Inflammation: an up and coming buzzword in the health community, but why is everyone getting all fired up?
Inflammation and Health Concerns
Inflammation has been linked to a multitude of undesirable health issues. Consumption of certain foods, such as grains, diary, refined sugars and processed foods are all culprits of driving inflammation and ramping up C-Reactive Protein.
C-Reactive Protein is produced by the liver in response to inflammation and can be easily assessed through a blood test. If you want to decrease C-RP, improve energy levels, burn more fat and stabilize blood sugar levels, then step up your anti-inflammatory food intake.
Serotonin, Dopamine, and Cravings
Also, aside from taking a closer look at what you are putting inside your body, you may be interested in taking a closer look at what is going on inside your mind. Measuring neurotransmitters may provide additional insight regarding excessive hunger and carb cravings. These chemical messengers, such as serotonin and dopamine, transmit information that influences behaviors, appetite and cravings. Balancing these neurotransmitter levels, along with healthy diet & exercise, can help maintain healthy weight.
So sprinkle in some of these delicious, nutrient-packed recipes to fight inflammation and get your body feeling right.
Low Inflammatory Paleo Meal Ideas
Courtesy of Jeanne Peters, RD, of Nourishing Wellness Medical Center
Why eat a Low Inflammatory, Paleo-type diet?
During modern times, advances in agriculture and technology have made other forms of food available for consumption such as grains and dairy, sugar, refined and processed foods. Eating these foods can contribute to inflammation and the health issues that can come along with it. Going more towards a paleo diet can also help you have stable blood sugars, consistent energy from morning to night, help you burn more fat for energy, improve your sleep patterns, decrease your painful joint symptoms, and other health issues in a natural manner.
Moving towards a Paleo Style diet
With regard to grains and beans, we believe that we need minimal amounts of these foods to maintain our energy levels and that they are best consumed after exercise or in small portions to satisfy our hunger and caloric needs.
For dairy, we believe that best sources are either fermented with live and active cultures like kefir and yogurt and that we limit our servings to just 1 servings a day or less. We also teach that most processed foods found in a box offer very little in the way of nutrient dense foods that help our bodies to heal. Aim to reduce your reliance on processed, packaged foods. Start with some of these recipes and meal ideas for one week and feel the difference!
Low Inflammatory Food Choices (Gluten free & Low Glycemic)
OPTIMAL PROTEIN CHOICES
(aim for at least 2-4 oz at every meal)
Choose free-range, cage-free, grass-fed and no hormone-added sources whenever possible.
Lean chicken and turkey (fresh or sausage) • Eggs • Cold-water fish – sardines, salmon, halibut, cod, mackerel, tuna • Shellfish • Bison/Buffalo or Lean red meats (sat. fat) • NZ Lamb (sat. fat) • Game • Whey Protein • Tempeh/Tofu
OPTIMAL DAIRY CHOICES
(limit to 1-2 servings/day)
- Kefir or Goat Milk (1 C) Organic cow, coconut or goat yogurt (1 C) • Grass fed cheeses (1 oz.)
- Goat or raw sheep’s milk cheese (1 oz.) • Fortified Rice, Oat, Coconut or Almond Milk (1C)
OPTIMAL FAT CHOICES
(Enjoy 4-8 servings/day: 1 serving = 2 Tbsp Nuts, Seeds /Flax meal; ¼ avocado; 2 tsp butter or oil)
- Dry Roasted Almonds or Pistachios • Macadamia nuts (sat. fat) • Freshly ground flaxseed meal
- Organic walnut oil • Cod liver oil • Olive oil, olives • Flaxseed oil • Avocado • Ghee
- Coconut milk or oil (sat. fat) • Grass Fed Butter
OPTIMAL NON-STARCHY VEGETABLE CHOICES
Aim for 3-4 servings/day ~ 1 serving=1/2 C cooked/1 C raw; 1 C=5gm CHO
- Arugula • Asparagus • Bamboo shoots • Bean sprouts• Beet greens • Bell peppers
- Broadbeans • Broccoli • Brussels sprouts • Cabbage • Cassava • Cauliflower
- Celery • Chayote fruit • Chicory • Chives • Collard greens • Coriander • Cucumber
- Dandelion greens • Eggplant • Endive • Fennel • Garlic • Ginger root • Green beans
- Hearts of palm • Jicama • Jalapeno peppers • Kale • Kohlrabi • Lettuce
- Mushrooms • Mustard greens • Onions • Parsley • Radishes • Radicchio
- Snap beans • Snow peas • Shallots • Spinach • Spaghetti squash • Summer squash
- Swiss chard • Tomatoes • Turnip greens • Watercress
HIGH FIBER STARCHY CARBOHYDRATE CHOICES
1 serving= ½ C; If your goal is fat loss, limit to 2-3 servings/day & make 1 serving after exercise. Limit starchy carbs after dinner. 1serv=15 gms of CHO
- Squash (acorn, butternut, winter) • Artichokes • Leeks • Lima beans • Okra • Pumpkin
- Sweet potato or yam • Turnip • Legumes • Black beans • Adzuki beans • Black beans
- Chick peas (garbanzo) • Great Northern beans • Kidney beans • Lentils • Navy beans • Pinto beans
- Split peas • White beans • Quinoa • Amaranth • Oatmeal
LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX FRUIT CHOICES
One serving = 1C berries, ½ cup other fruit; limit to 1 servings/day
1 serving =12 gm CHO
Low Glycemic Index & Best Choice Fruits
- Berries (blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, elderberries, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries)
- Cherries • Pear • Fresh apricots • Melons • Orange • Peaches • Plum
- Grapefruit • Pitted Prunes • Apples • Avocados • Kiwi fruit • Lemons • Limes
- Nectarines • Tangerines • Passion Fruit • Persimmons • Plums • Pomegranates
High GI – eat sparingly, or after a workout
- Banana • Pineapple • Grapes • Watermelon • Mango • Papaya
Meal Planning Portion Tip: Think Palm, Fist & a Thumb at Every Meal:
Build your main meals with at least 3-4 ounces of lean protein (“About the size of your palm”),
1-2 tablespoons of good fats/oils (“a thumb”) & at least 1 cup of colorful vegetables (“your fist”)
Quick List of Meal Plans (Items Bolded can be found in recipe section)
(These breakfast offer approx. 275-350 calories & 20-23gms of Protein/meal)
- 2-3 whole poached eggs w/1 C veggies: spinach, sliced tomatoes, mushrooms + ½ Avocado
- 2 oz grass fed lamb or salmon patty, 1 C colorful pepper strips & spinach, small yam, if desired
- 1C plain goat or cow yogurt, 1/4 C berries & 2 tbsp NOW sunflower lecithin or chia seeds, 2 Tbsp walnuts
- 1 whole Trader Joe’s Fresh Chicken Sausage +1 C leftover or fresh or cooked veggies from last night’s dinner + hot tulsi tea
- 3/4 cup Nourishing Oats w/2 tbsp chia seeds (soak over night) 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ C. fresh fruit with 1/4 C Kefir to add more protein to this meal + 1 green smoothie
- Mocha Swiss Almond Smoothie
- 2 Garden herb Frittata Muffins & Green Smoothie or Tulsi Tea
Lunch/Dinner Ideas (These ideas focus on a serving of protein, vegetables and fats)
- Lettuce Wrapped Sandwiches + Mango Tulsi Iced Tea + a handful of nuts
- Grilled chicken or fish + raw kale salad or simple sautéed greens
- Jeanne’s confetti salad + any leftover protein from dinner
- Nicoise salad: Add 3-6 oz of canned tuna, boiled egg, green beans, capers, cherry tomatoes, salad greens and your favorite olive oil based vinaigrette or Jeanne’s salad dressing
- Quinoa Tabouli Salad with leftovers + green iced tea
- Salmon Salad over a bed of Mixed Greens
- Spaghetti Squash ‘n Meat Sauce: Grass Fed Meat or Turkey sautéed. Drain Fat. Pour in 1 large jar of Marinara sauce and any leftover veggies. Pour over cooked Spaghetti Squash. Serve with steamed greens or side salad
- Pan Seared Salmon with Mushrooms and Spinach
- Favorite grilled or sautéed fish or chicken with large salad. Ask for olive oil and lemon.
- Bison or Turkey Chili: Sauté 1 lb of grass fed meat; Add 1 can of Low sodium tomatoes or a jar of favorite salsa and 1 tbsp of cumin and lime juice.
- Mary’s or Pitman Farms Ready to Go Rotisserie Chicken + 1 C of ready-to-go Trader Joes Broccoli & kale Slaw, Iced tea
- Rosemary Lamb or Steak with mixed vegetables, glass of red wine or iced tea
- Chipotle restaurant salads (At this fast food chain, pork is properly raised and most of their dairy comes from grass fed cows!)
- Sashimi and a seaweed salad (Here in LA, sushi’s on nearly every corner.)
SNACKS (approx 150-180 calories and 5-10 grams of Protein)
- ½ cup berries, pear or apple & ¼ C dry roasted or raw nuts/ seeds (almonds, pistachios, sunflower)
- 1 C Celery & Carrots with 4 tbsp Hummus
- 1 Hardboiled egg, 1C Trader Joe’s Garden Patch Low Sodium Vegetable juice
- 1 paleo bar or other bar with at least 8-10 gram of quality whey protein & 5-6 grams of sugar or less
- 4-5 Apple Almond Crunchies
- Mixed Paleo plate
- 1 oz goat cheese & 1 fistful of fresh fruit
- I Lara bar and cup of hot green or herbal tea
- A smoothie made with either a scoop of whey, egg or hemp protein, 1 C. water or milk/milk alternative, a few pieces of frozen fruit such as berries or banana, 2 tsps of nuts or nut butter or flax seed meal – See recipes below
- Hummus and lettuce leaves rolled in slices of turkey
Garden Herb Frittata Muffins
- 3 Tbs. melted fat (coconut oil, ghee, butter, lard, etc.)
- 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
- 1/2 pound of cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (we use the precut variety at Trader Joe’s)
- ½ bag of fresh baby spinach,
- 8 eggs
- 1/4 cup whole or low-fat Greek yogurt (or coconut milk)
- 2 Tbs. coconut flour or almond flour
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 5 ounces of Prosciutto di Parma
- Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
- A regular 12 cup muffin tin
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and prep your veggies. Add onions, mushrooms and spinach and cook until all the moisture evaporates. Add chopped herbs. Then, set pan aside to cool for a few minutes
- For the “batter,” I beat the eggs in a large bowl with Greek yogurt or coconut flour, salt, and pepper until well-mixed. Then, add the sautéed vegetable/ herb mixture and stir to combine.
- Brush the remainder of the melted coconut oil onto the muffin tin and lined each cup with prosciutto, taking care to cover the bottom and sides completely.
- Spoon in the frittata batter and top each muffin with some halved cherry tomatoes and any chopped herbs you have on hand. I like dill, fennel and parsley.
- Let the muffins cool in the pan for a couple minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. Easy, tasty, and portable!
Green Smoothie Recipe
Think of this drink as an anytime of the day beverage so make enough for at least two glasses and enjoy the bone building benefits! This drink is one of the easiest ways to get the 5-6 servings of greens and vegetables into your diet!
- ½-1 apple, cut into cubes
- ½ whole lemon/ lime -juiced
- 1 packed cup of greens: kale, parsley, bitter greens like kale, beet, arugula, parsley, cilantro, spinach
- 2 Tbsp of ground flax seed meal or chia seeds
- A dash or two of sea salt
- 2 -3 cups water
Blend well and enjoy!!
“For highest benefits and best assimilation, oats should be soaked overnight or even longer. Once soaked, oatmeal cooks up in less than 4-5 minutes – truly a fast food.”
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled, cracked, or steel cut oats
- 1.5 cups warm filtered water
- 1 tsp to 1 tablespoon whey, yogurt, coconut kefir or raw apple cider vinegar
- Flax and/or poppy seeds
- Cinnamon, vanilla
- 1-2 tsp of sweetener, if desired (sucanat, maple syrup, raw honey)
- ¼ cup of Fresh berries or 1Tbsp of dried currants or dates
- Nuts, if desired
Cover oats with warm water and cultured medium and leave in a warm place for at least 7-8hours.
Next morning drain in a colander and rinse the starch well. When ready to cook, bring an additional 1 cup of water to a boil. Add soaked oats, reduce heat, cover and simmer several minutes.
While oats are cooking, grind 1 Tablespoon flax seeds in a mini-grinder (a coffee or spice grinder). Remove oats from heat, stir in flax seeds. (Do not add flax while cooking, heat destroys their omega- 3 fats)
Serve with a dash of poppy seeds, cinnamon, vanilla and plenty of ghee, butter or cream and small amount of fruit or optional sweeteners. If if you are trying to lose fat and or lower blood sugars, go easy on these additions for they can raise your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Mocha Swiss Almond Smoothie
Remember how Mom always told you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day? She was right! And this super smoothie may help you vote breakfast as your favorite meal of the day. Serves 2
- 8 -10 oz. of yogurt, kefir, coconut milk or herbal tea
- 1 raw omega-3 egg (optional) or 1 scoop of egg white or whey protein powder
- 1 Tbls of extra-virgin coconut oil
- 1 Tbls of Now sunflower lecithin
- 1 Tbls raw cocoa or cocoa powder
- 1 Tbls raw almond butter
- 1/4 frozen banana
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until desired texture. Add extra ice to make cold and creamy.
Note: Doc and I do not recommend rice milk, juice or nonfat milk because they add very little in the way of satiety and nutrition.
Lunch and Dinner Recipes
Lettuce Wrap Sandwiches
- Take 1 washed/dried lettuce leaf for each sandwich. Lay inside lettuce leaf some additional veggies such as slices of tomato, cucumbers, shredded carrots, sprouts
- Add in a protein filling: Use strips of leftover meat/fish/poultry/egg or salad (such as salmon or egg)
- Add in a fat filling: Smear One minute mayo or avocado in a line along the short end of the meat (as if you were filling a fajita or making sushi). Roll tightly and enjoy, or secure with a toothpick until lunchtime.
- Serve with your favorite side(s) like an apple in this picture.
Salmon Salad over a bed of Mixed Greens
- In bowl, add 1- 7oz can of wild caught salmon, drained
- 2 Tbsps of One minute mayo and 2 Tbsp of rice wine vinegar
- ½ apple and 1 stalk of celery, minced
- 1 Tbsp of fresh dill or parsley
- Lay half of the mixture on a bed of greens (save rest in container for another day)
- Top with a 1/3 C. of cultured sauerkraut of shredded beets or carrots and a few sesame or sunflower seeds
Roasted Curried Cauliflower
- Lay 1 head of cauliflower, cut into uniform florets onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Add a few tablespoons of grapeseed oil, melted coconut oil, or ghee
- Toss with 2 tablespoons of curry powder (or other seasoning) and a dash of sea salt. Bake for 30 min until soft and browned.
Jeanne’s Confetti Salad
Make up a batch of this and store it in the fridge; use all week.
Makes about 8 cups
Choose 8 cups of the following to make up your salad for the week; mix and match to your heart’s content! Arugula, spinach, watercress, endive, red leaf lettuce (any lettuce except Iceberg), grated carrots and beets, chopped parsley, basil, bean sprouts, cucumber, cabbage, celery, bell peppers, chives, broccoli and/or cauliflower florets, radishes, yellow squash, zucchini, fennel, dill,
Serve 1 Tbls of Jeanne’s Basic Vinaigrette per person.
Jeanne’s Vinaigrette Dressing
- 4 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbls balsamic vinegar or rice wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 tsp of Dijon mustard (look for ones with no starch added)
- 1 clove garlic, pressed (optional)
Mix all together; use 1-2 Tbls per serving
Raw Kale Salad
This bone building salad is made with either strips of Italian black kale or traditional curly kale, fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, grated Pecorino, Tuscano or Parmesan cheese. These bright, refreshing flavors keep well in a container for several days in the fridge without fuss. Feel free to add leftover protein to make it a more substantial lunch or dinner item.
- 4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black (Lacinato, “dinosaur,” with midribs removed) or Curly Kale
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed ( optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 apple, chopped into bite size pieces or ¼ C. dried cranberries
- sesame seeds
- 2/3 C. grated raw hard cheese such as Pecorino, Toscano or Parmesan
- Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper to taste
- Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
- Add apple or cranberries and sesame seeds. Add cheese
- Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes to wilt and let flavors marry.
- Will keep well in fridge for 4-5 days.
Quinoa Tabouli Salad
- 2 C. Quinoa, soaked, washed and drained
- 3 C. of water (2 C. for soaking quinoa and 1C. for cooking)
- 1-2 tsp of kefir or whey to pre-digest grains.
- 1-2 C. of chopped colorful vegetables including: tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, bell peppers, green or red onions, spinach,
- 3/4 C. fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbls minced fresh mint leaves
- ¼ C currants
- 1/3 C. or more of Jeanne’s Vinaigrette Dressing~ adjust amount to taste or use your favorite oil and vinegar dressing
- Dash of sea salt and pepper to taste
Other optional additions
- 2-3 Tbsp of fermented sauerkraut
- ¼ C. toasted walnuts (optional)
- Leftover chicken, fish, meat
- Rinse quinoa well with warm water and drain. To further improve grain digestibility, place rinsed quinoa in bowl or glass jar and let soak for 8-12 hours at room temperature. (Adding a tsp of cultured liquid such as coconut or milk kefir, raw apple cider vinegar, or other cultured food to the soaking water will “pre-digest” the quinoa making it even more digestible).
- Drain the soaking water from the quinoa and into a measuring cup and measure it. Add to or pour out this soaking water so that you have only 1 cup of water to cook quinoa in. Bring to a boil, add quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer 10-12 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Fluff into large salad bowl and allow to cool.
- Combine quinoa, parsley, tomatoes, cucumber, mint and currants/ walnuts if desired. Add Jeanne’s Vinaigrette and toss well.
Crockpot Turkey or Chicken with Herbs & Vegetables
- 3 Whole Foods’ Free Range turkey thighs or Mary’s Chicken (Diestal or Mary’s)
- 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- I package of mixed turnip, collard, spinach greens
- chopped mushrooms, carrots, celery, and onions, as desired
- 1-2 tablespoon chopped thyme, rosemary and fennel
Place turkey or whole chicken in slow cooker; add remaining ingredients. Cook on Low for 6-7 hours, or until poultry and vegetable are cooked through. Serve turkey with vegetables in a bowl. Enjoy!
Simple Sauteed Greens
This dish is a staple at our table regardless of season since quality greens are often available year-round. The dish is inexpensive, yet it can be made even less expensive by using the greens attached to the root vegetables you pick up at the market such as beet greens, turnip greens etc. Remember, to add some acid to your cooking water such as lemon juice to help improve the mineral breakdown and absorption. Also, a little fat added to the mix will also improve absorption of the Vitamin K.
- 2 -3 C. of chopped swiss chard and/or other greens such as sorrel, rappini, turnip or beet greens or use Trader Joe’s ready-to-cook bags of Southern Greens Blend
- 1 Tbls olive or almond oil, ghee, butter or rendered lard
- ½-1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
- dash of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice (this promotes more absorption of the minerals)
- Options: Sesame seeds, pine nuts, goat cheese, grated hard cheese, chopped apple
- Saute onion and garlic in fat for about 2-3 minutes until browned
- Add chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes
- Add rinsed chard leaves and simmer until leaves are tender, about 2- 3 minutes.
- If desired, add any of the options to round out the flavors.
Rosemary Lamb or Steak with Mixed Vegetables
- 2 Tbls crushed fresh rosemary
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 Tbls olive oil
- 1 pound New Zealand lamb or grass fed steak, trimmed
- Broccoli and carrots
- Olive oil & sea salt
Combine rosemary and garlic into a paste. Rub paste into both sides of lamb steak. Place a large skillet coated with olive oil over high heat. When skillet is hot, add steak and sear until brown, 3 to 5 minutes; cook until steak reaches desired level of doneness. Transfer steak to a cutting board. Let stand for 5 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain (diagonally). Serve with 1 Cup or more of steamed carrots and broccoli with a pinch of sea salt and olive oil.
Pan Seared Salmon with Mushrooms and Spinach
- 2 tsp olive oil, divided
- 4 (6-oz.) salmon fillets (about 1-inch thick)
- 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbls thinly green onions
- 1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 C. fresh spinach
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Heat one tsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Add fish to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fish from pan, and keep warm. Add remaining oil and green onions to pan; saute 1 minute. Add mushrooms in a single layer; cook 2 minutes (do not stir). Cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add spinach; cook 30 seconds or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, lemon rind and juice. Serve over fish.
SERVING SUGGESTION: Serve with cherry tomatoes
One Minute Mayo
This mayo will be faster to make than it takes to look for it in the grocery store… So ditch those MSG, rancid canola/soy oil, additive filled dressings and sauces from the store and start making your own! No bottled sauces or dressings compare to the flavor and quality of homemade salad dressings and sauces – even the organic brands. Not only will you be doing your health a huge favor by taking this step, but you will be saving quite a bit of money too!
- 1 whole egg
- 1-2 tsp of Dijon mustard
- juice of 1 lemon
- pinch salt
- 1 cup expeller pressed sunflower oil, extra virgin olive oil, macadamia, avocado or a combination of oils. Optional: Add in 2 tbsp of lemon flavored fish oils to improve fatty acid profile
Add all to a wide mouth mason jar. Let the oil rise to the top. Place immersion blender at bottom of jar and turn on. As the mayo emulsifies, slowly rise the immersion blender out of the jar and pulse a few times until the whole mixture is thick and creamy. If you added whey or probiotic, allow mayo to sit out overnight or up to 10-12 hours to culture the mayo and increase the shelf life. Keep refrigerated and use within 2-3 weeks or 1-2 months, if cultured.
Optional: Add chopped herbs, garlic, spices, or an additional tbsp of vinegar for more flavor. Have fun…be creative and enjoy!
Simple Snack Ideas
Mixed Paleo Plate
Assemble 1 egg, ¼ avocado, carrots, sliced tomato, celery or romaine spears. Think variety of color and texture. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and a dash of one minute mayo. Savor!
Apple Almond Crunchies
- Smear apple wedges with 1Tbsp of almond butter
- Add celery snips and top with apple slice
Figs and Almonds
- Cut in half 3 dried figs
- Add 3 dry roasted almonds to each
- Serve with favorite iced green tea
Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake
This healthy pumpkin smoothie is like chilled pumpkin pie in a glass and is a great snack to keep your blood sugar levels stable and to help with recovery after a good workout.
- ½ c So Delicious coconut milk
- 1/2 C canned pumpkin (during the off season, it is sold at Whole Foods in the dog food section all year round – could use cooked yams instead)
- 1 tsp Trader Joe’s pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 scoop Energy First Vanilla Protein Powder
- ¼ c cold water
- approx 3/4 c crushed ice cubes or 8-10 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients in a blender – add more liquid, spices or ice to your desired taste and consistency.