Paleo Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Paleo Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

I LOVE chocolate. I just do. No matter how little sugar I eat, I will always want chocolate. It’s my soul-mate, and I’m not afraid to admit it. So when I found an easy way to make paleo chocolate-covered strawberries, I was super pumped.

These are a great dessert to keep in the house for a quick treat, because they’re not overly sweet and not filled with any refined sugars or other yucky stuff. They’re also so easy to make and really pretty, making them a great paleo dessert for a party. Your guests will love them, whether they care about their refined sugar intake or not!

I got the idea for this new paleo dessert recipe just a couple of weeks ago, after buying some gorgeous strawberries at the grocery store. In the northeast, where I live, the summer is prime strawberry season and the strawberries have been looking SO GOOD lately. I often eat strawberries and other fruit when I’m craving a sweet treat, but on this particular day the strawberries just weren’t doing it for me. I needed the real deal- I needed some chocolate! Paleo Chocolate-Covered Stawberries

That’s when it hit me- is there anything better than chocolate and strawberries? Ok, maybe chocolate and peanut butter (or sunflower butter in my case!), but besides that, chocolate and strawberries totally take the cake. I had recently been making an easy chocolate sauce with coconut oil and unsweetened cocoa powder, plus a little pure maple syrup, and knew that it hardened when it was cold. I wasn’t sure whether it would stick to the strawberries, but decided to give it a go. And you know what? It worked like a charm!

And so, paleo chocolate-covered strawberries were born!

There are a lot of ways you could make this recipe your own. Add more or less maple syrup depending on your sugar goals and your level of sweet tooth. Make a little extra chocolate sauce to drizzle over the strawberries to make a fun design. You could even add some cinnamon, ginger or other spice to the chocolate for a unique flavor combination. It’s really up to you!

These paleo chocolate-covered strawberries are the perfect sweet ending to a summer meal that won’t throw your diet overboard or leave you feeling overstuffed and sick. At a party, these are an eye-catching addition to the dessert table that all your guests will love.

Try these out for yourself and enjoy! They last in the fridge for a few days if stored in an air-tight container. I also recommend lining the container with paper towel to soak up any moisture that may come off the strawberries. This will help them stay delicious longer.

Paleo Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 24 strawberries

Paleo Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl ( a narrow, taller bowl works best), mix together the melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract until completely smooth.
  2. Dip each strawberry into the chocolate mixture, turning the strawberry holding the green top and coating completely in chocolate.
  3. Place the strawberries on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Once all of the strawberries are coated in chocolate, place in the fridge to cool for about 1 hour before serving.
  4. Eat and enjoy!
http://thepaleovangelist.com/paleo-chocolate-covered-strawberries/

Paleo Tomato Jam | Easy Paleo Recipe

Easy Paleo Tomato Jam RecipeThis time of year means a few things to me: the unofficial end of summer, the return of pumpkin everything and Sunday football and, in recent years, a garden overflowing with tomatoes. And what is a girl to do with all of those juicy tomatoes? Make easy paleo tomato jam, of course!

We started our own garden last summer, and tomatoes have been a fantastic crop for our little urban garden. All summer we watch as our tomato plants gain more and more green tomatoes, and it’s not until the end of August that they really start turning red. And they have started turning with a vengeance.

I feel like I pick a massive bowl of tomatoes every morning! And while I always enjoy using the tomatoes to make gazpacho and fresh, homemade tomato sauce, this year I wanted to switch it up a bit. Commence, paleo tomato jam!

I’ve had tomato jam on burgers at restaurants and even on cheese plates at fancy, shmancy restaurants, but really had no idea how to make it myself. A quick search of the interwebs helped me discover that most traditional tomato jam recipes are stuffed with sugar, brown sugar and other refined sweeteners. Yuck. That’s not what I want in my jam!

So last night I set my sights on creating a savory tomato jam that would combine all the sweet and savory flavors I love, without all the refined sugars and other junk. And oh man, guys – I think I succeeded. A lot of recipes take a couple tries to really get right. But this easy paleo tomato jam recipe was one of those special, rare recipes that just comes out amazing on the first try.
Easy Paleo Tomato Jam Recipe

This recipe uses about 2 lbs of tomatoes, so it’s a great way to use up a lot of tomatoes from your garden. I used a mix of tomatoes, because I have both cherry tomatoes and plum tomatoes in my garden, but if you’re buying tomatoes at the grocery store you can use any kind of tomatoes you want.

One note about this recipe, it is a bit time consuming. I simmered my paleo tomato jam on very low heat for almost two hours. I think this really developed the flavor and also helped to give it a real jam-like consistency without having to use much sweetener. The good news is, there isn’t much active cooking for this recipe. Just some stirring every once in awhile. So this is a great paleo recipe to make while prepping food for the week, while catching up on Bachelor in Paradise (no? just me?) or while doing some cleaning around the house.

Try out this recipe for yourself, and get ready to fall in love with tomato jam! I highly recommend putting this on burgers, egg sandwiches, gluten free crackers, lettuce wraps with bacon for a BLT-style snack or just about anything else you can think of. Slather this on everything. Literally everything.

Easy Paleo Tomato Jam

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Yield: 1.5 cups

Serving Size: 2 tbsp

Easy Paleo Tomato Jam

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs tomatoes, cored and diced small
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  2. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer the jam, stirring every few minutes, until it significantly reduces and resembles a thick jam, about 1-2 hours.
  3. Once the jam has reached your desired consistency, remove from heat, allow to cool and store in a glass jar or similar container in the fridge for up to a week.
http://thepaleovangelist.com/paleo-tomato-jam-easy-paleo-recipe/

A Guide to Paleo Butter Coffee

A Guide to Paleo Butter Coffee: The Health Benefits of Putting Butter in Coffee
If you’ve never tried the elixir of the gods known as paleo butter coffee (also called bulletproof coffee), then you’re probably wondering if I’ve gone mad right now. Put butter in coffee? Put coconut oil in coffee? I’ll admit, it sounds crazy. And you know what? It is crazy- crazy good, that is!

It took a few months of hearing about the magical health benefits of butter coffee (not to mention it’s magical flavor benefits) before I actually tried it. But once I did, I hated myself a little bit for not trying it sooner. It was the most creamy, delicious coffee drink I’d ever had (I swear, you won’t miss that caramel macchiato). I haven’t turned back.

So what is butter coffee? At its most basic levels, it is simply coffee blended with grass-fed butter. It can be left as simple as that, but it also a great vehicle for other additions: coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup or coconut sugar, cinnamon and other spices, collagen peptides and more. These additions not only up the flavor potential, but the health benefits of butter coffee too.

And I swear, there are true health benefits from putting butter in coffee. Let’s explore them together and remove any doubt from your mind!

A few reasons to try drinking butter coffee:

1. If you don’t like eating breakfast. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It revs up your digestive system for the rest of the day, provides you with much-needed energy, kick-starts your metabolism and provides important calories. If you struggle to eat in the morning, or don’t feel hungry after waking up, you’re missing out on all of these benefits. Drinking a cup of butter coffee in the morning provides plenty of calories, key fat and fat-soluble vitamins and tons of energy to get you through your morning.

2. If you’re trying to lose weight. The common belief that fat makes you fat is simply not true. You can read more about that here in my ode to dietary fat. In fact, fat is a vital part of the human diet, key to brain health. It’s also incredibly satiating and consuming enough fat can actually help control your appetite throughout the day.

Studies have also shown that intermitting fasting (eating all of your daily calories within a short window of time (usually about 8 hours) and fasting the rest of the day) can help with weight loss. Many proponents of intermitten fasting encouraging drinking a cup of butter coffee in the morning, as it provides energy and some calories without sparking your digestive processes the way a morning meal would.

3. If you’re looking to improve your overall health. I can’t state it enough: humans NEED to eat dietary fat. Fat provides energy, is necessary to absorb some key vitamins, builds cells and other key neurological structures and helps control appetite.

How does butter coffee help?

First, let’s talk about the butter. The key here is to use organic, grass-fed butter (raw is even better). I love Kerrygold butter because it’s delicious, affordable and can be found at pretty much any grocery store.

Butter not only provides plenty of dietary fat, it also contains many of those fat-soluble vitamins that fat helps the body absorb. Grass-fed butter offers:

  • Vitamin A to boost thyroid, adrenal and cardiovascular health;
  • Vitamin K2 to support bone density and cardiovascular health;
  • Vitamin D and E to support bone health and improve calcium absorption

Adding coconut oil provides even more fat, and also offers some amazing health benefits. Coconut oil has been found to:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve energy
  • Boost skin health

The well-known Bulletproof Coffee brand and Bulletproof Diet program suggests using MCT oil in coffee. MCT stands for “medium-chain triglycerides,” a form of saturated fatty acid offering many health benefits, from improved brain function to better weight management. Coconut oil includes some MCTs, but concentrated forms of MCT are also now available online. Why does the Bulletproof Diet specify use of an MCT oil? Medium-chain fats are more easily digested and absorbed, so there is less work for your body to do when breaking them down. MCTs are also smaller, making it easier to permeate cell membranes and easier for our bodies to utilize them.

Coffee itself can also offer some good health benefits. While there are mixed views on the impact caffeine has on our health out there, more and more evidence is found to suggest it can be helpful.Try paleo butter coffee by putting butter in coffee, along with coconut oil and other health-boosting ingredients. A series of Harvard Medical School studies found, for example, that coffee can reduce the rates of cardiovascular disease, protect against Type 2 diabetes, reduce the rates of depression in women and perhaps even ward off Parkinson Disease.

When you add other mix-ins to your butter coffee you’re getting even more amazing health benefits.

My #1 recommended addition to paleo butter coffee is without a doubt Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. I love the collagen peptides from Vital Proteins because they’re made from pature-raised, grass-fed beef collagen protein. Peptides, which are bought in powder form, offer natural anti-aging benefits and support skin health and vitality, offer key proteins and amino acids to help joint health and reduce inflammation, and can also improve gut health. Collagen peptides are flavorless and mixed into any cold or hot drink, soup or even oatmeal. When you blend collagen peptides in coffee, it helps make your paleo butter coffee even foamier and richer – not to mention healthier!

So what else can you blend into your paleo butter coffee?

My favorite butter coffee additions:

So now that you know the ingredients you’ll want to make your own paleo butter coffee, how does one actually go about making it? It’s so easy I’m not sure I can even call this a recipe, so instead I’ll call it a step-by-step guide. While there are a variety of ways you can make you own coffee with butter, I really believe a blender is key. Without blending the ingredients together, you’ll end up with coffee that looks like it’s the victim of an oil spill instead of a rich, foamy, latte impersonator.

I use the Ninja Professional Blender system and highly recommend it. It comes with a standard blender cup for making soups and smoothies, but also comes with two individual sized blender cups that are perfect for making butter coffee. The individual size cups even come with their own screw-on drinking lids so you can take them on the go without dirtying a travel mug. Genius!

Once you’ve got your blender ready, just follow the steps below and you’ll be on your way to paleo butter coffee heaven!

How to Make Paleo Butter Coffee

1. Make a cup of coffee (however large you typically drink)
2. Pour the coffee into a blender.
3. Add 1 tbsp. grass-fed butter and another other additions (e.g. 1 tbsp coconut oil or MCT oil, 1/2 tbsp maple syrup, 1/4 cup almond or coconut milk, 1/2 tbsp maple syrup and 2 scoops collagen peptides) to the coffee in the blender.
4. Blend the coffee and mix-ins on high speed for about 10-15 seconds, until well-combined.
5. Stand back a minute to watch the massive amounts of beautiful foam rise to the top of the coffee (yes, this is a required step).
6. Pour your beautiful paleo butter coffee into the mug of your choice, drink and then spend at least 10 minutes wondering if you’d ever truly lived before this moment.

All right, so are you convinced that you should join us crazies putting butter in coffee? If so, make sure you stock up on your favorite organic coffee beans or cold brew coffee, grab some raw, grass-fed butter, ghee and/or coconut oil, and be sure to consider purchasing some Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, too. If you don’t already have a high-quality blender, get one on Amazon (you’ll find the best prices there, plus Amazon Prime members can get free two-day shipping) and get ready to fall in love!

I’ve definitely noticed some major health benefits since I started drinking butter coffee, including improved skin (thanks to those healthy fats and collagen peptides!), improved and sustained energy, better-controlled blood sugar throughout the day and improved digestion (I credit my improved digestion to lots of other healthy practices, too, but definitely think that the fats, proteins and vitamins from butter coffee have helped).

Try it for yourself and then be sure to share your thoughts! Already a butter coffee believer? Make sure to share why YOU love paleo butter coffee in the comment section of this post! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Best Paleo Condiments: Maple Balsamic Onion Jam

Best Paleo Condiments: Maple Balsamic Onion JamThere’s nothing better for a quick summer dinner than grilled burger. No need to turn on the oven, just turn on the grill and you’ve got a simple dinner that won’t make you sweat any more than you already are. Add some of the best paleo condiments, like my Maple Balsamic Onion Jam, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic meal!

There’s only one problem with this burger heaven: the condiments! Finding the best paleo condiments isn’t always easy. And what begins as a nutrient-dense meal packed with protein and some healthy fats, can become a refined sugar- and rancid seed oil-laden nightmare faster than you can say, “pass the ketchup.”

I know, I’m being such a drag. But unfortunately, the paleo burger toppings we all know and love to slather on our (bunless) patties can really hinder our best health. But never fear, while I may spend the next few hundred words tearing apart some BBQ favorites, I’ll be sharing a recipe for a new paleo condiment- that Maple Balsamic Onion Jam I name-dropped earlier- you’re going to want to put on everything.

Best Paleo Condiments: Maple Balsamic Onion Jam

All right, let’s begin with our dear friend, ketchup. A single tablespoon of most grocery store ketchups have four grams of sugar. And who on earth can eat just one tablespoon of ketchup?

Put just two tablespoons of ketchup on your burger and you’re already about two-thirds of the way to 25 grams of sugar, the daily limit for adults recommended by the World Health Organization.

Now let’s talk relish. Sweet relish has about three grams of sugar per one tablespoon serving- in just 20 calories! Much like it’s good buddy ketchup, relish isn’t typically doled out with single tablespoon scoops at backyard picnics. One tablespoon is barely enough to top a single hot dog for goodness sake!

Now on to a personal favorite of mine: mayonnaise. I grew up eating Light Miracle Whip and for years believed myself superior to the hoards of people spreading mayo on their sandwiches and burgers. But then I grew up, opened my mind to new experiences and realized mayo is like heaven on a gluten-free bun.

Unfortunately, the kind of mayo you’re likely stumbling upon at your neighborhood block party is often packed with highly processed, refined seed oils- most commonly, canola oil. Canola oil, produced from the rapeseed plant, was used for years as an industrial oil to make everything from candles and soap to inks and even insecticides. To be used as a cooking oil, the rapeseed plant must be heavily produced.

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit nutrition education foundation, canola oil goes through the process of refining, bleaching and degumming- all of which involve high temperatures or added chemicals.

Because canola oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can easily become rancid when exposed to high temperatures, it must be deodorized- a process that actually removes many of these beneficial omega-3 fatty acids from the finished product. When you use canola oil in your kitchen, high cooking temperatures can break the oil down even more, causing inflammation and other nasty symptoms in your body.

Unfortunately, seed oils are everywhere in store-bought mayo. Even mayonnaise touted as being made with olive oil typically list canola or soybean oil in their ingredients– in bigger quantities than that olive oil they’re charging you an extra dollar for!

Ok, now that I’ve completed rained on your cook-out parade, it’s time to make you feel better about your burger options. I’m sharing with you my absolute favorite condiment for burgers, breakfast sandwiches, cheese and crackers- literally anything!

My Maple-Balsamic Onion Jam uses only a few ingredients: fresh thyme, onions, balsamic vinegar and pure maple syrup. While it does contain sugar, it’s not the refined white stuff and it’s minimal (assuming you can control yourself from eating this with a spoon).

While this recipe does take some time to make in order to properly caramelize the onions, it is WELL worth the effort, I promise. Just make sure you follow the recipe and don’t add any salt to the onions until the end: they won’t get perfectly caramelized if you salt them first!

So make a big batch of this paleo Onion Jam and treat yourself to a burger bar this weekend! And don’t feel too bad if you add a little mayo, too. We need to live a little, right?

Best Paleo Condiments: Maple Balsamic Onion Jam

Yield: 1.5 cups

Best Paleo Condiments: Maple Balsamic Onion Jam

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet onions, sliced very thin
  • 1 tbsp grass-fed butter, ghee or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • ? tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Add the 1 tbsp cooking fat to a pan over medium-low heat. Once the butter or oil is hot, add the thinly sliced onions to the pan and stir to coat in the cooking fat.
  2. Cook the onions over the low heat, stirring every few minutes, until well browned and caramelized, about 30-45 minutes.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, fresh thyme and salt to the onions and stir to mix completely.
  4. Cook the mixture for another 3-5 minutes, or until the balsamic vinegar reduces and the entire mixture begins to become a bit sticky.
  5. Serve the jam warm, or allow to cool in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
http://thepaleovangelist.com/best-paleo-condiments-maple-balsamic-onion-jam/

Strawberry and Avocado Kale Salad

Paleo Strawberry and Avocado Kale Salad is the perfect paleo kale salad and paleo summer recipe for your paleo barbeque, paleo salad recipe or paleo party.There is just something about a kale salad that gets me every time. I don’t know how I became the person who actually craves kale salad, but it’s who I am and I’ve accepted it. I can’t turn my back on my deep desires for fresh kale…ok, my mouth is watering now! Luckily I’m sharing this new recipe for Strawberry and Avocado Kale Salad with y’all today, so we can ALL get our kale fix.

This salad combines some of my favorite foods: kale, strawberries and avocado to make a crisp and refreshing salad. While I’ve always served this salad as a side dish (it was hugely popular at a party I went to a few weeks ago!), you could easily add some protein to this to make it a meal. Chicken would be great, but steak and even shrimp or salmon would work, too.

This paleo kale salad would also be a great dish to bring to a summer BBQ. With Memorial Day coming up in just one week, I know I am gearing up for BBQ season and having a paleo side dish to share is always so helpful. Not only are you offering everyone at the BBQ a healthy side dish, you’ll never have to worry whether there will be something for you to eat. As long as you’ve got one side dish to pair with some grilled meat, you’ll always be good!
Paleo Strawberry and Avocado Salad is a great paleo summer recipe, paleo salad recipe and paleo barbeque recipe.

Bringing a kale salad is unique enough that you won’t have to worry about overlapping with someone else’s side dish offering, and this one is full of summer flavors. Your fellow party guests won’t know what hit ’em, and they’ll be going back for seconds faster than you can say pasta salad.

So find some local strawberries if you can (or just grab some yummy organic berries at your local grocery store), slice up a ripe avocado or two and get ready to jump into a massive bowl of this deliciousness.

Strawberry and Avocado Kale Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 pint strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 2 avocados, pits removed and diced
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (without shells)
  • Maple-Ginger Vinaigrette

Instructions

  1. Chop and wash the kale, "massaging" the leaves by squeezing them in your hands for about 1 minute until the greens are slightly softened.
  2. Add the kale, slice strawberries, diced avocado and sunflower seeds to a large bowl, mixing to combine.
  3. Add the Maple-Ginger Vinaigrette to the bowl and toss to coat the salad evenly, or top individual servings with the dressing.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
http://thepaleovangelist.com/strawberry-and-avocado-kale-salad/

Twice Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes

Paleo Twice Baked Breakfast Sweet PotatoesIt’s a bird! It’s a plane! Wait, no, it’s a super breakfast! Ok, not my best work in that intro. I’m writing this on a Monday, so clearly this lackluster attempt at humor is not my fault. #caseoftheMondays. But don’t worry, today’s recipe – Twice Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes- will totally make your forget the last few sentences ever happened.

These Twice Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes are my new favorite paleo breakfast recipe. They’re easy to make, full of sweet and savory flavors and impressive enough to serve for a Sunday brunch with family and friends.

They’re also great to make ahead and serve for a quick paleo breakfast option throughout the week, either reheated or even served cold. Plus they hold up well enough to pack in a lunchbox for breakfast at the office (I KNOW I can’t be the only one who seems to always be eating breakfast at her desk!).

I recommend cooking up a few sweet potatoes the day before you want to make this for breakfast, otherwise this could take awhile to get on your plate. If you’ve already got some roasted sweet potatoes, though, this is ready in under 30 minutes, with only about 5 minutes of active prep and cooking time. The rest is in the oven, so you can make yourself a fancy coffee and even do a little yoga (read: sit on the couch and think about doing yoga) while your breakfast is baking.

Paleo Twice Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes

One of my favorite things about this recipe is how versatile it is. You could totally switch up the spices and toppings to suit your mood or what you happen to have in your fridge. This would be great with some crumbled breakfast sausage, chorizo or any kind of vegetable. And if you eat dairy, this is obviously the place to throw in some cheese!

Try this recipe out for your next breakfast adventure, and be sure to let me know how you like it in the comments section of this post.

!

Twice-Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 13 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1/2 a potato

Twice-Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cook the four strips of bacon until crispy and set on a paper towel to drain any excess fat. Once the bacon has cooled slightly, chop the bacon into small pieces.
  3. Cut the two roasted sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh from the skin, leaving a thin layer of potato on the skin to help hold its shape. Add the cooked sweet potato to a small bowl.
  4. Add the ghee, milk, onion powder, garlic powder, rosemary, salt, pepper and half of the bacon bits to the potato, mixing the everything together and mashing the potato until smooth.
  5. Add the potato mixture back into each sweet potato half, using a spoon to create a hole in the center of the sweet potato mash about 2-3 inches across.
  6. Crack one egg into the dip of each sweet potato half and sprinkle the rest of the bacon bits on top of each sweet potato.
  7. Place the sweet potatoes in a baking pan or oven-safe skillet and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. The whites of the egg should be firm, and the yolk will be slightly runny.
http://thepaleovangelist.com/twice-baked-breakfast-sweet-potatoes/

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Improve Digestion with a Paleo Diet

10 Tips to Improve Digestion with a Paleo DietBack in September I started having some digestive issues that seemed to appear out of nowhere, with no known cause. It was frustrating, and confusing, especially considering how much my gut health improved when I started eating a paleo diet. As a result. I spent the last few months seeing doctors, nutritional therapists and doing research of my own to learn how to improve digestion with a paleo diet.

My issues started as random side pain and pressure, and eventually progressed into occasional constipation and bloating so severe there were nights I looked pregnant.

These digestive issues were truly confusing, and to be honest, I’m still not completely sure what caused them. My best theory, discovered with the help of a nutritional therapy practitioner and naturopath, is that I was eating a bit too low carb for my body, and that my hormones were a bit out of whack.

But while the cause may still be a bit of a mystery, I’ve been feeling great for the last couple of months, and seem to have turned a corner in my gut health. So today I’m sharing the lessons I learned, and the tools, practices, superfoods and supplements I used to improve digestion with a paleo diet.

10 tips to improve digestion with a paleo diet

Lessons I've Learned Since Starting a Paleo DietDon’t be afraid of carbs. When I first started a paleo diet, I was doing it to lose weight. As a result, I was eating very low carb. I didn’t eat much fruit and sweet potatoes were an occasional indulgence. But once I had lost the weight and reached a weight I wanted to maintain, I didn’t add carbs back in. The fact is, our bodies need carbs, especially if you’re female. The nutritional therapy practitioner that I saw in December had me track my food for a week and, after reviewing my diet, suggested I add in more potatoes, plantains and even white rice. I’ve been eating higher carb for a few months now and thing it’s had a huge improvement on my digestion and energy levels (plus I haven’t gained any weight!).

Lessons I've Learned Since Starting a Paleo DietTake a probiotic. Even if you’re eating well and focusing on getting good carbs, fat and protein, you may still need additional gut health support. Most of us didn’t grow up focusing on gut health, so we’ve got a lot of making up to do! Taking a probiotic can be an important step to improve digestion with a paleo diet, and a huge help when it comes to ensuring our gut flora (that good bacteria in our intestines that keep things running smoothly) are up to snuff. I take a probiotic once a day, and have seen amazing results. This one from Prescript Assist is a great choice!

Lessons I've Learned Since Starting a Paleo DietEat probiotic rich foods. In addition to taking a probiotic supplement, it’s important to work on improving your gut health by eating probiotic rich foods. These include organic, raw sauerkraut, kombucha (fermented tea) and kefir, among others. Click on the links in the prior sentence for some of my favorite brands that I eat and drink on a regular basis. These have been life-savers during my work to improve digestion with a paleo diet.

Lessons I've Learned Since Starting a Paleo DietBalance your hormones. When I was having digestive issues, my naturopath suggested that my issues could be hormonal. My constipation seemed to be cyclical, happening twice a month, for about a week at a time. While I’m still not sure whether this was really the issue, I started taking a supplement to help my body better balance hormones on its own and my digestion has been better in the months since I started taking this daily. I take Vital Nutrients Hormonal Balance, which is made entirely of natural, real food ingredients and B vitamins. If you’re still struggling after focusing on your gut health, this might be something to try!

Lessons I've Learned Since Starting a Paleo DietTry a magnesium supplement. Magnesium is an incredibly important mineral that SO MANY people are not getting enough of, particularly in our highly processed food world. Magnesium is vital for bone health, digestion and other important body functions. And while foods like nuts, seeds, leafy greens and avocado are great sources of magnesium, a food’s magnesium content depends greatly on the soil it’s grown in. America’s factory farming industry has depleted the minerals in much of our soil, so even if you eat those foods you likely aren’t getting as much magnesium as you think. Magnesium draws water into your bowels, making stools softer and easier to pass. It also helps relax your muscles, easing any tension in your intestinal wall. I like to mix this powdered variety into water before bed.

Lessons I've Learned Since Starting a Paleo DietAdd in collagen peptides/gelatin. Collagen peptides and gelatin powder are fantastic additions to any diet to boost skin health, joint health and- BONUS – digestion!  The amino acids found in collagen peptides and gelatin can help improve gut health and help heal issues like leaky gut, which can cause not only digestion distress but inflammation throughout your body. The amino acids in collagen also help increase stomach acid, which is a vital piece of good digestion. I blend two scoops of Vital Proteins collagen peptides into my green smoothies, and also blend it into my coffee (which is amazing and makes it into a foamy latte!).

Lessons I've Learned Since Starting a Paleo DietDrink bone broth. Bone broth is basically a wonder drink. It’s a natural source of collagen and gelatin, which, as mentioned above, are incredibly helpful for healing your intestinal wall and improving issues like leaky gut. Bone broth is also filled with minerals that are key for overall health, and a cup a day definitely keeps the (GI) doc away. To ensure you’re getting as much collagen/gelatin from your broth, I suggest using bones like beef knuckles and chicken feet, which are rich in collagen. Cook the broth for a LONG time, to ensure you get everything out of those bones. I like this recipe for making broth.

Lessons I've Learned Since Starting a Paleo DietStart your day with a gut-healing tonic. I like the word tonic, don’t you? It makes me feel like I’m running an old-fashioned apothecary. Anyway, I digress. I’ve gotten in the habit of drinking the same thing every morning: 8 oz. water, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, a bunch of fresh grated ginger and the juice of half a lemon. I’ve found this really sets me up for a day of good digestion. I drink it about 30 minutes before eating breakfast, and think it helps get my system primed to digest my first meal. You could also add collagen peptides to this cocktail, or even aloe vera juice, which is super healing for the gut.

Lessons I've Learned Since Starting a Paleo DietTry herbal tea. I was never a big tea drinker, but in recent months I’ve really gotten into a few varieties from Traditional Medicinals, especially their Ginger Aid and Peppermint teas, which are made to improve digestion. I tend to drink these in the evening (they’re caffeine free!) if I’m feeling a little bloated or if I stuffed myself a little too much at dinner time. Their other varieties are great too! I drink the Echinacea tea if I ever feel a cold coming on.

Lessons I've Learned Since Starting a Paleo DietMove more. There’s no doubt about it: exercise improves so many systems of our body and is so important for overall health. And this includes digestive health and gut health! This fall, when I was feeling particularly bad digestively, I didn’t work out very much (because I felt like crap!). However, I found that when I started easing back into regular workouts, starting first with some amazing yoga sequences designed to help improve digestion, I felt so much better. Even now, if I workout on a day when I’m feeling bloated, I feel so much better by the end of a workout!

*BONUS TIP* If all else fails, butter coffee. This one is by no means a digestive fix, and I’m not suggesting this actually improves gut health or will help you improve digestion with a paleo diet. However, if you’re struggling with constipation on a paleo diet, sometimes you just need immediate relief. I never recommend taking a laxative if you can avoid it, and butter coffee (coffee blended with grass-fed butter and/or coconut oil and/or ghee) is a great substitute. Laxatives are literally gut irritants –  that’s how they work! Butter coffee, on the other hand, can really loosen things up…if you know what I mean, and without causing damage to your belly. Drink a cup first thing in the morning if you need a little boost, and I think you’ll find yourself heading to the bathroom in no time.

I hope these tips help you as you work to improve digestion with a paleo diet. Digestive issues can happen to the best of us, and can be so frustrating to fix. But with a little effort, and some trial-and-error to find what works best for you, I think you’ll find your digestive system improves significantly on a real food diet.

Instant Pot Orange Balsamic Beef

Paleo Instant Pot Orange Balsamic BeefIf you’re lacking time but don’t want to be lacking flavor, then this simple paleo meal is for you! If you haven’t heard, I’m kind of obsessed with my Instant Pot, and this paleo Instant Pot Orange Balsamic Beef is an easy weeknight meal made possible by this amazing electric pressure cooker.

If you haven’t heard of an Instant Pot before, here’s the rundown: it’s basically an electric pressure cooker, with settings to make everything from stews and whole chickens to rice and even coconut milk yogurt (for reals!).

Personally, I use it to make flavorful, tender meat (like this Paleo Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala) that I can use throughout the week in breakfasts, lunches and paleo dinners. And because the Instant Pot cooks food under pressure, a simple paleo braised beef recipe like I’m sharing today cooks in only 35 minutes.

The Instant Pot significantly cuts down on cooking time for things like this Instant Pot Orange Balsamic Beef and pork butts. In other words: shredded beef and pulled pork on weeknights! YAHOO!

Today’s recipe is a recent creation and new favorite when it comes to using the Instant Pot. This paleo Instant Pot Orange Balsamic Beef is so flavorful and super simple to make. You probably have most of the ingredients already sitting in your pantry and fridge. Find yourself a nice, grass-fed beef roast and you’re good to go!

Paleo Instant Pot Orange Balsamic Beef

This meal is simple enough for a Monday night, but impressive enough to serve to guests. We like to shred the beef and use the leftovers throughout the week to make simple paleo breakfast hash, beef fried rice, paleo tacos and more. It’s great on top of salads, and makes great lettuce wraps, too.

However you slice (er, shred) it, this beef is one my favorites!

Instant Pot Orange Balsamic Beef

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: 1/2 cup shredded beef

Instant Pot Orange Balsamic Beef

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut the beef roast into large chunks, about 3 inches in diameter. Sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides of the beef.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup or bowl, combine all of the other ingredients, from beef broth through the onion powder and whisk until full combined.
  3. Plug in and turn on the Instant Pot and push the "Saute" button. Allow a few minutes for the pot to come up to temperature. Add the beef to the pot in a single layer and sear the meat on all sides, until browned. You may need to do this in a couple batches.
  4. Once the meat is browned, add the sauce to the Instant Pot, put on the cover and lock it in place. Be sure the steam vent is in the sealed position.
  5. Once the Instant Pot cover is locked, simply push the "Meat/Stew" button, which should put 35 minutes on the pot's digital counter. The Instant Pot will come to pressure on its own and cook the beef for 35 minutes.
  6. Once the beef has finished cooking, allow the steam to release naturally, or turn the steam vent to "venting" to release pressure.
  7. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside. The beef can be left in chunks, or shredded, for serving.
  8. To finish the sauce, turn the Instant Pot back to the "Saute" setting and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces by about half and thickens slightly, about 20 minutes.
  9. To serve, pour the sauce over the beef.*

Notes

*If you are making this in advance, I recommend putting the sauce into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the fat to rise to the top. You can then remove the layer of fat from the sauce. This is not required, but makes for a smoother sauce.

http://thepaleovangelist.com/instant-pot-orange-balsamic-beef/

Remember to share your thoughts with me! I want to know if you made this recipe, and if you liked it! Tag me in your photos of this recipe on social media too! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

How to Stop Dieting (and Start Living)

How to stop dieting and start livingFor years when I thought about healthy eating, I thought about diets: Which diet I should try this time, which diet would let me eat what I wanted and still lose weight. I never once considered that maybe I should stop dieting.

As a result, I tried them all. I did Weight Watchers, South Beach, Flat Belly Diet and Atkins. I tried extreme calorie reduction and intense exercise. I did every calorie-counting plan that came in the many “health” magazines I bought each month.

And what were my results? While they varied from diet to diet, by the time my years of dieting were over, I was heavier, less healthy and far more unhappy than before I’d ever thought about losing weight.Why You Shouldn't Eat Like a Caveman

I know I’m not alone in this. Most of us think about health with a dieting mindset. We say we’ll start eating healthy on Monday and, when we choose to have a dessert instead of an apple, we throw in the towel for the rest of the day, week or month because we feel we’ve ruined our chances of losing weight.

Why do we do this?

For one, the diet and fitness industry is among the most genius when it comes to marketing. Too often these industries, which claim to be promoting health and vitality, are instead promoting messages designed to make us feel like we are not enough – not skinny enough, not attractive enough, not strong enough to resist the foods and habits that are bad for us.

They aim to make us feel this way because they know when we do, we’ll come running to their latest fad diet or exercise DVD to solve our problems. They know many of us will fail, and they know we’ll keep coming back. They don’t want us to stop dieting. They like it that way.

There’s another reason why we so often fail to improve our health. These popular diets, with their carb tracking and calorie counting, are severely over-complicating things.

The fact is, humans spent thousands of years thriving – growing our population by leaps and bounds, discovering fire, developing agriculture and inventing things like the cotton gin and bifocal glasses – before we ever knew what a calorie was.

The calorie wasn’t even discussed among scientific communities until the 1800s, and then only as a unit of heat. It wasn’t until the 1890s that the calorie was used in a nutritional context, and even later when it was introduced to the general public as something we should care about.

And while our medicine and disease prevention was certainly not what it is today, in the time before calories were king, people did not suffer from diet and weight-related conditions at anywhere close to the rate we do today. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, there were 1.6 million people diagnosed with diabetes in 1958. By 2013, that number had risen to 22.3 million.

Happy Body Formula

So what’s the solution?

If you ask me, we should stop the diet dogma that utilizes strict rules and inspires guilt. We should ditch the processed foods filled with ingredients we can’t pronounce, and start eating food that has always been food.

It’s seriously that simple, people. When you follow those guidelines, you don’t have to count calories. Because the thing is – the secret the diet industry doesn’t want us to know – our bodies are actually designed to maintain a healthy weight.

They are designed to keep us healthy and thriving. And if you fuel your body with the foods it truly needs, you can trust yourself to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. You can stop worrying about a treat here or there.

You can stop dieting and start living.

The Happy Body Formula Paleo Challenge!

Happy Body Formula Paleo ChallengeDo you feel like your health is always on the back burner? Are you lacking energy, and tired of jumping from diet to diet? Do you struggle to prioritize your health and build long-term healthy habits to help you lose weight, decrease stress and improve your overall wellness? Maybe you’re looking to back on track with your paleo lifestyle and focus on improving gut health, sleep and fitness. No matter what you’re motivation, I’m excited to share this NEW health and wellness program with you! The Happy Body Formula paleo challenge is a one of a kind wellbeing program, as it is designed by experts and structured for long-term success.

Here’s what is included:

✓ Three-phased, nine-week approach to increase results: Foundation, Reset, Recalibrate.

✓ Contributions from the world’s leading experts in nutrition, exercise, gut health, sleep, happiness and more.

✓ Focuses on building long-­term healthy habits.

✓ Emphasis is on lifestyle as well as nutrition and exercise.

✓ You will achieve results or you are paid back TWICE the program cost

✓ You will be guided by a human coach who cares about your success.

✓ Your coach approves your logged meals and provides regular motivation and feedback to keep you on track.

The next round of the Happy Body Formula Program starts April 18, 2016, and EARLY BIRD REGISTRATIONS ARE NOW OPEN! To celebrate the opening, the program is offering a 30% EARLY BIRD discount. This special offer is available for 7 DAYS ONLY (until April 3, 2016, so don’t miss out!). CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!

The nine-week Happy Body Formula paleo challenge program contains all of the support you need to succeed. But if you don’t see results after 9 weeks, they’ll be happy to give you twice your money back: ­ that’s their 200% guarantee!

Happy Body Formula Paleo Challenge

Still wondering if you should join the program?

It takes just a few things to create and maintain a happy body. The right food and exercise, good sleep, managing stress, reducing your toxic load, setting the right mindset, developing new habits, and shifting your attitude. But you probably already know this.

Here is the challenge. Sticking to a new healthy diet and lifestyle is hard. It absolutely is. That’s why so many people give up after just a couple of weeks. Reality check! You need longer than two weeks to form long-lasting habits. You need accountability. An incentive. Constant motivation. LOTS of support. And daily guidance. That’s exactly what the Happy Body Formula paleo challenge is about.

Their amazing coach will be guiding you for the duration of nine weeks. With daily check-­ins, motivational emails, weekly to-­do lists and fun community contests, you’re guaranteed to stay engaged and on track.

Let’s mention the food. The Happy Body Formula’s strategy was to create simple yet delicious meals and recipes that will make you forget all about the word diet and make it easy to stick to the plan. There is NO diet food included in the program.

Many people are under the impression that eating well means eating lackluster food, feeling hungry all the time, and overall suffering more than it’s worth. Rest assured, you will only be eating high-­quality, nutrient­-dense, balanced, whole foods.

As mentioned above, the next round of the 9­-week program starts April 18, 2016. Registrations are now open and they have a 30% EARLY BIRD discount, for 7 DAYS ONLY. After that you can still register at full price until April 14, 2016 . Are you ready for a new challenge? Are you ready to make your body happy? Sign up now to the program!