As some of you know, my current profession is in health sciences librarianship. I was drawn to this profession because I've always enjoyed research (though nutrition is definitely my passion). There is so much great information out there on proper nutrition, but it's scattered all over the place. I felt compelled to start a symposium series that spotlights a topic, rounds up all the facts from the experts, and puts it into to one convenient place.
Inspired by my hot chocolate recipe, I wanted to provide some resources on the benefits of grass-fed butter. I realize that some people think it is absolutely crazy to put two tablespoons of butter in your coffee/tea/hot chocolate. Here is why it's not:
Here are some more great articles on grass-fed butter:
Why Butter Is Good For You by Dave Asprey (Bulletproof)
A simple and to-the-point infographic from the Bulletproof Blog.
Splendor From the Grass by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig (Weston A. Price Foundation)
A really comprehensive and well-researched article not just on the benefits of grass-fed butter, but also why the source is so important to our health and environment.
Is All Butter Created Equal? by Mark Sisson
Grass-fed and grain-fed go head-to-head. Can you guess who the winner is?
For a Healthy Heart, Stick to Butter by Chris Kresser
Chris goes through the research and explains which fats are actually heart-healthy.
Why Butter Is Better by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig (Weston A. Price Foundation)
Butter does not cause health problems and disease; quite the opposite in fact.
Why Grass-Fed Butter is Good For You by Kris Gunnars (Authority Nutrition)
A reminder as to why saturated fat isn't bad, and how all the nutrients in butter can support your health.
BONUS! Ghee: What Is This Healthy Fat by Steph Gaudreau (Stupid Easy Paleo)
Can't do dairy? You might still be able to get all the nutritious benefits of grass-fed butter by consuming ghee!
And be sure to check out my Nutritional Therapy Symposium post on fats!
Did I miss something? Do you have another great article to add? Comment below!
Has this dark, cold, and dreary weather got you down? Sometimes we just need to treat ourselves, and this hot cocoa will certainly lift your spirits!
I'm also less active in these winter months (as an introvert, I want to be as far away from any gyms or studios during the month of January as possible), so I have increased the amount of fat in my diet and lowered the amount of carbohydrates to compensate for this. I have found that this is what works best for my body, and fat-fueled drinks like this are a great way to maintain my metabolism without the sugar spikes and crashes.
This is also a great way to get some grass-fed collagen in. The benefits of grass-fed collagen are numerous and have been written about more than enough times (here, here, and here, just to name a few), but I will say that it has helped heal my gut and improve my mood. Amino acids are precursors for neurotransmitters (for example, l-tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine, which makes us happy but also helps with focus and memory); and the amino acids in collagen are very easily assimilated into the body. Not to mention the whole gut-brain connection. Collagen is also great for skin, hair, nails, and anti-aging.
A few notes:
Total time: 10 minutes
Heat almond milk in a small pot over medium-high heat until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and add to the blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and serve hot.
Alternatively, if you heat the almond milk in a slightly larger pot, you can add the remaining ingredients straight to the pot and blend it until smooth using an immersion blender.
Still unsure about using grass-fed butter so liberally? Check out this video by Liz Wolfe, NTP, as well as my Nutritional Therapy Symposium article on grass-fed butter.
Like most people, we grew up eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. I normally make it, but this year I just wasn’t feeling the traditional meal. So I made pulled pork with my BBQ spice blend. My husband had his on a bun of course, but after splurging on some deliciously unhealthy gluten free treats over the holidays, even a gluten free bun seemed unappealing and I was ready to get back to my paleoish lifestyle. What my body needed was some probiotics and to get back to burning fat for fuel instead of glucose.
And so the pulled pork bowl was born. It contains:
A note on sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is a great gut-friendly source of probiotics but only if you get the correct kind. Anything canned or shelf-stable will not provide any beneficial gut bacteria. You will find the kind with probiotics in the refrigerated section. Sometimes it is by the deli; sometimes it is by the meat. I love Trader Joe’s brand and Wildbrine, but Bubbie’s is another good one. Saverne is another one I have been able to find locally, although I don’t love the taste of the bavarian style kraut. You’ll want to read the ingredients and look for words like: raw, live cultures, probiotic, fermented. Don’t ever heat this sauerkraut up, it will kill the good bacteria.
You can also make your own sauerkraut quite easily:
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
Place onions and apples in a crockpot. Place the pork in the crockpot and pour in the apple cider vinegar. Completely cover the pork all over with the spice blend, honey, and molasses (it will make a paste and yes it is a tad messy).
Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred the pork with two forks. I eat mine without a barbeque sauce because I think there is enough flavor, but you could use something like Tessemae’s, or make your own.
Don't have a ripe avocado or need to make a quick slaw dressing? Whisk these together and fold in slaw.
Prep time: 10 minutes
In a large bowl, mash the avocado with a fork and a spoon until it is smooth and creamy. Mix in the mayo, mustard, honey, avocado oil, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar (I don't own a Vitamix but I bet you could toss this all in there). Add the broccoli or cabbage and mix thoroughly.
A note on leftovers: If you have any slaw leftover, the avocado will eventually oxidize and turn brown, turning your slaw brown. It's still fine to eat. Also, the avocado oil will harden in the refrigerator (that's a sign of a high quality monounsaturated fat!) but it will return to normal once it returns to room temperature.
If I could only make one meal for my husband to eat for the rest of his life, he would probably request it to be this soup.
I actually started making it several years ago when we first started dating. I think I found the original recipe in a Food Network magazine. At the time, I was brand new to eating gluten free (and eating dairy-free because my gut was in terrible shape) so the use of rice noodles and coconut milk appealed to me. It was so easy and quick to make and required minimal clean-up (we were both living in teeny tiny apartments with barely any counter space and no dishwasher). On top of that, it was delicious, so we probably made it at least once a week. We made it so often that it got to the point where I knew how to make it without following a recipe.
When I switched to a paleo lifestyle, I stopped making it. It’s not an unhealthy dish, but I was busy trying out new recipes (mostly from Make It Paleo). Since it’s his favorite soup, if not favorite meal, my husband still requested it. I figured it would be pretty easy to paleo-ize.
I eat mine without noodles but my husband does CrossFit and needs more carbohydrates. So after I poured myself some, we added noodles at the end for him. If you are using noodles, use a little more broth (6 cups). If you are not using noodles, you can use less broth and feel free to add a little more chicken.
Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
In a soup pot, heat up coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until onion starts to turn translucent. Add the curry, broth, and coconut milk, and bring to a boil.
Add the peppers and chicken and bring to a boil. Once chicken has cooked through (about 3-5 minutes), add the rice noodles, if using, and bring to a boil or until noodles are cooked (about 3 minutes). Lower the temperature to a simmer and add fish sauce, lime juice, salt and cilantro. Taste it and add more fish sauce/lime juice/salt if needed (it varies depending on how much broth used/if you used noodles)
I’m not much of a baker, mostly because I hate the mess, but also because I hate tedious measuring. This recipe is great because it only requires one bowl, the cookies are done in just 10 minutes, and it's very likely you have most of these ingredients on hand. Even if you hate baking, you won't hate making this.
I spent some time with my sister-in-law over the holidays. She works for Blue Diamond in Sacramento so she bakes a lot with alternative flours and she helped me create this recipe.
It’s very macro-friendly (clocking in at under 6g carbohydrates per cookies) and it's not too sweet, so it’s a great craving killer if you are doing an EmFit Challenge or a ketogenic diet and can limit yourself to just one or two. They are very rich and the peanut butter provides enough satiating fat so it’s hard to overeat them. I especially enjoyed them with a tall glass of coconut milk!
Grain-free Peanut Butter Cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Eventually it will turn into dough. Roll into 12 evenly shaped balls (mine were slightly smaller than a golf ball) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Take a fork and make a criss-cross pattern while flattening out each cookie. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Let cookies cool before serving.