Pecan Blocks

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After this weekend’s birthday festivities, I was feeling quite unbalanced. I usually takes me about a week to get rid of the sugar cravings that are the direct result of going off-track with my paleo diet. One thing that helps a lot when I’m fighting those demons, is to make up a batch of yummy fat-bomb mini snacks. These Pecan Blocks (made in my big cubic silicone ice cube tray) are big enough and sweet enough to taste great, while also having enough fat and protein to really hit the spot and stop sugar cravings in their tracks.

Paleo Pecan Blocks

Ingredients:

1 cup raw pecans

3 medjool dates, pitted

2 tbsp hemp hearts

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp coconut butter/manna

1 tsp alcohol free vanilla essence

 

Method:

While the coconut oil and butter is melting on low heat, grind the pecans and pitted dates together in a blender *this would have worked better in a food processor, but mine broke!

Add vanilla essence to the melted coconut oil and butter.

In a bowl, stir the melted coconut mixture with the ground pecans and dates, until all the pieces are properly coated.

Press into a single-serve sized silicone mold such as this big cubic one I used:

 

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Place the mold into the freezer for 30 minutes, until the cubes can be popped out without breaking.

Store cubes in the fridge or they will melt.

Makes a great quick breakfast too!

 

 

 

 

Can You Really Lose Weight On A Paleo Diet?

 

Diet slimming weight loss.

 

I have to admit that losing weight was probably the number 1 reason I got into eating Paleo. I mean, better digestion and more balanced hormones were obviously on the list – and of course they are a big part of WHY I lost weight, but the weight itself was my motivator.

I love the fact that you don’t have to starve yourself. As long as you stick to the rules, you get to eat as much as you want. Like a lot of diets, that means mostly veggies – but those traditional low-fat, calorie restriction diets don’t give you the energy boost you get from a nice tahini dressing, or the satisfaction from a piece of raw, sugar free chocolate! I actually ended up eating less calories without even trying!

According to Chris Kresser, nutritionist and very well respected paleo expert, research shows that a Paleo diet is more satiating per calorie than both low-fat and calorie-restriction diets.

Without being told to restrict their food intake, Paleo has helped type 2 diabetics and post-menopausal women to lose weight. These are the groups that most need help in the weight loss department, because the general consensus is that their bodies are working against them. Paleo can reset that!

How It Works

There are Yes and No foods on a Paleo diet. So while you don’t have to restrict how much you eat (because your body does that naturally when you eat this way), you do restrict sugars and grains – which results in a much lower carbohydrate diet.

Lowering carbs gets you off that sugar-crash, cravings rollercoaster. You are still getting some carbs from veggies – and I personally found that I needed to add in a little quinoa, about half a cup a day in the evenings, to avoid gallbladder issues from my gallstones. But without flour and sugar, carbs are definitely drastically reduced!

This is what my Paleo diet looks like:

YES FOODS: (in order of most to least) all green veggies, salads, kale, cabbage, zucchini, onion (both of which I make into bread), one whole carrot and one whole celery stick a day as snacks, eggs, home made bone broth, fish, chicken, beef (I try not to exaggerate my meat portions and focus mainly on veggies). Lots of tahini dressings, hemp seeds, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and treats made with raw cacao and coconut butter. Coconut oil or grass fed butter for cooking. Stevia and occasionally a tiny bit of honey to round out the flavor.

NO FOODS: wheat, spelt, kamut (etc) flour, including breads and pasta, no sugar including raw cane sugar. No dairy except for grass fed butter.

Other Factors to Weight Loss
As well as changing my diet, I started walking in the early morning to get some sunlight and boost my metablosim. I also went back to my Body Pump class at the gym, and I decided to rev up my weight loss by taking a fat burner supplement called Capsiplex Sport, a pre-workout metabolism booster.

Results So Far
It’s been about 3 weeks, and the first thing I noticed was my digestion improving – as in, my stomach deflated by about 2 inches! My energy levels are definitely better, and my workouts are finally getting fun after that initial grind of getting back into a routine. Weight loss wise, I’m able to fit into the smaller of my current clothes and have less muffin top – I should probably step on a scale at some point!

My Fave Snack Revolution Bar This Week: Vanilla Smoothie

1 cup of sunflower seeds (pre-soaked)

1 tbsp coconut butter

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

2 dates

1 squirt of vanilla stevia

– process all the ingredients in a food processor, then squish into a lined loaf pan and refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove, slice, wrap, and keep them in the fridge for best texture.

Is The Paleo Diet A Fad Or A Trend?

 

 
Cave painting of primitive man hunting for mammoth

 

I read a great article by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker recently, titled “How The Paleolythic Diet Got Trendy”, in which she went into quite a bit of detail about the evolution of the Paleo diet. I found it interesting so I thought I’d share the highlights for now, as I work on putting together some great Snack Revolution Bar recipes for you to try.

What Do You Eat On A Paleo Diet?

The Paleo diet is based on the principle that Agriculture was not a healthy evolution, so we should be eating in a way more similar to pre-agricultural days. According to Sarah Ballantyne, the author of “The Paleo Approach,” a Paleo diet consists of “meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.” Some Paleo purists eschew seeds – personally I eat lots of seeds.

The list of non-paleo foods to avoid is quite a bit longer; it includes grains like wheat, corn, and rice; pseudo-cereal grains like amaranth and quinoa (I do eat some quinoa, it’s my lifeline to sharing a house with non-paleo people!); legumes, dairy products, most vegetable oils, sugar, and of course anything that contains corn syrup or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Basically, the Standard American Diet – or SAD.

The Neolithic Revolution

To figure out what our stone age ancestors ate, we have to dig up their bones and study the wear patterns on their teeth, and comb through their refuse to analyze their prehistoric poop. The things we have learned which Paleo aficionados try to apply to their lifestyle goes beyond food to include paleo fitness, paleo sleep, and even primal parenting, which may or may not include eating your baby’s placenta.

When archaeologists talk about human history, agriculture represents the breakthrough that allowed humans to move beyond survival. They became merchants and priests, artisans and bookkeepers, started working metal, invented mathematics, and developed into the modern society we are now.

The Neolithic Revolution is seen as a critical event leading to modern society. What Paleo folks are not so sure about is whether it was a good idea.

Were The Cavemen Really Healthier?

“The adoption of agriculture, supposedly our most decisive step toward a better life, was in many ways a catastrophe from which we have never recovered” is Jared Diamond’s dour assessment, offered in an essay titled “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race.”

Early farmers had worse teeth, up to six times worse than their non-agricultural ancestors. They also suffered from increased rates of anemia and infectious disease. And during the Agricultural Revolution, the stature of early Europeans went down – it took them till the 20th century to catch up in height to cavemen.

In addition to the health implications of a grain diet, once people established towns and cities,“crowd epidemic diseases” like measles could flourish. Not to mention the diseases that developed by jumping from livestock to humans when they lived under the same roof.

Daniel E. Lieberman, a professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard and the author of “The Story of the Human Body,” stated that “farming ushered in an era of epidemics, including tuberculosis, leprosy, syphilis, plague, smallpox and influenza.”

And These Days, Are We Better Off?

During the past few decades, rates of obesity, hypertension, fatty liver, and Type 2 diabetes have soared, not just in the US, but worldwide as the Standard American Diet of soda and fast food spreads. Lieberman calls conditions like Type 2 diabetes “mismatch diseases.” Our ancestors hunted and gathered; we drive to Shake Shack. The result is a “mismatch” between our genetics and our life styles.

“I don’t think it is possible to overemphasize just how important mismatch diseases are,” Lieberman writes. “You are most likely going to die from a mismatch disease.”

So Is Paleo A Fad?

Paleo may look like a food fad, yet you could argue that it’s really the reverse. Humans go back about two million years. On the timescale of evolutionary history, it’s agriculture that’s the fad.