An Easy Guide to Carbs and Starches

An Easy Guide to Carbs and Starches

Everyone seems to be trying to cut back on carbs these days—including yours truly! Many of us trying to adopt a more Paleo-based diet have been weaning ourselves off of carbs, or at the very least, eating them less frequently.

Everyone needs some carbs—the good carbs—in their diet, while there are others that nobody really should be eating. Our bodies need carbohydrates to make glucose—the main source of energy our cells use to function. We need to be sure we’re choosing the right types of carbs for the job.

Let’s take a step back to grade school science class here for a few minutes to discuss what carbohydrates and starches actually are and to talk about which types to eat less of and why.

The different types of carbohydrates

There are three main types of carbohydrates:

  • simple carbs like candy and sugar, which are basically just empty calories
  • complex carbs like whole grains and vegetables
  • and fiber

We should be getting the majority of our carbs from natural sources—fruits and vegetables—and we should avoid eating simple carbs at all costs.

Simple carbs and some complex carbs will spike your blood glucose levels, which may lead to insulin resistance. We don’t want this because insulin is the hormone that tells the tissues in our bodies to use the glucose from our blood as energy. We don’t want glucose left hanging around in our blood because it can stick to proteins and prevent them from doing their job.

Fiber is a carbohydrate, technically, but our bodies do not digest it. There are two types of fiber: water-soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, soaking up fluids in our small intestine and our stomach. It also absorbs cholesterol and fat. Insoluble fiber is the guy that moves through our bodies cleaning up toxins and speeding foods through our digestive tracts, aiding in the elimination of waste (read: keeps us regular). If our diets are rich in fiber, our bodies run much more efficiently.

Some folks think that if you eliminate grains you’re eliminating fiber all together but that’s very far from the truth. Veggies are the place where you should be getting your fiber. In fact, an artichoke has 10.3 grams of fiber while a slice of whole wheat bread only has .5!

Starches fall under the category of complex carbohydrates. Certain starches should be eaten by everyone, while some aren’t good for us at all.

Good starches

Natural starches are a good source of protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber. Examples of these would be sweet potatoes, lentils, beans, carrots, apples, oats, brown rice and peas. (Obviously, if you’re 100% paleo you won’t be eating legumes and rice.)

Sometimes starches are refined into foods that are unhealthy: french fries, pastry, tortilla chips, etc. These foods are examples of carbs you should avoid.

Starches you should limit or avoid all together:

  • White pasta
  • White rice
  • White potatoes
  • Corn
  • Breads and baked goods

Your dinner plate should be made up of veggies and protein. If you must eat bread or potatoes, eat them for lunch or breakfast so you’ll have a chance of burning them off throughout the day.

And if you really want to up level your ability to handle carbs, try our BRAND NEW Carb Arrest! This is my personal safety net supplement, check it out!

Top 5 Benefits of Using Coconut Aminos

Top 5 Benefits of Using Coconut Aminos

One of my favorite things in life is sushi. I love it anyway you give it to me—rolled, not rolled, plenty of wasabi…just load me up!

But sushi means soy sauce and soy is definitely not a health food—especially considering non-organic soy sauce most likely will be GMO soy.

Soy seemingly has a wonderful nutritional profile. But at issue here are the lectins and the fact that every time you eat soy, you’re slowing down your metabolism function (thyroid) by 30%! Not to mention that it is a top phytoestrogenic food and endocrine disruptor—who needs THAT?

Anyone suffering with thyroid disease knows that threatening the already weak thyroid is not a wise move. So years ago, when I discovered a tasty substitute called Coconut Aminos, I was beyond excited.

Coconut Aminos are made from two ingredients—aged sap of coconut blossoms and sea salt. That’s it. It is a low-glycemic, vegan, and gluten-free with 17 amino acids. 

Plus, Coconut Aminos have about 65% less sodium than regular soy sauce.

And just to make it even better—Coconut Aminos have a whole load of health benefits, including weight loss!

Here are 5 to get excited about:

  1. Weight Loss: Adiponectin, a hormone that lives in your fatty tissue, is increased by eating coconut products such as Coconut Aminos. This is a good thing because adiponectin regulates a number of metabolic processes, including fat burning! Coconut Aminos help to increase adiponectin, score!
  2. Immune System Enhancement. Antioxidant rich, Coconut Aminos naturally support the immune system by providing protection against free radicals, atoms that cause cell damage and aging, to name just a few of the damaging problems associated with free radicals.
  3. Heart protection. Coconut Aminos and other coconut products, increase HDL (the good cholesterol) and help to regulate blood pressure.
  4. Lowered Risk of Colon Cancer. A University of South Carolina study showed that people who ate coconut products had reduced inflammation and greatly reduced occurrence of malignant tumors in the colon.
  5. Mental Health Benefits. Coconut is rich in inositol. According to WebMD, this may help balance certain chemicals in the body to possibly help with conditions such as panic disorder, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

But, there are downsides to Coconut Aminos and both of them give a lot of folks pause—the price and the scarcity, they can be hard to hunt down.

A small 8 ounce bottle can cost anywhere from $5 to $10 online or at the local health food store; it’s not cheap to get your faux soy sauce on!

That is till I found Coconut Aminos and Trader Joe’s! For just $2.99 a bottle, these lovelies taste just the same as the aforementioned Coconut Aminos, so you can imagine the happy dance that ensued once I discovered them sitting on my local TJ’s shelf.

(Those poor customers in the store that day…they had to see that! :-O)

Anyway, when I find something great, you know I love to share it. And this discovery is way up there in the Land of Great!

Here’s a fabulous recipe from Dinner Answers that will introduce you to this wonderful flavor!

Pan Seared Salmon with Coconut-Herb Greens

Serves 4


1 cup canned full fat coconut milk

1 large lime, juiced

4 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced and divided

1 teaspoon coconut aminos

1 teaspoon minced jalapeno

4 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, divided

4 tablespoons fresh chopped chives, divided

3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

8 (4-6 oz) wild salmon filets, (4 filets will be for another meal)

1 large tub super greens

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a medium sauce pan, stir together the first 3 ingredients along with 2 gloves garlic, coconut aminos, jalapeno, 1/2 the cilantro and 1/2 the chives, over medium heat.  Bring t a low simmer for 2-3 minutes then remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Cook the salmon, skin side down for 2-3 minutes per side, or until each side has a nice seared crust and is cooked through to the desired doneness.  Remove the salmon from the skillet and place half into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for later use.

In a separate skillet, heat the remaining coconut oil and add the spinach and remaining garlic, salt and pepper to the skillet with the remaining ghee.  Cook until the greens wilt, about 2-3 minutes.

On 4 serving plates, place some wilted greens, a piece of salmon and then pour over some of the coconut-herb sauce to serve.

Dinner Answers has recipes like this and THOUSANDS more! Whatever your eating style, you’ll find it in Dinner Answers. Choose your favorite recipes and the program automatically makes your menu for the week, AND the grocery list you that you can send to your phone (or your spouse’s!) for easy grocery shopping.

Get your own Dinner Answers right now

Leaky Gut. What’s All The Fuss?

What’s the fuss about leaky gut?

You heard the words “leaky gut” bandied around a lot, I bet. And in your mind’s eye, do you see your poor intestinal walls pouring water out like sieve?

That’s a dramatic visual, however it’s helpful for understanding the problem.

Your intestinal walls are supposed to be barriers to keep the bad guys out and the good guys in. If there are holes, there are problems, no matter how small the holes.

Interestingly, your intestinal track is the place where your nutrients are absorbed AND the lion’s share of your immune system is active.

According to a study done by Massachusetts General Hospital, “Intestinal immune cells play an unexpected role in immune surveillance of the bloodstream.”

This shows you the great importance of proper digestion.

Without proper digestion, you end up with poor nutrition (because you can’t absorb the nutrients like you should), and a myriad of symptoms from the inability to lose weight, joint pain, skin issues, depression, ADHD, autoimmune disorders, food sensitivities and, the ever popular, diarrhea.

You can’t ignore a leaky gut—you have to vigilantly fix it.

Healing your leaky gut is possible—here’s how:

  1. Clean up your diet—that means get rid of the irritants like sugar, gluten and dairy (just TRY going sugar, gluten and dairy free for 30 days and watch what happens!)
  2. Get that fiber in (most Americans are woefully deficient on their daily fiber intake)
  3. Balance out the bad bacteria with the good stuff (probiotic and eating fermented foods)
  4. Remember, digestion starts with the first bite—chew your food well!
  5. Are you 35 or older? We lose the digestive enzymes our bodies make with age—it gets progressively worse with each birthday!) In my opinion, it’s imperative to use digestive enzymes with each meal (and say goodbye to heartburn and antacids!)
  6. Bone broth—are you drinking it? Standard issue for leaky gut, my friend!
  7. L-glutamine—in loose form, added to your morning smoothie. Helps heal your gut and makes your skin lovely!

I’ve dealt with leaky gut myself—it’s a bit of a battle, but the results have been stellar.

I’ve lost weight, my skin has cleared, my joints no longer ache, my tummy isn’t bloated and though I technically “have” Hashimotos, I’m now in remission!

Getting a grip on your gut is the cornerstone of getting your health BACK!

And check this out—I’ve created a Gut Check Bundle (the SAME one I use daily!) to help you heal your gut.

Not only will it help heal your gut, but it will save your wallet too—right now, it’s 20% off—for a very limited time.

Don’t delay—now is the time to get your leaky gut under control!

Click Here

United Tables of America

United Tables of America

My dearest friends–

If there is one thing that can unite a polarized America, it’s having a meal together.

Look, we all need to eat in between watching CNN or Fox News.

And wherever you stand (or sit) politically at the table, is really none of my business.

Is it? 🙂

The most important thing in the midst of any type of chaos that might be in the world or your life is remembering who you are.

Sounds like a line from a movie, doesn’t it? Ring any bells?

It’s Lion King—sorry for the spoiler.

But it’s so true—who are you isn’t based on chaos but rather, based on your own character, your integrity and your resilience.

We all get hit with “stuff” from time to time. We get depressed, we get knocked out of our seats and sometimes even thrown under the bus.

BUT…and still…

There’s the family—they need you. Whatever your family looks like—you still have responsibilities that aren’t going to go away.

There’s still a meal to be prepared.

There’s still people that need to be fed.

There’s still souls that need to be nurtured.

So with that in mind, I invite you to bring your family back to the dinner table.

This simple act will revolutionize your family and give you the peace you deserve.

Feed them—heart, body and soul.

With love,


PS—Garlic Lime Chicken is one of my most famous recipes—for good reason. Try it out on your family tonight—they’ll LOVE it!

What veggie can I not get enough of right now?

What veggie can I not get enough of right now?

By: Leanne Ely


It’s time for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe! And in honor of this most ultimate summer squash, today we’re giving it the attention it deserves. Sound good?

Zucchinis are packed with beta-carotene, potassium and B vitamins. They also provide fiber and a bit of Vitamin C, but a large zucchini contains only 16 calories!

While zucchini can be used in muffin and loaf recipes, I prefer to eat it in its pure form, simply stir fried as a simple side dish. Oh you know what else is good? Grated zucchini sautéed in olive oil and a bit of garlic with salt and pepper. Absolutely delicious and almost rice-like in texture.

This is one versatile and delicious veggie!


Now, it’s time for your Trick:

If you don’t know what to do with all that zucchini in your garden, grate it up and put it in the freezer, sealed individually in one-cup servings.

Your Tip:

Select small to medium sized zucchini if you’re eating them for flavor. The bigger guys start to lose their taste after awhile. They’re okay for purposes like zucchini bread, but they won’t do much for you in a stir fry.

And your Recipe from our new 21 Day Knock Out!

Fried Egg and Veggie Skillet
Serves 4

2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 pound zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
4 large eggs

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS: In a very large skillet over medium high heat, melt half the coconut oil. Add onion, pepper, and zucchini and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender.

Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir in thyme.

Move the veggies to the outer edges of the skillet and lower the heat to medium. Add the remaining coconut oil. Crack eggs into the center and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip eggs over and fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until eggs reach desired doneness.

Carefully scoop vegetables out and top with eggs. Season eggs with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

If you want more tasty recipes to help you stay on track and get ready for summer, join me on our new 21 Day Knock Out here!

Top Tips for Grilled Veggies and Fruits

Top Tips for Grilled Veggies and Fruits

By: Leanne Ely


I shared some tips with you a couple weeks ago about grilling meats but there’s more to summer barbecue season than burgers and steaks!
grilling asparagus
Why turn on the stove to cook your veggies when you have a perfectly good hot grill already prepped? Never mind the fact that grilled veggies and fruits taste like something out of Heaven — if you know how to cook them properly!

Here are some of my best produce grilling tips:

Don’t use your veggie peeler. Don’t peel your vegetables before you grill them. Another reason why you need to buy organic produce! You’ll lose the nutrients and much of the flavor if you peel your veggies before they hit the grill. You’ll also get a smokier flavor if you leave the peels on. Remember the clean fifteen list and the dirty dozen when you’re trying to decide where to invest in organic produce.

Precook. Some hardier veggies need a bit of precooking to shorten the time they must spend on the grill. These types of vegetables would include: asparagus, broccoli, beets, artichokes, parsnips, carrots, winter squash and potatoes. Steam them or blanch them until they are only slightly tender, then pat them dry and cook them on the grill. That extra step will make sure the outside and inside of those sturdy veggies are cooked evenly. Vegetables like peppers, onions, eggplant, fennel, tomatoes and summer squash can be grilled raw.

Oil them. Rub a tiny little bit of olive oil (not extra virgin) or coconut oil on your veggies before you grill them. This will help prevent them from sticking to the grill, and it will also help keep them from drying out. Just a little bit because if there’s oil dripping from the food, you’ll experience flare ups.

Soak your fruits. Before grilling fruits, try drizzling them with honey or maple syrup, or soaking them in liquor. Talk about a flavor burst! Especially if you’ll be serving grilled pineapple or pears for dessert. Yes you can grill pears! You can also grill apples, watermelon and peaches. Reach for fruit that is firm and just barely ripe for your best options in fruit grilling.

Indirect heat. When grilling fruits and veggies, you want moderately hot coals or indirect heat. You may need to move them around throughout the cooking process to make sure they cook evenly.

Stick it to them. Skewers are great tools for grilling veggies. It’s tempting to make beautiful kabobs out of meat and veggies but if you want to ensure even cooking, skewer all the same type of veggie per skewer. Cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, chunks of onion and pineapple are all wonderful cooked on skewers.

Use packets. Some veggies don’t lend themselves well to skewers or grill baskets. Peas, beans, sliced peppers, etc. For these lovely foods, try making a packet out of tin foil and cook them that way. This is also a good way to cook potatoes, or to cook other veggies with a sauce or topping of some sort.

There you have it.

Have I missed anything? Do you have anything to add?