Monday, 22 June 2015

Five reasons why a paleo diet doesn't include grains and legumes

One of the main tenets of the paleo diet is the exclusion of grains, beans and legumes. This can seem to be a bit drastic to some people and is contrary to nutritional advice given in the UK and the US.
So, why does the paleo approach go against the official government advice and exclude these particular foods? Here are five very good reasons why:

1  Grains and legumes are high in lectins (gluten is probably the best known lectin) which over time can damage the lining of the gut leading to increased permeability (leaky gut) where incompletely indigested food and other substances are able to cross over into the bloodstream. There is a strong link between leaky gut and autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease, coeliac disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis and if you have any autoimmune disease the first step should be to avoid all grains and legumes.

2  Grains and legumes are high in phytic acid which binds to minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and zinc making these minerals unavailable to be used by the body. These are important minerals that are increasingly deficient in our population. 

3  Grain based foods contain digestive enzyme inhibitors that can block the breakdown of food into smaller particles before it can be used effectively by the body. This can cause nutritional deficiency, damage the gut barrier and lead to an imbalance in gut flora.

4  Grain based foods are less nutritionally dense than meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and good fats. Gram for gram animal based protein foods and most vegetables will provide many more valuable nutritents to keep your immune system strong and your body healthy.

5  95% of seratonin production is carried out in the gut. Seratonin is a neurotransmitter vital in preventing depression and anxiety; therefore a healthy digestive system is important in keeping the mind healthy.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Easy Peasy Sauerkraut

I resisted making sauerkraut for a long time as I thought it looked a bit time consuming and complicated. In the end I decided that the benefits for my gut were worth it and set about finding an easy foolproof way to make it. It took a couple of batches but this is a simple and relatively quick way of making tasty healthy sauerkraut.

You will need:
800g chopped cabbage (keep the large outside leaves)
1 tbsp Himalayan sea salt
1 x 1 litre clip top preserving jar (I used Bormioli Fido)

Put the chopped cabbage into a large bowl and add the salt. Mix together and leave to stand for a few hours or overnight. This will  help the cabbage to release moisture to form the brine in order to allow  the sauerkraut to ferment.

Using your hands squeeze the cabbage for a few minutes to release the moisture. Add the cabbage and the brine to the jar a bit at a time pressing it down with your hands or a mortar as you go.

When you've added all the cabbage to the jar roll up the large outside cabbage leaves and add to the top of the jar, again pushing down as you go. (When you close the lid it should be a tight fit to force the cabbage down into the brine). 

Put the jar in a cupboard or on the worktop to ferment for around 21 days. 

Once opened store in the fridge, it should keep for a few weeks.