oils, Processed food and White potatoes, in some instances.

There is no exact ratio of how the key ingredients are put together. However, it is generally regarded as a low-carb way of eating because it eliminates most processed foods as well as refined sugar, grains and dairy.

People who embrace a paleo diet are looking to reduce inflammation in their bodies and to improve their weight and blood pressure. They may have blood sugar issues, possibly even problems with insulin resistance. People who are at risk of cardiovascular disease or are showing signs of autoimmune responses also turn to the paleo diet.

And the Paleo diet is really a very simple Food Tweak that fits into many people’s lifestyles and makes a significant positive impact to their health mainly because it boosts your intake of quality ingredients and eliminates processed overly refined foods.

If you have a gluten sensitivity, other food sensitivities or want to jump-start your weight loss then the Paleo diet is a good Tweaklet to try!

So that’s the Paleo diet. Next time we’ll talk about the Keto Diet.

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Tweaklet #52 – Salmon

We’ve talked about the health benefits of eating fish before and one of the absolute best is salmon. Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Salmon is nutrient dense and particularly recognised for its high levels of Omega-3s.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish or fish oil help enhance bone health to keep conditions like osteoporosis at bay. They act as a natural anti-inflammatory to relieve inflammation and protect the nervous system from oxidative stress and age-related damage.

Studies show that salmon can do everything from helping boost brain function, sperm production and eye sight, to improving bone and skin health. It is full of heart-healthy fats, protein and rich in vitamins like A, D and calcium.

As demand for salmon has increased a lot of it is now produced in farmed conditions. There is a lot of debate about wild salmon versus farmed salmon. Generally speaking wild salmon has a much better nutrient profile than farmed salmon, but the biggest difference is the condition of many salmon farms. Living in a closed environment means the fish are more likely to need to be treated with chemicals which they readily absorb and pass on.

So when you’re shopping for salmon how can you tell the difference between wild and farmed?

The first sign is the colour. Farmed salmon is lighter and more pink, while wild has a deeper reddish-orange hue. Farmed fish will also a lot more fatty marbling in its flesh—those wavy white lines—since they aren’t fighting against upstream currents like wild ones.

Salmon is very versatile. It’s great simply pan-fried. Or it can be grilled or roasted or cooked in a paper parcel in the oven to seal in the flavour. And it takes flavour well so you can add a pesto or a crust or any of your favourite spices or herbs, and turned into an Asian, Indian or Mediterranean delight. You can crisp up the skin or take it off altogether.  And if you can’t buy fresh then good quality tinned salmon is OK too.

I find that even people who aren’t big fish lovers like salmon so if you haven’t had any fish for a while now’s the time to shop for a nice juicy deep reddish orange piece of salmon.

Mmmm, that’s got my mouth watering and some ideas flowing, so I’m off to get some salmon!

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Tweaklet #35 – Fish

I know cooking fish can be a bit divisive!

It can be slimy to handle. When it cooks it can be smelly. Do you buy fresh or frozen and how do you deal with a whole fish?

Don’t worry, I completely understand. I love eating fish and I know healthwise it’s really worthwhile, for all those fabulous omega threes that keep our hearts healthy and stave off cancer and inflammation, but I have to admit I am not the bravest when it comes to dealing with fish.

I’ve got a few tips though about choosing fish and about cooking it so that your hands and your home remain smell-free!

Fish types vary from region to region but a few things are true everywhere.
Firstly, buy from the best source possible as you want to avoid farmed fish.

Generally speaking, farmed fish does not have the same level of nutrients, can cause inflammation and they are often treated with antibiotics which we don’t want to be eating.

When it comes to buying frozen or fresh – fresh is great if you know that it really is fresh. A lot of fish is frozen on the boats these days so arguably frozen could mean fresher. Just do your best to still buy a local fish as a lot of frozen fish travels a very long way and can have been in the deep freeze for many months.

Now to the fun cooking part! If you have some reasonably firm fillets, like salmon or cod or whatever your local robust fish is, you can make a lovely almond crust and bake it in the oven, or wrap each one up in baking paper along with some Asian flavours of garlic and chilli and ginger and a little tamari and bake them in the oven.

Making a light curry is also great for flaky fish. Then for lighter more delicate fish you can dust the fillets with spices and simply pan fry them in a little olive oil or coconut oil.

Of course there are endless options for cooking fish and we’ll do more of that in the cooking series but for now, go on, be brave, and buy some fish!

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