Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Breakfast smoothies

Since I no longer drink milk, what to eat for breakfast used to be my biggest question. In my pre-primal days I usually had coffee with toast or cereal in a cup with cold milk (Honey bunches of oats, almond was my favorite). I am always on a tight schedule (read late) in the mornings so I was looking for an easy and quick recipe. I now eat a varied breakfast (I will soon post other recipes) and smoothies are my favorite, not to mention that they can be prepared in no time. The recipes are in part inspired by Todally Primal Smoothies and the Fat Bomb Smoothie. I make these depending on the ingredients I have at hand. Both recipes are coconut milk based, coconut milk is full of saturated fat and medium chain triglycerides which are burned as fuel by the body. The first one is  a chocolate-berry based smoothie, remember both chocolate and berries are full of good antioxidants. And the second one contains almond butter which is again a good source of protein and fat.

Choco-berry smoothie
makes 1 serving
1/4 cup blue berries
2-3 strawberries halved
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 tsp raw local honey
1 cup full fat coconut milk
4-5 cubes of ice (optional)

Blend all the ingredients together in a  blender till smooth and serve in a tall glass, tada!!

Almond banana Smoothie
makes 1 serving
2 Tbsp almond butter
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 banana 
1-2 tsp raw local honey
3/4th cup full fat coconut milk
 4-5 cubes of ice (optional)

 Blend all the ingredients together in a  blender till smooth and serve in a tall glass.

You can make innumerable combinations of smoothies depending on what you have. They are quick to make and will keep you full until lunch time. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Key to good health

I believe I have the key, the key to good health that is. Let me explain how, it has increasingly become clear that no matter how small or big a disease is, its root cause lies in inflammation of some sort. Acute inflammation is our body's first response to treat any injury, however when inflammation becomes sustained and constant that is when the big diseases are born. Amongst the many reasons for inflammation, diet is the top one and within our diet it's the delicate balance of omega 6 (n6) to omega 3 (n3) fatty acids that we should be specifically paying attention to. Both omega 6 and 3 are essential fatty acids that are components of the cell wall and are involved in the inflammatory response pathway. Since the human body can’t make them, they have to be acquired through diet. Historically man has eaten a diet consisting of n6:n3 in a ratio of 1~2:1, but with the advent of agriculture and increased consumption of grains (and more processed food) this ratio has been significantly altered to 20~30:1. This skewed ratio combined with our sedentary, ill-rested, disconnected-from-nature, stressful lifestyle has led us to poor health. (More about it here)

How was the paleolithic man able to maintain a 1~2:1 ratio?
Paleolithic people ate a diet high in fats and protein and low in carbs because of their hunter-gatherer/forager lifestyle. Their diet included grass fed game meat (duh they didn’t have concentration camp meat then), fresh caught fish, seasonal (pesticide free off course) veggies, fruits and nuts they could forage! No grains or sugar for them (unless it was from fruits and honey). They also led an active lifestyle with lot of outdoor time. They were strong and there are no records that any of them suffered from today's maladies or diseases of civilization as we call them. This is true for today's existing hunter-gatherer societies as well. Now grains are packed with the pro-inflammatory n6 omegas on the other hand grass fed meats and wild caught fish are a good source of inflammation reducing n3 omegas, so there you go increased grain consumption is in part responsible for the skewed the n6:n3 ratio! Hah now that's some cud to chew on right!

So what do we do in-order to be really healthy??
1) Embrace fats: Start chanting to yourself "Saturated fat is my best friend". There is no clear cut evidence specifically stating that saturated fats are responsible for obesity or coronary heart disease check this! In fact increased blood triglycerides levels which are markers of poor coronary health are not caused due to increased fat intake but due to increased carbohydrate intake. If fats and specifically saturated fats were that bad our body wouldn't have used them as a storage vehicle for any excess circulating sugar. Fats are absolutely necessary for development and normal functioning of organs such as brain, skin (they also protectively line all the organs) and in absorbance of fat-soluble vitamins and countless other nutrients. Low-fat food is doing you no good, as there is little fat available to absorb nutrients from the already nutrient poor food that we eat!

2) Shun the Neo-carbs: Neo carbs are carbs that originated in the Neolithic age with the advent of agriculture. Avoid grains completely. Same goes for sugar. If you really have to eat grains then make sure your have soaked, sprouted or fermented them (time consuming) or there are always alternatives such as nutrient dense almond flour or coconut flour that can be made into any of the current flour products. To sweeten your food you can always use raw honey, stevia, agave nectar etc.  Embrace the good carbs, which are organic veggies and fruits and eats tons of them! To think about it carbohydrate is not even an essential nutrient; the body can get its energy just fine by breaking down fats and proteins! The reason society is so obsessed with them is because they are cheap, farmed hence readily available all year round, robust to survive the processing, can survive for long period and provide instant decent amount of energy because they are broken down easily. Any nutrients available in grains can be easily found in other veggies, fruits or even meat in comparable or higher quantities!
So in my opinion a healthy diet is one that is something like following:
1) Complete avoidance of grains, sugar and any dubious refined oils! (Paleo diets shun legumes, I include them only if they have been sprouted or soaked for long hours in an acidic medium, occasionally I include Indian fermented grain dishes).
2) Lot of veggies, meat (grass fed/pastured only), eggs, fruits, nuts and seeds.
3) Dairy if you really have to then it should be raw (non-pasteurized and non homogenized) and full fat. But go ahead and include the cultured dairy products such as yogurt, cream, crème fraiche, buttermilk, cheese, butter and ghee (all from grass fed cows milk only).
4) All the good fats like coconut oil (organic and virgin), organic extra Virgin olive oil (the one in dark bottle, preferably in salads), butter and ghee (from grass fed cow milk).
At first these may seem like a lot of restrictions, but I think of this eating style as the way we should be eating in the first place. This diet supplemented with exercise (strength building rather than cardio) and outdoor activity is the key to good health!

Jugalbandi and Mark Sisson have already said a lot on hows and whys of primal eating, you can check them out for further reading.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Test Post

What Indian and Primal?? is my culinary journey to good health with a fiery Indian tadka!! The title of my blog, juxtaposition of Indian and Primal is so to highlight the non-primal way of Indian cooking. On this blog I will post my reasons, research and recipes about Primal living. Hopefully this will help me keep track of my Primal journey and encourage others to make changes in their diet as well. Oh and about what is Primal/Paleo eating check the following info-graphic from greatist.com:

More Health and Fitness News & Tips at Greatist.