General Health Articles

how to lose weight on a paleo diet

I went Paleo to Lose Weight

I have to admit that I first started a Paleo diet because I thought it would help me shed the stubborn pounds I had put on during law school (there were a lot of free pizza parties and way too much drinking).

It wasn’t easy for me to lose weight (even on Paleo) because I’ve never been overweight (and so there wasn’t many lbs of fat for me to lose!). In fact, every time I tell people I’m on a diet, I always get the shocked outburst of: “but you’re so skinny, you don’t need to be on a diet!!” But like most people, I get unhappy whenever my clothes started getting tight, and I could always tell (even without a scale) when I had put on weight. The fat always piled on around my stomach first :(

Luckily, I figured out how to shed even the stubborn fat using a Paleo diet!

Of course, as the years went on, I found that Paleo was great for way more than just weight loss, but since so many people want to know the secret of losing weight, I thought I’d share my 5 tips for losing weight on a Paleo diet in this article.

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everything you need to know about the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP)
This article is a little bit more important than usual.

So it’s also a little bit longer than usual. But you should read it all. Especially if you have an autoimmune disease, and probably even if you don’t.

I get a lot of emails from readers asking about the Autoimmune Protocol (often abbreviated “AIP”) within Paleo. Questions like: “What is it?” “Is it right for me?” “How do I do it?” and “Will it help me with ______ problem?”

Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a great article or series of articles that clearly answered all of these questions. And that was a shame.

So…I decided to write this article. It’s a very thorough but easy-to-read guide to AIP, including a comprehensive, printable list of foods that are allowed or not allowed on AIP that you can have emailed to you by clicking below or at the end of the article. There’s also a handy AIP FOOD TABLE below that you can Pin, so keep reading!

What is an Autoimmune Disease?

The first time someone told me they had an autoimmune disease, I thought they meant they had AIDS (yes, I was quite clueless, despite the fact that I actually have an autoimmune disease). For the difference between Autoimmune Disease (AID) and Acquired Immune Deficiency (AIDS), check out this article.

Let me begin by explaining the basics of an autoimmune disease, because the chances are that you might have one!

Autoimmune diseases occur when your body’s own immune system starts attacking your own body’s proteins. This happens because your body thinks that those proteins are a foreign substance (e.g., a bacteria) that need to be destroyed. Unfortunately, this can end up causing widespread destruction of your own organs and cells instead.

There are a ton of different autoimmune diseases (some may not have even been identified, and many of them are obscure like the one I have). Most autoimmune diseases differ based on which proteins/cells are being attacked by your immune system.

Here are some autoimmune diseases you might have come across:

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Graves’ disease
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Lupus
  • Narcolepsy
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Mulitple Sclerosis
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa
  • Alopecia Areata
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis
  • Angioedema (what I have)

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how to cook paleoI love cooking. It keeps me healthier, it means that pretty much everything I eat is delicious, and it’s fun.

But this wasn’t always the case. I didn’t always like cooking, and, in fact, it was only a few years ago when my most common cooking experience consisted of throwing some noodles into some water. (Not exactly healthy or delicious.)

That all changed when I decided to get serious about being Paleo. It wasn’t easy at first, especially since I had a busy job. But I’ve learned a lot, and I can now say that learning to cook well is totally worth it, both in terms of health and taste.

Here are my 3 secret steps to becoming a better Paleo cook:

Click to read!

paleo gluten-free wedding planning

Weddings are Tough!

If you’ve ever planned any large party or event, then you’ll know just how tough it can be.

There are so many moving parts to organize, so many different people to please, and always some last minute glitches! So just imagine when you also have to add in Paleo/Gluten-Free/Dietary Restrictions into the mix!

From the start, Jeremy and I were worried about the food at our wedding, and we found a caterer months before we did anything else (I wrote about our wedding menu just before the wedding in this post)!

Our caterer (Joshua Charles) was fantastic, but all sorts of other food and drink issues come up nearer the time (should we serve a cake, what about desserts, what oils should the food be cooked in, was there enough variety for everyone, what party favors would our guests like, what alcohols should we serve, should we serve soda???). And this was outside of the technical issues we encountered with our RSVP website (we wanted to go high tech) or our uncertainty as to whether the taxi service would be able to drop people at the location or our last minute decision to install a dance floor into the courtyard (and yes, the police did stop by for a friendly chat with me about the noise!).

It would have been easy just to give up on my diet for one day, but this was the biggest opportunity I had for demonstrating to my closest family and friends just how fantastic Paleo food is and can make them feel! And it turned out to be not difficult at all because we paid attention to the five areas below.

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how to start paleo
Recently, I returned from Vegas to find piles of clothes strewn everywhere around my house.

For some people, this might mean that there had been a burglary.  Not for me.  This was simply how I’d left things.

Even my closet had piles of clothes on various shelves.  (And by “piles,” I don’t mean neat and folded stacks.)  So as I began unpacking my suitcase, I was initially tempted to simply dump more clothes on top of the piles already in my closet.

That’s when it dawned on me.  I was waiting for “someday” to throw away all the clothes I never wear (several still had the tags on!).

my someday failure

Are You a Someday Person?

I didn’t think I was.

While at dinner one night in Las Vegas, several of us girls discussed our husbands (always a fruitful topic!).  The conversation drifted to the topic of laundry, and one girl told us her way of ensuring that her husband never wears clothes that she hates:  “I tell him that if he ever wears it and it comes through the laundry, he will never see it again.”
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should you get the flu shot?

“I’d NEVER get the flu shot – it’s got mercury in it.”

That was my coworker’s reaction after I told her that I had just gotten my flu shot (which I had told her as a passing “I should say something to make conversation” statement.)

This definitely was not the response I was expecting, and it suddenly invoked strong feelings within me:

  • Fear. Had I just willingly allowed someone to inject mercury into my veins?
  • Anger. Why is she trying to scare me with her sensationalist claims again?
  • Quite a lot of confusion. So what is this flu shot all about anyway – does it even work?

Let’s just say that those feeling did not lead to the most productive of conversations. However, what it did leave me was a feeling that I had to get to the bottom of this.

Are flu shots dangerous or am I just defending my sense of pride for having gone and gotten a flu shot without examining all the facts? What does the flu shot protect against – did I just waste all that time for something that won’t even protect me from the flu? And should I get the flu shot in the future?
Discover the truth!

67 Proven Uses for Coconut Oil

67 proven ways to use coconut oil
You might have seen coconut oil sold many places or mentioned on websites and wondered what the heck you should be using it for.

Well, I used to think coconut oil was just for cooking until my friend pointed out that her grandmother had used it as a hair product forever. Of course, from then on, I started encountering different uses for coconut oil everywhere – I even read about it being used as a sun-burn cream in one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books (you know, the guy that wrote The Great Gatsby and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

So, to help you start using coconut oil, here are 67 of my favorite uses – and to prove I’m not making all this up, I’ve provided links to some excellent skin care recipes, food recipes, as well as scientific studies and testimonials.

Now, go get yourself a jar of coconut oil and start using it!

  1. To cook with instead of vegetable or seed oils. Coconut oil naturally has a high smoking point, is highly stable due to its high saturated fat content, and imparts very little “coconut” flavor to your foods. I use it to cook pretty much everything – check my recipes if you don’t believe me!
  2. In your coffee/tea instead of creamer. Yes – that’s right, use coconut oil, not coconut milk! In case you’re confused about this, here’s my video showing you exactly how to make it.
  3. To wash your face with instead of soap. It sounds strange, but oil washes impurities out better than soap and it doesn’t dry your skin! It takes a week to get used to it – the skin on your face is so used to being dried out by soap and facial cleansers that it’s producing extra oil to counteract it. So, it’ll take a little bit of time for your skin to stop producing all that extra oil. Be patient – it’s worth it!
  4. To brush your teeth with. Coconut oil has many antimicrobial properties which can make it good at killing off bacterial in your mouth. To make your own toothpaste, simply add 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil (melt it in the microwave very briefly so that it’s softened) to 2-3 Tablespoons of baking soda. Mix to form a paste and spread on your toothbrush. (The baking soda whitens your teeth.)
  5. Here’s my video of a coconut and olive oil blend toothpaste recipe.

  6. For oil pulling. This is similar to the previous use in that it helps with oral hygiene. Oil pulling has long been a popular practice in India and with Ayurvedic practitioners. It involves swishing oil around your mouth for 20 minutes before spitting it out. The idea behind the practice is to remove bacteria from your teeth and mouth, which can then alleviate various other illnesses (including arthritis and fatigue). This practice has enjoyed renewed attention in recent years due to Bruce Fife’s popular book, Pulling Therapy.
  7. As a body moisturizer. Our skin absorbs whatever creams we put on it (think of all the topical pain relief medications that work because it gets absorbed through our skin). So, instead of pumping random chemicals from your moisturizers into your skin, many people (including myself) choose to use coconut oil instead. I like to use it at the end of my shower so that it’s more easily absorbed and before my skin has had a chance to dry out.
  8. As a sun-screen. This is not a high SPF sunscreen, but a 2013 study found that coconut oil absorbs 20% in the UVB region (this equates to something under SPF 10 – there’s disagreement as to the exact number). So definitely use other forms of natural sun-protection when you’re out.
  9. As a hair conditioner. I started using coconut oil as a hair conditioner a while ago, coupling it with diluted apple cider vinegar as the “shampoo.” Don’t use too much and just rub it on the ends of your hair so you don’t end up with oily hair!
  10. As a supplement. It’s suggested that taking coconut oil as a supplement can help with weight loss and increase your “good” cholesterol. I think it’s just good in general – it’s not a magic pill!
  11. As a massage oil. Coconut oil doesn’t get absorbed into your skin quickly, which ensures your skin stays slippery for longer thereby making it perfect for you to enjoin a long massage!
  12. To reduce scars. I’ve never tried this myself – but some people seem to have had great success with it.
  13. To treat lice. Apply it to your hair. There have been studies showing it is effective.
  14. Read more uses

how to cook fast and easy paleo meals

When Life Gets Hectic…

If you’re like me, then there are a lot of periods of your life when things get crazy hectic, and I mean really crazy hectic!

During those periods (e.g., finals at school, when all your kids are suddenly at home during the summer, or when work is overbearing), what you eat becomes less of a concern as Everything Else takes over!

I definitely recall that when my workload at the law firm increased, my diet would take a dramatic turn for the worse (let’s not even talk about my sleep and exercise!). Suddenly, the vending machine would unceasingly call my name and every dish on every take-out menu would make my mouth water.

I thought those stressful times were over when I quit the law firm life a month ago, but then the wedding planning kicked in. I’m sure anyone who has ever planned their own wedding will sympathize with me when I say that the week leading up to the wedding was definitely a bit stressful (and that’s a huge understatement)!

And to have to cook during that week for the entire family?? Hell, NO!

Thankfully, I had a system in place already which made eating healthy and Paleo for that week a breeze, and I’m going to share with you that amazing 3-step system in this post.

And don’t worry, I’m not just giving you some general fluff advice like “remember to plan your meals in advance” – these are concrete step-by-step details!
Discover the System!

4 reasons for eating seaweed
Seaweed? I can see you closing this post already! Don’t!!

I know it’s not a common food, but it’s super healthy and really easy to prepare – I’ve got a recipe coming in a few days.

So, what’s so great about a food that has the word “weed” in it??

engagement photoI hate how some people think that Paleo is not delicious to eat.

Have you ever had people ask you: “What do you eat if you don’t eat bread?”

I get asked this a lot, and my reaction is usually a fake laugh while inside my head, I’m thinking “ARE YOU CRAZY??”

But they’re not crazy, because we’re so bombarded by the food industry with crappy food that we forget what truly good food really is. One of my first reactions to Paleo many moons ago was: “What can you eat if there’s no cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner?”

I was faced again with this issue when planning my wedding (which is this Saturday). I have 60 non-Paleo family and friends attending, and they’re probably all wondering “ARE THEY GOING TO SERVE ME JUST BACON AND SWEET POTATOES?” (That’s a pretty delicious image, but not really wedding style.)

So, I had to go in search of a caterer who would cook a scrumptiously delicious and visibly beautiful wedding meal. Many of you probably think that was seriously difficult. After all, it’s hard to even find a single Paleo restaurant to eat at!

But it was surprisingly not hard at all, and Joshua Charles is the man who is making my wedding so special. I can’t thank him and Marian enough for making our Paleo Wedding dream become reality. (His team is even going to cook EVERYTHING in olive oil, coconut oil, or butter/ghee!)

In case you don’t believe me, here is the menu and some photos from the tasting (courtesy of my good friends, Caroline and Wayne, who did the tasting in California for us while we were still in NYC).
See Wedding Menu

staring eyes - vibrams

In New York City, your goal during the day is to get from A to B without any incidents.

So one of the first things you learn is to never stare at anyone and never to make eye contact! Only tourists and seriously curious people ever deviate and make that rookie mistake.

So why am I getting stares left and right as I walk down the crowded streets of New York? Am I so ugly that I merit the attention of self-obsessed New Yorkers?
Discover why I get stared at…

The Secret of Keeping Paleo without Cheating

“I feel great when I’m Paleo, but I just can’t resist cheating sometimes.”

Does this sound like you?

Yeah, this was me not that long ago.

In this article, I’m going to show you how I managed, in 5 simple steps, to actually stop wanting to cheat!

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paleo celery - what's the difference between celery, celery heart, celery root?

Isn’t Celery Just Celery?

I was actually really lucky growing up – my mum cooked a lot, and so I got to know common fruits and vegetables (and even some exotic ones) pretty well. However, I have to admit, I was was really confused when it came to celery. I had eat celery plenty as a kid, but I had always called it “celery.” So what the heck were hearts and roots?

Discover the Differences!

are microwaves paleo
Yeah, I’m fully aware of the fact that microwaves were not around in prehistoric times. In fact, they were invented by Percy Spencer shortly afer WW2, and the first one was sold in 1947.

So, why is it ok (and in fact, really good) for us to use a microwave when our ancestors managed to live perfect fine without it?

Well, below are my 7 top reasons (I’ve tried to keep too much physics out of it, although the physics of how a microwave oven works is what will really open your eyes to just how OK using a microwave is).
Read the 7 Reasons

Paleo Celery

I am allergic to life!

I’m not kidding! I’ve suffered from various mysterious allergic reactions for most of my life.

I’ve gone to school with random swollen knee joints, swollen eyes, half a swollen lip, rashes across my hands and back, red blotches on my face and neck, etc. It kinda sounds like I was beaten up a lot, but there was no bruising, just large red swollen patches.

For decades I tried to figure out the cause.

The doctors first thought I had chillblains when I was 11 years old and my knee and elbow joints kept swelling up. My mum threw away a brand new air-freshener from my bedroom because she thought that was the cause of it.

A friend told me that I had a very dire disease because my red blotches didn’t go away when they put a glass on it (I was terrified for a week!). During my first year of college, I stopped eating mushrooms for a year because I thought I was allergic to those (I wasn’t).

And recently, I went to 3 allergy specialists in New York City and had every pinprick test possible (I tested positive for just about everything)!
Read the rest of my story

Why Sear Meat Before Cooking?

Am I lazy? Or, am I just “efficient”?

I’ve always hated doing anything that I didn’t feel was essential. In school, I wanted to do only the coursework that would most easily allow me to pass the exam. And now, when I cook, I just want the fastest and easiest way to get the tastiest food!

If you’re feeling generous, you might say I’m “results-oriented” or “efficient,” but really it’s pure laziness!

So here is what my laziness has to do with today’s article. If you’ve done much cooking, you’ve probably heard that you should sear meat before putting it into a stew. My reaction:

What? Why? It’s just going to get cooked in the stew – why do I need to waste my time searing it first?!?

Which all brings us to this question: Do you really need to sear the meat first?
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Paleo Blogs

There are soooo many Paleo blogs out there – check out the video for Paleo Living’s top 5 Paleo blogs, and then check out my gigantic list of Paleo blogs and websites here. Please let me know what I missed!

Why Aren’t Potatoes Paleo?

Paleo Potatoes

Why are Potatoes Not Paleo?   But yet, Sweet Potatoes are?

Think it’s because Potatoes aren’t as nutritious as Sweet Potatoes?  Well, then you’re in for a shock!

Think it’s because Potatoes are more toxic than Sweet Potatoes?  Well, again you’re in for a shock!

So what’s the real reason for this, and is it even a good reason?  Well, I think I’ve posed a lot of questions, and this article is going to provide some answers.

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PaleoFX 2013 Roundup

PaleoFX Austin Brisket
This post could actually be titled “BEST BRISKET IN AUSTIN”…but I thought I would save that for next year when I’ll hopefully get to drive down to Lockhart again (the brisket center of the world)!

This weekend (Thursday through Saturday) was PaleoFX in Austin, TX – a gathering of cool Paleo peeps from all walks of life and some from abroad too (I met lots of Canadians and Brits). It was also a weekend filled with lots of fun, eating, drinking, and occasional Paleo-cheats (like 2 Mac Attacks from Paleo Treats, a few scoops of Lick coconut ice-cream, and a delicious frozen banana from Bananarchy - more on these later!).

In between the bouts of eating, there were informative talks on the cutting-edge science behind Paleo, fitness training sessions by some of the best trainers around, cooking demos from fabulous Paleo bloggers and chefs, and of course lots of hugs and handshakes from old and new friends.

So who did I get to listen to, who did I get to meet, and most importantly, WHAT DID I GET TO EAT?
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Are Raisins Paleo?

I was recently asked this question on Facebook, and I thought it would be good to write a short post on it so that everyone can benefit from the knowledge.

Raisins are grapes that are often sun-dried or dehydrated. They are naturally high in sugars (33.8% fructose and 31.2% glucose according to Dr. Cordain’s data), and so they usually don’t have extra sugar added to them (like some other dried fruits).

So, are they Paleo?
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Pure Paleo Fat Loss Program

Louise Yang Ancestral Chef

Hi! I'm Louise - I am "beyond gluten-free," grain-free, paleo/primal, a lawyer, an ex-physicist, a cook, a blogger, a Brit living in the US, an ex-violin player, an occasional crossfitter, a mystery book junkie, and of course, I am the Ancestral Chef :) Read my About Me Page for more!

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