Is Paleo Safe For Kids?


My simple answer to the above question is this:

Yes it is!

You only have to look at the pictures of my children to see that they are thriving and full of energy!


There are a few caveats however…  if your children are normal weight, healthy, active kids, they do not want to be on the very low-carb, weight-loss program that you might be following (over-weight and obese kids are a different matter – they need the low-carb diet in order to loose some of the excess weight (1), but they also need plenty of healthy fats to fuel their growing and developing brains).

Active, healthy kids need extra carbs to give them the energy they need and to prevent them from loosing too much weight.  And they need plenty of healthy fats to help with brain development (at least 60% of the human brain is composed of fats, mostly the omega-3 variety, but saturated fats are also vital for brain development as they are important for forming the cell membranes of the nerve cells)

Daughters 3 and 4 - J & B

Daughters 3 and 4 – J & B

So don’t be afraid to give your kids sweet potatoes and other starchy veg.  And don’t be afraid to give them the healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, olives, coconut oil, coconut, oily fish and even animal fats (100% grass-fed or pastured meat only) all count as healthy fats).  Let them eat plenty of fruit as well…  I always have a fruit-bowl on the kitchen counter that the girls know that they can snack from freely.

If they are lethargic, lacking in energy or actually loosing too much weigh, up the carbs in their diet and up the healthy fats as well, and that should solve the problem.

When you think about it, 50,000 years ago, stone-age mama and papa did not cook a hunk of meat for themselves and then pull out the wheaty-puffs for the stone-age kidlets…  they fed the kids exactly what they ate.  And those kids thrived – if they hadn’t, the human race would have died out way back then.

And even today, most cultures feed their kids on what they eat – spicy foods, fatty foods, veggies, you name it.  If the adults can eat it and thrive, the kids can to.  It is only in the West that we feel that we should be feeding our kids special “kid-friendly” food. And usually, this “kid-food” is pretty unhealthy stuff – high in insulin spiking carbs, lots of sugar, lots of salt, lots of food-colourings, artificial flavourings and sweeteners and laced with trans-fats – exactly the opposite of what growing bodies and brains need to eat.

So will giving up grains harm your child?

Not at all…

No one needs to eat grains.

And calorie for calorie, grains, even whole grains, are lower in nutrient density than fruit and vegetables.   There are some useful graphs in this post that show the percentage of vitamins and minerals found in grains compared to vegetables, demonstrating that those veggies are the clear winner.  And your child can obtain plenty of carbs from fruit and veggies….  and as a side-bonus, they will benefit from the larger amounts of nutrients.  A Paleo diet almost consistently contains in excess of 100% of the RDA of all vitamins, with the exception of vitamin D, and the same is true of the vast majority of essential minerals as well.  This post demonstrates this fact..  And whole grains are not necessarily the best source of dietary fiber either.  Fruits and veggies contain at least as much fiber as whole grains do, so don’t worry that your child will lack for fiber or become constipated if they are not eating whole grains.  As long as 50% of their plate is filled up with veggies they will be fine.

And when you consider the anti-nutrients in grains and pulses, you have even more reason to feed your children on a paleo diet.  Most of our immune system is based on our gut flora and intestinal mucosa.  The anti-nutrients in grains and pulses can damage the gut mucosa leading to leaky-gut syndrome, and it can alter the balance of the healthy gut flora (the friendly bacteria that live in our guts and help with immune function).  For a child with an immature immune system, this can be bad news as it can lead to impaired immune development and even food sensitivities, intolerance and allergies later in life. (take my example – I developed a serious allergy to dairy in my mid 30’s and non-celiac gluten intolerance in my late 30’s early 40’s).

Gluten and lectins in grains and legumes damage the intestinal mucosa.  This can prevent full absorption of the vitamins and minerals in your childs diet meaning that you child is not getting the full benefit of the food they are consuming.

And then there is the little matter of phytate.  Also known as phytic acid, phytate is a form of phosphorus naturally found in plant materials.  Grains and legumes (beans, peas etc) are naturally very high in phytate.  The problem with this form of phosphorus is that it forms insoluble, and indigestible, complexes with many of the other vital minerals in the diet (most notably calcium, magnesium and zinc) which means that both the phosphorus, and the other minerals cannot be absorbed at all and pass unabsorbed through the gut and into the faeces…. (2, 3)

This can be a real problem for a whole-grain eater who is relying on their fortified breakfast cereal with milk to provide them with many of the minerals they need in their diet…  phytate in that “heart-healthy wholegrain cereal” will bind the calcium in the milk and most of the minerals that the cereal is fortified with…  total loss, and tbh a total waste of time eating it.  You might as well feed your kids the cardboard box! (anyone remember that anecdotal scientific study that was done where they fed one group of lab rats a popular breakfast cereal, and a second group the box the cereal came in?  Supposedly the group fed the cereal died, while the group fed the box thrived….  But I have never found a single paper to verify this…  if anyone knows if one exists, I would be grateful if you could point me to it!)

Either way, there is plenty of evidence out there that eating phytates is not good for you (even the subject of my Doctorate showed this, albeit in laying hens, which is not really relevant here as I was looking at how it affected egg-shell quality – and to the best of my knowledge humans don’t lay eggs…)

Despite what people may tell you, giving up grains will not mean that your kids will be lacking in carbs…  not only can children manage perfectly well on a ketogenic diet, they can thrive on it.  They actually use this kind of diet to help control drug resistant epilepsy and other neurological disorders in kids.  And those kids on a ketogenic diet remain perfectly healthy, with no weight gain or heart disease.

Besides, if you allow them free access to fruit, they will get more than enough carbs (fruit is very high in fructose).  And you can always supplement with the more starchy veggies if you feel the need.  I have yet to meet a kid who does not love sweet potatoes!

Giving up dairy is not a bad thing either (although some paleo parents feed their kids dairy as a part of a more primal way of eating if they tolerate the dairy well).  This post by the Paleo Mom explains why dairy is not necessary to provide the calcium your kids will need to grow and thrive.  And when you think about it, humans are the only species of animal that eats milk beyond infancy, and we are the only species that consumes the milk of another species as well.   Contrary to what the milk marketing companies would like you to believe we don’t NEED milk in our diets!  There has even been some evidence that consuming large amounts of dairy could have a negative effect on bone health (4, 5)

So why not give it a try?

Gradually replace the harmful foods in your child’s diet with Paleo and see how they do.   If you are lucky enough to be a pregnant paleo-parent, you have it easy – you can just feed your child paleo from the get-go and avoid a lot of the problems us parents of existing kids who are used to eating a SAD (Standard American Diet) have!.  But even the most resistant toddler will eat this way eventually – kids won’t let themselves starve, believe me… when they are really hungry they will eat.  And there has been plenty of research to show that given a free choice of available foods, young children will naturally select a balanced diet (6)…  so young kids can and WILL eat veggies, fruit, meat, healthy fats especially when they see their parents eating and actively enjoying them…

J likes the look of her dinner!

J likes the look of her dinner!

And my experience is that the older the kid, the easier it is… teens may be resistant at first, but they are also self-aware enough that they will realize that when they use their allowance to by a large mocha from the coffee-shop along with a huge donut, they feel like c**p the next day…  And that Big Mac or Teen-Burger also makes them feel ill…. after a few sessions of this, they suddenly develop an aversion to those foods that make them feel ill….  And teens are old enough to read the books, look at the websites, understand the reason why eating a SAD is bad news.

Teens are also old enough to take a turn with the cooking, and I know no better way of getting kids interested in food than to encourage them to cook a meal of their own devising.

Proof that teens can cook....

Proof that teens can cook….

And  no matter what age the kid is, they love the slightly mess aspect of cooking, especially when they get to be hands on with the food…


But even littlies can help out in the kitchen and cook simple foods:


Even if you have toddlers, you can get them to do really simple stuff like mixing up salad ingredients with their hands… and while they are doing it, encourage them to sample the individual veggies….  while it may not be perfect on the hygiene front,  it is getting them to try stuff… besides it is your families bugs – you will be exposed to exactly the same bacteria when you kiss them good-night!  Sadly I no longer have a kidlet of toddler age, so I can’t illustrate the last with a photo.

Despite this, I don’t advocate an all or nothing approach… if you totally ban non-paleo foods they become forbidden fruit… the minute your child has access to them (at a birthday party, at a school event, snack-time at school/playgroup etc) they become all the more desirable.  OK, don’t allow them in the house, but don’t outright ban them unless there is a food allergy or intolerance to that particular food ingredient.  Let your child sample the non-paleo foods at social events (birthday parties etc), then talk to them about how they made them feel (even a toddler can understand that that food was not as tasty as mummy’s home-cooked food!).  If they feel ill, they will gradually realize that eating them is not worth the suffering!

One other solution is to make them paleo versions of the food that they are used to.  You can “bread” chicken or fish with coconut or nuts to make a paleo version of chicken nuggets and fish sticks.  Make cauliflower “rice” and zoodles or spaghetti squash in place of pasta.  Make paleo treats on occasion to replace the pancakes, the cookies and the muffins.  You can make paleo bread for pizzas or burger buns as well.


By having a few easy go-to recipes that you can pull out when you need a paleo substitute for your kids favourites you can make that transition so much easier.

And seriously, when your kids are young, it is YOU that controls the food that they eat.  If your child is overweight or suffering from a food related illness, it is down to you.  You are the one buying the food they eat.  If you don’t buy it, they can’t eat it.

Things do get a little more complicated once they reach the teenage years, true (Yes your teen will slink down to 7-11 occasionally to buy a Big-gulp, but hey, once in a while is not going to kill them! – C went to a friends house the other day and spent her allowance on a cheesecake!), but if you educate your children on healthy eating habits (and a HUGE part of this education is them seeing their parents eating and enjoying healthy foods – family mealtimes RULE for this!), then they will know how to make healthy eating choices for themselves in the future.

Surely that is one of the best gifts you can give your children!

Paleo Foods

I know there are a lot of other Paleo Food Lists out there, but why not make one up of my own?

These are foods that you can eat as much as you want of

Spices and Herbs – can be freely used.  This includes garlic and ginger.

Most vegetables – remember, corn is a grain, not a vegetable even if it is eaten like one.  Also avoid the starchy vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes.  Aim to buy seasonally, organic and local for preference.


Arugula (Rocket)



Beets including the tops

Bell Peppers

Bok Choy and other asian greens such as Gai-lan


Brussels Sprouts






Chili Peppers

Collard Greens


Dandelion greens




Green Beans – technically a legume but can be eaten raw, and low in the anti-nutrients that most legumes contain.

Green Onions

Jerusalem Artichokes






Mushrooms (All Kinds)

Mustard Greens





Pea-pods (mange-tout/snap-peas) – technically a legume, but can be eaten raw and are low in the anti-nutrients that most legumes contain.






Spaghetti Squash


Squash (all kinds)

Swiss Chard


Turnip Greens


Yellow Summer Squash


Fruits – most fruits are high in sugar and should be eaten in moderation.  These are the ones that are best to eat.  Aim to buy seasonally, organic and local for preference.

Berries (all types)


Melon (all types)

Meat – if possible buy only grass-fed/pastured/wild meats.  Eat the fat and the skin where possible as well and consider nose to tail eating including the organ meats.  If you are having to buy meat that is not grass-fed/pastured (most standard grocery store meat), choose the leanest cuts possible and trim the excess fat as it will be very high in inflammatory-causing omega 6 fats.




















Wild Boar






Bone Marrow





Fish and Seafood –  choose sustainable wild-caught fish and seafood where possible.  Avoid farmed fish such as salmon as the flesh will be low in omega 3 and relatively high in omega 6.  Consider eating the roe (eggs/caviar) from fish.



Black Cod (Sablefish)






Mahi Mahi

Orange Roughy


Red Snapper

















Caviar (fish eggs/roe) – avoid sturgeon caviar as they are rapidly becoming an endangered species.  Choose caviar from other fish instead and consider eating the roe/eggs you find in your fish when gutting it.

Eggs – The eggs of all birds are Paleo.  Where possible eat only pastured eggs or omega 3 enriched eggs.  If necessary, eat organic eggs as a third choice.  Avoid standard grocery store eggs as they will be laid by unhealthy hens that are raised in very overcrowded conditions.

Cooking Oils/Fats  – Avoid the grain based oils, most nut and seed oils and “vegetable oil”.  Also avoid all trans-fats (including margarine).  Where possible use only animal fats that are pastured/grass-fed/free-range.  Consider saving the fat that renders out of the meat you are cooking.

Avocado Oil

Coconut Oil

Lard (pork fat)

Tallow (mutton/lamb fat)

Schmaltz (chicken fat)

Beef Dripping

Suet (ok if you can find it where it has not been tossed with flour) – this is the rendered fat from around the kidneys

Olive Oil

Macadamia Oil

Palm Oil

Duck Fat

These Foods Should Be Eaten In Moderation

Vegetables – these are the more carb-heavy vegetables.  Best avoided or eaten in moderation if you are wanting to loose weight.  Aim to buy seasonally, organic and local for preference.


Sweet Potato





Fruits – these fruits are higher in sugar, so limit your consumption, especially if you want to loose weight.  Remember, drying fruits concentrates the sugar, and each dried fruit counts as one whole fruit.  Eat your fruit as whole fruits not fruit juice as that way you get the benefit of the fiber.  Aim to buy seasonally.  Organic and local for preference.







Goji Berry












Passion Fruit








Star Fruit


Nuts and Seeds – these should be considered more of a condiment.  Nuts and seeds, with the exception of macadamia nuts are very high in Omega 6 and chestnuts are very starchy and high in carbs.


Brazil Nuts

Chia Seeds

Flax Seeds




Pine Nuts


Pumpkin Seeds

Sesame Seeds

Sunflower Seeds



Meats and Fats  – these are ok to eat in moderation as long as you can source quality bacon/ham that has been cured without sugar.  For preference choose meats that are nitrate free and made from pastured pork.



Bacon Fat

Ham Fat

Dairy – These foods are Primal rather than Paleo.  For some people they can be problematic, others will have no issue with them.  Where possible, buy only organic or pastured dairy.  If raw unpasteurized dairy is available buy that as a first preference.   (Not possible in Canada where it is illegal to sell raw dairy).





Full-Fat Yogurt


Sweeteners –  these natural sweeteners can still cause a spike in insulin levels, so keep the use to a minimum.  Their saving grace is that they contain some trace nutrients.

Fruit juice (may be used in moderation as sweetener. It contains none of the fiber from the original fruits and is essentially sugar-water)

Raw Honey

Real Maple Syrup

Stevia – sugar free, but can contribute to maintaining a “sweet-tooth”.

Other Foods – some of these foods can cause a problem for some people, others don’t have a problem with them at all.

Dark Chocolate (choose types with 85% cocoa solids)


Alcohol – dry wines and spirits not made from grains  (tequila, wheat free vodka, brandy).  Use only club-soda/soda water as a mixer with a little citrus juice for flavour



Avoid These Foods

Oils and Fats –

corn oil

canola oil

vegetable oil

soybean oil


sunflower oil

safflower oil

cottonseed oil

grapeseed oil

peanut oil


Grains – low in nutrients, high in carbs and anti-nutrients, these are best avoided.












Any Pasta

Any Bread

Any Crackers

Anything made from flour from any of the above grains

Legumes – the only exceptions I make to these are green beans and pea-pods.  While technically still legumes, these do not contain many of the anti-nutrients that the rest of the legumes contain.  They can also be consumed raw.

Garbanzo Beans

Black Beans

Kidney Beans

Mung Beans

Lima Beans


Black-Eyed Peas






White Beans

Pinto Beans

Fava Beans

Red Beans

Sweeteners – these foods contain mostly empty calories and will cause a spike in your blood sugar, with a resulting rise in your insulin levels.

Sugar (all forms)

Coconut Sugar

Dextrose (glucose)

Fructose (fruit sugar)

High Fructose Corn Syrup (may be listed on labels as glucose/fructose)

Artificial Sweeteners (all types)



Corn Syrup


Rice Syrup

Any Soda (with the exception of soda water/club soda)

Any Candy

Other Foods

Beer and spirits made from grains (Whisky, Rum, Vodka etc), sweet wines.

Most condiments and relishes (read the labels)

Highly Processed Meats (Hot dogs, most deli meats, salami etc)

And finally all highly processed food.  If your great-grandma would not recognize it as food don’t eat it.  Read the labels.  If it contains any ingredients listed in the “Do not eat” category above, do not eat it.  If there are more than 5 ingredients on the label don’t eat it (most processed foods contain far more than 5 ingredients).  If it contains ingredients that you don’t recognize or cannot pronounce don’t eat it.

The Paleo-Vegan – a contradiction in terms!

Several times this week I have encountered people who are claiming to be both Paleo AND Vegan.

The first was a 14 year old girl.  She was celiac, so she would not be eating any wheat.  But she was getting all her protein requirements from pulses….  HELLO?  Pulses are NOT Paleo!  What she is is a grain free vegan or a celiac vegan.  What she is NOT is a Paleo-vegan.

And there have been others like her.

I am sorry, but it is impossible to be a Paleo-vegan.

You just cannot do it.  If you are vegan, you get your protein from soy, pulses and grains – all plant based sources because you do not eat any animal products.

If you are paleo, you get your protein from animal based products – meat, fish and eggs and you avoid soy, pulses and grains.

The 2 are simply not compatible.

I think even being a paleo vegetarian would be very hard to do – while you can eat eggs, dairy is not Paleo.  So you would have to get your entire daily protein allowance from eggs.   And I think you would get sick of eggs mighty fast in this case.   It might be slightly easier if you were primal and ate some dairy as well, but even then it would still be very hard going.

A pescatarian might be able to do it though.  They eat fish, so you could limit your food choices to fish and seafoods, eggs, veggies and the good fats…  and a diet high in wild caught oily fish would be very healthy.

But for me, I choose not to limit the animal protein I eat, but I do avoid grains, pulses, dairy and mass-produced food.  I eat lots of veggies with moderate amounts of fish, meat and eggs, along with some healthy fats (avocado, coconut, olive oil etc).

And that is what makes me Paleo.

So why do they claim to be Paleo when they are so blatantly not?

I have no real idea, but I suspect it is because Paleo is becoming more and more popular.  Veganism has always been seen as hip and trendy.  They are jumping on bandwagons…

But they are failing to understand what Paleo is….

Blogging, work and so tired!

Blogging after a long, hard day at work sucks!

Today I started at 9:45am…  I finished at 6pm.  In total I did 6.5 hours of massage (5 x 60 minute massages, 1 x 90 minute massage) all with 15 minutes between and with a 45 min lunch break (which by the time you have turned the room around, cleaned up the table, talked to the previous client and completed the notes means you get less than a 30 minute lunch break!).  The 15 mins I get between massages is barely enough to do all that needs to be done.

It may not sound like a lot compared to your average office worker, but I have mentioned it before, and that is a LOT for a massage therapist to do in one day, especially one like me who specializes in deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy…  the vast majority of what I do each day is very physical – I am using my entire upper body-weight on my forearm (ulnar border) or elbow to get deep enough for what most of my clients want and need…  but it is worth it because they love it!

And when I do a lot of trigger-point work, I always follow it up with a whole bunch of stretches (see the stretching page!)…  it is not only important that I stretch them after the treatment (if you don’t stretch after trigger-point work you should always use heat!), but I always give them a bunch of homework that almost always involves stretching the muscles that need attention….  And that makes it even more physical because I nearly always uses MET stretches that involve resistance to the muscle that is being stretched as it is so much more effective.  And of course I have to demonstrate the stretches that they need to do as homework as well (meh – that means that I get to stretch my muscles as well!)

I did have a 1 hour relaxation massage with a client who is 10 weeks pregnant.  She wanted nothing more than an hour of pure relaxation – upper body only and a very light touch.  That was a welcome respite.  And BTW it is perfectly safe to have a massage in the first trimester of your pregnancy, it just needs to be modified to take into account your body’s special needs.  A lighter touch, no sacral work and I personally avoid work on the ankles as there are reflexology points there that can stimulate both the uterus and ovaries.

But as I said, it is worth it when your client gets up from the table saying they feel great and that the treatment they received was just what they need.  And when they start raving about you to other people it makes it even more worthwhile!

I knew that there was a reason I love my job…  it is that instant feel good satisfaction when you say “how do you feel” after the treatment and they say “better” or “I feel great” or “that did the trick”…

That is WHY I am a massage therapist – because I want to help people and make them feel better!

It is the comments like those that make days like today possible – it keeps me going even when I am on my knees. I don’t care if I am virtually crawling up the front steps to the house on my way home from work after a day like today because every single person told me that I had helped them.

And that is what makes my job so worthwhile…

But that isn’t the reason I can put in those kind of hours and this kind of effort…  Back when I was eating the SAD (Standard American Diet), I was diagnosed with both Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia (and fwisw, when I was tested for fybromyalgia, I had every single one of the tender points bilaterally – now I am convinced they are trigger points! – more on that in a future post!)  But back then I was a mess…  I could barely get out of bed, I was crawling up the stairs on my hand and knees.  It was all I could do to go to school for my massage class, and by the end of the once weekly class I was physically and mentally exhausted.  I went home, I slept.  Doing my practicum was a challenge – I barely had the energy…  There was no way that I could have done 6.5 hours of physical activity I can do now.  I would have collapsed in a heap after the commute down to work (it takes me aprox 45 minutes btw). Eating Paleo cured me of that!

The Paleo diet provides me with the nutrients I need in order to keep my body in tip-top shape..  I do not feel hungry during my long stints at work  – often I find a good, protein rich breakfast  (today was 2 eggs and one breakfast sausage patty that I found in the freezer along with some blueberries) will sustain me until dinner time, so there is no need for me to eat lunch – instead it becomes a stretching break when I can make sure my muscles don’t protest too much about the “abuse” I have put them through.  Occasionally I use self massage techniques on my arms and hands, other times I postpone those until I get home in the evening.   Sometimes I will go for a walk, or I will sit in the park with a book and read for half an hour.  Sometimes I go and buy a coffee!

My blood-glucose and insulin levels are stable, so I don’t get an sugar-crash in that mid morning period.  I don’t need to eat because I am feeling hungry as a result.  Yes by the time I get home at around 7pm I am feeling starving… but that just gives me a really healthy appetite for our evening meal….

Paleo on a Budget?

So… you have gone Paleo, and all that grass-fed beef, pastured pork and free range chicken is adding up.  The organic fruit and veg is costing more and your spouse is bugging you about the increase in grocery costs.  Maybe he/she is telling you that you cannot afford to eat this way and that you have to go back to your old (SAD – Standard American Diet) way of eating.

Did you know that there are ways to reduce your food costs dramatically while not compromising on food quality?

These are my top tips for doing Paleo/Primal on a budget.

  • Buy in bulk – we buy half a pig for $250 from the farmers market. We can buy half a grassfed cow for just over $1000 (sounds a lot, but do you know how much meat you get from half a pig or half a cow?). it costs way less that way!  We get it conveniently packaged in meal-sized portions, already frozen and ready to pop in the freezer.  We buy one half pig every 3-4 months and half a cow about once a year.  Yes you do need to invest in a chest freezer and it costs a lot at the time, but the savings are worth it.  From our last half pig ($250 worth, we got 3 hams worth over $150 at their full retail price!  and this was premium pasture-raised pork cured in a sugar-free cure!)  We also got half a dozen packs of bacon (same sugar free cure), several roasting joints, lots and lots of packs of pork chops, and a whole bunch of sausage.  The previous time we didn’t get the hams and went with pork cutlets instead….
  • Keep an eye out for Groupon or Living Social deals for real meat from quality butchers and use them. They can significantly reduce your meat costs.
  • Buy wild salmon during the salmon run and fillet it yourself.  Divide into portions and freeze for later in the year.  There are tutorials on you-tube that will teach you how to fillet salmon.  In fact, consider learning how to fish and catch that damn salmon yourself you get it for little more than any licencing fees and the cost of the equipment that way!  Buy other fish and seafood when on speciall offer and stash it in the freezer.
  • Consider learning how to hunt and score your own wild meats that you can freeze for later use….  licensing requirements vary depending on where you live.  Check it out online via Google.
  • If you live near the coast, buy fresh fish and seafoods direct from the boat – or ask about going on fishing trips where you can catch it yourself.  If you live inland, consider a vacation to the coast and go on the same trips… freeze the catch and transport it home in a cooler….  This does assume you have access to a freezer in whatever rental/holiday home you are staying in and that the trip home won’t be so long that your fish/seafood will thaw before you get home.  Don’t risk food poisoning please!
  • Make friends with the vendors at your local farmers market.  Talk to them, ask about their day and how their sales are going.  And talk to people who are wondering whether to buy the product.  Extol it’s virtues and when the vendor makes a sale you are likely to get a discount…  We regularly score discounts for Wapiti Ways Elk and Buzz Honey by this means.
  • Save all the bones, chicken carcasses. fish bones and shrimp heads and shells and make your own bone broth (I have been known to buy frozen “dog bones” from a grass-fed beef butcher and turn them into broth! there is no difference between a dog-bone and a stock/broth bone apart from the price!).  Add your vegetable trimmings to the broth as well.  There is no need to waste onion tops, broccoli stalks and the tops you trim carrots or any other vegetable trimmings.  Add herbs and other veg from your garden too.  They will all provide nutrition.
  • Waste nothing – if you can turn it into a soup or broth do so….  soups are very frugal lunches (one of my daughters likes soup for breakfast!)  I regularly make “clean out the fridge soup” for lunch – that means I take all the veg that needs using up and dump it into a pot with some bone broth and cook till tender.  Season add herbs and often a can of coconut milk and blend till smooth… no matter what goes into it, it always tastes delicious. You can use broccoli stalks, kale stalks, carrot tops and the trimmings from celery, onions and most other veg this way.
  • Eat the best quality veg you can – join a CSA if it is available in your area. and eat local and seasonal veg. That way you are not paying a premium.  Seasonal veg is always cheaper and by joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) you are supporting the farmers who are growing your food.  Don’t forget to visit their farm if they have a Customer Appreciation day and meet them in person… get to know them, they are your friends!
  • Shop on the outer edges of the store – the stuff in the middle (the mass=produced conveninece foods) is more expensive nutrient for nutrient.
  • Plant a garden and grow your own – even if you live in an apartment you can grow herbs in a window box or in plant-pots in a sunny window.
  • Monitor freecycle for fruit and veg give-aways. Every spring I see people offering rhubarb. every summer it is zucchini, evey autumn people are begging you to pick the excess apples off their trees. Those can all be canned or frozen to eat later in the year.
  • Visit U-pick farms and pick your own fruit and veggies. it is a fun day out that gets the kids and hubby involved and you get it cheaper because you are providing part of the labour…
  • Try ethnic grocery stores – we buy really good, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil for a fraction of the price in the grocery store (and much better quality!) at a middle-eastern grocery store. They also are the only place I have found in Calgary that i can get Dandelion greens at a good price and escarole for less than a dollar a head….  I also buy quality feta cheese for my feta monster (A) from this store and the most fantastic kalamata olives.
  • Don’t be afraid to shop at several stores – we monitor the flyers and websites of our favourites – we currently shop at 2 different farmers markets, the middle Eastern grocery store, and Asian grocery store, Costco and a standard grocery store to get the best deals…. all in the same day! It takes a bit more time but the savings are worth it.  Take a cooler to keep temperature sensitive stuff cool, lots of bags, relax and enjoy the process…  Consider it a day out!
  • Costco can be a real source of bargains for the discerning shopper.  Avoid the ready produced stuff that is full of additives and the bakery section.  Head for the produce, and fish..  And then consider some of these gems I have bought from Costco:  Balsamic vinegar, sundried tomatoes, crab meat, hemp hearts, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, dried figs (and fresh fings, plus goat cheese to stuff in them!),  prunes, dried apricots, almond butter, parmesan cheese and much more.  Read the labels and remember that any meats are likely to be raised in a CAFO, so they are not as good as the pasture raised or grass-fed…. plus in the US they are going to be full of antibiotics and growth hormones…    But you can get some really good stuff at Costco if you are careful – we scored some Heritage beef Albertan grass-fed burgers the other week!  Also any veg you buy is not local bear that in mind.
  • And my biggest tip for saving money while eating Paleo is to cook everything for yourself…..  the more mass produced the product, the bigger the expense.  If you cook for yourself you make savings!

See eating Paleo doesn’t have to be expensive afterall!

Eggs – One Of The Healthiest Foods You Can Eat

Eggs have got a bit of a bad reputation in the past – not only because industrially produced eggs are infected with bacteria, including salmonella.  But also because they are high in fat and cholesterol.  We are told to limit our consumption of eggs, or to eat only the protein rich egg-whites in order to not gain weight and to keep the cholesterol levels in our blood to within acceptable levels.

The thing is, we don’t need to do this.  While 1 egg contains a large amount of cholesterol compared to other foods (212mg in 1 large egg), dietary cholesterol does not affect our blood cholesterol levels – if we don’t consume enough in our diet, our livers will simply make more.

And consuming eggs will actually improve your blood cholesterol profile.  They will increase the levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol while limiting the “bad” LDL cholesterol to a large “fluffy” subtype that is not associated with heart disease (1, 2, 3, 4).

Not only that, eggs are simply packed with nutrients that our bodies need.

They are full of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.  They also contain choline which is vital for healthy brain function (5).

1 egg will provide you with the following (6):

  • Protein – 6g
  • Fat – 5g
  • Vitamin A – 6% RDA
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)  – 2%RDA
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – 15% RDA
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) – 7% RDA
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – 3% RDA
  • Vitamin B12 – 9% RDA
  • Choline 113mg
  • Vitamin E – 3% RDA
  • Folic acid  – 5% RDA
  • Calcium – 2% RDA
  • Iron – 3% RDA
  • Magnesium – 1% RDA
  • Phosphorus – 9% RDA
  • Potassium – 2% RDA
  • Zinc – 4% RDA
  • Selenium – 22% RDA

And all with only 77 calories and minimal amounts of carbs.  Most of the nutrients with the exception of protein are found in the yolks, meaning that if you are eating only the egg whites you are missing out on most of the nutritional benefits of all these vitamins and minerals.

Eggs also measure highly on the satiety index.  This means that they are very effective at satisfying hunger, make you feel full and stay full for longer.  And as a result, you will eat less.  There have been numerous studies that have shown that eating eggs for breakfast leads to weight loss (7, 8).

One thing to remember is that not all eggs are the same.  The vast majority of egg-laying hens are confined in small cages and lead incredibly unhealthy lives.  They are fed a grain based feed that alters the EFA (essential fatty acid) profile in an unfavorable way. And because they are caged with such a high stocking density, a large proportion of the birds will be infected with salmonella and other bacteria.  This can lead to salmonella-tainted eggs

Even eggs that claim to be free-range may not be as free-range as you think – in order to receive the designation of “free-range”, the hens just have to have access to the outdoors for part of the day.  Access is the key – they usually are raised in huge barns, with a tiny little opening to the outside.  The food and water is all in the barn, so guess where the hens stay.  And they are fed the same kind of diet as the caged birds…  one that is too high in omega 6 and too low in omega 3.

If at all possible, buy omega 3 enriched or pastured eggs as they will be laid by healthier birds and have a better omega 3 : omega 6 ratio.

So there you have it – eggs, cheap, nutritious and very tasty.  What is not to like about them?

Slimband – Why?

Last night I was watching TV and there was a commercial for Slimband.

This got me thinking.

Instead of making the effort to loose weight, people are paying for costly and potentially risky surgery.  And all so they don’t have to change their eating habits in order to loose weight.


They will carry on eating the same crappy, nutritionally deficient food, but because the size of their stomachs has been reduced they will just eat less of it.  And because the food they are eating is deficient in nutrients, they will end up even more nutritionally deprived than they were before and as a result their health will suffer.

When did it become the norm to undergo elective surgery instead of eating healthy food in order to loose excess weight?

Slimband claims that you can loose up to half your excess weight in a year while still “eating the foods you love, just in smaller portions”.  And they were promoting one woman who claimed to have lost 50lb and who said that “She was never going back”.

Yes you may be able to loose that excess weight, but at what cost?

I effortlessly managed to loose 50lb in half a year on the Paleo diet with no surgery risk, no scarring and at a cost considerably less than getting Slimband.   I am never going back either!