Thursday, 4 December 2014

Paleo Avocado and Chocolate Brownies




Ingredients
1 medium ripe avocado
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup of almond butter
1/2 cup Nua Naturals cacao powder, sifted.
1 tbsp Nua Naturals coconut flour
1 tsp of baking powder
50g unsweetened chocolate chips (optional)
3 eggs
1/4 cup of mixed nuts of choice, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C
Sift the cocoa powder, baking powder and coconut flour into a bowl.
Blend the peeled and de-stoned avocado in a food processer until very smooth.
Add to the dry ingredients along with the honey, almond butter and eggs.
Mix together until smooth.
Add the chocolate chips and incorporate.
Pour onto a greased lined baking sheet, sprinkle with the nuts and bake for about 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out almost clean and it has a little "spring" to the touch.

Allow to cool and cut into squares.

Serve!


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Recipe: Paleo Chicken Kievs



Serves 4
Ingredients
For the chicken
4 chicken fillets (bone out, skinless, free range organic)
100g ground almonds
1tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp dried garlic
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 eggs beaten
3tbsp coconut oil

For the garlic butter
100g Kerrygold Butter (room temperature)
2-3 garlic cloves (depending on how garlicky you like it!)


Add the butter and the garlic to a food processor and blend until smooth.
Put onto a piece of baking parchment and roll into a log shape and wrap at both sides.
Place in the fridge for 10/15 minutes to set.

Preheat your oven to 180C
In the mean time add ground almonds, salt, pepper, turmeric and parsley to a plate and stir well.
On a second plate add the beaten eggs and season with salt and pepper
Take chicken fillets and cut a pocket in each side.
Season the chicken.

Heat the oil over a medium heat.

Remove the butter from the fridge and divide equally between each chicken fillet, into the pocket you have created.

Dip a chicken fillet in the egg mixture, ensuring well coated. Dip into the almond mixture, coating all sides. Dust off any extra almonds. Repeat both processes a second time to ensure the chicken has a good coating on cooking. Leave to the side.

Repeat with all chicken fillets.

Add the coated chicken fillets to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on first side until browned.
Turn chicken in the pan and put into the oven to continue to cook.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Benefits of Gelatin


Today I would like to talk about gelatin and its health giving properties in the body. Gelatin is often overlooked as part of the modern diet which is a pity given that it would have been included quite a lot in the diets of our early ancestors. 

What is Gelatin?

Gelatin is a colourless and tasteless substance derived from the collagen of animal bones. It is commonly used a thickening agent in sauces, for making gummy sweets and capsules of supplements and pharmaceuticals. Gelatin itself is basically just dried and ground up collagen from animal sources. It can be got very easily from making your own bone broth which is something I reguarly do and it is a very nourishing and healing food to make for your whole family to enjoy. Not everyone has the time to make bone broth so adding in gelatin is another great way to boost your intake of collagen. 

Many people worry about the source of this collagen, and rightly so. We must ensure the meat the collagen is derived from is good quality and from ethically reared sources. We must remember also that while gelatin is found in commercial jelly and other products this is not the type of collagen we are after. These products are usually from cheap sources of meat collagen and have added sugars and synthetic colourings etc so are not ideal for health. 

Gelatin must be from healthy animals who have been reared outside in their ideal environment to avoid pesticides and hormones. This is the brand I use - Great Lakes  I have yet to find it in a health foods store here in Ireland yet but if you have found it please let me know. I get mine from Amazon and while it is pricey it will last you a long time.  


Health Benefits

  • Supports hair and nail growth - Collagen is a vital component of skin and tissue and promotes plumped up youthful looking skin. Collagen is often added to anti-aging skin formulations but it is actually too large to make its way in though the skin. It is therefore important we get it internally for it to really work. Collagen begins to deplete from your 20s on which means wrinkles! So throw away those pricey skin creams and try eating collagen instead! It is also rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorous which are important for healthy nail and hair growth. 
  • Prevents stretch marks - improves skins firmness and prevents the development of stretch marks
  • Liver Detox - Rich in amino acid glycine which is important for detoxification. Inadequate dietary glycine leads to diminished glutathione which is very important for Phase II detoxification. 
  • Cellulite Removal - Often known as the dreaded "orange peel" this unsightly dimpling of the bum and thighs has been the bane of women's lives for a long time! Expensive creams are marketed and reducing this but rarely work, It is caused by the breakdown of collagen which can be as a result of a dietary deficiency of collagen. Ditch the creams and consume a collagen rich diet instead. 
  • Joint Support - Contains joint supporting nutrients such as minerals magnesium, calcium and phosphorous) as well as chondroitin which has known benefits in treatment of arthritis. 
  • Amino Acids - Rich in amino acids which are important for cell repair and build up of lean muscle. I have recently started Crossfit and want to ensure I support both my joints during lifting and boost my protein intake to help me build muscle. Upping my gelatin intake will help me achieve this as it is an easily digestible protein source. 
  • Gut Healing - Collagen is very important for allowing the gut to "heal and seal". Many people today have a hyper-permeable gut or "leaky gut" which means that the lining of the intestine has become too permeable to proteins entering the blood stream. This leads to food sensitivities, inflammation and possible development of autoimmune disorders. Introducing bone broths and gelatin rich meals can help to prevent and treat this improving the immune system in the process. 
Aim to consume bone broth most days and add gelatin to soups, stews and smoothies daily. 

Check out my recipe for making bone broth easily at home - here. 

Recipe for my collagen rich "Gelatin Coconut Smoothie" below. 



Ingredients 
1tbsp Great Lakes Unflavoured Collagen 
Handful of blueberries
Cup of coconut milk
1tbsp almond butter

Blend until smooth. Drink immediately as the collagen will cause the drink to thicken. Add more coconut milk if necessary. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

"Mediterranean Paleo Cooking" Book Review, Giveaway and Bonus Recipe!










Lets be honest here. There are so many new books out there on healthy eating that it can be tough to navigate through the amazon lists to figure out which books are actually work buying and which are just going to become dust collectors on your ever growing bookshelf. Sometimes the recipes just don't cut it and fail to excite the inner cook in you. If you are someone pretty familiar with the ins and out of your gas hob and are already capable of preparing some cauli rice to go alongside your curry, some Paleo cookbooks can fail to excite. 

Written by husband and wife team Caitlin Weeks (of GrassfedGirl.com) and her Algerian husband and chef Nabil Boumar the book clearly illustrates the couple's passion for food which is both healthy AND delicious. With stunning illustrations and enticing recipes such as some delicious tagine recipes, a full section on paleo pasta and pizza recipes and paleo falafels (which I will share the recipe for below as they are awesome!) 

Those of you who know we well know that I am a big fan of Diane Sanfilippo, author of Balanced Bites. Diane actually collaborated on this book too, being a college friend of Caitlin's. You can note her attention to detail in the beautiful photos she has helped to photograph adding her amazing stamp to it. 

This book is DEFINITELY one you should purchase. The recipes are amazing and actually entice you to want to get back in the kitchen and try something new. The photographs are beautiful and make you want to try to recreate the food. 

Recipe: Paleo Falafels with tahini dip



Ingredients
1 medium head cauliflower
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of ground almonds
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon fresh parsley
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cups coconut oil

Core the cauliflower and cut it into florets. Grate using a food processor
Steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes until cooked but not mushy
Place in a towel and squeeze over the sink until all water is removed
Add to a bowl with the almond flour, eggs and seasonings and mix well. 
Melt the oil in a skillet
Form the cauliflower mixture into a 2 inch ball. Add to pan and fry in the oil for 2/3 minutes on first side until golden brown
Turn and cook on other side until golden brown. 
Drain on kitchen paper and serve. 

Mediterranean Paleo Cooking is available to buy right now on Amazon. Buy it here

The great news is I have a copy of this excellent book to giveaway! 

To enter, simply like and share the post on facebook! 




Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Easy Recipe: Paleo Fried Chicken Tenders




My son isn't 100% Paleo but he is gluten free, dairy and sugar free to the most part.
I keep our meals at home unprocessed and avoid packaged foods and refined foodswhich means he misses out on pizzas and chicken tenders - all the types of foods "normal" 11 year olds like to eat.

He has been asking me alot lately if he could have chicken tenders for dinner. We recently had grain free chicken tenders at a Paleo party at a Crossfit box I will be soon joining (that is a post for another day!) and he asked me to try and make them. This is what I came up with and I must say, they were pretty tasty and went down a treat with the "big" boy too!




Ingredients (makes 9)
3 chicken fillets
1 cup of ground almonds
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
2 eggs, whipped
Fresh Parsley (to garish, optional)
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup coconut oil for frying

Cut the fillets into strips (you should get about 3-4 out of each depending on size) and season with salt and pepper
In a bowl add ground almonds, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic.
Add beaten eggs to a shallow dish
Dip the chicken pieces into the egg and coat well. Add to the ground almond mixture and ensure well coated with the almonds. Shake off any extra almonds. Place to the side and continue until all chicken is coated
Meanwhile melt the coconut oil in a pan until quite hot (you can add in a piece of chicken to check if it is hot enough)
Place the chicken pieces in, in batches and cook for 5 minutes before turning and cooking for a further 2/3 minutes until cooked through.
Put onto some kitchen paper to drain. Garnish with fresh parsley

Serve with homemade paleo ketchup and sweet potato fries!

Enjoy!

Take On The IPG 30 Day Paleo Challenge!








Introducing the IPG 30 Day Challenge! 
Back by popular demand!!



Get Ready For The Little Black Dress This Christmas While Beginning Your Road to a Healthier You! 



 


A 100% Paleo protocol aimed at eliminating sugar cravings once and for all, banishing inflammation, identifying and alleviating common food allergens and losing those stubborn inches!  Whether it is to lower body fat, support autoimmune disorders, improve digestion or overcome inflammatory issues such as skin irritation, IBS or respiratory issues, the Paleo diet can help you achieve your goals and enjoy the health you deserve.

This will be the last session of this challenge until January so don't miss out! 

To read more on what Paleo is click here 
To read more on why you should do this here 

What Will It Involve?
A closed group is a page on Facebook where only those who sign up or are given access to the area can see content. This means that only those of us participating in the group can actually post or read anything written in the page. This can be reassuring for those who may not wish for others to see what they are doing or who may be shy about their health issues or weight concerns. Everyone in there will have a shared goal of improving their health and will be a source of encouragement and support for each other. Having all the information in one place means we will never miss a post (we will be notified when a member posts something) and we can catch up easily on a conversation at a later date. It also means Facebook won't decide not to show you certain content or your news feed will hide content. 

How Many People Will Take Part?
There will be a limited places available -  Small enough to all get to know each other but big enough that we have enough input from group participants. I want to make this the biggest and best session EVER with new recipes and tips! 

What Will I Get From It? 
The closed group on Facebook will be a place for those of you who decide to sign up to participate in a private group with unique access to the following:

1. Weekly Meal Plans and Shopping List - Each week, on a Friday, I post the meal plan for the following week, complete with recipes and a shopping list. The meal plans have varied recipe ideas and some firm favourites include Coconut & Sweet Potato Curry, Crustless Quiche and Coconut Yogurt. I also post new recipes at various times throughout the week to keep things interesting. 

2. Access to Q&A Time Unique to Closed Group Participants - I will be available during a specific time slot during the first 7 days (9-10pm) to answer your Paleo questions. During this time you can ask anything and be confident in the knowledge that your question will be answered right away. As well as these time slots I will also be available to answer your questions via email during the day. Due to work commitments I won't be able to reply straight away but I endeavour to reply to every message or email within a few hours. Past participants can vouch for the fact that I do generally get back to questions fairly quickly. The reason the Q&A sessions are only set in stone for the first 7 days is that after this time participants tend to find their feet and do not need as much help (and I often find myself staring at a very quiet forum!) Rest assured that after the 7 days I will still be there to answer any question you may have anyway! 

3. Access to Group Recipes - Part of a successful group or community is the sharing of daily food photos and recipe ideas. Even if every person only shared one recipe or photo over the course of the week that would be 30 extra recipes for you to take away. The success of the group will depend on the level of participation from each member. The more we post and support each other the more each person will benefit. I will also post recipe cards on the closed group at various times throughout the 30 days to keep you all interested! 

4. Daily Tips To Success - I will be posting unique daily tips and hints which will only be available in the closed group. While I will still be updating my blog and facebook page the emphasis will be on the success of those signed up to the 30 day Challenge group during the 30 day time frame of 1st November to 30th November inclusive

5. Access to Practical Information - You will have access to a Shopping List, Seven Day Meal Plan and a "Where to Start" brochure to get you started. I also update the group with weekly meal plans every Friday morning. Once signed up you will receive all this information about one week before the start date, to give you time to shop and get ready for the challenge (unless of course you are late to sign up!)

6. Group Support and Encouragement - This aspect will be a very important component to your success. Everyone knows that having someone to encourage you who is following the same journey as you are can substantially increase your chances of meeting your goals. Sharing mutual concerns or challenges can also be incredibly helpful.

How Much Will It Cost Me? 
The 30 Days Challenge costs just €49.99. Keep in mind that I am now a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist and I feel the level of support you get is well worth the price. This price is likely to be increased in the future so don't miss out! I think it will be a good investment for you and your health and I promise to give you my all in the month ahead. 

What Have Past Participants Said About It? 


"I found the IPG challenge brilliant, it has totally changed my life and inspired me to stay paleo. Denise was a great support and very inspirational".


"You were v supportive Denise and gave v unselfishly of your time on a 24/7 basis which is to be commended. You didn't just stick to the hour q+a per day. Thank you".


"The recipes were a life saver for someone not paleo-savvy".


"I would highly recommend this to everyone! Denise has a fantastic approach; always at hand to help you, gives great advice and a super motivator! I really enjoyed the support of the group too. A big thumbs up from me"





You can read more reviews from past participants here: https://www.facebook.com/IrishPaleoGirl/reviews 

How Will I Pay? 
All payments will be made safely and securely through Paypal. 

How Do I Sign Up 

Step 1: Email me on theirishpaleo@gmail.com to express your interest.

Remember places are very limited so it will literally be first come first served. Once I reply to your email with paypal details, the first 50 people to pay will be those signed up. Simply emailing me to say you are interested is not enough. You must wait for my return email and make payment as detailed therein. Your place is not secured until you pay.

The first 50 people to pay will be in the group. First come, first served.

(Initial interest emails will be replied to within 24 hours. Please do not email me via facebook, email theirishpaleo@gmail.com) 


Looking forward to meeting you all! 
Denise 



Disclaimer:  All opinions and views posted on this blog, the closed group or any other are merely my own personal views and opinions based on my experience following a Paleo lifestyle. If you are anxious about your health you should speak to your GP. The advice of your GP should always be followed before undertaking a new lifestyle. 




Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Rapeseed Oil - Why I Wont Eat It




Rapeseed Oil 

So what is the deal with Rapeseed oil (aka canola oil)? Isn't it a healthy oil!? 

In my opinion, no. Rapeseed oil is pretty high in Polyunsaturated fats which are not heat stable. They should not be used for cooking at all, despite the fact that it is touted as a healthful cooking oil. It also oxidises easily meaning it goes rancid quickly. Like any seed oil it is pro-inflammatory and not something I am keen to add into my diet. 

Secondly unless cold pressed, rapeseed oil has gone through a highly refined process which involves the addition of chemicals and deodorisers to reinstate colour and flavours removed during processing. 

Did you know that rapeseed oil was originally so high in an acid called erucic acid (a toxic monounsaturated acid) that it was considered unsafe for consumption? It was then cross bred to develop a strain which contained higher levels of oleic acid instead. The effects of genetically modified foods is of yet unknown but I wont be enticing me to try it any time soon!  

I can't help but think that the Rapeseed boom is just a ploy by Irish and UK markets to produce an oil which they hope can rival the olive oil industry. It is easy to grow and very profitable with sales up 11% in 2013. But don't be fooled by marketing! 

What Fats Should I Use? 
I get asked this question quite a lot. "What kind of oil should I use to cook with". 

There are a few important things to remember when choosing the correct fats to use and the correct choice can differ greatly depending on what you want to use them for - cooking vs dressings.

First up, fats are important in the diet and should not be avoided! 

Your body needs fat and our brains are made up of roughly 60% fat. If you don't feed your body the RIGHT fats it can increase your chances of developing dementia and alzheimer's disease. Fats also make up our cell linings. Having the wrong fatty acids in our diet can lead to our cells becoming too rigid or too fluid. We want the right balance. Fats also play a role in skin health, hormone balancing fertility and mental health. 



Saturated Fats for Cooking
  • Coconut Oil
  • Sustainable Palm Oil
  • Ghee
  • Butter (not too high temperatures)
  • Lard
  • Duck Fat
  • Goose Fat
  • Tallow
  • Eggs 
Unsaturated Fats for Cold Uses

  • Olive oil 
  • Sesame oil
  • Nut oils (avocado, walnut) 
  • Flaxseed oil (do not overuse if supplementing with Omega 3)
  • Avocado
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Nut Butters (not peanut) 

Avoid these Fats: The Killers

Margarines
Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats
Man made "Butter Spreads" (Benecol, Cant Believe It's Not Butter) 
Rapeseed oil* 
Vegetable oils
Safflower oils
Soybean oil
Corn oil 
Ricebran oil 



Get Your Facts Right: Get The Right Fats! 











Friday, 17 October 2014

Competition Time: October Giveaway "The Paleo Approach Cookbook"





Hi All! 

Hope you are all well and that you are as happy as I am that the weekend is here again! 

To celebrate the Friday feeling I have a fantastic competition to launch! 

Sarah of The Paleo Mom has kindly sent me a signed copy of her latest book "The Paleo Approach Cookbook" to giveaway to one lucky winner. 

This book is amazing and is the follow up cookbook to accompany her wonderful resource filled book "The Paleo Approach"

Sarah is a scientist with a degree in Physics and a PhD in Biophysics. She is the blogger behind the award winning blog "The Paleo Mom" 

Both books are MUST HAVES if you have an autoimmune condition and want to see improvements through food. While the original title book has a wealth of information on the benefits of the Autoimmune Paleo diet for helping to heal the body and reverse symptoms of Autoimmune conditions, this book is jammed full of healthy and delicious recipes which are sure to keep you and your family happy! 

While the cookbook does not go into too much detail on the benefits of the Paleo Approach it does focus on taking the diet into the kitchen easily and efficiently by explaining what types of foods are allowed and not allowed, providing detailed meal plans and shopping lists as well as tips on what equipment you need for your kitchen. 

The book is beautifully put together with fantastic photography and attention to detail but what really impresses me is the helpful tips Sarah adds to each recipe (such as telling you which components can be made ahead of time or telling you which cuts of meats would work best for each dish) These tips can be invaluable for someone who is new to cooking or may just be overwhelmed by all the changes they have to make. She also provides nutritional facts to each dish in the side bars including each amino acid and micronutrient present in the food. She also adds in notes for those who may be following a low FODMAP diet too (this displays the scientist in Sarah I think!)

I think this book is amazing and I really think it is an essential addition to your paleo bookcase, particularly if you have an autoimmune disorder or someone in your family has. 

If you wish to be in with a chance of winning this cool book, please like the post on facebook and leave a comment below outlining why you should win it. 

If you want to go ahead and just buy the book (which I recommend!) here are the links:

The Paleo Approach (original book) http://amzn.to/1tzLlNy
The Paleo Approach Cookbook (as reviewed above) http://amzn.to/1FcwvQb  

Best of luck! 




Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Easy Recipe: Home Fermentation - Sauerkraut





Sauerkraut is a wonderful addition to any diet. It is fantastic source of beneficial bacteria which are gut will thank us for. We don't eat enough cultured and fermented foods. Our ancestors would have included these types of foods frequently as they did not have refrigeration methods to keep their foods fresh. Not only did this mean foods which would only be available for short periods of time remain on the table for longer periods of time, they were also serving another important process: improving gut health.

Our guts are probably the most neglected system in the body! We often feed it bad foods and do not provide it with enough goodness. You don't get much more health giving than sauerkraut. Probiotic supplementation has become popular in recent years to help replace beneficial bacteria in the gut. It is something that is very useful in a clinical situation but can sometimes be quite expensive to implement, especially where large numbers of bacteria are required. Sauerkraut and other fermented foods are an inexpensive way to get in these good bacteria and are up to 20 times more bio available than probiotic supplements.

Sauerkraut Saved the Seven Seas!
A fun fermented fact for you all to share with all your friends: Sauerkraut actually helped save the seas by preventing scurvy amongst seamen! Scurvy is a disease brought on by severe depletion of Vitamin C and was common amongst sailors due to the shortage of fresh produce on long voyages. It caused over 2 million deaths from the 16th to 19th century. Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C and B vitamins which are created as a result of the fermentation.

How is Sauerkraut Fermented? 
Sauerkraut is made by lacto-fermentation: the beneficial bacteria is present on the surface of all fruit and vegetables such as cabbage. Lactobacillus is a strain of good bacteria which is present in probiotic supplements and yoghurt. When submerged in the brine lactic acid is formed which inhibits production of bad bacteria. It is important that if you buy sauerkraut that it is raw and unpasteurised. Otherwise there is no good bacteria in there.

How Can I make my own Sauerkraut. 
Not only is this fermented delight healthy, it is also super easy to make. It so much nicer than any store bought version you will buy and although it is an acquired taste at first you learn to love it!

This mixture will make enough to fit about 6 x 2lb Kilner jars or whatever jars you have.
You will also need rubber bands, cloths to cover the jars, a large mixing bowl and a sharp knife.




Ingredients: 
1 medium head of green cabbage (or red which makes a beautiful and pretty kraut!)
1 1/2 tsps of sea salt

1. Make sure everything is very clean. It is very important that you do not give pathogenic bacteria of any type the opportunity to grow. Ensure clean equipment and clan hands.

2. Slice the cabbage by cutting into eight pieces and discard the cord and outer leafs. Slice in to thin ribbons. I used a food processor to do this stage and it worked well.

3. Place the cabbage in a bowl and add the salt.

4. Massage the salt into the cabbage squeezing as you go. This will take at least 10-15 minutes and it may seem initially like there is not enough salt but bear with it. The cabbage will begin to wilt and water will start to be extracted. Keep going until the cabbage is soft and watery - almost like coleslaw.

5. Pack the cabbage into the jars. You need to ensure they are tightly packed. Use your fist to push it into the jar. This will ensure that the cabbage remains beneath the surface of the water which will eventually be extracted. Leave a gap at the top of the jar.

6. Cover the jars with a clean cloth and secure with a band to ensure no insects or dirt in but allows air to circulate.

7. Ensure you pack down the cabbage every few hours. If the liquid is not covering the cabbage after 24 hours make up a mixture of 1 cup water to 1tsp sea salt and top it up . It is important the cabbage does not go over the water or it will go off.

8. After about three days you can put the lids on and put it in the fridge. You should taste it first to see if it is to your liking. It will continue to ferment in the fridge but it is perfect to eat.



When you choose to eat it, start with a small amount to begin with - about a tsp. Build it up gradually as some can experience a "die off" effect as the good bacteria grows pushing killing the pathogenic, which causes the release of toxins.

Sauerkraut is an acquired taste but you grow to love it. And your digestive system definitely thanks you for it, as will your overall health!



Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Easy Recipe Post: Nut, Seed and Date Bars.




These bars are raw and packed full of healthful goodness! They would make a perfect lunchbox filler for the kids or as an easy portable snack to take during endurance training. They also make a lovely "anytime snack" to have in your bag if a snack attack presents itself! 

They are super filling too so will definitely satisfy that craving for something tasty!






Ingredients

1 cup/140g whole nuts of choice (I used pecans and walnuts)
1/4 cup/30g mixed seeds of choice (I used mixture of pumpkin, sesame and pinenut)
1/4 cup/60g almond butter
1/4 cup/4tbsp of melted coconut oil 
1/4 cup/25g of shredded coconut (chopped finely)
8 dates, pitted

Soak the dates in a little water for 5 minutes.
Place in the food processor and blend until smooth, you may need to add a little of the water. 
Roughly chop the nuts and add them to a bowl with the seeds and chopped shredded coconut (reserve 1tbsp to sprinkle on top) 
Add the almond butter and mix well. 
Add in the dates and the melted coconut oil and mix to combine
Place in a layer on an oiled baking sheet (mine took up about a 1/3 of my standard cookie tray). 
Smooth and square if off. Sprinkle with the leftover coconut flakes. 
Refrigerate for about an hour to allow to set.
Remove from fridge and cut into bars. 
Makes 6. Store in the fridge until needed! 

Hope you enjoy! 









Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Role of Inflammation on Weight Gain



What is inflammation? 

All inflammation is not bad. Inflammation is part of the normal immune response and has a role to play in healing. Consider this: when you cut yourself the area becomes raised and red. This is localised inflammation taking place as immune cells are released into the area to fix the damage. It is short lived and localised. This is known as acute inflammation and is nothing to worry about. 

Inflammation becomes an issue when it is systemic and long term, when the body is unable to turn it off. It becomes harmful to the body and has been shown to play a role in many chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, fatigue and pain, depression, anxiety. It also plays a role in weight gain. 

As we gain weight we do not grow more fat cells. Rather the number of fat cells we have remains the same from birth but as we gain weight the fat cells grow and become "leaky" as they grow fuller. This leaking fluid causes immune cells to be drawn to the area to clean up the damage. This immune cells create inflammatory chemicals which in turn leads to increased inflammation. 

In the picture below we see the adipocytes (fat cells, the large yellow cells) which are hypoxic and filled with excess nutrients, causing overflow out of the cell. This causes the immune cells (macrophages) to come in to clean up the damage. 



A Vicious Circle

A highly refined processed, sugary diet also leads to increased inflammation. This is because these foods lead to increased pathogenic gut bacteria which causes inflammation in the gut and other bod systems. This in turn contributes to weight gain which in turn leads to inflammation. It is a vicious cycle of weight gain and inflammation. 



Leptin and Inflammation

Leptin is our satiety hormone meaning it tells our brain we are full. Increased inflammation levels interfere with this hormone. Leptin levels may be normal or high but it is still not suppressing appetite ie we become leptin resistant. By reducing inflammation and losing weight your body becomes more sensitive to leptin helping you control appetite and weight.
Reducing inflammation will help you lose weight as well as tackling symptoms such as asthma, joint pain, depression and anxiety.
It will also reduce cortisol, your stress hormone which becomes elevated as it tries to suppress inflammation. High cortisol levels equal depression and anxiety.


Reduce Inflammation

There are a number of important ways to reduce inflammation through diet:

  • Increase wild oily fish consumption such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines to three times per week
  • Increase consumption of anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, rosemary
  • Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. The more colours the better. Phytonutrients are rich in anti inflammatory compounds
  • Choose organic grassfed beef which is higher in Omega 3 fatty acids. If you cannot afford good quality red meat reduce consumption to twice per week
  • Increase good fats - choose coconut oil to cook with, add olive oil to salads, increase consumption of nuts and seeds especially ground flaxseed, avocados and eggs. 
  • Remove grains from the diet. They are pro-inflammatory and prevent the absorption of many nutrients such as zinc and iron. 
  • Eat a Paleo diet! 


If you would like help addressing your weight or reducing inflammation please contact Denise today on theirishpaleo@gmail.com or call 0877184523

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Wholesome Wednesdays: Tropical Blast Smoothie



Hey Paleo peeps! :) Another Wednesday recipe for you all!

I spent the day doing LOTS of cooking: homemade sauerkraut (well that isn't cooked but you know what I mean!) paleo mayonnaise, coleslaw and now chicken drumsticks for dinner.

But the recipe I am sharing today is for a delicious smoothie recipe made from delicious tropical inspired ingredients!

I used the wonderful Koh Coconut Water which is 100% coconut water. You have to be really careful about checking the labels on coconut water as they can often have sugars added or additives and preservatives. KOH coconut water is not from concentrate and is just 100% pure coconut water.

Benefits of Coconut Water
Not to be confused with the creamy coconut milk, the coconut water aspect of is the watery clear liquid from the fruit's centre.

It has lower sodium, higher potassium and less sugar than your standard sports drink, making it an ideal post workout beverage.

Because it is contains such balanced electrolytes, coconut water makes a good hangover cure too (though you should of course always drink in moderation :) )

Try this recipe as a delicious breakfast option or add some protein to it to make an ideal post workout smoothie - rich in antioxidants, good fats and hydrating electrolytes.





1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup of berries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup of coconut water
1 avocado
Ice (if using fresh berries)

Blend until smooth.


Tastes like paradise! Now all we need is the sunshine!

Beware of drinking too much coconut water if you are sensitive to sugars as there is quite a few natural sugars in it. Leave it until after a workout or as part of a protein or fat containing smoothie which will slow down the sugars absorption. Avoid coconut waters with added fruit as this hikes up the sugar content.

Check out Koh Ireland's facebook page here to find your local stockist!

I also have 2 litre cartons of coconut water to giveaway to three lucky winners!

Keep an eye out on my facebook page for full details.



Sunday, 21 September 2014

IPG Weekly Roundup: 21/9/14



Another week over and time for another IPG weekly roundup! 

Time is flying by! Can't believe how fast each week passes! 

I got a chance to help some lovely clients in my clinic in Naas this week. It is so nice to have someone come to you for one issue and walk away after helping them with much more than they expected. I love my job and helping people realise their potential through real food is so rewarding. If you want to get help with your health issues through food in one of my clinics (Ashford, Wicklow or Naas Co Kildare) please email me on theirishpaleo@gmail.com. 

Wholesome Wednesday
My recipe this week was a delicious simple Avocado Chocolate Mousse. With only three ingredients I created a beautiful healthy dessert! 


Try the recipe here  

Research Papers 
I do alot of reading and love studying the latest research papers in the nutrition arena. One paper I came across this week was one linking the use of artificial sweeteners with obesity. In the study scientists examined how artificial sweeteners affect the metabolism of mice. 

"The team found that the mice that drank the water containing glucose and an artificial sweetener developed glucose intolerance - elevated blood sugar levels - whereas the mice that drank water alone or water containing only sugar did not."

Furthermore they found that these changes were brought on by changes in the gut microflora of the mice. It is fascinating and shows that the gut flora play an important role in overall health. 

Read the paper here  


Are "Health" Bars All their cracked up to be? 
Sugar-In-Healthy-Bars


I posted this photo to the facebook page during the week and it got massive response. We are all guilty of being pulled into the marketing claims of these types of foods and believing the hype. The health food industry is a massive one, people are more health conscious than ever before and the industry has cottoned on to this, tapping into this market by bringing out so called health foods to cash in. We as consumers need to be careful of being misled and need to be aware of which foods really are good for us and not just neatly packaged sugar laden foods. Check your labels and don't be codded by the claims. 

Read the original source here 

Paleo Talk
I got the chance to meet a few members of the Naas Athletic Club when I delivered a talk on the benefits of following a Paleo protocol for endurance athletes. They were a lovely crowd and I hope I changed one or two opinions of the merits of this way of life. 
If you are interested in me hosting a talk on any aspect of Paleo nutrition please email me on theirishpaleo@gmail.com I am always happy to spread the Paleo word! 

I was really excited to attend an event today hosted by IANT in Dublin. Internationally renowned speaker on Gluten and Coeliac disease Dr Tom O Brien is the host of The Gluten Summit (really recommend you listen - available at www.theglutensummit.com) 

It was an amazing talk on autoimmunity and the gut which I really enjoyed and learned alot from. It was such an honour to meet him after having him play in my ear over the past few months! 


Another week lies ahead of me with lots coming up. I will be announcing another cycle of my popular 30 day Paleo Challenge:

My 30 Day Challenge Meal Plans include recipes like the following:

Chicken & Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with cauli-rice
Alfredo Chicken "Pasta"
Paleo Meatloaf
Egg and Bacon Muffins
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Avocado Smoothie
Lamb Meatballs with courgette "pasta"
Rib Eye Steak with sweet potato wedges

Sign up to my 30 Day Challenge this October and increase energy levels, balance blood sugar levels, balance hormone levels, boost weight loss, Reduce inflammation, improve athletic performance.

30 day meal plans, weekly shopping lists, group support, nightly Q&A sessions.

30 days. 100% Paleo. Lifelong lessons.
If you are interested in taking part please email me on theirishpaleo@gmail.com 

Have a great week and remember;

Keep It Paleo!


Sunday, 14 September 2014

IPG Weekly Roundup: 14/9/14


Hey all! Another week has gone by, and that means another Weekly Roundup! 

It has been another very busy week here in IPG HQ! Lots to do and I am grateful to be keeping busy.

I was busy marketing my new clinic locations in Naas Co Kildare and Ashford Wicklow. I am looking forward to taking clients this week in Naas and starting to help people get healthier through food. Nutritional therapy can be useful in a range of conditions such as thyroid issues, diabetes, PCOS, fertility, digestive complaints, energy fluctuations, weight loss and lots more. If you are interesting in booking a nutrition consultation in either of my clinics, please email me on theirishpaleo@gmail.com I am really excited about getting started! 

I also met with Niamh of The Ivy Cookery School in Rathdangan Co Kildare to speak about a Paleo cookery evening we plan to run next month. I am SO excited about it and Niamh's cookery school is really beautiful! The evening will be held on 2nd October and will include an hour long nutrition seminar presented by myself. This will then be followed by a Paleo themed food demonstration and tasting. Niamh aims to cook up some delicious dishes for you all to sample including an easy family favourite recipe and a more elaborate dinner party dish to wow your guests with as well as lots of other ideas. It will be a great evening and will be a chance for like minded people to get together around good food. The cost for the evening will be €40. Don't miss out! Places are limited. Email me on theirishpaleo@gmail.com to secure your place. 



I had my weekly meeting with the participants of Resurrection 8 Crossfit box in Celbridge at the weekend. They are all doing fantastic with great results coming from them all. They are a great bunch and have been really enthusiastic so far. Keep up the good work guys! 


Wholesome Wednesdays
I also got busy in the kitchen this week and cooked a new recipe for you all for Wholesome Wednesdays. The recipe, which was for Carrot & Ginger muffins was delicious and nourishing and my family really enjoyed them. Try them for yourself! They are a really nice breakfast option or lunch box filler and are full of anti-inflammatory ginger and other yummy ingredients. 
Try the recipe here

Nutrition News
In other news I came across this great piece detailing the historical demise of saturated fat in nutritional science and why we should not be afraid of fat. Worth a look. Read it here

I have a really busy week ahead which is great. Until next week Paleo peeps! 

Keep It Paleo


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Wholesome Wednesdays: Carrot and Ginger Muffins



For this weeks Wholesome Wednesday recipe, I decided to put up a more sweet dish. I dont bake much, even Paleo foods, because I dont have a sweet tooth and because I prefer to have baked foods as a treat food. 
These muffins are made from ground almonds which I tend to avoid using too much. This is because I think ground almonds can be too easy to overeat (how many almonds does it take to make 1 cup of ground almonds?!) and also because of the high omega 6 content which is pro-inflammatory. But as a treat, I tried these. 

They are not too sweet and have a nice little hit of ginger which is nice and warming. Ideal as a treat with a cup of tea or as a quick portable breakfast idea, these are naturally gluten, dairy and refined sugar free.



Ingredients
200g ground almonds (2 cups)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
130g of grated carrot
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
3 eggs
1/2 cup honey

Add the dry ingredients in a bowl (almonds, baking powder, sea salt, spices) 
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and add in the honey and coconut oil 
Combine the carrot and ginger and add in the egg and oil mixture.
Combine these wet ingredients and the dry ingredients, mix well. 
Place in 12 muffin cases.
Bake at 180C for about 20-25 minutes until cooked through and a skewer comes out of the centre clean. 

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Importance Of Taking Time Out



Yesterday I posted on my facebook page about how important it is to take time out for ourselves. It really hit home for many of you, and I decided that it would be a good idea to do a blog post on it.

We live in a society where there it is almost considered socially acceptable to be stressed out and overworked. We almost boast about our level of busyness and sigh at the amount of work we have. The thought of taking time out for ourselves seems selfish or unnecessary and we are almost ashamed to admit that we might actually need time out.

I have been guilty of this in the past. I scoffed at people who had time for TV or baths - what is the point in wasting time on that when you could be working? Overworking myself - working full time, studying, being a mother and wife and also taking care of my home. I am not looking for praise here. I am pointing out the busy situation I was in, like many other people, and I was afraid to admit that I might actually need a break.


The past few months have been hectic for me. Finishing out my diploma, working, moving house, starting my own business and I have been guilty of working too hard and not taking time out.

Yesterday I decided to shut down my laptop, turn off my phone and leave the housework! Something clicked with me and I realised something - It is so important to take time out and look after yourself. Taking time out is not an indulgence, it is a necessity and it can be a great way to deal with stress and clear the brain when things have been a little hectic. It is important for your mental health.

Do not compete with friends and family over how busy you are. Rather rejoice in time out and boast about how much you enjoy your time to yourself. Life is short. It is important to work hard and be successful. But it is also important to be happy and spend time with family.

Give yourself some time out today. You may be a wife, mother, employee, entrepreneur or a work at home Mum but you cannot be good for anyone else if you don't look after YOU.