Going Primal for Valentine’s Day

Use simple whole-food ingredients to prepare a low-fuss romantic meal for two

Ask the Nutritionist

by Melissa Diane Smith

Q: My wife and I both follow a Paleo/Primal and we’re both very busy. We don’t eat out that often because we have trouble finding restaurants that serve hunter-gatherer-type meals. I’d like to surprise my wife this Valentine’s Day by serving a tasty Primal dinner at home. Have any suggestions on easy foods to make that we’d both enjoy? —Mike S., San Diego

A: How thoughtful of you! Your wife is going to love your surprise! Among the many great things about the Paleo/Primal Diet is that it’s easy to use a handful of quality, whole-food ingredients to prepare a decadent, gourmet-tasting dinner with little fuss. Grains and legumes take a lot of time to cook. By cutting out these ingredients, you can really cut down on the prep time.Just think about your wife’s preferences, and decide on red meat, poultry, or seafood. Then add some tastily prepared vegetables and a yummy, easy-to-fix dessert.

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Did You Know?

The Paleo and Primal eating plans both avoid grains and legumes, which drastically cuts down prep time.

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Pumpkin Dream Bars

by Melissa Diane Smith, author of Going Against the Grain and and Going Against GMOs


Looking for a healthier alternative to traditional pumpkin pie? Try these Pumpkin Dream Bars. They’re a dream because they are easy to make; they contain no flour or grains; and they have a decadent, light, and moist texture. Both the bars and the whipped coconut cream come out well using a variety of sweeteners.


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Mashed Low-Carb Root Vegetables

Raw fennel has a light smell and flavor of licorice, but roasting the bulbs takes away the licorice taste and brings out a mild, savory one. By puréeing roasted fennel bulbs with roasted garlic, butter, unsweetened almond milk, and boiled celeriac (celery root), you get the creamy texture of mashed potatoes, but with a third of the carbs!

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Against-the-Grain, Low-Carb Holidays

How to be carb-smart and enjoy the season without the weight gain using these low carb holiday recipes and tips

Ask the Nutritionist

by Melissa Diane Smith

Q: Somehow, every holiday season, I end up getting sick with some kind of bug, feeling uncomfortably full, and gaining extra pounds. Can you offer any nutritional advice for getting through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s feeling healthy and without gaining unwanted pounds? —Ellen S., Portland, Ore.

A:   As enjoyable as the holiday season can be, it’s also the time of year when we encounter sugar- and carb-laden sweets, beverages, baked goods, and side dishes at every turn. Sugar is an immune suppressor. The more of it we eat, the more apt we are to get sick. And overloading on any type of carbs—not just sweets, but also bread, stuffing, and mashed potatoes—can stimulate our appetite and make us feel bloated and gain weight.

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Grain-Free Pecan Shortbread Cookies

by Melissa Diane Smith

This simple, delicious, non-GMO recipe for pecan shortbread cookies combines organic butter with naturally GMO-free almond flour, maple syrup, and pecans.

Grain-Free Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Originally printed in the October 2016 issue of Better Nutrition magazine.

Non-GMO Foods for Baking

Gluten- and GMO-free food guide for baking

Ask the Nutritionist

by Melissa Diane Smith

Q: I avoid sweets most of the year, but like to bake occasional treats for my family during the holidays. I eat gluten-free but I also want to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to protect both my health and the environment. I recently noticed that some gluten-free flours contain common sources of GMOs. Can you provide a rundown on ingredients that are both gluten-free and non GMO foods that I can use in baking? —Beth W., Kansas City, Kan.

A: As you mentioned, many gluten-free baking mixes contain ingredients that are derived from common genetically modified foods such as corn, soy, and sugar beets—cornstarch, cornmeal, soy flour, sugar, fructose, xanthan gum, and others.

While you can find Non-GMO Project Verified versions of gluten-free flour blends, I recommend avoiding them altogether—even if they’re non-GMO—because gluten-free flours such as cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato flour raise blood sugar levels very high, which sets people up for blood sugar- and insulin-related health conditions including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more.

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Don’t Miss the 3-Course, Pre-New Year Pure Food Dinner at Harvest!

There was a full house for the non-GMO “Say No to Monsanto” dinner at The Tasteful Kitchen on December 14, 2016. Make sure not to miss the next non-GMO dinner at Harvest Restaurant, 5605 E. River Road, on Tuesday, December 27, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. See the Facebook page about the event.

The 3-course, non-GMO, Pre-New Year Pure Food Dinner that occurred at Harvest four years ago was the most popular non-GMO dinner ever. This Pre-New Year Pure Food Dinner at Harvest is bound to be equally popular. So, act quickly: Check out the two dinner options below. Both options are non-GMO and gluten-free/grain-free.

Call 520-529-7180, give your name and which option you’d like, and reserve your spot while seats are still available.

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