Is the Mediterranean Diet Really All That Healthy?

September 18th, 2018
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Mediterranean Diet Study Not As Healthy As Advertised - Dietary Rehab
If you are like many people who are looking to get healthy and reduce your risk of heart disease, you have probably considered, or already abide by, the Mediterranean diet.

Originally, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine stated that people in a test group who followed the Mediterranean diet had fewer incidents of heart attack or stroke than those who were simply told which fats to eat or avoid. The conclusion was that the Mediterranean diet is actually a way to decrease the risks associated with cardiovascular disease.

The study was touted as a blind study with a control group and two test groups that were randomly chosen. There were a number of study locations that people could visit to sign up and participate. These participants were given either olive oil, nuts or instructed to avoid certain types of fats. The results did show that those given olive oil or nuts had a lesser incidence of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack or stroke.

Flaws in the Original Mediterranean Diet Study

Unfortunately, many of the claims this study made were recently retracted due to a number of exaggerated details that were found in a later review of the original research. The review found a potential error in the randomization process.

When researchers reviewed the study, they found that one of the study locations had enrolled each patient that went to the same clinic on the same exact diet plan, rather than randomly assigning a plan. This meant 467 patients were using the same diet plan all at the same location.

Another issue had to do with households that contained more than one study participant. These participants were immediately placed on the same diet the other member of their household was following. A more accurate way to test the effectiveness of the diet would have been to assign each participating member of the household to a different plan. Although, one could see why they placed them on the same plan, since most households cook and eat together.

Another issue with the original study had to do with the selection process in general. Most, if not all, of the study participants were selected from largely homogeneous genetic communities in the Mediterranean region. This can affect the results in a negative way, as people with the same genetic qualities and living in the same communities often have the same types of health risks.

Therefore, the study only focused on a select group of individuals rather than a widespread and diverse panel of participants.

Important Distinction

Because of the initial study results, the media touted the findings as showing a benefit for anyone who is at a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases or incidents. While eating healthfully will always have a number of benefits, claiming that one diet can benefit anyone in general can be very misleading.

The revised study now says that it is unsure if the diet would have any such benefits in people with a lower risk of heart problems or from different regions of the world.

Should the Diet Be Ignored Now?

With the retraction of the initial results following a review of the original study, many people have begun to question whether the diet is really as healthy as originally advertised. While the randomization and selection process may change the results of this particular study, it doesn’t mean the diet is not healthy or that those looking to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease shouldn’t try it.

The key factor to look at when deciding if a nutrition plan is healthy or if it will have the benefits you desire is whether it is a sustainable diet. With the multitude of fad diets that come and go each year, many people are skeptical of trying anything called a diet.

It’s More Than a Diet

The Mediterranean diet is not so much a diet as it is a conscientious lifestyle change for those who follow it properly. By avoiding certain foods and adding more of others, you begin to rethink the reasons you eat what you eat each day. If you stick with the lifestyle change, you will see the results that your body is capable of.

It is also important to know what your own body is capable of achieving when adopting a diet. While you may see the models on the covers of magazines and think, “I can do that if they can,” you may be overlooking whether your body type is even capable of looking that way.

Consider your bone structure and muscle structure when setting goals for what you want to achieve. This is important no matter which diet plan you choose to follow.

Feel Free to Stick with the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is more than a fad. It is a total lifestyle change in the way you prepare and eat food. It works by focusing on healthy fats, lean protein, fruits and vegetables. (Lean protein includes fish and chicken while avoiding red meat, which can be higher in unhealthy fat.)

If you are interested in more information on health, diets, recipes and overall lifestyle changes, enter your email address above to subscribe to our blog. Also, click below to learn more about the specifics of the Mediterranean diet.

Mediterranean Diet: Foods to Focus On

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Health Benefits of Blueberries and Raw Blueberry Juice

July 6th, 2018
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Health Benefits of Blueberries and Raw Blueberry Juice
Looking at the health benefits, blueberries seem to be the perfect food. Considered a superfood because they’re rich in antioxidants, high in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K, as well as Manganese, these little darlings pack quite a nutritional punch! And the health benefits are equally as awesome.

Antioxidant Rich

Blueberries, whether fresh, frozen, dried or as juice, have as many antioxidants as five servings of other fruits and vegetables! We all know that antioxidants neutralize free radicals and the damage they cause to our bodies. Eating blueberries every day can help stop cellular structure damage, DNA damage, early aging, and various types of cancer. The antioxidants in blueberries also have anti-inflammatory properties. Because of the high antioxidant content, blueberries can help fight chronic inflammatory diseases including arthritis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.

Neuro-Protective Agent

Adding blueberries to your diet protects your brain from degeneration and neurotoxicity as well as oxidative stress, by slowing down the damage to the brain cells caused by aging.  This decreases your risk of dementia, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Putting blueberries in the daily diet, helps build dopamine, an essential neurotransmitter, in your body. Dopamine enables your body to perform smooth, controlled movements as well as maintaining an efficient memory, good attention span and problem-solving functions.

Cancer Prevention

Clinical studies have shown that gallic acid rich foods like blueberries can kill cancer without harming healthy cells, unlike chemotherapy or radiation therapies. And because they also contain folate, which assists in DNA repair and synthesis, blueberries prevent cancer cells from forming and mutating DNA strands. Some newer studies even show that the antioxidants in blueberries even promote the death of cancer cells.

Eye and Skin Health

Health Benefits of Blueberries and Raw Blueberry JuiceThose antioxidants are also working on your eyes, preventing the age related problems like macular degeneration, cataracts and myopia.

Because of special antioxidant compounds called carotenoids, flavonoids and other compounds, even things like hyperopia and retinal infections and sun damage can be prevented or reduced.

Your skin’s collagen relies on vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, in order to prevent damage caused by sun, pollution and smoke. Vitamin C also supports collagen’s ability to smooth out wrinkles and improve skin texture.

Digestive Aid

Fiber rich blueberries have both soluble and insoluble fiber which can help maintain a healthy digestive track, relieving both diarrhea and constipation. Wild blueberries have pre-biotic potential which promotes probiotic bacteria in the colon, aiding digestive health. There is a good chance they can help cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s Disease. Blueberries can also alleviate symptoms such as bleeding and pain caused by ulcerative colitis. One of the antioxidant compounds, pterostilbene, inhibits genes that cause inflammation, thought to be a risk factor for colon cancer.

Heart Health

Higher daily intake of blueberries has been shown to reduce the risk of developing hypertension by up to 8%. Research shows that, by eating blueberries and drinking raw blueberry juice, total and low density LDL cholesterol can also be reduced by up to 12% and 15% respectively and could help prevent heart disease. The blueberry, with its vitamin C and B6 as well as fiber, potassium, folate, and phytonutrient content, vigorously supports heart health. There is also a study, published in the journal, Circulation, stating that blueberries, eaten together with strawberries, may reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 33%.

Healthy Weight Loss

Since blueberries are high in dietary fiber, low in calories and low on the glycemic index, these blue marvels aid in weight loss. Dietary fiber is a bulking agent in the digestive track and gives that full feeling for longer, thereby reducing overall caloric intake. Snacking on blueberries, with their high fiber content will give you that full feeling and reduce your appetite. They also have the ability to block enzymes in your intestines that block carbohydrate absorption. Blueberry flavonoids, once absorbed, aid the body’s weight management by slowing the rate in which fat cells develop and multiply a well as decreasing the amount of fat that is stored in each cell.

Other Health Benefits

Blueberries can also treat urinary tract infections. They have a compound of large polymer-like molecules which inhibit the growth of E. coli bacteria. This compound is only found in cranberries and blueberries. Your immune system can also be boosted with these blue marvels because of the antioxidants in them. The flavonoid rich wild blueberry is a mood enhancer and can act as an effective antidepressant.  Because of the low glycemic index of blueberries, they can be helpful with Type 2 Diabetes. They have a positive impact on sugar regulation and can also help people with Metabolic Syndrome and insulin resistance, including lowering blood pressure. Higher intake of blueberries has been shown to decrease the development of Type 2 Diabetes in people who have Metabolic Syndrome by up to 23%.

Eating Healthy

Living longer, healthier and looking younger are the ideals we all strive for. Blueberries and raw blueberry juice is definitely a good addition to the healthy lifestyle we all want and want to keep. The best blueberries are organic and fresh. However, you can freeze them, dry them, juice them, save them, bake with them, do all kinds of things with them. They are a very versatile and forgiving fruit, in that they do not lose any nutritional value freezing or drying them. So, eat a handful a day and don’t forget to follow our blog to eat healthy, live healthy (and longer) and be happy.

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Yummy, Healthy Recipes With Dietary Fiber Benefits

May 8th, 2018
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Nobody really likes to talk about fiber, but high fiber recipes need to become an integral part of our healthy diet. Fiber needs to come out of the closet and be recognized for the benefits it gives us. Fiber is the indigestible part of plants that help us stay regular. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber turns into gel in our stomachs and slows down the digestion process, which helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Insoluble fiber doesn’t change in the digestive system, coming out the way it came in. It does, however, help everything else slide through the colon easier by making it heavier and softer. Neither type of fiber is absorbed into our bodies.

Other dietary fiber benefits include decreased risk of stroke, hypertension, and heart disease, as well as possibly lowering the risk of colitis and colorectal cancer.  Diets high in fiber may also help with weight loss, because of the full feeling after eating fiber-rich foods and fiber calories are not absorbed by the body.

Foods High in Fiber

Some of the yummiest fruits and vegetables also have the highest amounts of fiber! Take raspberries, for instance: 7.6 grams of fiber per cup, raw. Or avocados: 6.7 grams of fiber per cup, raw. Artichokes have a whopping 10.3 grams of fiber per medium vegetable, cooked! Yum! Then there are your usual suspects: split peas at 16.3 grams per cup, cooked; lentils at 15.6 grams per cup, cooked, black beans and lima beans at 15 grams and 13.2 grams of fiber per cup, cooked, respectively. Whole wheat pasta, pearled barley, and oatmeal have 6.3, 6 and 4 grams each respectively for one cup, cooked. Making recipes high in fiber with these ingredients can be easy.

Recommended Daily Amounts

So, how much fiber is enough, you ask. For men, up to 50 years old, the daily recommended fiber intake is 38 grams. Over 50, men only need 30 grams of fiber, due to lower food intake. Women require less fiber, only needing 28 grams a day, and if over 50, 21 grams of fiber a day.

It does not matter which kind of fiber a food has because most fiber-rich foods have both soluble and insoluble fiber. As long as your food intake includes a variety of dietary fiber foods and you try to get at least 25 grams of fiber each day, you will get the necessary amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber as well as the added benefits of the vitamins and minerals inherent in each of the fruits and vegetables you are eating.

Towards that end, here are a few easy recipes high in fiber.

White Bean Chard Skillet

This makes a great fast dinner.

Ingredients:

1 Tblspn olive oil

1/4 cup onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 bunch fresh swiss or red chard, ribs removed

vegetable stock or water, if needed, for thinning

sea salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tspn paprika

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, warmed, for serving

Flaked paprika or slivered almonds for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.

Add onions, cook, stirring frequently until glazed and turning golden. add garlic and stir constantly for about a minute.

  1. Add white beans and tomatoes, stirring until combined. Lower heat and continue cooking for 10 minutes, then add chard. Add a little vegetable broth or water if needed too thick. It should be of stew consistency.
  2. Add paprika if desired, salt and pepper to taste. To serve, add ½ cup rice into a bowl, add bean mixture over top. Garnish with red pepper flakes or slivered almonds,if desired.

Avocado and Black Bean Salad

For a hot summer day or even as a salad side dish.

Yummy, Healthy Recipes with Dietary Fiber Benefits

Ingredients:

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced

2 large ripe roma tomatoes, diced

½ cup sweet onion, chopped

15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 Tblspn olive oil

1 lime, juiced

1 clove garlic, minced

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine avocados, tomatoes, black beans, cilantro and the dressing from the small bowl. Gently toss until everything is coated. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Buckwheat Pancakes with Blackberry Compote

Buckwheat is a great source of fiber and can be part of a gluten-free diet.

Yummy, Healthy Recipes with Dietary Fiber Benefits

For the Pancake:

1 ½ cups buckwheat flour (can be mixed with regular flour, if desired)

1 tspn baking soda

2 tspns cinnamon

1 large banana, mashed

2 large eggs

1 tspn vanilla extract

½ cup of almond milk or milk of choice

For the Compote:

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blackberries

1 Tblspn coconut or granulated sugar

½ tspn vanilla extract

½ Tblspn water

Optional: ½ Tblsn arrowroot, for thickening

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together all the pancake ingredients until you have a smooth batter.
  2. Add butter or oil to a large, preheated skillet (over medium heat). Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop batter into skillet, cook for 2-3 minutes, turn over and cook for another 2 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

To make the blackberry compote:

  1. Add blackberries, sugar and vanilla into a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, coat the blackberries in the sugar, breaking up the blackberries as the mixture heats and the fruit break down.
  3. If the mixture is not thick enough use the arrowroot or tapioca starch to thicken the sauce. Serve warm over the pancakes and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Burritos

Yummy, Healthy Recipes with Dietary Fiber BenefitsA yummy high fiber alternative to those egg sandwiches! These can be made ahead of time and frozen. Just reheat in the toaster oven or microwave and go!

Ingredients:

1 Tblspn  olive oil

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 small yellow onion or ½ large onion, chopped

¾ cup mini bell peppers (tricolor), diced

2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped

1 tspn chili powder

4 large eggs, beaten or

(2 large eggs, beaten and

2 large egg whites, beaten)

4 9-10 inch whole wheat or corn tortillas

1 oz shredded cheese – cheddar or your choice

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet on medium, add potatoes, onion and bell peppers. Saute, stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Add spinach and chili powder, saute for another 2 minutes.
  2. Turn up the heat to medium high and add eggs or eggs and egg whites. Cook for 3 minutes or until eggs are cooked thoroughly. Turn off heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

To make the Burritos:

  1. Place one tortilla on each section and divide egg mixture between the four tortillas, sprinkle with the cheese, then fold edges in and roll the tortillas to make burritos. Serve immediately or:
  2. Tear off 4 16 inch sections of aluminum foil, place burritos in the center of each. Wrap tightly in the aluminum foil and put into a freezer bag for freezing up to 3 months.
  3. To reheat, place on baking sheet into a 400 degree preheated oven for 35 minutes. Use tongs to place hot burritos into a paper bag for on the go or enjoy at your destination. They stay warm for 15-20 minutes.

There are so many more recipes out there to try that are fast, easy and yummy with lots of fiber! Remember, whole grain rather than processed white flour, brown rice rather than white rice and lots of fruits and vegetables along with legumes.

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How Diet and Exercise Promote Health Microbiome Inside Our Bodies

March 5th, 2018
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Diet and Exercise Promote Microbiome Health Celiac Disease Foods to Avoid - Dietary Rehab

Good-for-You Bacteria

Bacteria isn’t always something to be avoided. While it’s good to fight bacteria on surfaces and protect yourself from potential sources of infection, some microorganisms are actually good for you.

Inside the body, millions of bacteria create a microbiome that enables digestion, keeps your gut healthy and supports immunity. Recent studies suggest healthy bacteria could be a major factor in developing celiac disease.

Celiac sufferers are often frustrated when a gluten-free diet alone doesn’t control their symptoms. An issue with the balance of their internal bacteria may be at root of the problem.

What Is a Microbiome?

Micro means small and biome means a community of living organisms. Within every human is a collection of between 10 and 100 trillion bacteria, most of which live in the digestive system. From the salivary glands in your mouth through your intestines, microorganisms work to break down food and perform a host of other functions.

Each person’s microbiome is like a genetic footprint, because it impacts the diseases they are predisposed to, their body weight, heredity and more. The same bacteria also exist on surfaces and throughout the environment.

Gut bacteria help:

  • Extract nutrients from food
  • Process vitamin K
  • Digest cellulose
  • Support nerve function.

Some researchers say up to 90 percent of diseases relate to the strength or weakness in a person’s microbiome. What you eat, how many hours a night you sleep and the bacteria in your surroundings all influence the health of your microbiome.

Poor gut health creates chronic inflammation in the intestinal walls and can cause:

  • Food sensitivity
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • A range of other conditions

Microbiome and Diet

What you eat affects your microbiome. In studies that analyzed humans and 59 other types of mammals, what each organism ate drastically affected their internal bacteria.

Diet can hurt or help healthy bacteria, and bacteria affect how the body digests food. When gut bacteria are in balance, people are more likely to maintain a healthy body weight. As a mice with a healthy body weight receive gut bacteria from obese mice, they gain weight quickly without eating additional calories because of how their new microbiota process food.

Foods That Cause Inflammation

When the gut microbiome undergoes changes due to antibiotics, sickness, stress, lifestyle factors or poor diet, tissue becomes damaged and the intestines become inflamed. Thus, the intestines become permeable and can leak antigens that lead to chronic disorders.

Lowering inflammation helps support gut health. There are several food groups to avoid:

  • Refined vegetable oils like corn or canola oil contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, known to cause inflammation.
  • Pasteurized dairy products irritate allergies and threaten healthy bacteria.
  • Refined carbohydrates like sugar, white bread and white rice are produced by stripping away the beneficial fiber. They cause blood sugar spikes and increased intestinal permeability.
  • Packaged granola or boxed cereal might seem like a healthy choice, but it’s often packed with refined sugar.
  • Trans and hydrogenated fats used in fried food and packaged snacks also create inflammation.

Farmers feed livestock corn and other inexpensive ingredients to fatten them up quickly, so meat, eggs and poultry from many sources are high in omega-6s.

Celiac Disease Foods to Avoid

For those with gluten intolerance, food can cause intense reactions. Celiac disease foods to avoid include:

  • All types of white or graham flour
  • Anything that contains the word “wheat,” like wheat bran or wheat germ
  • Pasta
  • Malt beverages
  • Barley

Gut-Healthy Foods

While some foods cause inflammation, others support healthy gut bacteria and reduce intestinal irritation. Celiac disease and a gluten-free diet follow the same rules that are beneficial for everyone.

Carbohydrates should come from fresh fruits and vegetables. Vegetables reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis and other illnesses. The best choices are dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli; and squash.

If you eat fruit, consume it in its whole, raw form. Juices and fruit that is canned or processed contain added sugar and often have the healthy fiber removed. Instead of soda or energy drinks, choose organic coffee and green tea.

Consume high-quality meat like fish caught in the wild, poultry that is allowed to wander and find its own food, and grass-fed beef. When animals have the chance to find and ingest a range of nutrients, they have healthy microbiomes of their own and provide protein, healthy fat and nutrients without excessive omega-6s.

Choose beneficial fats like those found in nuts and seeds, coconut oil and butter from grass-fed cows. Beans and legumes are extremely healthy, as are grains like quinoa and amaranth.

Other Ways to Support Microbiome Health

What you eat every day either nourishes or destroys a healthy microbiome, but there are other activities that impact gut health. Doctors have been prescribing antibiotics for more than 80 years, and they have saved countless lives.

However, antibiotics don’t just kill harmful bacteria, they destroy entire microbiomes. While individuals recover from the infection for which a doctor prescribed antibiotics, their system tends to develop a higher risk of infection. Avoid taking antibiotics except when they are the only way to fight infection.

People sensed the connection between brain and gut long before science backed it up. When you’re nervous, you feel butterflies in your stomach. When something catastrophic happens, you feel like you’ve received a physical blow to your torso. Seeing something traumatic can make you feel nauseated.

Stress causes biochemical changes, disrupting the digestive system’s internal stability. When people are under prolonged stress, they suffer in the following areas:

  • Gastric secretions
  • Intestinal motility
  • Permeability of mucous membranes
  • Intestinal blood flow

Constant stress exposure in mice, for example, encourages some bacteria to grow rapidly, reducing diversity and wiping out the intestinal balance. Even small amounts of chronic stress slow down normal functions.

Exercise for Better Microbiome Helath, Gut Bacteria

Prioritize stress reduction to support microbiome health. Exercise is a natural way to reduce stress, and a new study finds it can encourage healthy bacteria growth. The study followed sedentary men and women, half of whom were obese. Researchers asked all participants to engage in progressively more intense sessions of walking and jogging three times a week.

As a result, exercise changed the gut bacteria in all participants. While individual results varied, almost everyone showed an increase in the microbes that create short-chain fatty acids. (Short-chain fatty acids boost metabolism and fight inflammation.) Lean volunteers showed the greatest benefit. The volunteers’ microbiomes returned to their original levels six weeks after they stopped exercising.

Your Microbiome and Disease

Chronic inflammation causes disease. An autoimmune disease develops when the body’s immune system becomes confused and attacks body systems. Researchers have linked inflammation with a person’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Gut health protects the body from free radicals, which weaken systems to make them more susceptible to many types of cancer. Harmful bacteria break down joints and supportive tissue, causing inflamed joints and arthritis. Nutrition also affects hormonal balances and brain chemistry, so a suffering microbiome can lead to depression.

The health of your body’s microbiome impacts every internal system. To reduce your risk of chronic disease and support a healthy microbiome, avoid antibiotics and foods that cause inflammation. Instead, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein from quality sources. And finally, cut down on stress and get regular exercise to reduce inflammation and fight disease.

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The Benefits of a Magnesium-Rich Diet

January 15th, 2018
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The Benefits of a Magnesium-Rich Diet - Dieary Rehab

Why You Need Magnesium

Magnesium plays many important roles in the body. It’s also one of the micronutrients in which we are most deficient, with an estimated 80 percent of American adults having some level of deficiency.

A magnesium deficiency can lead to several troubling symptoms, from fatigue and muscle aches to insomnia and anxiety. Many adults may be experiencing side effects of low magnesium and not even realize it.

Do You Have a Magnesium Deficiency?

Since magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, a deficiency can lead to serious and noticeable symptoms. Some of the most common include:

Circulatory Symptoms

A magnesium deficiency, if it persists long enough and is severe enough, can contribute to hypertension (high blood pressure) and cardiovascular disease. In some cases, it can be linked to preeclampsia (pregnancy complication that causes high blood pressure) or eclampsia (onset of seizures in a pregnant woman).

Nervous System Symptoms

A magnesium deficiency can cause troubling symptoms within your brain and nervous system. These symptoms may include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Migraines
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Restless leg syndrome

Immune System Symptoms

Low levels of magnesium can contribute to recurrent bacterial infections or fungal infections, which may be the consequence of a depressed immune system. You may also be at risk for tooth cavities.

The Benefits of a Magnesium-Rich Diet

On the other hand, a magnesium-rich diet can come with a host of benefits. Some of the most notable include:

More Energy

Magnesium helps increase your energy levels and combat fatigue by activating ATP, which fuels cellular activity within the body.

Alleviates Anxiety

Magnesium plays an important role in GABA function, which helps produce serotonin. Serotonin is one of your “happy” hormones that promotes relaxation. This helps explain why some people with magnesium deficiency struggle with insomnia or anxiety.

Aids Digestion

Magnesium helps your muscles relax within your digestive tract, and helps moves stool through your intestines. Magnesium deficiencies can lead to constipation, so increasing your levels can ease gastrointestinal discomfort.

Relieves Aches and Pains

Magnesium also plays a role in muscle contractions. When you have a magnesium deficiency, you may experience cramping or spasms. Having adequate magnesium can help your muscles relax and reduce cramps and weakness.

Fuels Your Heart

Magnesium is essential to your cardiovascular health. There is more magnesium in your heart than anywhere in your body. It works symbiotically with calcium to support a healthy blood pressure and prevent hypertension within your body.

Natural Sources of Magnesium

While there are many magnesium supplements available on the market, many people can get adequate magnesium through a healthy diet. By incorporating some of the following magnesium-rich foods into your diet, you can replenish your levels and enjoy more energy, less pain and improved body functions.

Avocado

Avocado may be classified as a fruit or a vegetable, but either way it packs a serious nutritional punch. These humble little husks contain 15 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of magnesium, plus they’re loaded with heart healthy fats, potassium and fiber.

Nuts

Nuts also work to deliver both heart-healthy fats and magnesium. Almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts have the highest amount of magnesium, with about 20 percent of your RDI in a one-ounce serving.

Legumes

This family of nutritious foods – which include soybeans, peanuts, peas, chickpeas, beans and lentils – are loaded with magnesium. In fact, one cup of cooked black beans contains nearly one-third of your RDI.

Leafy Greens

The basic ingredients of your salad, spinach in particular, can provide much of your magnesium for the day. A cup of spinach yields one-third of your RDI. A spinach salad garnished with cooked chickpeas for lunch could provide you with half of your magnesium for the day or more.

Dark Chocolate

For you chocophiles, here’s a cause for celebration: Not only is dark chocolate loaded with antioxidants, it’s also a good source of magnesium (about 15 percent for a few squares).

Keep in mind that this is still a treat to be enjoyed in moderation. Stick to a serving instead of a whole bar.

The Bottom Line

Magnesium serves several vital functions throughout the body. If you’re feeling fatigued, stressed, anxious or have trouble sleeping, these could be warning signs of a deficiency.

Incorporate magnesium-rich foods into your healthy and active lifestyle. You might be impressed with the results. For more information on healthy living and a well-balanced diet, bookmark or follow our blog.

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Celiac Disease, Food Additives and the Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet

November 13th, 2017
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Celiac Disease Food Additives and Benefits of Gluten-Free Diet - Dietary Rehab

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly reacts to gluten. Glutens are proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale.

Put simply, celiac sufferers cannot properly digest gluten. Instead, the body starts to destroy part of the small intestine, making it difficult to absorb vital nutrients. If you or a loved one has celiac disease, or you simply want to be your healthiest self, consider a gluten-free diet.

About Celiac Disease and Gluten

Celiac disease affects everyone differently, and can be difficult to diagnose. There are more than 200 known symptoms of this disease, including:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Malnutrition
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Abdominal bloating and pain

Symptoms can affect the entire body, and can appear in children and adults. Celiac disease is hereditary, and affects as many as 3 million Americans. About 97 percent of celiac disease cases go undiagnosed.

The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a gluten-free diet. Gluten acts as “glue” that holds foods together, and exists in many products. It’s what gives bread a chewy and elastic texture, and is an important ingredient in making baked goods.

Beer, cereal, bread, pasta and many other foods contain gluten. Gluten is a completely indigestible protein that can slip through the lining of the intestines and cause inflammation in people with celiac disease.

Normally, the small intestine has villi that line the inside to help the body absorb nutrients. If one has celiac disease, ingesting gluten irritates this lining and causes the immune system to attack the villi.

Over time, this can lead to damage or destruction of the villi, and the inability to absorb important nutrients. This can cause malnutrition and a variety of related health problems. Adhering to a gluten-free diet can stop the symptoms of celiac disease, and allow the body to function normally.

Food Additives as Hidden Sources of Gluten

The number of hidden sources of gluten that exist in everyday products may surprise you. Identifying the more latent sources of glutinous material found in processed foods can be challenging, especially early on during your diet change.

Many people overlook one very significant source of gluten: food additives. Food additives for protein, texture, flavor or color may very well contain a source of gluten that causes a flare-up.

Companies may add ingredients to products to improve some element of it, such as the look or taste. Unfortunately, these additives can render the product inedible to people with celiac disease or gluten intolerances.

Always check labels for additives before consuming a product. Take a smartphone with you while you shop, and look up additives you aren’t familiar with. When in doubt, call the company to see if the product is gluten-free.

Percentage of Americans on Gluten-Free Diet Without Celiac Disease Chart - Dietary Rehab

Celiac Disease Foods to Avoid

If you’re new to a gluten allergy or celiac disease, you’re probably wondering what foods you can and cannot eat on your new gluten-free diet. Luckily, scientists have increased their understanding of gluten intolerances in the past few years, leading to a trend of gluten-free food production. Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to find gluten-free alternatives to your favorite dishes.

The list of foods to avoid is long, but common foods that contain gluten include:

  • Barley
  • Beer
  • Bleached bread, cake, graham or granary flour
  • Couscous
  • Malt
  • Pasta
  • Rye
  • Soy and teriyaki sauce
  • Wheat
  • Edible starch
  • Filler

Gluten-containing additives include:

  • Wheat protein
  • Textured vegetable protein
  • Flour
  • Food starch
  • Dextrin
  • Caramel color
  • Anything with the word “wheat”

Avoid vague descriptions such as “artificial flavoring,” “spices” or “natural flavor.” It’s unclear where these ingredients came from, and they could have a source that contains gluten.

The list of foods and additives that may contain gluten is even longer: Dried fruit, flavored coffee, ice cream, candy and many other food items can potentially contain gluten. Get in the habit of reading ingredients labels carefully if you’re adhering to a strict no-gluten diet.

What You Can Eat

Going gluten-free isn’t just about what you can’t eat. People with celiac disease can still eat some grains that are naturally gluten-free, including brown rice, wild rice, and quinoa.

Other naturally gluten-free foods include:

  • Unprocessed beans and nuts
  • Fresh eggs
  • Fresh meat and poultry
  • Fresh fish
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Most dairy products

Safe grains and starches include (as long as they aren’t processed with additives that contain gluten):

  • Buckwheat
  • Flax
  • Corn
  • Cornmeal
  • Sorghum

The Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet

Receiving a celiac disease diagnosis isn’t the only reason to consider going gluten-free. There are many other medical conditions that eating gluten can exacerbate. For example, eating gluten-free can ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Removing gluten from your diet can solve many mysterious issues you have with digestion, energy levels and other issues. You may have a non-celiac gluten intolerance, or gluten sensitivity if you can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong.

Going gluten-free can result in benefits such as:

  • Better digestive health
  • Increased energy
  • Improved cholesterol
  • Weight loss from cutting out processed and unhealthy foods
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Less bloating and gas
  • Reduced risk of diabetes
  • Improved conditions such as IBS and arthritis

Note that if you don’t need a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, eliminating gluten completely may actually do more harm than good. You could miss out on a healthy, well-balanced diet and beneficial whole grains if you go gluten-free by choice.

Work with a dietician for a meal plan that’s suited to your individual needs, whether or not you have celiac disease. Visit your doctor for more information about celiac disease and gluten-free diets.

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What Is Coffee Flour: The Newest Paleo Grain?

September 15th, 2017
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What Is Coffee Flour The Newest Paleo Grain - Dietary RehabIf you bake, you probably know there are many different types of flour. Nut flours like almond and hazelnut offer many of the nutritional benefits found in whole nuts. Oat flour has extra fiber and is gluten-free. Coconut flour is often substituted for white flour in paleo recipes.

Coffee flour is new on the scene, and it offers amazing health benefits.

Coffee Flour Improves Health and the Environment

With coffee four being touted as not only good for you, but also good for the environment, we had to dive deeper into this mysterious new ingredient. We wanted to find out for ourselves what the benefits and potential uses for coffee flour are all about.

What Is Coffee Flour?

The coffee you drink every morning comes from the Coffea plant. Coffee growers raise the plants for their fruit – little red cherries that each contain one or two seeds. These farmers harvest, dry and grind the seeds to make America’s favorite morning beverage.

Until now, growers had no use for the rest of the plant; they threw away the cherry pulp. Recently, a former coffee house employee invented a process to dry discarded cherry pulp and grind it into flour.

What Makes Coffee Flour Unique?

Coffee flour doesn’t taste like coffee. It has a smooth flavor that’s more like tea or molasses. Some blends contain light citrus notes, and others are slightly bitter.

Coffee flour works well in:

  • Muffins
  • Granola bars
  • Other baked goods

But you don’t have to worry about the afternoon jitters if you use coffee flour in your favorite recipes: There’s only around 62 milligrams of caffeine per one tablespoon serving – about the same amount contained in a serving of dark chocolate.

Health Benefits of Coffee Flour

Health Benefits of Coffee Flour Gluten-Free Kosher Paleo Vegan - Dietary RehabCoffee flour only has 34 calories per serving, but it packs a powerful nutritional punch. Here are some of its health benefits:

It contains 1.8 grams of soluble fiber and 3.4 grams of insoluble fiber per serving, making it a high-fiber flour.

Fiber helps your body digest food, absorb nutrients and balance blood sugar. It also helps you stay full longer. It’s low fat, too: While almond flour contains 3.5 grams of fat per tablespoon and coconut flour has 1 gram for the same amount, coffee flour only has 0.056 grams.

It’s also an excellent source of potassium, which reduces blood pressure and preserves both bone mass and lean muscle. It contains 310 milligrams of potassium per serving, almost as much as a whole banana.

Coffee Flour Uses

Coffee flour can be incorporated into most recipes. Just use it in place of 30 percent of the flour your recipe calls for. If you are worried about a different taste in your favorite food, try mixing coffee flours with other kinds of flours. Coffee flour also thickens smoothies, soups and sauces.

Coffee Flour’s Role in the Environment and Jobs

While we are all concerned with healthy eating, we also want to ensure our farming is done with the health of the planet in mind. Therefore, it’s comforting to know coffee flour has socioeconomic and environmental benefits. Instead of dumping waste in rivers or rotting in landfills, farmers turn this coffee byproduct into a sustainable source of income.

Since the plant pulp that is used was once thrown away or used for fertilizer, this new use is much better for the environment. It’s also a boon to many poor economies, too.

Coffee is grown in some of the world’s poorest countries. This new industry creates jobs, as workers are needed to harvest, dry, mill and package the pulp. A whole new industry from coffee flour is currently improving agricultural communities on three continents.

Coffee Flour in Paleo Recipes

Coffee flour is non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free. It’s the perfect ingredient in many sweet and savory paleo recipes. Try it as part of your favorite paleo recipes to boost both flavor and nutrition.

Dietary Rehab helps people understand nutrition to overcome obesity and chronic disease. We help people enjoy healthy eating and feel good while doing it.

Browse through our recipes and feel free to substitute coffee flour for an extra-healthy boost to an already nutritious and tasty recipe.

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Mediterranean Diet: Truth or Consequences Help Shape Personal Lifestyles

July 10th, 2017
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Mediterranean Diet Truth or Consequences Help Shape Personal Lifestyles - Dietary RehabFinding healthier, easier ways to eat with enjoyment is a favorite American pastime. One of the premier diets getting a whole lot of attention is the Mediterranean diet.

In actuality, the diet itself isn’t new. In fact, it’s been in existence for centuries. Its origin comes from the name, Mediterranean, mimicking the eating patterns of people from that region of the world.

And while this eating plan may be many years old, how we view its merits brings something new to the nutrition industry. In truth, the Mediterranean diet sheds light on a term widely misused: the word diet.

Moderation Is the Meme of Mediterranean Diet Truth

People generally defer to a specific diet seeking weight loss, preferably quick weight loss. But the results, like the diet itself, are temporary. One of the many key differentiators in the Mediterranean diet is that it isn’t a diet, in the traditional sense of the word, but in truth – a lifestyle.

You may have had a friend or family member, even yourself, give the Mediterranean diet a try in the past. It isn’t just about what you eat. It’s about adding the element of moderation to your world. Moderation implies reasonable serving sizes and balance in other lifestyle choices, such as exercise, whom you spend time with and how often.

How a Mediterranean Diet Improves Health for Life

How a Mediterranean Diet Improves Health for LifeAs the Mediterranean diet, followed in its entirety, creates a big picture mapping out a person’s day-to-day behaviors, committing to this program engages a more holistic lifestyle shift. Other diets, due to their temporary nature, do not support long-term use by the participant, setting up a recipe for failure.

The Mediterranean diet provides life choices that promote happiness and socialization while increasing heart health and other benefits that extend longevity. Because the transition into “living Mediterranean” is somewhat seamless, the sense of self-sacrifice in not being able to eat many of the foods one loves, common during dieting, is near nonexistent.

Instead, these dieters have a greater sense of well-being and a feeling that, with this life plan, personal goals are achievable and likely permanent.

Eat Mediterranean Like You Were Born There

It isn’t difficult to adopt a Mediterranean lifestyle. What you eat is hearty, robust and full of texture and color. The choices are vitamin-rich and full of nutrients. Try to focus on what you can eat and not what you need to do without, and the experience will be that much more rewarding.

Limit your intake of red meat and processed foods including sugars, complex carbohydrates (white rice and foods made with white flour), unhealthy fats, or preservatives. Key words to remember are fresh, whole and of the earth.

Eat Mediterranean Like You Were Born There - Salmon Nuts Oil Avocado

Find excitement in what you CAN eat:

  • Legumes
    • Nuts (1 oz. daily)
    • Beans, peas, lentils, hummus (1/2 cup serving, cooked, 2 times a week or more)
  • Whole grains
    • Brown or wild rice, bread or pasta made with whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, popcorn and quinoa (4 small portions per day and ALWAYS eat with protein and healthy fats)
  • Fresh fish or seafood (4 oz., 2-3 times a week)
    • Grilled, baked, poached or steamed
  • Eggs (2-3 times a week)
    • Cooked in olive oil, poached or hard-boiled
  • Vegetables (5-10 servings a day, ½ cooked/1 cup raw)
    • Fresh or lightly cooked to stay slightly crunchy
  • Fruits (4-6 servings a day, ½ cup per serving)
    • Fresh or lightly cooked
  • Healthy fats (4-6 servings a day)
    • Extra virgin olive oil (1 tbsp.) or 5 olives
    • Avocado (1/8 of an avocado) or avocado oil
  • Dairy (moderate consumption), low-fat or skim (1-3 servings daily)
    • Fresh curd cheeses (1 oz.)
    • Yogurt (1 cup)
    • Kefir (1 cup)
    • Milk (1 cup)
  • Beverages
    • Water
    • Tea
    • Coffee
    • Red Wine (5 oz. per day for women; 10 oz. per day for men)

Mediterranean Diet Truth or Consequences You Can Live With

Mediterranean Diet Increases Odds Of Aging Healthfully - Dietary RehabThe benefits of living a Mediterranean lifestyle are backed by science. Those who practice this diet regularly realize healthy weight loss while minimizing their risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke and early death. In addition, the risk for certain cancers, such as head, neck, prostate and colon, is reduced.

There is also evidence that Mediterranean diet followers are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

Before trying this diet plan, make sure that your body can digest raw fruits and vegetables well. If you have certain health conditions such as IBS, this diet could be cumbersome to maintain.

Ask us, the nutritionists at Dietary Rehab, if this is the right program for you.

Live Mediterranean Now

Live Mediterranean Now Working Wake Up Peach Smoothie - Dietary RehabTo get a taste of how the Mediterranean diet can make a difference in how you feel, try this:

Working Wake Up!

½ cup, ripe peaches chopped, skin removed
½ cup skim milk (1% is fine too)
6 ice cubes
½ cup low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt
Sprinkling of cinnamon (optional)

Blend until all ingredients come together to a thick and frothy consistency. Pour into a to-go cup. Add a straw for fun. Start your day!

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Nutrient Timing Healthy or Harmful? Let’s Examine

May 22nd, 2017
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Nutrient Timing Healthy or Harmful Let’s Examine

There’s been a lot of buzz about how food is meant to be for nutritional benefit. Some even refer to food as medicine. When eating food that is rich in nutrients, the body receives what it needs to work optimally and help generate a sense of well-being.

About 15 years ago, the media caught wind of what professional athletes already knew: that eating the right food at the right time could enhance fitness, increase physical performance and maximize weight loss. Once this information trickled down to the masses, the diet and nutrition industry took hold and applied it to mainstream America.

Let’s assume the intentions were for the greater good, but the healthful benefits of nutrient timing may not apply to the general population.

What Is Nutrient Timing?

The premise of nutrient timing is simple. A person eats:

  • Specific foods
  • In specified amounts
  • In specified combinations
  • At specified times

Usually, small meals take place five to six times a day to include varied selections of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats and proteins that together are no larger than the size of a person’s fist.

Depending on a person’s reasons or goals for using nutrient timing, the amount of foods may shift. For example, a person training for a marathon will use nutrient timing to help maintain lean muscle mass.

Comparatively speaking, someone looking to shed fat or maintain current weight may use the nutrient timing system as a means to ward off hunger throughout a workout regimen. Much of the difference – and potential risk – comes down to the intake of protein.

Excess Protein Is too Much too Soon

There is a link between protein intake and lean muscle mass. With protein, the body can maintain or build greater muscle mass. But without enough protein, muscle is lost.

Many diet programs have beefed up protein intake to help force the body to shed fat instead of lean muscle. However, there is some backlash about excess protein and what it can do to the body’s internal systems.

Although the recommended daily allowance of protein intake seems high, it’s easy to see how quickly a person can get the necessary amount.

Physical Activity, Associated Weight and Recommended Protein Intake

How the Body Uses Protein

Protein, unlike other nutritional components, cannot be sourced within the body, meaning that once a person has depleted their existing level of protein, there is no other internal supply. Although proper protein intake is vital, it does not supersede the importance of carbohydrates. With nutrient timing, a healthy balance is more readily achieved by design.

With an increased protein intake, metabolism converts to what’s known as a state of ketosis. Instead of using carbohydrates to generate fuel or energy, the body will process or burn its fat. During ketosis, one can feel less hungry and the need to release excess water.

Sounds good, right? Not so fast.

In order to break down protein effectively, the body generates ammonia – seriously. The body can only handle so much ammonia. To release higher levels of ammonia, the body needs to sweat it out.

An imbalanced nutrition regimen with higher levels of protein can increase ammonia levels, which can somewhat be compensated through more strenuous exercises or athletic conditioning. What about average Joe? What about plain Jane? Should they even think about nutrient timing?

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

Nutritional balance is everything. Using food as a method to maintain or alter physical shape, and to keep or increase internal health, is wise. What’s even more amazing is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Sustenance and fitness are not fixed but flexible, just as nutrient timing was meant to be.

When Your Body Talks, Listen

The right nutrition differs per the individual. Many contributing factors help dictate which foods to eat and what time to consume them.

Daily Protein Intake for Individuals Over 18 Years OldExamine the following when considering entering into a nutrient timing eating plan:

  • Genetics
  • Metabolism
  • Environment
  • Lifestyle or Schedule
  • Level of Physical Activity

Realistic expectations also play a big role in the planning and success of nutrient timing for healthy living. Take a moment to think back: Have you ever been on a diet or nutrition program, due to the testimonials of other people, believing you would achieve the same or similar results? More than likely, you didn’t.

Every nutrition plan works differently for each person. Nutrient timing, like any other sustenance program, is a lifestyle model that can be adjusted to fit your needs. Take into account the goals, the duration required to get there and, throughout the process, how the body reacts and how you feel.

Signs that Healthy Intake Is Off

The purpose of nutrient timing is to use healthy food as the catalyst to better body functionality and, in some cases, appearance.

There are also contraindications that suggest a change in the plan is needed:

  • Perspiration has ammonia odor
  • Dehydration
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Diminished performance

The Healthy Advantages of Nutrient Timing Outweigh the Risks

By using nutrient timing as a tool to ensure a balanced, healthy diet in easy-to-digest portion sizes can provide long-lasting benefits to all people. When physical activity changes, so too should the amount of food and/or the frequency of the nutrient timing.

Additionally, consuming carbohydrates and protein together within 45 minutes before or after a strenuous workout can provide the bones and muscles what they need to boost performance and build strength. As the metabolism kicks into high gear during and for up to 90 minutes after a workout, nutrient timing then supports the caloric intake and the training session, diminishing the risk for unhealthy weight gain.

Nutrient timing can complement the immeasurable value in daily nutrition for the short and long term.

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Paleo Style Christmas Cookie Recipes

December 5th, 2016
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Paleo Style Christmas Cookie Recipes

Don’t you just love the wonderful smells of cinnamon and vanilla wafting through the house at Christmas time? Afraid you can’t have the same smells in your house unless it’s from a candle? These Paleo recipes should help change your mind. From Gingerbread men to peppermint cookies, a variety of tastes awaits the intrepid baker!

Paleo Gingerbread Recipe

Paleo Gingerbread Men Recipe

My favorite Christmas cookie has always been gingerbread men, but with Paleo, it’s been difficult to find a good recipe, since most will let the dough spread and the point is to have men, not blobs. I found this one that works.

For the Dough:

1 ½ cups almond flour

¾ cup tapioca starch

¾ teaspoon ground ginger*

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon coconut oil

2 ½ tablespoon pure maple syrup

3 tablespoon molasses

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  • In a mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and mix well
  • Add the wet ingredients and beat until well blended and a thick dough forms
  • Place the dough between two sheets of parchment and roll out to ¼ ” thickness. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes
  • Peel off the upper parchment paper and cut out your gingerbread men using a cookie cutter. Place on baking sheet about 1” apart and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool and place in airtight container.
  • Decorate with the desired icing, etc and enjoy! Makes approximately 12-15 gingerbread men.

*Now, I’ve always liked a bit of ginger in my gingerbread men, so I upped the ginger to 2 full teaspoons and also added 1 teaspoon nutmeg. But you can add whatever spices you like, play with the spice amounts until you have your very own gingerbread man recipe.

Paleo Holiday Recipes

Paleo Snowball Dessert Recipe

No Bake Pecan Snowballs

This recipe is a variation on the Mexican wedding cookies or snowball cookies of Christmas traditions. My favorite was the pfeffernuss cookies, which this recipe can easily be adapted for.

For the Dough: *

1 cup pecan halves

½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 cup medjool dates, pitted (approx 10)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup arrowroot or tapioca starch

Extra Arrowroot for dusting or coconut sugar**

Instructions:

  • Place pecans and shredded coconut into a food processor with an “S” blade and process until pecans are crumbly.
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients and process further until a sticky dough forms (it should stick together when pressed between two fingers)
  • Scoop the dough by the rounded tablespoons and roll between your hands, forming balls. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and put in the freezer for 1-2 hours . For the “snowball” look, roll in a bit of arrowroot powder or tapioca starch. Not a lot is needed as it doesn’t add to the flavor.
  • Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for best texture. Unless eaten up before, they will last up to two weeks. Makes about 12 balls

** If a sweeter snowball is desired, use coconut sugar or shredded coconut to roll the balls in. This should be done before putting into the freezer to help the coating stick to the balls better.

*For pfeffernuss cookies just add the following spices to the pecans and shredded coconut before adding the rest of the ingredients:

½ tablespoon white pepper

½ tablespoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cloves

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon ginger

With the coconut sugar coating, these are delicious with a bit of zing!

Paleo Holiday Recipes

Paleo Thin Mint Cookie Recipe

Paleo Thin Mint Cookies

What is Christmas without peppermint and who doesn’t love Girl Scout Thin Mints?  This recipe is a Paleo approved version of their cookie and it tastes very close to the original, but they are cheaper and healthier for you. And you can make them anytime!

For the Dough:

½ cup sifted coconut flour

1 ¼ cups almond flour

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoon arrowroot starch

¼ teaspoon salt

1 egg

½ cup pure maple syrup

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

For the Coating:

¼ cup chopped dark chocolate

2 oz unsweetened dark chocolate

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Instructions:

  • Place dry ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until well blended.
  • Add wet ingredients, except coconut oil and mix with hand mixer.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add coconut oil until mixed thoroughly.
  • Place the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and using it as a guide, shape the dough into a 1 ¾” diameter log. Wrap tightly and place in freezer until firm (approx 2 hours)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove dough from freezer and cut the log into ¼” thick rounds.
  • Place rounds on two parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake 14-16 minutes or until the middle is firm to the touch.
  • Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
  • Meanwhile, melt the coating ingredients in a double boiler until mixture is smooth all the way through.
  • Using two forks, dip each cookie into the coating mixture, returning them to the parchment and refrigerate until chocolate sets. (approx 30 minutes)
  • Enjoy! Makes approx 12-15 mint cookies

Paleo Holiday Recipes

If you would like something a little simpler, try this peppermint cookie recipe:

Paleo Chocolate Peppermint Swirl Cookies Recipe

Paleo Chocolate Peppermint Swirl Cookies

These are easier to make and they are a wonderful soft “sugar” cookie. You can bring them to a neighbor’s house or to a cookie exchange Christmas party.

[h2] For the Dough:

2 cups almond flour

½ cup coconut flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoon coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

3 tablespoon cocoa powder*

½  teaspoon peppermint extract

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients into a food processor except the cocoa powder and the peppermint extract.
  • Process until a smooth dough forms. Remove from processor. Divide dough in half.
  • Replace one-half back into the food processor with the peppermint extract. Mix well. Remove and set aside.
  • Place the other half into the processor with the cocoa powder. Mix well. Remove
  • Place each ball of dough between two sheets of wax paper and roll out to 1/4 “ thickness.
  • Remove the top layer of wax paper and turn one of the sheets of dough on top of the other sheet of dough.
  • Peel the top layer of wax paper and lightly press the two layers of dough together.
  • Roll the dough into a log lengthwise. Chill dough for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the dough into ½” rounds and place on the sheet at least 1” apart.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes and remove from oven. Let cool on the baking sheet.
  • Store in air tight container. Makes approx 18 cookies.

*Personally, I add more cocoa and honey to the dough; of course you have to add a bit more almond flour as well, to keep the consistency the same. I love chocolate. And Paleo allows dark chocolate, so I say: “Go for it!”

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