Are chia seeds the energy boost you need?

Are chia seeds the energy boost you need?

Daniel Allen

Chloe with Caroline Marshall, owner of Nelson’s RED Gallery & Café, one of the first in the country to stock the drink.

Thirty-year-old Chloe Van Dyke, Otago University neuroscience graduate, Alzheimer's researcher, advocate of herbal medicine, jogger, Himalayan trekker and the brains behind an award-winning beverage chock-full of hydrated chia seeds, isn't prone to slick publicity spin. 

On a temperate Nelson morning, her recounting of the fast-paced tale of her CHIA drink, launched only two and a half years ago, is candid and comparable to the natural ingredients in her glass bottles.

"Our story just keeps going. We may not have been

but we started and we're running to keep up but I love the challenge," says Chloe, who jointly founded CHIA Limited with her father Ben in December 2012.

Daniel Allen

Imported chia seeds are chemical and allergen free.

Plentiful challenges there have been and Chloe is not glossing over the bumpy patches during the development of her drink which boasts more than 2000mg of omega-3 goodness per 275ml bottle.

"Our first CHIA bottling run at a local Nelson brewery was complete mayhem. We discovered that chia seeds, with their delicate gel, don't go through a standard bottling line. The liquid overflowed everywhere – it even hit the roof. I think there are probably chia seeds still stuck on the walls."

A year earlier, intent on developing a natural health elixir, Chloe's experimental production of the historic Asian fermented tea kombucha also hit the rocks.

Daniel Allen

Chloe and Ben on quality control.

"I had a winery vat in my parents' living room which I'm sure they didn't really appreciate and I learned that kombucha gets complicated when you upscale from little batches. The yeast and the bacteria went berserk and it tasted horrible."

And then there was the

episode with an early consignment of CHIA fermented in the family garage.

"I had to put on a bike helmet before entering because of the explosions. In

it was very funny but at the time it was an expensive exercise."

Daniel Allen

A soft gel forms around chia seeds when they are soaked in water.


that disasters are behind every person who succeeds – "it's just that you don't see people until they are successful". This being the case, the diminutive CHIA Limited company director is poised for an exciting ride. Her biggest triumph to date is her success at the prestigious ANZ Flying Start Business Plan in mid-2013 when she scooped the supreme award just six months after launching CHIA.

"It was a Dragons' Den situation with cameras on you and five minutes to present to the judges. My younger sister is a lawyer so I borrowed her blazer to look more corporate!"

The prize of $58,000 in cash and business advice allowed Chloe to import specialized bottle-filling equipment from Italy while the resultant media coverage put her product on the map and sparked a raft of speaking engagements.

Daniel Allen

Chloe relaxes in Kahurangi National Park.

"I spoke to some Massey University students recently and said, 'You don't need to know everything before you

but you need your philosophy in place'. The 'what' doesn't matter but if you are true to the 'why' then it gives you the freedom to evolve."


that evolution began with a desire to salute her interest in the brain, the body and super-foods and create an endurance drink for athletes.

The project commenced in her family kitchen where she and her father, an age group champion swimmer, began mixing Nelson blackcurrant juice with hydrated chia seeds in a bid to find a natural and nutrient-rich fuel.

Jane Ussher

The March/April issue of NZ Life & Leisure is on sale now.

"My sister is also a competitive athlete and there were no natural drinks available. All the

sports drinks contained caffeine, sugar, salt, potassium and colour. Athletes are supposed to be the healthiest

but the drinks to sustain them are short-sighted." 

The first batches of CHIA were tested on a local swim squad in Nelson which reported that the drink boosted energy and recovery rates. Encouraged by the result, Chloe brought a food technologist on board to provide expertise on fine-tuning flavours and maximizing the integrity of the chia seeds.

Before CHIA's first production run in late 2012, Chloe took a prototype to the remote Himalayan region of Ladakh where she was climbing to 5500 metres. "Each morning I soaked the seeds in blackcurrant concentrate in my eco-tanker. I found I needed less water and it sustained me." 

Ironically, while CHIA began as an athletes' brew it has morphed into a broad-appeal commodity and is now stocked in more than 400 cafés and speciality food stores nationwide. Only five percent of its market is the sports sector. Chloe says

unexpected texture – akin to a half-set jelly – has been both its strength and its weakness.

But with CHIA orders having doubled in the past six months and 10,000 bottles being made per week over the summer its surprising consistency is anything but a negative. 

Despite CHIA's burgeoning growth and its recent accolade (winner of the Massey University Healthy Choice at the New Zealand Food Awards), Chloe has her feet fixed to the floor of the bottling room she rents at Nelson Bays Brewery in Stoke.

Three times a week at 6.30am she and her father blend fruit juice and chia seeds in a compact stainless-steel mixing tank, taste testing as they go.

Until a year ago Chloe was hand labelling her bottles. Her flatmate handles dispatch, she has four part-time staff on the go and her father orders ingredients while her portfolio covers "the rest".

She says that five years ago CHIA would have been "too weird" for New Zealanders. "But now we know that this tiny seed with its big nutritional profile is the best in the world and we are all looking for it." 


– CHIA blends chemical-free chia seeds imported from Australia with super-juices including blueberry, blackcurrant, orange and passionfruit plus apple juice. It is 100 percent natural with no added sugar, artificial flavours or preservatives and is vegan and gluten free.

– When CHIA was first launched it was the only chia drink in the Southern Hemisphere.

– It's made in three flavours: Blackcurrant & Apple, Blueberry & Apple and Orange Passionfruit & Apple and retails for about $5 per bottle.

– It should be served chilled.

– Chia seeds are rich in vegetable omega-3 and contain complete protein, minerals, electrolytes, fibre and antioxidants.

– Chia seeds are expensive (average cost is $40 per kilogram) and at present they are not commercially grown in New Zealand.

– A soft gel forms around chia seeds when they are soaked in water. The gel prolongs hydration, provides an energy boost and is crammed with essential nutrients.

– Chia seeds came originally from South America but Australia is now a major producer.

This article first appeared in the March/April 2015 edition of NZ Life & Leisure. To subscribe, visit or join us on Facebook.

 – NZ Life & Leisure

Fasting ‘resets our bodies’

Fasting could help us cope with a number of diseases

We usually think of fasting as a weight loss measure, but advocates say it has therapeutic benefits too.

Francoise Wilhelmi de Toledo combines a passion for her subject with a precision one would expect of a doctor and scientist with a raft of publications to her name.

"Real medicine is lifestyle. It is how we live," she says. "Drugs, any drugs, must be complementary to that."

As medical director of the renowned Buchinger Wilhelmi Clinic in Germany, she is an authority on therapeutic fasting and responsible at least in part for the current interest in its role in the management of chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cancer. And, of course, as a means of weight control made popular by the diet du jour, the 5:2.


The capacity to fast derives from periods when our ancestors ate more than they needed and built up fat reserves for winter when access to food was reduced.

Fasting – as part of a lifestyle – is undoubtedly a good thing, she says, but her focus is on making it part of the armamentarium available to doctors coping with an epidemic of lifestyle diseases in the West that threaten to cripple healthcare systems. 

She says there is strong evidence gathered over many decades to show how it can lower blood pressure, reduce excess fat and glucose in the blood, modulate the immune system, increase the effect of the mood and sleep-regulating neuro-transmitter serotonin, boost protein repair, and reduce inflammation.

Fasting has been likened to a "reset" button that returns the human body to its – healthy – factory settings. A study published last year in the United States, drawing on animal and human trials, concluded that three days of fasting can rejuvenate the immune system, triggering the production of new white blood cells. Other studies show that fasting can enable healthy cells to endure better the toxic impact of chemotherapy while cancer cells die more rapidly. It is a fascinating area of research that draws on the body's evolutionary adaptation.

"Human beings are not programmed for abundance," de Toledo says. "Humans are programmed for loss." The capacity to fast derives from periods when our ancestors ate more than they needed and built up fat reserves and surplus nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, in summer and autumn.

In winter and spring, when access to food was much reduced, they endured periods of fasting in which their metabolism switched automatically from "external nutrition to nutrition taken from fat reserves".

In the absence of carbohydrates as a source of energy (glucose) for the cells, fatty acids, from fat supplies, were broken down in the liver to produce molecules known as ketone bodies which were used for fuel instead.

Of course we retain this ability to fast and exist on a ketogenic diet but rarely use it in the affluent West because food shortages are largely unknown. Nor is there much incentive to invest in fasting research, despite preliminary evidence that it may help in Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's. In Russia, there is a vast, largely unexplored archive built up by a psychiatrist Dr Yuri Nikolayev, who used fasting or "the hunger cure" to treat a range of mental disorders.

This lack of interest frustrates de Toledo.

"Take type 2 diabetes," she says. "This is a disease we know that we can cure [through fasting]. But there is an industry that sells all these drugs and devices. We have a type of medicine [in fasting] that is highly successful but there is no return on investment."

It was as a 17-year-old in Geneva that de Toledo embarked on her first fast with the aid of a book, because she "was at odds with my weight and wanted to match the ideal of the slim beauty". She says it was a revelation, that she felt "buoyant, sometimes euphoric" while fasting.

She says people who turn to fasting include some seeking help for intractable health problems while for others weight loss is the primary goal. Many, however, are seeking respite from stress of work in the "spiritual dimension of fasting" that de Toledo claims is one of its most beneficial side effects. 

She still fasts twice a year, during a 12-day annual retreat, and to counteract a severe seasonal allergy to birch pollen. She says suspicion and cynicism about fasting is still rife among doctors and nutritionists and she is determined to challenge it. "We want to document and show that fasting is therapeutically efficient, safe and enjoyable," she says.

The science, it would seem, is increasingly on her side.

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The Daily Telegraph


What sugar does to your brain

What sugar does to your brain


Kiwis eat on average 37 teaspoons of the world's sweetest drug a day. We should be eating six.

A teaspoon of sugar helps the medicine go down, but 20-plus teaspoons and you'll probably need some medicine.

A little added sugar is lovely. Too much affects waistlines and physical health, and mounting evidence shows it impacts our psychological and brain health too. 

On average New Zealanders consume about 37 teaspoons of sugar each day. 

New guidelines released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend no more than about 12 teaspoons of added sugar a day (this doesn't include naturally occurring sugars in fruit, vegetables and milk).

In fact, for the greatest health benefits they suggest halving that and having no more than six teaspoons a day (there's about four grams in a teaspoon).

"We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10 per cent of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay," WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development director Dr Francesco Branca said. "Making policy changes to support this will be key if countries are to live up to their commitments to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases."

The trouble is we crave the sweet stuff and the trickle down effect of consuming more and more of it is that we suffer. 

"Evolutionarily, our mesolimbic pathway [the brain's reward system] reinforces that sweet things provide a healthy source of carbohydrates for our bodies," Penn State University neuroscientist Jordan Gaines Lewis said. 

"Fruit is one thing, but modern diets have taken on a life of their own.

"These added sugars are sneaky and unbeknown to many of us, we've become hooked. In ways that drugs of abuse, such as nicotine, cocaine and heroin, hijack the brain's reward pathway and make users dependent, increasing neuro-chemical and behavioural evidence suggests that sugar is addictive in the same way, too." 

Consider that a bowl of "healthy" breakfast cereal with a low-fat fruit yoghurt and a glass of apple juice consists of 20 teaspoons of sugar.  

That's before you've even had your sweet "treat" for the day, your healthy low-fat yoghurt snack (many brands have five or six teaspoons of added sugar in a serve) or added a couple of tablespoons of barbecue sauce (one tablespoon has two teaspoons of sugar in it) to your "healthy" dinner of steak and vegetables.

And forget about your sugar-drenched fruit drink with lunch. 

"Over-activating this reward system kickstarts a series of unfortunate events – loss of control, craving, and increased tolerance to sugar," neuroscientist Nicole Avena explained in a TED-Ed video.

Gaines Lewis explains: "In short, this means that repeated access to sugar over time leads to prolonged dopamine signalling, greater excitation of the brain's reward pathways and a need for even more sugar to activate all of the midbrain dopamine receptors like before". 

"The brain becomes tolerant to sugar, and more is needed to attain the same sugar high."

The cyclical spiral can do more than make us seek more.

One recent study out of UCLA found excess sugar consumption can mess with memory and learning.

Bingeing on the sweet stuff disrupts the ability to think clearly and proper synapse function.

"Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think," said the study's author Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. 

One new study shows that sugar withdrawals can lead to impulsive behaviour, while separate research suggests it can cause anxiety and depression.


It's news so depressing that it makes me want to go and eat some gelato to feel better.

However, there is good news. Relatively.

Firstly, many of the studies are extreme. We don't have to be extreme, we just need to watch our consumption and be aware of the hidden added sugars.

Sticking to as much unpackaged, unprocessed foods as we can means there's room for a bit of gelato – or whatever your sweet poison is.

Secondly, it is possible to decrease the brain's tolerance of sugar and thereby reduce the rollercoaster effect it has on our brain and emotions.

Gaines Lewis recounted the experience of a friend, Andrew, who gave up sugar for 40 days and went through the whole gamut of withdrawal. After the 40 days, Andrew had overcome the worst, and had probably reversed some of his altered dopamine signalling, she wrote.

"I remember eating my first sweet and thinking it was too sweet. I had to rebuild my tolerance," he said, after the sugar-free period.

Or just leave the tolerance levels low and enjoy that little hit that little bit more.

 – SMH


Healthy Eating: New Eating Disorder?

Healthy Eating: New Eating Disorder?

If you follow a raw food or paleo diet, you may be at risk for a new eating disorder called orthorexia nervosa, which is described as an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy.

The term orthorexia nervosa was conceived by holistic doctor Steven Bratman in 1996, when he was a cook and an organic farmer in a commune. Bratman, who suffered from the disorder himself, noted that the obsession often begins with a person's genuine desire to improve their health.

However, as a result of the self-discipline required to stick to the strict regimen of a very restrictive diet, a person can become obsessed with the diet's requirements and the negative consequences of eating a banned food. The diet gradually takes over a large portion of the person's day.

"For people with orthorexia, eating healthily has become an obsessive, painful, psychologically limiting and sometimes even physically dangerous disorder, reminiscent of but quite distinct from anorexia," Dr. Bratman wrote on the website "In rare cases, the fixation can lead to death."

Orthorexia has many similarities to the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. Like anorexia and bulimia, orthorexia nervosa occupies a major part of a sufferer's life.

But while anorexia and bulimia focus on the amount of food eaten, orthorexia focuses on the quality.

Although both anorexia and bulimia are recognized as clinical diagnoses by the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), orthorexia nervosa is not.

Dr. Bratman developed a test for orthorexia. Questions include: Do you feel guilty when you stray from your diet? And does your diet make it difficult for you to eat out, distancing you from family and friends? (Go here to take the test.)

© 2015 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

What’s more natural: Paleo diets or GMOs?

What’s more natural: Paleo diets or GMOs?

Michael Shermer | April 13, 2015 | Scientific American

The see-food diet was the first so-called Paleo diet, not today’s popular fad, premised on the false idea that there is a single set of natural foods—and a correct ratio of them—that our Paleolithic ancestors ate. Anthropologists have documented a wide variety of foods consumed by traditional peoples, from the Masai diet of mostly meat, milk and blood to New Guineans’ fare of yams, taro and sago. As for food ratios, according to a 2000 study entitled “Plant-Animal Subsistence Ratios and Macronutrient Energy Estimations in Worldwide Hunter-Gatherer Diets,” published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the range for carbohydrates is 22 to 40 percent, for protein 19 to 56 percent, and for fat 23 to 58 percent.

And what constitutes “natural” anyway? Humans have been genetically modifying foods through selective breeding for more than 10,000 years. Were it not for these original genetically modified organisms—and today’s more engineered GMOs designed for resistance to pathogens and herbicides and for better nutrient profiles—the planet could sustain only a tiny fraction of its current population. Golden rice, for example, was modified to enhance vitamin A levels, in part, to help Third World children with nutritional deficiencies that have caused millions to go blind. As for health and safety concerns, according to A Decade of EU-Funded GMO Research, a 2010 report published by the European Commission:

The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.

Read full, original article: Are Paleo Diets More Natural Than GMOs?

Or search for stories from our dozens of authors like Jon Entine.

Hungry Girl: Behind the Paleo Diet Trend

Hungry Girl: Behind the Paleo Diet Trend

// at

Nicole S. Young/Getty; Inset: Courtesy Lisa Lillien

Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of nine books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.

With so many diet trends swirling around us at all times, it’s hard to get a grasp on which are good ideas and which are just flash-in-the-pan fads. Today, I’m breaking down another trendy eating plan: The Paleo diet.

What does “Paleo” even mean?

Paleo refers to Paleolithic, a.k.a. Early Stone Age. Bottom line? On this diet, you’re supposed to eat like a caveman.

So, do I have to cook everything over a fire? Can I only eat things that I grow or catch?!

Slow down there: think food groups that cavemen (and women) would eat. Grass-fed meats, fish, seafood, fruits, veggies, eggs, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils (like olive and coconut) are all okay. On the no-no list? Cereal grains (wheat, oats, etc.), legumes (even peanuts), dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, processed foods, salt, and refined oils.

Is this a healthy way to eat?

Yes and no. Cutting out processed foods? Good for you. Cutting refined sugar and salt? If you can do it, sure. But completely nixing grains and beans? That’s where you get into murky territory. There have been plenty of arguments against the Paleo diet, from dietitians and scientists to popular food activists. Supporters of the diet claim they feel much better eating this way… but what were they eating before? If the plan gets you off a junk-filled diet, it could certainly be better than your previous way of eating.

How realistic is this plan?

Full Paleo is a bit extreme for the average Joe or Jane — any diet that hinges upon complete exclusion of major food groups is going to have that problem. Also, it can get very expensive and time consuming. It’s pretty much up to you to prepare all your food every step of the way to make sure your meals conform to the standards. Not to mention time spent shopping to stay stocked with these fresh foods. But if you’re up for the challenge, the diet is certainly doable!

Alright, so maybe Paleo Lite?

It’s okay if you want to just be inspired by the Paleo diet —  cut the junk food, skip out on refined sugars, scale back on the salt, and eliminate the bad fats. Maybe choose whole grains rather than the refined ones, and watch portion sizes on your beans, grains, and low-fat dairy products. That’s already a HUGE step in a positive direction.

‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!

Living the Paleo way

You can find burgers, fries milkshakes and other unhealthy American-style cuisine on almost every street corner– but what about trying Paleo or Paleolithic cuisine, where you eat the way early humans did? This ancient way of life has now become a popular diet.

According to, headed by Lorin Cordain, one of the world’s leading experts on Paleolithic diets and the Paleo Movement, this lifestyle is “based upon every day, modern food that mimics the food groups of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestor.”

“In the late 60s and 70s I was involved in athletics and I knew to improve my performance, nutrition mattered,” said Cordain, who was introduced to the Paleo Diet concept in the late 80s after reading Boyd Eaton’s Paleolithic Nutrition.

Cordain is now the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and over six books about the Paleo diet, including the bestselling The Paleo Diet.

The diet consists of a high intake of protein, fiber, healthy fats, potassium and vitamins and minerals with low carbohydrate and sodium intake.

“You can call it pizza, ice cream, microwaved meals or whatever, it’s all processed food. If you notice, almost all grocery stores are set up the same way. The fresh produce is on the perimeter and in the aisles is where the packaged, junk food is found. We have to stay on the outside more often,” mentioned Cordain.

The diet excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.

For those in Indianapolis who may be new to the Paleo lifestyle, but aren’t too savvy in the kitchen, a delivery service is now available.

Artie Stevens and his wife Erica began the Paleo lifestyle after their exercise facility, CrossFit NapTown challenged attendees to live the Paleo lifestyle for one month, and they love a good challenge.

“We cleaned out our kitchen of all the junk and went grocery shopping for fresh items,” said Artie.

After coming back from their honeymoon in March 2012, Artie and Erica kicked around the idea of a Paleo food delivery service and after hearing of the success from others in different cities, Artie’s Paleo OnTheGo was born.

Meals are $13 each and can be picked up at more than 30 locations in the city. Customers pre-order their weekly meals online.

“My goal is to provide a healthy meal at a reasonable price. The truth is that while Paleo is mainly seen in the CrossFit family it would be beneficial to anyone trying to better their quality of life,” said Artie, who has more than 16 years of experience as a professional chef.

Each week the couple and other family members evaluate dishes that have been in high demand. About 60 dishes rotate and include a beef, pork, chicken and seafood option along with mixed vegetables and a sauce. One of their most popular dishes is the honey vanilla sweet potatoes.

The delivery service is starting a campaign to open a restaurant in CrossFit NapTown’s new facility located at 922 N. Capitol Ave.

For more information on the Paleo Diet, visit For more information on Artie’s Paleo OnTheGo, visit


Why eating well may be the new eating disorder

Raw food and paleo dieters ‘at risk of a dangerous obsession with nutrition’

  • Orthorexia nervosa is the term coined for the ‘health food eating disorder’
  • Sufferers may be ‘plunged into gloom’ by eating a piece of bread
  • They may become anxious about when their next superfood hit is coming
  • Exaggerated focus on food can be seen in raw, clean and paleo dieters


Rebecca Reynolds For The Conversation

Orthorexia nervosa, the ‘health food eating disorder’, gets its name from the Greek word ortho, meaning straight, proper or correct.

This exaggerated focus on food can be seen today in some people who follow lifestyle movements such as ‘raw’, ‘clean’ and ‘paleo’.

American doctor Steven Bratman coined the term ‘orthorexia nervosa’ in 1997 some time after his experience in a commune in upstate New York.

It was there he developed an unhealthy obsession with eating ‘proper’ food.

 Sufferers of orthorexia nervosa, the ‘health food eating disorder’, may be ‘plunged into gloom’ by eating a piece of bread, or become anxious about when their next hit of kale, chia or quinoa is coming

‘All I could think about was food,’ he said. ‘But even when I became aware that my scrabbling in the dirt after raw vegetables and wild plants had become an obsession, I found it terribly difficult to free myself.

‘I had been seduced by righteous eating.’

Bratman’s description draws parallels with many modern dietary fads that promise superior health by restricting whole food groups without a medical reason or even a valid scientific explanation.

Raw food followers might meet regularly to ‘align their bodies, minds and souls’ by feasting on ‘cleansing and immune-boosting’ raw foods.

Such foods are never heated above 44˚C, so ‘all the living enzymes in the food remain intact’. No gluten, dairy or ‘sugar’ is allowed.

Clean eaters may follow similar regimes, removing gluten, dairy and even meat from their diets.

You might overhear a discussion about ‘superfood green smoothie’ recipes after a yoga class that also happened to ‘cleanse your gall bladder’.

And finally, around the corner, paleo pushers may ‘beef up’ together with a Crossfit class, followed by a few steaks.

Again, with paleo, there is no gluten – or any grains for that matter – and no dairy or other such ‘toxins’ are allowed.

There is a blurry line separating ‘normal’ healthy eating and orthorexia nervosa, but one way to define the condition is when eating ‘healthily’ causes significant distress or negative consequences in a person’s life.

 This exaggerated focus on food can be seen today in some people who follow lifestyle movements such as ‘raw’, ‘clean’ and ‘paleo’

They may be ‘plunged into gloom’ by eating a piece of bread, become anxious about when their next kale, chia or quinoa hit is coming, or eat only at home where ‘superfood’ intake can be tightly controlled.

Such behaviours can have a significant impact on relationships with family members and friends, let alone on their mental health.

Orthorexia nervosa is not a clinically recognised eating disorder but researchers have developed and tested questionnaires in various populations to get an idea of its prevalence.

Italian researchers developed the ORTO-15 questionnaire in 2005, with a cut-off score below 40 to signify orthorexia nervosa.

Scores above 40 can still signify a tendency to pathological eating behaviours and/or obsessive-phobic personality traits.

Questions include: ‘Does the thought about food worry you for more than three hours a day?’ and ‘Do you feel guilty when transgressing your healthy eating rules?’

Using this questionnaire and cut-off value of 40, another Italian research group reported a prevalence of orthorexia nervosa of 57.6 per cent, with a female-male ratio of two-to-one.

However, using a cut-off value of 35, the prevalence reduced to 21 per cent.

Most studies have been conducted in population sub-groups that may be at increased risk for orthorexia nervosa, such as health professionals.

Again using the ORTO-15 and a cut-off value of 40, the prevalence of orthorexia nervosa in Turkish medical doctors was 45.5 per cent, in Turkish performance artists it was 56.4 per cent (81.8 per cent in opera singers to 32.1 per cent in ballet dancers) and in ashtanga yoga teachers in Spain, 86.0 per cent.

Using another questionnaire, the Bratman Test, 12.8 per cent of Austrian dietitians were classified as having orthorexia.

You can test your own tendencies towards orthorexia nervosa using this Bratman test here and access support services via the National Eating Disorder Collaboration page and Body Matters Australasia.

Orthorexia nervosa is not listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), which psychologists and psychiatrists use to diagnose mental disorders.

The DSM-5 currently lists anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, ‘other specified feeding or eating disorder’ and ‘unspecified feeding or eating disorder’.

 The paleo diet eliminates any processed foods, dairy, grains and sugars instead focussing on protein, fibre and vegetables

Some clinicians argue orthorexia nervosa should be recognised as a separate eating disorder and have proposed clinical DSM diagnostic criteria.

They note distinct pathological behaviours with orthorexia nervosa, including a motivation for feelings of perfection or purity rather than weight loss, as they see with anorexia and bulimia.

Others disagree and argue that it falls in current eating disorder or other mental disorder categories.

As Bratman explained in 2010: ‘At times (but not at all times) orthorexia seems to have elements of obsessive compulsive disorder.

‘It may also have elements of standard anorexia. But it is often not very much like typical OCD or typical anorexia.’

It’s clear that more research is needed on orthorexia nervosa, including its diagnosis and potential DSM listing as an independent eating disorder.

It’s also important to consider that people can move between mental disorder classifications.

Sometimes labels may not be as important as providing solutions to patients with disordered eating, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy.

As a nutritionist and a recovered sufferer of bulimia, I leave you with some advice: ‘Don’t trust all-devoted kale consumers, including health professionals and celebrities, if their advice isn’t based on scientific evidence.’

Don’t make food the most important focus of your life.

As Bratman says: ‘Rather than eat my sprouts (or kale) alone, it would be better for me to share a pizza with some friends.’

Try to be a balanced food consumer with a ‘mostly and sometimes’ mantra.

Read more:

Make (Healthy) Fudge Magic with Two-Ingredient Paleo Fudge

Have you ever felt like skipping dinner and digging into a vat of double-chocolate ice cream, a pile of candy, or a bottomless bowl of cookies, and planting yourself on the sofa? Of course you have! Truth is, from time to time, we all have cravings for the sweet stuff. It’s how we handle those cravings that matters, so the next time the Chocolate Monster bubbles up inside, be armed with a batch of this silky smooth, indulgent tasting healthier version of everyone’s favorite treat – fudge! With only two ingredients and a few minutes, you can have your new favorite dessert ready. Sofa time is optional.

Make (Healthy) Fudge Magic with 2-Ingredient Paleo Fudge

Gigi Stewart
  • Active Time

    15 min.

  • Total Time

    1 hr. 45 min. 1 hr. 30 min. for chilling the fudge.


  • coconut milk
  • dark chocolate (I use sugar-free, raw chocolate), chopped


  1. Prepare an 8×8-inch square baking dish by lining it with foil, leaving a bit of overlap at the top edges. This will allow you to easily lift out the fudge block later for slicing.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate and coconut cream over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth. Do not boil or overheat, only heat until the chocolate is just melted.
  3. Spoon the mixture into your foil-lined pan and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  4. Then, chill the fudge in the fridge 1 hour. Transfer to the freezer until firm (about 1 hour).
  5. The stages of chilling really contribute to a smoother finished product and it’s totally worth it for making the silkiest fudge. (You can go straight to the freezer with it if you like, but I really recommend the staged chilling.)
  6. Once the fudge is set, remove it from the freezer, then lift the foil up to remove the fudge from the pan.
  7. Pull back the foil edges, then slice fudge block into small squares (it is very rich, so I recommend no larger than 1×1-inch squares).
  8. Transfer squares to a freezer-safe container, separating layers with wax paper.
  9. Store in the freezer, and remove a few minutes prior to enjoying so the fudge softens just a bit. It will melt rather quickly, so freezer storage is essential.

About the Author

Gigi Stewart, M.A., Founder & CEO, Gluten Free Gigi, LLC, is a former neuroscience researcher and the author of The Gluten-Free Solution: Your Ultimate Guide to Positive Gluten-Free Living, creator of the popular website, and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Food Solutions magazine. Follow Gigi on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.


Can Paleo dieters eat chocolate? Easter eating explained |

Can Paleo dieters eat chocolate? Easter eating explained

Andy Zakeli

Feel the guilt but eat the chocolate anyway. You know you want to.

Did Palaeolithic people invent the Easter egg hunt?

New research shows the closure of supermarket chain Countdown for Cavemen, approximately 10,000 years ago, may have forced the hunter-gatherer civilisation to put down its activated kale smoothie and forage for actual food – including the eggs of ancestral chickens.

None of the above is true. But today, three months after your New Year’s resolution to go Paleo, follow the 5:2 diet or seriously do the Dukan, you may be wondering: Can I eat Easter eggs?

Bad news from the country’s hottest exponent of Paleo, the eating plan that focuses on the unprocessed foods consumed by cave dwellers. Arthur Green (better known as The Bachelor NZ) insists, "on a strict paleo diet, you can’t eat regular chocolate".

Your bedroom eyes are wasted on The Bachelor, he ain’t sharing that chocolate.

However Green, who co-owns the company Clean Paleo, says, "you can eat Paleo chocolate which is usually sweetened with dates or honey and tastes just as good".

And, in a shock revelation, The Bachelor says he will be eating dark chocolate this Easter.

"As I don’t let my lifestyle get in the way of enjoying chocolate."

While yet to appear twice a week on primetime television, the country’s hottest 5:2 diet follower, Sunday Star-Times columnist and music writer Grant Smithies, said he wouldn’t be fasting today.

"You can shift your days so you can pig out vigorously."

Smithies has lost 15kg on the diet that requires minimal calorie intake on two days every week. One of its toughest aspects, he says, has been limiting alcohol on fasting days.

"I’ve developed a reasonably punishing enthusiasm for craft beer and a decent beer is your day’s calorie intake in one go. You’d want to say no to the communion wine, I reckon, and not just because it’s the actual blood of Christ."

This 5:2 dieter is happier with buns than eggs.

Smithies, who describes himself as an "enthusiastic atheist" said he enjoyed the way Easter traditions like rabbits and eggs, had been borrowed from earlier pagan springtime rites. While he wasn’t a big fan of chocolate eggs, Smithies said he would be leaving room for hot cross buns from Nelson bakery Tozzetti.

"You have to virtually buy them on HP [hire purchase] because they’re so expensive. But they’re really dense and really great."

While Easter eggs have been stores for weeks now, Easter Sunday is, traditionally, the day of consumption. But what if you are following a food fad? Herewith, an unscientific guide to what you can (and can’t) eat.


The clue is in the name. This seven-day programme requires the dieter to consume vast amounts of cabbage, a brassica best known for inducing flatulence. Ground activated charcoal inhibits fart production, but so far, is not commercially available in Easter egg form. Look, instead, for products containing fennel seed or ginger.

Recommended: Molly Whoppy’s Nice n’ Iced Easter gingerbread shapes. (Includes two bunnies and three eggs).


Based on ancestral foods consumed during the Palaeolithic era, a period that wound up when humans figured farming was easier than foraging. In his new book celebrity paleo-chef, Pete Evans recommends pasture-raised, free-range, organic biodynamic eggs. He says they’re "particularly great" for breakfast. He also thinks it’s ok to feed babies a DIY "milk" formula made from liver and bones. Proceed with caution.

You know he’s day dreaming about Easter Eggs. Go on Pete, have one…just one

Recommended: First, purchase your ancestral chicken. (Brown shaver hens approximately $13 this week on Trade Me).


Aka intermittent fasting. This diet imposes severe calorie restrictions – 2100kj for women – on two out of every seven days. You can eat absolutely anything you like for the other five days. Catholics should note the blood and flesh of Christ has been measured by some calorie counting websites at approximately 29 kilojoules.

Recommended: Two Cadbury crème eggs and one large head of cauliflower (1436kj for the chocolate; 664kj for the cauli; adjust according to gender and religious beliefs).


Lauded by the eco-conscious who eschew food with food miles in favour of that produced within a pre-determined radius – commonly, 100 miles – of their home. New Zealand is geographically small, so we get a bit of scope, but not enough to take advantage of the marmite or pot noodle flavoured Easter eggs British press trumpeted in January.

Recommended: Devonport Chocolate’s white chocolate fried eggs or Easter bunny lollypops. (Obviously, some consumers will have to move to Devonport. New QV figures put the median house price in the suburb at $1.3).


Want the body of a Greek god? (Or just that of a Greek?) Think plants, olive oil, limited red meat and plenty of fish and poultry. This is the diet based on the foods most consumed by healthy-hearted Mediterraneans. Nuts, eggs and chocolate containing more than 50% cocoa are all permitted.

Recommended: The Central Otago Pinot Noir Wine Story by the Seriously Good Chocolate Company. (Technically, nothing to do with Easter, but there’s wine and there’s chocolate. Suck it up).


What you eat on the high-protein Dukan Diet depends on which of its four phases – attack, cruise, consolidate or stabilise – you’re enduring. In attack mode, for example, you must eat from a pre-approved list of 68 things that used to have a heart.

Recommended: Slow-braised wild rabbit stew, topped with flaky pastry, served with a wide of roasted vegetables, $26 at the Darfield Hotel’s Backcountry Kitchen. (Easter: it’s ok to be a bunny boiler).

 – Stuff

Why you have been doing your paleo diet wrong

Fish was only source for ancient skeleton

  • 6 hours ago
    April 03, 2015

If you’re bored of your paleo diet, maybe it’s time to take inspiration from Kennewick Man.
Source: Getty Images

SCIENTISTS have discovered a new sub-paleo diet, with the analysis of a 9000-year-old skeleton showing his diet was likely to have been predominantly fish.

Geochemist and professor at McMaster University in Ontario, Henry Schwarcz, said he had been analysing the mysterious Kennewick skeleton found near the area in Washington state in 1996.

While analysing isotopes in bones to identify his paleo diet, Mr Schwarcz was amazed at the level of collagen found.

“This guy was apparently living on a diet almost exclusively of marine foods; foods that come from the ocean,” Schwarcz told ABC News.

Mr Schwarcz was surprised by this finding as the skeleton was 600 kilometres inland along the Columbia River.

It was suggested the man wasn’t hunting the terrestrial wildlife that roam nearby fields.

Instead, Mr Schwarcz said he would have likely been indulging on salmon swimming upstream.

“He was choosing not to eat that wildlife,” Schwarcz said.

The geochemist said the occurrence was rare and suggested the man may have “had a prejudice against eating footed creatures”.

Mr Schwarcz said the skeleton appeared to have different ethnicity to other indigenous people and he believed the remains were 9000 years old.

Anthropologist at Georgia State University Ken Sayers said there is little evidence to suggest early humans subsisted on a specialised diet.

“Whatever angle you chose to look at the diets of our early ancestors, it’s hard to pinpoint any one particular feeding strategy,” he told ABC News.

The Paleo diet

Science Behind Footballers’ Approach to Diets

Cristiano Ronaldo's Carb-Based Diet vs. Tim Howard's Fat-Based Paleo Diet


, Featured Columnist

Apr 3, 2015


Can the world of sports nutrition offer the perfect diet for a professional footballer—an optimal nutritional protocol that can fuel peak human performance for 90 minutes or a meal plan that serves as a dietary blueprint for footballing success?

As you can imagine, the answer is a little complicated, and it is perhaps made even more so by the questionable food endorsements many of the world’s best sports personalities add to their sponsorship repertoire.

But in an attempt to sift through the nutritional minefield that is the diet industry, here we explore a brief snippet of the science while putting the fridges of Cristiano Ronaldo and Tim Howard under the microscope to see how their differing food choices will have a contrasting impact on their bodies.

First things first, contrary to popular belief—and despite what diet "gurus" may tell you—there is no perfect diet plan. It is a mythical scripture, and anyone who tells you that there is a "perfect diet" is lying. How can one diet optimally cater for everyone's needs? It simply can’t.

A one-size-fits-all diet is a diet that helps no one. There are far too many variables and genetic differences to take into account. Height, weight, medical history, ancestry and physical activity are just some of the easier ones determine.

Throw the relatively new field of research they call “nutrigenomics” into the mix—the study of how our genes interact with our nutrition—and consider that can of worms opened. The reality is every person processes and assimilates nutrients differently.

If we’re to believe statistics from the Mirrordetailing the height of Premier League players, 6'6" Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker will, of course, require a completely different meal plan to Everton’s on-loan 5'5" winger Aaron Lennon.

This isn’t science—it’s just common sense.

So why do the diets of Ronaldo and Howard differ so much? Also, despite being completely different, why have they still produced world-class athletes? To understand this, we first need to understand two different schools of thought surrounding the body’s primary source of energy.

Traditionally, it was believed that a footballer’s best dietary friend was carbohydrates. This is because carbohydrates are easily stored in the body as muscle glycogen and can be readily used for energy. This is why—again, traditionally—endurance athletes, such as those in the Tour de France, would be seen chowing down on carbohydrate-dense foods at every opportunity.

BAS CZERWINSKI/Associated Press

It’s all based on research published in the European Journal of Physiology in 1998, which found the demands of intense cycling training were so high that the scientists behind the study recommended ingesting carbohydrates mid-training. It is an idea supported by scientists at Loughborough University, who wanted to quantify the difference carbohydrate intake makes to a runner’s performance.

After collecting data from seven days of training—experimenting with high- and low-carbohydrate nutrition protocols—they found 30 kilometre treadmill time trials were 10 per cent quicker on high-carbohydrate days. The research concluded: “Performance time for a 30 kilometre road race is improved after ingesting a five per cent carbohydratesolution.”

All of this, it seems, Ronaldo knows. Coming from the paradisiacal island of Madeira, Portugal, his diet was always rich in carbohydrate-heavy fruit. What’s more, according to the website Esportes (Portuguese), his favourite dish is Bacalhau a Bras—a famous Portuguese recipe that consists of salt cod, eggs and lots of potatoes.

In summary, it’s fair to say Ronaldo adheres to the tried and tested method of carb-loading.

But one man who doesn’t share his approach is USA international Howard. According to the website of health and fitness magazine Shape, “He’s adhered to a strict paleo diet for over a year.” This means he tries to eat like our Palaeolithic ancestors did on a diet that’s high in protein and fat, but he places much less emphasis on carbohydrates.

Why? Well, it’s believed—through research in the fields of biology, biochemistry and ophthalmology—that this is the healthiest way for us humans to eat since our biology hasn’t changed for thousands of years, yet our diets have. The result is—again, in theory—our modern diets that are full of refined foods, trans fatty acids and sugar are the cause of many degenerative diseases.

This, of course, goes against the more commonly used carb-loading protocol adopted by footballers such as Ronaldo, but is there any science to support it? Although our understanding of high-fat—keto—diets is still evolving, amazingly it seems there is. Take ultra-marathon runner Timothy Olson as an example.

In 2011, he came sixth in the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run fuelled on a high-carbohydrate diet. The problem was, he was plagued with stomach cramps, which led to 20 "bathroom" breaks in the latter stages of the race, as told to Jimmy Moore on the Livin' La Vida Low-Carb podcast. Now, it must be pointed out, Olson may have been suffering from a gluten intolerance, therefore carbohydrates should definitely not be vilified in this situation.

But, amazingly, this led him to cut out wheat and most carbohydrates in favour of a high-fat diet. When the Western States 100 rolled around in June 2012, Olson was ready to take on this challenge of running such a long race fuelled mainly by fat. The result? A victory in record time (21 minutes faster than the previous course best).

So which one is better? Ronaldo’s carb-rich Portuguese recipes or Howard’s high-fat Paleo alternative? The answer: it depends on the situation.

Research published by Nutrition Focus New Zealand Limited found, "The number of gruelling events that challenge the limits of human endurance is increasing. Such events are also challenging the limits of current dietary recommendations."

Scientists concluded that although carb-loading has been favoured for years, "There are some situations for which alternative dietary options are beneficial."

One of these circumstances is perhaps best described in the nutritional journal entitled, “Human Muscle Fatigue: Physiological Mechanisms.” Sports scientists stated the energy needed to sustain exercise for a long period of time comes from the oxidisation of two fuels: glucose—carbohydrates—and long-chain fatty acids.

Interestingly, they observed the latter is a more sustainable fuel source and provides the “largest energy reserve in the body” that can provide enough energy to last about five days. What this means is fuelling a footballer for 90 minutes on fat should be easy. In contrast, muscle glycogen reserves—carbohydrates stored in the body—are limited and, at most, could provide energy to sustain 100 minutes of exercise.

Granted, this is an extreme example, but for those who aren’t aware of what happens to the body when completely depleted of carbohydrates and muscle glycogen, take a look at this video of the 1997 Ironman World Championship featuring Sian Welch and Wendy Ingraham. It’s aptly titled “The Crawl,” and you’ll see why.

Something researchers from the Centre for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado agreed with, claiming, “Glycogen storage capacity in man is approximately 15 g/kg body weight.” This means a smaller player such sa Lionel Messi—who, according to ESPN, weighs 67 kilograms—would only be able to store 1,005 grams of carbohydrates at the very most; he could rapidly burn through that amount during a fast-paced 90 minute match that heads into extra time.

So, to come back to my original question, is there a perfect diet for footballers? The answer is yes; you just have to personally find it and decide whether it’s to be based on carbohydrates or fat.

I’d Rather Be with My Dog Rolls Out Paleo Dog Treats

Doug Ratner has parlayed his Longmeadow, Mass.-based I’d Rather Be with My Dog dog-themed apparel and accessories brand for dog lovers into a like-named line of paleo dog treats.

The new treat line follows the paleo diet, which is all about eating the kind of natural foods likely eaten by humans and animals prior to the advent of agriculture and domesticated animals.

The U.S.-made treats are free of gluten, soy and dairy.

The line includes Duck; Salmon; Venison; Joint Health; Digestive Health; Skin and Coat Health; Lamb, Beef, Pork; Chicken, Turkey, Duck; Salmon, Whitefish, Tuna; Turkey and Pumpkin Trainers; Lamb and Sweet Potato Trainers; Chicken Chia Trainers; Beef, Bacon, Eggs Trainers; and Treat Sampler.The new treats will be the first Paleo dog treats on the market and are available for purchase directly from for a limited time, before expanding to pet stores across the country, and 10 percent of all sales go to the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, a nonprofit guide dog school in Bloomfield, Conn.

Unsafe food is ‘growing global threat’, says WHO

Unsafe food is 'growing global threat', says WHO

By Smitha Mundasad
Health reporter, BBC News
  • 9 hours ago
  • From the section Health

Eating food contaminated with bugs leads to more than half a billion cases of illness a year, the World Health Organization warns.

It says this "global threat" contributed to 351,000 deaths in 2010.

Unsafe foods, for example undercooked meat, can cause 200 problems – from diarrhoea to cancer.

But changes in food production mean there are more opportunities for meals to harbour harmful bugs or chemicals, experts say.

A local food problem can quickly turn into an international emergency

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO

Culinary caution

Unsafe foodstuffs can contain many types of harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals.

Examples include undercooked meat, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces and shellfish containing marine toxins.

But the WHO says investigating these outbreaks has become increasingly challenging as single plates of food often have ingredients from many countries.

In its first WHO report on this issue, its director-general Dr Margaret Chan warns: "A local food problem can quickly turn into an international emergency.

"Food production has been industrialised, and its trade and distribution have been globalised.

"These changes introduce multiple opportunities for food to become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals."

The analysis, which pulls together scientific literature from across the globe, shows:

  • Most deaths are caused by pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli and norovirus
  • The majority of lives lost are in Africa and South East Asia
  • 40% of the deaths are among the under-5s, the most vulnerable group

Raw hazards

Experts say illnesses caused by food also carry major economic risks.

They estimate the E. coli outbreak in Germany in 2011 cost about US$1.3bn (£876m) in losses for farmers and industries.

WHO leaders are calling on governments to urgently strengthen food safety systems.

On April 7, the WHO launches its food safety campaign, From Farm to Plate.

It aims to prompt the public and governments to consider where individual ingredients in meals come from and question whether these are properly and safely handled at every stage.

How to be food-safe:

  • Wash hands, surfaces and equipment before preparing food
  • Separate raw and cooked food – use separate utensils for handling raw foods
  • Safe temperatures – do not keep cooked food at room temperature for more than two hours. Keep food piping hot (above 60C) before serving
  • Use safe water to wash raw fruit and vegetables

Source: WHO

2-Ingredient Paleo Fudge Recipe

2-Ingredient Paleo Fudge Recipe

By glutenfreegigi on January 16, 2015
Featured Member Post

It's mid-January, time to make sure you're set for a healthy, happy New Year! But that doesn't mean a year of deprivation and avoiding the foods you love. When it comes to your sweet tooth, you can definitely say "yes!" with recipes like this healthy 2-Ingredient Paleo Fudge!

By simply combining two basic ingredients, you can have a batch of fudge on hand that will satisfy your chocolate cravings any time, and you will still stay right on track with your healthy eating plan.

Don't forget to check out my other healthy recipes at, too!

2-Ingredient Paleo Fudge

This recipe is free from: gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts (coconut is not a tree nut, by the way—read more here), all grains, sugar, eggs.


  • 1 can Trader Joe's Coconut Cream (This is canned coconut milk, and it is extra thick and creamy, with 16 grams of fat per serving. Look for this product, or for another canned coconut milk product with an equal amount of fat per serving to achieve the best results. This is not sugar-added coconut cream—it is a four-ingredient coconut milk in a can.)
  • 16 ounces (about 2 cups, chopped or morsels) dark chocolate (I use raw dark chocolate like Santosha chocolate which has no added sugar or allergens. Use your favorite dark chocolate.)


  1. Prepare an 8×8-inch square baking dish by lining it with foil, leaving a bit of overlap at the top edges. This will allow you to easily lift out the fudge block later for slicing.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate and coconut cream over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth. Do not boil or overheat; only heat until the chocolate is just melted.
  3. Spoon the mixture into your foil-lined pan and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  4. Then, chill the fudge in the fridge 1 hour. Transfer to the freezer until firm (about 1 hour).
  5. The stages of chilling really contribute to a smoother finished product, and it's totally worth taking the time for the silkiest fudge. (You can go straight to the freezer with it if you like, but I really recommend the staged chilling.)
  6. Once the fudge is set, remove it from the freezer, then lift the foil up to remove the fudge from the pan.
  7. Pull back the foil edges, then slice fudge block into small squares (it is very rich, so I recommend no larger than 1×1-inch squares).
  8. Transfer squares to a freezer-safe container, separating layers with wax paper.
  9. Store in the freezer, and remove a few minutes prior to enjoying so the fudge softens just a bit.
  10. It will melt rather quickly, so freezer storage is essential.

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Here’s Why You May Not Be Losing Weight On The Paleo Diet

Here's Why You May Not Be Losing Weight On The Paleo Diet

If you've paid attention to weight loss trends or even just the Internet over the past few years, you've probably heard of the Paleo diet. Heavy on meat and vegetables and low on carbs, Paleo claims to promote weight loss and prevent disease. Although it hasn't been around long enough for researchers to find out how it does on the disease front, some people report not losing weight on the Paleo diet.

So what's going on?

First, let's get some Paleo basics down. The word comes from the Paleolithic period, which was over 10,000 years ago — otherwise known of the age of the caveman. The idea, according to U.S. News, is that “if the caveman didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either.”

Popularized by Dr. Loren Cordain, who wrote The Paleo Diet in 2002, Paleo aims to get rid of all things processed including grains, dairy, legumes and refined sugar. The only items on the menu are foods that can be "hunted and gathered" like meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables.

Getting rid of processed foods and bringing more vegetables into our diet is great for weight loss and disease prevention. But nutritionist Julie Upton, who works with CrossFit athletes who follow Paleo said that many Paleo dieters don't pay much attention to vegetables.

"Quite a few CrossFit athletes I know gain weight — and not muscle mass! — when they switched to Paleo because they snack on a lot of nuts, avocados and oils and eat gobs of protein and not enough veggies," she explained. "They miss the point that you're supposed to eat a lot of vegetables and some fruit while following Paleo."

Another potential pitfall with Paleo is calories. It's no secret that a huge part of weight loss has to do with caloric intake, and the Paleo diet doesn't lay down any laws when it comes to calories.

"At the end of the day, calories are the main factor for weight gain and loss," Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, told HuffPost. "If someone doesn’t lose weight on Paleo or any diet, it’s because they are eating too many calories."

Finally, many Paleo dieters are actually eating a good amount of processed foods thanks to snacks sold at grocery stores.

"Any company can make 'Paleo' snacks, even if they’re full of sugar from honey and maple or hidden garbanzo beans," Dave Asprey, author of the New York Times bestselling book The Bulletproof Diet, told The Huffington Post. "So you may think you’re on a Paleo diet when you’re not: you're eating Paleo-branded junk food."

If you do it right, Paleo can lead to weight loss. Just make sure your diet is actually high in vegetables and that you're taking calories into consideration.




Louie talks with award-winning Australian chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Pete Evans, author of THE PALEO CHEF. Evans takes a whole new approach to making gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free meals that are worthy of a restaurant but effortless to prepare. In THE PALEO CHEF, Evans provides more than 100 recipes for gorgeous food that is satisfying, distinctive, and good for you, including Kale Hummus, Vietnamese Chicken Wings, and Key Lime Tart.

Aired March 28 & 29, 2015

Paleo Myths


Over the past week or so, we have enjoyed a wonderful journey together (well, we have here at Weight Loss The Paleo Way have and we really hope you have too). We have shared a lot about Paleo food and recipes. While our major concern is to help people safely and properly switch to paleo lifestyle, we are also concerned about making them feel safe and comfortable with their decision.

Now, we know there may still be readers who are skeptical regardless of all we have said and discussed in the past few emails. And why not! With so many myths flying around, it is only human to be a little doubtful.

So, we have decided to dedicate today’s letter to the myth busting ritual. Sort of like the TV show Myth Busters, but without the cool sets or budget they have :).

For today’s ‘show”, we have selected five major myths that are completely false and unsupported and the ones we found most people have heard and/or believe to be true.

So here we go.

Myth # 1 – Paleolithic humans died before the age of 30

Ok, so first let’s remember they lived unsheltered amongst larger and wilder beasts than what we have now. WIthout any natural defenses, it’s a miracle they survived as long as they did. However, having a life expentance of only 30, well from the standpoint of health, that is not true at all. Paleolithic ancestors had almost the same natural ife expectancy as us (and that without all of the modern understanding of diease and medicine we have today).

Myth # 2 – Paleo involves eating raw meat

Wrong! Paleo involves unprocessed meat but in no way does that mean it’s completely raw off the bone meat.

Myth # 3 – Paleo is excess proteins

Given that proteins are building blocks of our body, who wouldn’t want that. Yet, a professional dietician can always help you maintain the right balance.

Myth # 4 – Paleo Lacks Calcium

What if it is a little low on dairy products? You can get enough calcium from Kale, Spinach, Salmon, Sardines, olives, dates, and nuts.

Myth # 5 – Paleo prohibits ‘pleasure’ food

Well, if you checked out the recipes books I shared, you know there are a ton of delicious desserts (like chocolate & beer for example) you can have, that are paleo friendly. Speaking of chocolate and alcohol? You will be surprised by how chocolate and beer are completely a part of paleo diet.

And that is something we plan to discuss later in one of our future emails.

So, stay tuned for more authentic and encouraging information paleo lifestyle.

Thank You as always, we appreciate you (& really support you in your pursuit of the Paleo way of Life).



Paleo: 10 things to know

10 things to know about paleo

Paleo conjures up images of meat. But it also relies heavily on vegetables, herbs and spices.

Paleo has evolved into more than just a diet, and is now considered a lifestyle by some and a movement by others.

Australian chef Pete Evans is emerging as its controversial Trans-Tasman leader, intent on changing the world one pasta-less Spaghetti and bunless Joy burger at a time.

But he's not alone. At his paleo workshops held in Auckland and Wellington over the weekend, Evans was joined on stage by a personal trainer, a naturopath, a couple of nutritionists, a chiropractor, a lifestyle educator, and one Australian Idol winner, his wife and child. All people living the paleo way of life.

The audience – from the faithful and converted to the merely curious – soaked up the day's cooking demos, presentations, and stories of personal transformation through paleo.

The elephant in the room – the recent outrage over Evans' liver and bone broth formula for infants – was only partly tackled by guest speaker Charlotte Carr, co-author of Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way. She spoke about her son's own troubles with feeding and how he started 'stimming' and showing symptoms of autism. A paediatrician advised Carr to remove any casein and gluten from his diet, but finding a baby formula with ingredients she understood was near-on impossible. That's when a naturopath put Carr onto a homemade broth and liver formula, which Carr claims turned things around.

Outside of this workshop however, baby broth has taken paleo a step too far. Sue Pollard, CEO of the NZ Nutrition Foundation, says "the idea of giving babies bone broth instead of formula is certainly something we wouldn't condone. From a food safety point of view there are all sorts of risks, and it's quite dangerous nutritionally."

As for the diet as a whole, she says eating more vegetables and cutting refined sugars and processed foods has merit, but not enough. "It's expensive, it's alternative, it's trendy – you don't need to do it to have a well-balanced diet. And I would suggest that avoiding legumes, grains and dairy is inappropriate."

"The food and nutrition guidelines developed by countries, including New Zealand, are based on the latest science. And so one of the things we would be concerned about is the complete removal of a whole food group. You'd be missing the likes of B-vitamins from grains and calcium from milk," she says.

It would also be difficult to get a high-fibre diet without grains and legumes. "They've been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. And they contribute to satiety so people don't eat too much, which helps with weight loss," says Pollard.

While that controversy continues to brew, we attempt to explain what you can and can't eat on the world's most polarising diet. From all the various experts on deck at Evans' workshop, here are 10 things that stuck out …


1. It's not too far from 'meat and three veg'… so says Evans. Meat is ideally pasture-fed and the seafood sustainable – but virtually all types of meat, poultry and fish are on the table. Meals can include as many vegetables as you want – raw or cooked. Above-ground veges are preferable to root vegetables (although potatoes seem to be quite divisive in the paleo world).

2. Remove grains and dairy: Okay, so that means no pasta or bread in the pantry. You'll have to ditch the cereal too. Grains contain phytates, which bind up minerals in food and make them difficult to absorb. They also contribute to high blood sugar, another no-no. Dairy, like grains, can cause an inflammatory response and is linked with allergies. So basically, paleo might be your friend if you're lactose or gluten-intolerant. Paleo makes a lot of use of nuts and seeds, which can be made into muesli and even bread.

3. Avoid legumes: You can also forget about beans, including soybeans, peas and lentils. Even though these are a source of protein, paleo folk say they are full of anti-nutrients, such as phytates (which impair the absorption of other nutrients found in these foods) and lectins, which might be toxic in the bloodstream. Sceptics argue that sprouting and cooking destroys lectin so it isn't an issue, and that these foods contain important nutrients we need.

Pete Evans and Luke Hines have been touring Australia and New Zealand teaching fans to cook the paleo way. Photo: Vincenzo Amato.

4. Ditch refined sugars: Eating too much sugar – especially via processed foods – can lead to weight gain and diabetes. When you're filling your body with sugar, that's the fuel your body will run on and burn, whereas the fuel your cells actually need is protein and fat, claims Dr Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind.

5. Fruit is okay on occasion: What could possibly be wrong with fruit? Just all the sugar content by way of fructose. Some paleo advocates say one to three servings of fruit a day is okay. Evans opts for the occasional green apple and antioxidant-rich berries.

6. Bone broth is a good staple: A cup of broth every day, instead of coffee, is one of the most important habits to adopt if you're going paleo, says Evans. Bone broth, or stock, contains a host of minerals and nutrients that is good for the gut, say advocates.

7. Fermented foods rule: For gut health, fermented vegetables are the tonic as they're thought to contain a heap of beneficial probiotics as well as enzymes to help break down and digest foods. Naturopath Helen Padarin claims that when you ferment a vegetable you increase its nutritional value by up to 100 times.

8. Eat unrefined fats: Avocados and olives are a great source of healthy fat, as are nuts and seeds. For cooking, coconut oil and duck fat is a better bet than less-stable modern vegetable oils such as soybean, sunflower, rice bran and canola oils, say the paleo people.

9. Eat nose to tail: If you're going to eat meat, it should be done in the most respectful way, not wasting any parts of the animal. If you cook a roast chicken, don't throw the carcass away. For broth, you can use chicken feet and necks, for example. Offal, such as liver, is also full of vitamins, minerals and amino acids and can be added to meals or made into pate. And all the fat that rises to the top of the broth or stock, while cooking, can be scraped off and used as cooking fat.

10. Don't fret about calories: In terms of portion sizes, Evans recommends a piece of meat the size of your palm with a meal. Just by eating protein and healthy fats – and avoiding sugar, gluten, dairy and grains – you shouldn't feel hungry between meals, your body will draw on fat for its energy, and weight loss should follow says Evans and his like-minded paleo faithfuls.


* Baby paleo book delayed

* Pete Evans defiant in face of cookbook criticism

* Pete Evans' paleo rant: He's a 'warrior'

* What makes Pete Evans feel good?

– Have you tried paleo? Did you feel healthier? 

 – Stuff