The Beginner’s Guide to Nightshades

The paleo community is talking more and more about nightshades but the truth is that a large majority of individuals do not know enough about nightshades.

Typically, the term “nightshade,” is associated with extremely poisonous and some exceptionally lethal plants. However, there are literally hundreds of plants that fall into the nightshade category, not all of which are potentially dangerous. Some nightshades are even used on a daily basis by millions around the world.

What Are Nightshades?


Nightshades, also known by their technical name Solanceae, are plants which share a number of characteristics, including a particular flower shape and way that the seed is contained within that flower. Of course, because there are over two thousand different species of nightshades, there is a wide range of differences between the individual plants which this term designates. A large majority of nightshades are poisonous and should not be eaten under any circumstance.

Some of the most well-known nightshades are the more poisonous species, including Jimsonweed. Even tobacco is classified as a nightshade and, while it is not as overtly poisonous as some of the other species, it has certainly been shown to cause a wide range of issues including heart, lung, and circulatory problems, although the extent to which these smoking-induced issues may be attributed to other toxins is not clear.

Many nightshades can and often are eaten on a daily basis, for example tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, paprika, and eggplants. Other nightshades are commonly seen in supplements, for example goji berries and gooseberries. There are dozens and sometimes even hundreds of varieties of each of these foods.

Some of the common edible nightshades include:

  • Bell peppers
  • Hot peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Wonderberries
  • Eggplant
  • Huckleberries
  • Goji berries
  • Kutjera
  • Naranjillas
  • Paprika
  • Pepinos
  • Pimentos
  • Morelle de Balbis
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatillos
  • Gooseberries

Nightshades are also contained in thousands of products sold in grocery stores. Some common spiced blends such as steak rub and curry can contain several different types of nightshade. Hot sauces typically contain at least one nightshade.

Because some cultures have held a negative view of nightshades because of their poisonous qualities, many edible nightshades were foregone during crop season. Of course, today there is no evidence that the edible nightshades produce any negative long-term effects. However, there is some evidence that nightshades may be detrimental to those with autoimmune issues.

Nightshade Sensitivity

Nightshade sensitivity is quite common, particularly among individuals who are sensitive to other types of food.

If you do not experience any sensitivity or any other problems, there is absolutely no reason to cut nightshades out of your diet. There is actually evidence that many of the chemical compounds known to cause problems for individuals with nightshade sensitivity may actually help to improve digestive systems and digestion as a whole. Capsaicin, a compound contained in many types of peppers, is an anti-inflammatory. In fact, this compound is an often-cited reason for eating hot peppers.

Although there has been some worry that the alkaloids found in nightshades causesome of the symptoms felt by those with nightshade sensitivity, the evidence for this seems to be circumstantial at best. Several studies have shown that alkaloids are anti-inflammatory and provide a number of benefits. Even the deadly and poisonous nightshades are today used in small doses for certain medicines including but not limited to the antispasmodic drug Atropoline.

To put it bluntly, the only people who need to worry about nightshades are those who already have issues with their stomachs, intestinal tracks, or digestive tracks. Some individuals with autoimmune diseases should also avoid ingesting the edible nightshades but, for the vast majority of people, nightshades should cause no problems.

Those who have nightshade sensitivity have a few options. Our advice is as follows. To start, cut out nightshades for a month and keep note of how your body reacts to the change. Do you notice intestinal problems dissipating? Do you have more energy? A small break from ingesting nightshades should give you a good idea of whether or not you have been experiencing the symptoms of nightshade sensitivity and should help you to determine whether or not you should cut them out of your diet.

If you do have nightshade sensitivity but still wish to eat nightshades, peel potatoes before eating them, as most of the alkaloids are contained in the skin and avoid eating recently grown tomatoes and green tomatoes, as these tend to have higher concentrations of alkaloids than other tomatoes.


Are Nightshades Paleo?

The answer is yes (but be careful).

Nightshades do not grow in many areas of the world. In fact, nightshades did not grow in any of the regions where man first lived, which means that they were almost certainly not part of the human diet during the Paleolithic era. Of course, nightshades later went on to become a large part of the diet of large swatches of the population, they are one of a number of borderline-paleo foods that some paleos choose to incorporate or leave out of their diet.

The biggest issue is that some people have the sensitivities mentioned above. The best way to find out what works best for you is to eliminate nightshades from you diet and then reintroduce them slowly and see how your body reacts and how you feel and then do whatever makes you feel best.

Photo credit: Market Manager and julie

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Ultimate Paleo Guide to Alcohol

It’s Friday night, and it’s been a long workday. You’re looking to get home as quickly as possible to meet up with some friends, and relax a little. Everybody’s looking forward to grabbing a drink … or two.

What do you do?

You’ve just started this paleo thing, and are going pretty strong, seeing great results, and feeling great. But you also feel like you’ve been a bit of a hermit, avoiding restaurants and nights out with your pals.

You’re feeling as if you need to take it easy, head out and have a good time, and enjoy the company of some good friends and a few drinks, but you don’t want to ruin the new paleo version of yourself. You have some questions:

• What are the best paleo choices for alcohol?
• How can you minimize the toxic affects of alcohol?
• What is the best way to keep the fat off while enjoying a couple drinks?
• Is alcohol even paleo?

Those cave people must have got down somehow, right? They must have let their hair down every once in a while, right?

Is It Paleo?

Having a few drinks here and there has become much more of a social experience and the chance to bond with friends and family members than just an excuse to down a few, and walk around crooked for a few hours.

It’s become a way for us to relax, catch up on personal relationships, and enjoy the company of others. I for one enjoy a drink with my buddies every now and again, and have often wondered how this fits into my paleo lifestyle.

Is alcohol paleo?

Long story short? Not really.

One of the main tenets of the paleo diet is removing processed foods and toxins from your diet. Alcohol happens to be both a processed food and a toxin.

Now, when I say ‘alcohol’, I am talking about the three main types of alcohol: beer, wine, and spirits.

Beer: Beer is mostly made from wheat, barley, and hops. That’s a  dead give away that this type of alcohol probably isn’t paleo-friendly.

Wine: Wine is often considered to be the closet thing we’ve got to paleo-friendly alcohol. There are various organic options – red wine in particular. Because of antioxidants such as resveratrol, which can help prevent damage to blood vessels, lower “bad” cholesterol, and prevent blood clots, when consumed in moderation, red wine is often considered to be a healthy alcoholic option in the paleo community.

On the other hand, white wine removes the skin from grapes and tannins, which gives it its lighter color but which also removes the resveratrol.

Both beer and wine go through the process of fermenting sugar and starches most often found in fruits, various plants, coconuts, sometimes rice, and, in the case of beer, wheat and barley.

Spirits: Spirits also go through the process of the fermentation of grains, but they also undergo a second process known as distillation. The gluten found in alcohol beverages is a major concern for those that follow the paleo diet, but distillation removes most of this gluten. That said, it doesn’t remove all of this gluten, as shown by the study below.

The process of distillation is also responsible for the higher alcohol content of spirits. As we all know, alcohol unleashes a psychological response in our bodies which lowers our inhibitions. Having lowered inhibitions makes it much easier for us to make poor food choices. So, although you might be able to justify what you’re drinking as paleo-friendly, those tortilla chips and salsa? Not so much.

Hard Cider: Hard cider is a fermented (awesome!) alcoholic beverage typically made from apples or pears. Has been increasing in popularity over the last few years due to increased awareness of the problems gluten can cause. As the promotion of gluten-free products and the popularity of the Paleo Diet grows cider as become a popular alternative to beers.

Most ciders on the market are naturally gluten free but you’ll want to double-check the label. Also look for preservatives like potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate, both of which have been shown negatively effect immunity. These will easy to see because unlike beer Cider is governed by the FDA which requires it to list ingredients

So is cider Paleo? Yup, just be on the lookout for added sugars. When choosing a hard cider look for dry cider as these usually have lower sugar counts. Also remember that it might be Paleo but it still contains calories, so if fat loss is a goal keep it to a drink, ok? If you want to keep an eye on the sugars, check out these great options below:

Low Sugar Ciders:

  • Crispin Cider
  • Strongbow
  • ACE Cider
  • Colorado Cider

Higher Sugar Ciders:

  • Angry Orchards
  • Wyders
  • Woodchuck

Cider is a great paleo-friendly alcohol option (just watch the sugar). You can see our full post dedicated to paleo cider here.

To drink or not to drink? That is the question.

Studies have demonstrated the health benefits of red wine when it is consumed in moderation. Aside from that, and the positive social interactions that can come with having a drink (although you could just have water instead), it’s pretty tough for me to justify how consuming any alcoholic drink can be good for anyone.

• Alcohol is toxic to the liver.
• It’s an addictive drug.
• Too much alcohol in your system makes detoxification a high priority. This causes your liver to prioritize detoxification over the uptake of nutrients.
• It is hard to burn fat while detoxifying from alcohol consumption.
• The liver cannot metabolize alcohol into sugar, which can cause a dip in blood sugar and a rise in blood fats.
• As some toxins are not processed, they are stored as fat.
• Alcohol is dehydrating, which means that it can affect electrolyte balance.

The truth is that the decision to have a drink or not is entirely up to you. But, before deciding whether or not to have one, think about why you are having one.

Are you having a drink or two because you had a rough day at the office, your relationship just ended, you’re pissed at a buddy, your kids are giving you a headache, or because everyone else is drinking?

These reasons, to me, are just not good enough to justify having an adult beverage.

But, if it’s a special anniversary, or you’re celebrating your daughter’s graduation from college, your best friend’s birthday, or some other very special event, that drink might be more justified.

However, at the end of the day, you’re a grown up, and the choice is yours.

What if you know you’re having a drink?

If you plan on heading out, and grabbing a drink, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the chances of a hangover, to inhibit body fat accumulation, and to keep your blood sugar stable.

Keep blood sugar stable by using more paleo-friendly spirits like tequila with soda water, ice, and lemon or lime. Avoid high sugar juices, tonic waters, and mixers.

Try this UPG NorCal Margarita recipe.

To minimize your chances of developing a hangover, use less toxic alcohols like vodka (made from potato), gin, and tequila, while avoiding beer, wine, and colored spirits like rum.

Take 500 mg of vitamin C and 600 mg of Nac-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) to help lower liver aldehyde, a toxin that your liver creates from alcohol.

Use vitamin B1 or alpha lipoic acid before each drink, and add 4 capsules of activated charcoal after you drink, because these will bind with the byproducts of the alcohol, reducing their effects on your body.

Thanks to Dave Asprey for these tips.

To minimize any chances of extra fat accumulation, spend the day eating only lean proteins and veggies. As mentioned earlier, your body will be spending an awful lot of time trying to detoxify and metabolize the alcohol in your system, and may not have the time or the energy to process the calories from fats and carbohydrates. Those carbs and fats that are not metabolized get stored in the form of fat. Protein is safe to eat in this case because, for the most part, your body does not store it in the same way.

To sum up

The decision as to whether or not to have an alcoholic drink is entirely up to you. But really ask yourself what the reasons behind that drink are.

If you’re going to drink, stick with 100% agave tequila, 100% organic red and white wine from local sources, and Ciroc vodka, which is made from grapes and not grains.

Avoid colored spirits as they usually contain caramel coloring and fermented grains.

Steer clear of beers – even the gluten-free sorghum versions. Instead, opt for ciders like Angry Orchards.

Health and wellness shouldn’t take over your life; they should compliment it. If having a drink here and there is something you find beneficial,  that’s your call. But if you are going to have a drink, try to stick to more paleo-friendly options, and, of course, stay safe.

UPG alcohol infographic


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How to Make Paleo Mustard and Ketchup

Summertime is coming to an end, so now’s the time to sneak in one last BBQ before it gets too cold. And no backyard BBQ is complete without a burger. How are you suppose to eat your paleo-friendly bunless burgers if you don’t have some condiments to go with them? Here are some simple paleo-friendly mustard and ketchup recipes.

Paleo mustard

Paleo Mustard
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  1. 1/2 cup mustard powder
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. Sea or Himalayan salt to taste (add slowly)
  1. Combine the mustard powder and water in a bowl and mix well (a little bit of lemon or lime zest goes a long way with this as well).
  2. Let the mustard settle for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add your mustard to your burger, or store it in an old mustard or glass container that can be tightly sealed.
Ultimate Paleo Guide

Paleo Ketchup

Paleo Ketchup
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  1. 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
  2. 1 cup of vegetable broth
  3. ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  5. 1 tablespoon of garlic powder (I like a little bit more)
  6. ¼ teaspoon allspice or combine cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  7. Sea or Himalayan salt to taste (add slowly)
  1. Grab a saucepan, and place it over medium heat.
  2. Add tomato paste, vegetable broth, and apple cider vinegar (acv). Mix until blended well.
  3. Add spices and salt slowly.
  4. Let the mixture simmer on a low heat for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Allow the sauce to cool completely.
  6. Serve or place the mixture into an old ketchup container or glass that can be tightly sealed.
Ultimate Paleo Guide
Photo credit: Valters Krontal

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Paleo and Fiber

A few questions that come up frequently when someone is looking to transition to a paleo lifestyle are related to fiber:

  • How will I get enough fiber if there are no grains allowed?
  • Don’t “whole grains” and fiber help fight cholesterol?
  • Don’t I need a certain amount of fiber in order to stay regular?
  • What are the best sources of fiber if I’m going paleo?
  • Fiber helps keep me full and is good for weight loss, right?

A lot of the information you’ll read about fiber is not far off base – fiber does help with satiety, constipation, and regular bowl movements, cholesterol, and a whole host of other ailments. In this article, we’ll answer some of the questions above.

What is fiber?

You can break fiber down into three main sources: soluble, insoluble, and resistant starches. No single source is better than any other, and all are valuable in their own way when it comes to having a well-rounded nutrition plan. Most food that contains fiber contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Fiber is an indigestible type of carbohydrate often found in the cell walls of plants, making it readily available in many fruits and vegetables. You’ve probably read or been influenced by many “health expertswill know that the benefits of fiber rich whole grains do not outweigh the damage and disruption they can do to the lining of your gut. Below you’ll find some recommendations as to how you can get your fiber in, protect your gut, and still stay paleo.

Soluble fiber: This dissolves easily in fluids, is known to lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL), and helps to regulate blood sugar. Soluble fiber also slows down stomach emptying, which can help to keep you feeling full longer. This type of fiber may also help your body to absorb certain vitamins and minerals. That said, it can also keep other important vitamins and minerals from being absorbed (more on this later).

  • Traditional sources of soluble fiber: Oatmeal, lentils, psyillium, beans, and oat bran
  • Paleo friendly sources of soluble fiber: Strawberries, nuts, seeds, cucumbers, celery, carrots, blueberries, apples with the skin on, sweet potatoes, yams, and other root vegetables

Insoluble fiber: This does not dissolve easily in liquids, and has a laxative-like effect because it adds bulk to stool.

  • Traditional sources of insoluble fiber: Wheat and wheat based products, legumes, corn bran, and veggies like green beans
  • Paleo friendly sources of insoluble fiber: Cabbage, beets, carrots, and Brussels sprouts

Resistant starches: These starches are not digested in the small intestine, and are found in potatoes, pasta, unripe bananas, and various legumes like navy beans. They can also come in the form of non-digestible carbohydrate sources typically extracted from plants or animals, and then manufactured: psyillium husks, fructooligosaccharides, and polydextrose for example.

Fiber, your gut, and digestion issues

Fiber plays a very important role in proper digestion. It can help to feed the healthy bacteria that your gut needs in order to run optimally. Because over 70% of the body’s immune system is found in your gut, proper care is needed in order to become or remain a healthy individual.

If you’re suffering from any of the following:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Burping
  • Reflux
  • Fatigue after eating
  • Constant hunger
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Neck, or upper or lower back pain

The Standard American Diet, which is high in industrial seed oils like corn, cottonseed, and safflower, Omega-6 fatty acids, and inflammatory foods like wheat products containing gluten, coupled with modern medicines and antibiotics, has nearly destroyed our guts. Add on stress, hormonal imbalances, pregnancy, and thyroid complications due to the modern lifestyle, and you have yourself a recipe for poor gut flora and broken digestive systems.

One way you can begin to fix your gut health and digestive system is by eliminating toxic foods:

  • Cereal grains (especially refined flour)
  • Omega-6 industrial seed oils (corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, etc.)
  • Sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup)
  • Processed soy (soy milk, soy protein, soy flour, etc.)

Many of us have various food sensitivities, with some of the more common culprits being dairy and gluten. Removing some of these items, and including fermentable foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir might just do the trick in restoring some healthy gut bacteria.

You can also help to improve your health by including the right kinds and amounts of fiber.  The Institute of Medicine recommends around 38 grams of fiber for men, and 25 grams for women on average per day. Although it is not entirely necessary to hit these numbers, a paleo approach to eating will get you pretty darn close if it doesn’t exceed them.

A 1,000 calorie serving of fruits and vegetables will provide you with roughly two to seven times the amount of fiber than whole grains would. Plus, most of this fiber is from soluble sources which are more beneficial in that they feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Soluble fiber ferments in the gut, and turns into short chain fatty acids that, in turn, help to grow, and feed healthy bacteria.

By including more green leafy veggies, root vegetables, and tubers like sweet potato and carrots, as well as low sugar fruits like berries, you can not only add more fiber to your diet, and improve gut health, but improve vitamin and mineral uptake and absorption. Because of phytates and gluten found in foods like beans and various wheat-based products, many vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc can go unabsorbed.

The vegetables and occasional fruits on a paleo diet supply more than enough fiber to your body. Actually, ¾ cups of cooked broccoli would supply you with seven grams of fiber and only 30 calories, while it would take two slices of “whole grain” that equal 120 calories to supply the same amount of fiber.

Constipation and regular elimination
If staying regular with your bowels is a major concern, I suggest first taking a look at your water consumption. Dehydration or a lack of water is usually to blame for a poor digestive system. It is also very possible that the grains, dairy, and legumes you were used to eating caused leaky gut. The best way to combat this is by removing the foods most harmful to the digestive tract like industrial seed oils, grains, dairy, and legumes, and by allowing the good bacteria and intestinal flora to reset themselves, and repair the gut lining.

75% of stool is dry weight or dead bacteria, which means that fiber is not needed for bulk and elimination. It can definitely assist, but is not a requirement.  As long as your body maintains healthy gut flora, and you stay away from food that body does not tolerate well, and high fructose foods like soda, honey, agave, breakfast cereals and bars, and processed snacks, you should be able to avoid constipation, gas, and bloating.

Fiber supplementation
Many so-called health experts recommend taking supplementary fiber products to assist with weight loss, the lowering of cholesterol, and constipation. The problem with this is that your body, or, more specifically, your colon, can become addicted to these products, and require more and more of them.

If you are following a lower carbohydrate diet, and are struggling with the regularity of your bowel movements and cholesterol, first try slowly increasing your water intake by about eight ounces per day. Then think about adding in more starchy and fermentable foods like sweet potatoes and carrots. Finally, if those things do not help, or if you have blood sugar issues, and can not include starchy carbohydrates, think about adding in a soluble fiber supplement like Organic Acacia Fiber, or a prebiotic like Klaire Labs Biotagen. In both cases, begin supplementation with a very low dose, and gradually increase weekly or bi-weekly.

Fiber and cholesterol
This might be the one thing that frustrates me more than anything else in the world of nutrition. I would like to kick the people who started this rumor in their junk. I just want to touch on a couple things here.

  • Cholesterol is not bad. Your body actual needs it in order to operate efficiently. Cholesterol is used to make cell membranes, which are used to help every single cell in your body move, and interact with the other cells.
  • The cholesterol you eat has almost nothing to do with the cholesterol in your blood. You ingest cholesterol, and create your own cholesterol every day. Roughly 25% of your daily cholesterol is from the food that you eat, and the other 75% is actually made by your body. Most of the cholesterol you eat and produce every day resides in your cell membranes. It is actually serving a purpose.
  • Cholesterol in your blood doesn’t mean cholesterol in your arteries. When you get your cholesterol checked, what is measured is the amount of cholesterol in the blood. The truth is that there is no way of knowing if that cholesterol is going to end up in your arteries or not.
  • Most of the cholesterol you eat is pooped out. There is no other way to put it really. Most cholesterol you eat is not absorbed – it leaves the body in your stool.

Actual causes of heart disease are rooted in inflammation. This is due mostly to the overconsumption of Omega-6 fats from grains, vegetable oils, and grain-fed animals. One way you can help to combat this is by eliminating these foods from your diet, and including more healthy Omega-3 fats from wild-caught salmon, supplementing with fish oil, and eating more grass-fed beef and lamb.

Instead of counting up fiber grams, mixing up high fiber supplement shakes, taking in absurd amounts of grains or legumes, or searching for fake foods with added fiber, instead get back to eating real food. Emphasize green leafy vegetables, lower sugar fruits like berries, and fermentable starchy carbs like sweet potatoes and carrots, increase that water intake, get regular exercise, and, for Pete’s sake, get your rest, and practice proper stress-relieving techniques like meditation. Not only will that keep you regular – it’ll keep you healthy, happy, and fit as well.

Bonus: If you’re looking to get your digestive system on track, try our 7 Day Meal Plan.

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How To Make A Green Smoothie

This is a contribution from Vic Magary of  Be sure to get his Top 5 Green Smoothie Recipes by clicking here.

greensmoothie1 As a paleo diet fan, you likely eat more vegetables than most people.  Broccoli and asparagus are probably in your regular meal rotation.  And the leafy greens of spinach and kale also show up on your dinner table from time to time.  But what about other leafy greens such as chard, collards, turnips, or even carrot greens?

Many of us duck away from eating a wide variety of greens for one simple reason – they taste bitter as hell.  We know they pack a serious vitamin and mineral punch, but getting past the bitter taste can be a challenge.  And that’s where the green smoothie comes to the rescue.  Not only can green smoothies make getting those greens palatable, but they can also be a source of healthy fats and even protein.  So, get ready to fire up that high-speed blender as I take you through the steps of how to make a green smoothie.

Step 1: Get Your Greens.

You can’t have a “green” smoothie without greens.  As I mentioned above, use the green smoothie as an opportunity to get some variety with your greens choices.  Here is a list of greens that you may want to try:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Rapini
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Turnip Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Carrot Greens
  • Arugula
  • Romaine
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Parsley

The cilantro, mint, and parsley are best used as additions to the other greens such as kale, spinach, or chard.  Same thing for the arugula and romaine lettuces.  I often use a combination of at least two greens when I make a green smoothie.

Step 2: Find Your Fruit.

Fruit is the “spoonful of sugar” that helps the medicine of the greens go down.  And make no mistake, fruit is high in sugar (fructose).  And, for that reason, we want to use only enough to make the green smoothie taste good, but not too good.  When you first start drinking green smoothies, you might start out using more fruit.  But over time, you’ll want to gradually reduce the amount of fruit, and increase the amount of healthy greens.  Here are some fruits that go great in green smoothies:

  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Mango
  • Pomegranate
  • Kiwi
  • Apple
  • Peach
  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Blueberry
  • Strawberry
  • Raspberry
  • Blackberry

The kind of fruit you use is limited only by your imagination.  Have fun experimenting with different fruit-and-greens combinations, but go light on the sweeter fruits such as pineapple, banana, and mango, and lean more towards grapefruit and berries.

Step 3:  Bring On The Fat.

As a paleo fan, I know you have no misguided fears about eating healthy sources of fat.  And two of the favorite fat sources go great in green smoothies:  avocado and coconut oil.

Adding half an avocado to a green smoothie will give it an awesome creamy texture.  And a tablespoon of coconut oil will add a subtle tropical flavor which is not nearly as pronounced as you might imagine when combined with the other ingredients. I’ll often include both avocado and coconut oil in my green smoothies.

Nuts can also add some healthy fat to your green smoothies.  A small handful of almonds or walnuts blends up fine as long as you keep the quantity “small”.  And if you blur the lines of paleo and consume some dairy, full fat Greek yogurt will provide a smooth texture and some healthy bacteria.

Step 4:  Protein Power.

As you can imagine, we’re not going to blend up a ribeye steak into our green smoothie.  But another protein powerhouse goes great with the green smoothie: raw eggs.  If you have concerns with eating raw eggs, simply leave them out of your smoothie.  Personally, I often drop two raw eggs into the blender with the other ingredients, and have never had any issues.

Putting it all together…

Looking for an example of a green smoothie recipe?  Check out the video below and the ingredient list that follows:


  • Large bunch of kale
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 orange
  • 2 raw eggs
  • Ice and water to blend to desired consistency

Other Green Smoothie Tips

So, now that we have the basic steps for making a green smoothie, here are a few other tips to keep in mind:

Use a high-speed professional grade blender.  Yes, they are quite pricey.  But if you are serious about green smoothies, you really only have two blender choices: Vitamix or Blentec.  You can try searching Craigslist or Ebay for a deal on a used model, but they are pretty tough to find.  Once people invest in a quality blender, they usually hang on to them.

Freeze your ingredients.  When I buy a bunch of kale or collards, I’ll wash them, and then place them in freezer bags.  Keeping the greens in the freezer helps them last longer, and gives your smoothie a nice texture.  Buying frozen fruit is another good way to make sure you always have green smoothie ingredients on hand.

Get creative!  Green smoothies provide a great opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables.  Whether it’s rainbow chard or papaya, experimenting with new ingredients keeps your green smoothies interesting.

When you’re ready to increase your leafy greens intake but don’t want to deal with the bitter taste, blend up a delicious green smoothie.  And remember to compliment those greens with a little bit of fruit, some healthy fats, and maybe even an egg or two.  Now go drink your greens!

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Paleo Pork Ribs & BBQ Sauce

It’s summer—that means it time to get outside and eat some barbecue, because there’s nothing quite like some BBQ ribs to set the tone for a good time. Here’s a quick recipe for some delicious paleo BBQ ribs and sauce. Check it out!

Paleo BBQ Pork Paleo BBQ Sauce

Paleo BBQ Sauce
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  1. 8 oz tomato sauce
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  4. 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
  5. 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  6. 1/2 tbsp ground mustard
  7. 1 tsp smoked paprika
  8. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  9. 1 jalepeño (remove ribs and seeds)
  1. Add the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and jalepeño to a blender. Puree.
  2. Add tomato sauce, water, black pepper, onion powder, mustard and paprika to a sauce pan and mix well.
  3. Add jalepeño puree mix to the other ingredients in the sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer for 1 hour.
  1. For a thicker sauce, consider substituting tomato paste for the tomato sauce. This sauce has a nice spicy flavor and can be used on LOTS of other stuff. I think it would be a perfect sauce for baked hand-cut sweet potato fries! YUM!
  2. Please note that the smoked paprika is a very important ingredient in this recipe. Substituting regular paprika will not yield the same results or hearty, smoky flavor.
  3. Serve with extra napkins and enjoy!
Adapted from Paleo Cupboard
Adapted from Paleo Cupboard
Ultimate Paleo Guide
Oven-Baked Paleo Pork Ribs

Oven-Baked Paleo Pork Ribs
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  1. 4 lbs pork ribs
  2. 1 tbsp sea salt
  3. 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  4. 1 tbsp garlic powder
  5. 1 tbsp onion powder
  6. 1 tbsp chili powder
  7. 2 tsp ground black pepper
  8. 1 tsp cumin
  1. Mix all dry seasonings in a small ramekin. Stir until fully combined.
  2. Lay out a large sheet of aluminum foil and place pork ribs in the center. Make sure you have enough foil to fully wrap the ribs with little to no leaks. (But don’t wrap them yet!)
  3. Rub the seasonings all over the ribs.
  4. Wrap the ribs up in tin foil and let marinate for 3+ hours. Ribs can be marinated overnight if desired.
  5. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  6. Place ribs on the center rack and bake for 1 hour, turning ribs every 30 minutes or so.
  7. Turn up oven temp to 375 degrees F and bake for additional 1 hour and 45 minutes. Be sure to turn ribs every 30 minutes or so.
  8. Unwrap ribs from tin foil and bake another 10 minutes so that ribs get brown.
  1. Please note that the smoked paprika is a very important ingredient in this recipe. Substituting regular paprika will not yield the same results or hearty, smoky flavor.
  2. Serve with extra napkins and enjoy!
Adapted from Paleo Cupboard
Adapted from Paleo Cupboard
Ultimate Paleo Guide
Baked Pork Ribs inspired and modified from this post here: 

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Paleo Poppers

Want to make a fun little snack? Try these paleo poppers—they’ll have your mouth watering . Stacked with bacon and jalepenos, these are sure to be a crowd favorite.

Paleo Poppers

Paleo Poppers
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  1. 6 jalepeños
  2. 6 strips of bacon
  3. 1 cup guacamole
  4. 1 tsp coconut oil
  5. (12 wooden toothpicks)
  6. (Cookie sheet)
  1. Remove stems from jalepeños and cut them in half from top to bottom. Remove seeds and ribs.
  2. Fill each half with guacamole.
  3. Cut bacon strips in half and wrap each half around the guacamole-stuffed pepper. Secure bacon using the wooden toothpicks.
  4. Using coconut oil, lightly grease the cookie sheet.
  5. Place poppers on the cookie sheet and grill for 20-30 minutes or until bacon is browned.
  1. Serve as a finger food appetizer or alongside grilled meat as a vegetable side.
Ultimate Paleo Guide
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Paleo Ketchup

Condiments can seem simple, but tons of store-bought condiments contain HFCS or high-fructose corn syrup . The simple paleo solution? Make your own! Here’s how you can go about making some delicious paleo ketchup with the ingredients in your kitchen.

Paleo Ketchup

Paleo Ketchup
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  1. 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  2. 2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
  3. 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  4. 1/3 cup water
  5. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1 pinch ground cloves
  8. 1 pinch ground allspice
  9. 1/4 julienned fresh jalepeño
  10. 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Blend jalepeño, water and vinegar in a blender until liquefied.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
  3. Slowly fold in the liquefied jalepeño.
  4. Refrigerate overnight to let the flavors develop and enjoy!
Ultimate Paleo Guide
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The Ultimate Guide to Paleo Hard Cider – BiteSize Edition

This is a guest post by Jenna Forstrom.

What is Hard Cider?

Let’s go through the basics.  Hard cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit juice (traditionally apple juice, but  other fruits are used as well).  Hard cider shouldn’t be confused with “cider”, which is non-alcoholic.  When sugar or extra fruit has been added and there is a longer secondary fermentation processes to increase alcoholic strength, hard cider becomes “apple wine.”  “Ice cider” is made if the apples are frozen before or after they are harvested, and this has a higher alcohol concentration.  Hard cider made with pear juice is called “perry.”

There are two types of hard cider: sweet and dry.

Sweet:  Imagine an alcoholic version of the Martnelli’s you used drink as a child.

Dry:  Think crisp and easy to drink, without no sugar rush afterwards.

Hard cider can be cloudy or clear depending on the filtering and the fermentation processed used.  The process of turning apples into hard cider is pretty easy.  Apples are collected from orchards, ground up into “pomace”, and pressed until the “must” (juice) is squeezed out.  The juice is then fermented at a low temperature (40-60F) to protect the delicate aromas.  During fermentation, yeast consumes the sugars in the juice, creating alcohol, and carbon dioxide is produced as a byproduct and keeps the hard cider bubbly.  At the bottom of this post is a step-by-step guide to making your own hard cider.

How is it Paleo?

Tequila, wine and mead are all paleo friendly.  But so is hard cider.  Quite simple to the “core” (get it?!), hard cider is apple juice, yeast and sugar (honey or brown sugar).  Definitely paleo.  The problem is that commercially made hard cider goes through a pasteurization processes and is made using additional sugars and preservatives.

Here is what to look out for:

  • Drink hard ciders that are “cold pasteurized” using UV light rather than heat.  Heat messes with the flavor of the cider.
  • Avoid preservatives like “potassium sorbate” or “sodium benzoate”.  This extends the shelf life of the cider.
  • Check the amount of added sugar.  Dryer hard ciders have less sugar added.
  • Look for organic hard ciders.

Or just make your own hard cider.  See recipe below.

Home Made Hard Cider:

Home made hard cider is really (and I mean) really easy to make.  You’ll impress your friends and have complete control of what you are putting into your body.  Here’s the basic recipe for five gallons of hard cider, in five easy steps!

Beginners note: If you are just getting into making your own hard cider, consider one of two options.  One: see if you can borrow the equipment of a friend who already makes wine, home brew or hard cider.  The initial investment for home brewing is pretty high.  This is a good way to find out if you really like home brewing before spending a load of money.  Think of it in the same way as you think about renting the gear for a new sport rather than buying your own before you’ve even tried it.  Two: start by making one-gallon batches first. This way, the initial investment in equipment is less and you can perfect your recipes and run different taste tests.

Home Made Paleo Hard Cider
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  1. 5 gallons of apple juice (ideally organic and locally sourced). You can get this at farmers markets or grocery stores.
  2. 1 packet of champagne yeast. You can find this at any home brew shop.
  1. Sanitize your carboy. - Use home brew sanitizer which is food safe , which you can pick up from any home brew shop. A carboy is the vessel in which your apple juice turns to hard cider. I use a glass carboy so tastes can’t transfer. They are a bigger pain to clean out but I think they’re worth the investment.
  2. Pour in your five gallons of apple juice. - Invest in a funnel. Trust me – I make all my hard cider in my bathtub for easy clean up.
  3. Pitch your yeast. - This is the brewer’s term for pouring a packet of yeast into a carboy filled with liquid.
  4. Add your airlock. - An airlock is a little dohicky on top of the carboy, which allows carbon monoxide (pressure) to leave the carboy, but which also acts as a barrier so that outside contaminants don’t get into your hard cider.
  5. Relax. - Store your carboy in a cool, dark place, like a basement, laundry room or guest room.
  6. Keep an eye on your carboy and it should be ready to keg or bottle in about a month.
Ultimate Paleo Guide

Hard Cider Six Pack:

Don’t want to make your own hard cider?  In a dream world, this would be my ideal six-pack of hard cider.  Need a gift idea for back yard BBQs and other summer outings?  Get a six-pack of each, and mix and match for the perfect summer celebration.  For the record, most of these hard ciders should be available at your local beer and wine shop.

1.  The Bad Apple, from 2 Towns Ciderhouse in my home state, Oregon.  This handcrafted cider is made with all northwestern ingredients.  The Bad Apple is a rich and bold cider with notes of fruit and vanilla.  This complex cider is aged on brandy-cured Oregon White Oak.

2. Ginger, from Angry Orchard.  Featuring a unique blend of ginger and apple flavors, this smooth and refreshing cider offers a sweet, yet slightly tart taste that goes down easily.

3.  Bare Naked, from Crispin.  Stripped down, unencumbered hard cider naturally fermented using “Forbidden Fruit” wit yeast.  No added sultes, colors, sugars, sorbates or benzoates.

4.  Pear, from Woodchuck out of Vermont. “To understand what Woodchuck Pear tastes like, take a deep breath, close your eyes and imagine yourself floating down a cool crisp mountain stream in the middle of July.  Ok, got it? Now put an entire pear in your mouth.”

5.  Honey Cider, from Harpoon, out of my favorite city, Boston.  Take the normal Harpoon Cider and add natural honey to it. Yum.

6. Organic Cider, by Samuel Smith.  They make this cider out of a small independent British brewery – the oldest brewery in Yorkshire actually.

When Jenna isn’t making hard cider, you can usually find her hanging out with her 70-pound pit bull pup, Bulleit, in her hometown of Portland, Oregon.  She writes about home brewing, beer recipes and breweries at BiteSize Brews. And if it is a Thursday night, you can find Bulleit and Jenna volunteering under the Burnside Bridge with Portland’s homeless community.  Jenna is currently fundraising $27,000 for her 27th birthday to help build a mobile medical clinic for her friends under the Bridge.  You can read more about her experiences with homeless culture at Beyond the Bridge PDX.

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Chocolate Paleo Chili

chocolate paleo chili

Looking for a quick and easy meal? Paleo chili is a snap. Today we’ve got a special twist on a paleo classic. Check out this chocolate paleo chili recipe & let us know what you think!

Chocolate Paleo Chili
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  1. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  2. 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  3. Garlic – the recipe calls for 4 tsp but I used 4 tablespoons! Love garlic!
  4. 2 lbs ground beef
  5. 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  6. 2 tbsp chili powder
  7. Cumin – the recipe calls for 2 tbsp ground cumin but I hate the stuff and only used about 1/2 tsp
  8. 1.5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  9. 1 tsp ground allspice
  10. 1 tsp sea salt
  11. 6 oz tomato paste
  12. 14.5 oz fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes
  13. 14.5 oz beef broth
  14. 1 cup water
  1. Add coconut oil to the pan. Stir in onion and garlic. Heat until onion becomes transparent.
  2. Add crumbled beef to the pan and begin to brown. If using high fat ground beef you may want to strain the fat off the top before moving on to the next step. Although there is nothing wrong with fat, I find that less fat floating on top improves the presentation of the dish.
  3. Add and mix dry seasonings in a ramekin with a fork. Make sure that they are well combined. The dried oregano can be crushed between your palms to help release its flavor.
  4. Add seasonings to beef mixture and combine well.
  5. Add tomato paste to beef mixture and combine well.
  6. Add the tomatoes with their juice, beef broth, and water to the mixture. Combine well. Bring to a boil and let it simmer gently for 2 hours — stirring frequently. The original recipe says that you shouldn’t skimp on the simmer although I simmered mine for 1 hour and received tasty results. Point is, you can play around with it.
Adapted from The Clothes Make The Girl
Ultimate Paleo Guide
Modified and inspired by this recipe here:  

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