I always knew through common sense that much of my health future would be due to what I ate each day. But, through the years there have been all kinds of diets introduced through the media touting health benefits and weight management, which made it hard to tell which ones were really good for me.
When I turned 50, someone forwarded me a video of a Doctor who had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and she found that she was able to reverse most of the symptoms of her MS by following what is known as the "Paleo Diet".
Although the video intrigued me, the real turning point came when less than a week later, my personal physician (a holistic, alternative practitioner) told me that he and his wife had started a diet that he really believed was great for health. He called it the "Hunter-Gatherer" diet. As he described it to me, I realized he was referring to the "Paleo Diet".
Here is a definition which I found which describes the Paleo Diet:
"a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food."
In its most basic form, it is a diet that consumes foods that our ancestors (caveman) would have eaten. WHOLE, UNPROCESSED FOOD!
From that point on, my husband and I decided to try the Paleo Diet, and we LOVE it! There are many delicious recipes out there in books and on the internet. Here are some great paleo recipes.
I can honestly say that this diet is one that has measurably changed our health. One example, my husband always struggled to get good blood work numbers each year for his physicals. After starting the Paleo Diet, ALL his lab numbers improved. My lab numbers were always pretty good, but now they are even better!
Another major benefit we noticed was the ease of maintaining our weights on this diet (which is actually a lifestyle, not a fad diet). Also, the Paleo diet fights inflammation in the body, which is a major cause of so many illnesses today. I noticed that my joints and back hurt much less when I started eating the Paleo foods.
I LOVE eating foods that are tasty and nutritious and filling at the same time! That is why I eat NUTS and SEEDS everyday!
Even though nuts are high in fat, they do NOT make me fat! In fact, this is the first time in my life that my weight has been kept under control easily! And, I attribute much of that to the nuts and seeds that I consume daily!
One of the biggest reasons that they help to control weight is that they are filling. The amount of fat and fiber and protein in them is what keeps me full longer and that helps to prevent blood sugar highs and cravings (more ammunition to help ward off the dreaded Diabetes)!
On the skin and beauty side, nuts have tons of vitamin and minerals and antioxidants that keep skin supple and wrinkle-free. The healthy fat that they contain also contribute to skin health!
Here are a few of the ones I eat most often and some of their health benefits:
WALNUTS: Loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids that are very beneficial to brain and heart health (Have you ever noticed that a walnut kind of looks like a brain :)
ALMONDS: Loaded with Fiber and the antioxidant Vitamin E for fighting cancer.
BRAZILIAN NUTS: Lots of Selenium which is a powerful antioxidant!
CASHEWS: Full of Iron and Zinc which help immunity!
PECANS: Lots of Oleic Acid which studies have found fight Breast Cancer.
PUMPKIN SEEDS: Loads of Magnesium and Plant Phytosterols known to fight Prostate Cancer.
So, next time you feel like reaching for the chip bag, why not grab a handful of nuts and seeds instead and be a little "nutty" for the day :)?
One of the biggest challenges we found with the Paleo Diet when we first started doing it was that we no longer would be eating the usual breads. After a short time we got used to it, and we started feeling much better staying away from the grains!
However, we every so often get a craving for some baked goods, so we had to find the recipes for baking some breads and muffins that were Paleo.
The flours that are mostly used for the Paleo Lifestyle are ALMOND Flour and COCONUT Flour! Here is one of our favorite recipes that my husband loves making. These muffins are good for breakfast with a nice Egg Omelet with veggies and some bacon (All Paleo)!
PALEO BANANA NUT MUFFINS:
4 Ripe/Soft Bananas, mashed with a fork
1/2 Cup Almond Butter
2 TBSP Coconut Oil, Melted
1 TSP Vanilla
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
2 TSP Cinnamon
1/2 TSP Nutmeg
1 TSP Baking Powder
1 TSP Baking Soda
1/4 TSP Salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cups. In a large bowl, mix using a hand blender the bananas, eggs, almond butter, coconut oil and vanilla.
2. Add the coconut flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend until it is a wet mixture.
3. Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and pour batter evenly into muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes (check with toothpick until clean). Serve warm or store in refrigerator. Makes 12 muffins.
Other variations include adding blueberries or small apple pieces.
These muffins are really yummy, and the only sugar in the muffins comes from the fruit. My Grand-babies LOVE them, and we do too! :)
Recently, when my husband and I were coming home from running errands, we noticed a new nursing/Alzheimer's care facility being built nearby. I commented to my husband that this was the fourth one I had seen in recent months being built within five miles of us.
My husband and I realized that the reason so many of these facilities are being built is due to the fact that they are expecting HUGE numbers of people in America to need this type of assistance in the future. Aside from the staggering cost of these homes is the staggering statistic that more than 13.8 million Americans will be affected by Alzheimer's Disease by 2050 according to the Alzheimer's Organization. That is nearly TRIPLE the patients that have the disease right now in 2015!
If you are like us, the thought of living our later years in a nursing home or worse, contracting Alzheimer's disease, scares us thoroughly! That is why we find doing all of the things that the experts suggest to prevent the disease is so important. Among some of the tips are the following:
1. Eat a healthy diet filled with antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits, like the Paleo Diet!
2. Keep your blood sugar at a healthy level, preventing diabetes.
3. Exercise regularly.
4. Keep your mind active.
5. Enjoy an active social life.
Along with these items, I was really excited to learn about a recent study of an antioxidant supplement that my husband and I take daily. It is called RESVERATROL, and it is found in foods such as red grapes, red wine, cocoa in dark chocolate, and blueberries.
Here is what the CNN article said about the study on Resveratrol supplementation on Alzheimer's patients:
"The study is encouraging enough that we should certainly go ahead and do a [larger] clinical trial because we showed that it is safe and does have significant effects on Alzheimer's biomarkers," said Dr. R. Scott Turner, professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center and lead investigator of the study..."
Aside from the promising studies on Alzheimer's Disease, Resveratrol has been shown to help cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, lower inflammation and it is often referred to as the "fountain of youth" (we all can appreciate that)!
My father has been taking a Resveratrol supplement for many years and is still leading an active life of acting and travel. My mother loves red wine and is also still leading an active life of exercise and travel! All of these reasons are good enough for my husband and I to love taking this wonderful supplement and eating foods rich in Resveratrol.
The one that we have been taking is found can be found here.
Finally, please note that it is important to take a Resveratrol Supplement that is made from Muscadine grape skins and seeds, as they carry a high amount of Resveratrol.