The Paleo Way or the Highway? August 01 2014, 0 Comments

The week before last, in the midst of packing up and shipping off my very first Yogamona orders to my amazing customers, I went along to Pete Evan’s The Paleo Way tour in Melbourne. If you don’t yet know who Pete Evans is – you will soon enough. Best known as celebrity chef, the other half of the judging duo from My Kitchen Rules alongside Manu Feildel. Also known for preaching the benefits of activated almonds and now Paleo. One thing is sure - he is making waves in the area of wellness and nutrition. Pete is on a mission. 

The Paleo Way was an intense night, filled with so much information! Luke Hines, previous My Kitchen Rules contestant, personal trainer and cookbook author MC-ed the night, reinforcing the benefits of Paleo and introducing the concept of functional training to the large audience. Nora Gedgaudas, an expert in the field of Paleo and well-known author of Primal Body, Primal Mind spoke at length about the history and evidence behind the Paleo lifestyle. I found Nora to be insightful, evidence based and extremely passionate. I guess that was to be expected given she has spent decades researching this way of life. If you're not familiar with Nora and want to deepen your understanding of Paleo you can read more about her here. Interestingly, Nora has also released a book on Rethinking Fatigue – another one to add to my ever growing “to read” list!

Wes Carr sang his catchy new release Anthem. Such a simple but awesome film clip, if you haven’t seen it check it out here. I’ve heard Wes sing and speak about holistic health before and am a huge fan of his. Wes speaks honestly and openly about his battles with anxiety and depression and the way he has incorporated food as medicine. Wes attributes the combination of meditation and cleaning up his diet to a total transformation in his mental, physical and emotional health. Him and his wife Charlotte (check out Bubbayumyum for some awesome kid friendly recipes) are now putting their knowledge of nutrition and holistic health into practice with their gorgeous little man Willow.

So wondering what the hell is PALEO? What is all the hype about?

The Paleo diet is based on several premises, at its core it’s about eating more like our ancestors. Paleo implies that humans have not evolved sufficiently to properly digest newer foods like grains, legumes and dairy. It adds that we are unable to digest the highly processed foods that are so readily available and inexpensive, claiming this has contributed to the rise of chronic health diseases like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Paleo promotes the intake of lean protein, wild caught seafood, plenty of vegetables, occasional fruit, lots of healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive and coconut oils, fish oil and grass-fed meat. It suggests omitting or avoiding dairy, grains, processed foods and sugars, legumes, starches and alcohol.

 

 

Key messages:

Cut out the crap: processed and packaged foods (yes the museli bars, the jars of stir fry sauces, the chocolate biscuits). No surprises here right? These guys may be tempting, quick and easy to access but are filled with added sugars, salts and other nasties that are just not meant for our bodies (at least not on a regular basis).

Eat local, eat organic: use our dollar wisely. Some like to pull the “eating organics is so expensive” card. Similarly to Nora and Pete, I don’t buy this. It’s just another excuse. I believe we are worth it. We all deserve the best quality food to fuel our bodies and promote optimal health. If we don't invest in our health now, sooner or later our doctor’s bills will far outweigh the cost of shopping local and organic. You will actually be surprised at how much less your shopping bill is when you take out all of the packaged and processed foods. Try it!

Care for our animals: consider the way our animals are treated and what they are fed (for those who do choose to eat meat). Aim to know where your meat comes from and what the animal was fed. Grass fed and free to roam is best. Get to know your farmers.

Care for our earth: consider how what we eat impacts on the earth. What can you do to make a difference?

I personally find Pete Evans and his message inspiring, his passion admirable and his drive to change the health of Australians truly remarkable. All you have to do is read the comments from Paleo advocates on his Facebook page to see that the Paleo way of life is bringing about incredible success stories. 

Pete is getting somewhat of a thrashing in the media, particularly following The Paleo Way tour. Pete, like so many of us from a wide variety of industries is trying to make a difference, based on what he believes to be true. I myself can relate, coming from a health care background and seeing the health of Australians continue to deteriorate daily. We must accept as a nation and globally that more must be done. We don’t need to point the finger and place blame. We certainly don’t need the Dietitians Association Australia getting on the defensive. We just need to collaborate to improve the situation. The food we are putting in our bodies is making us sick – let’s face it and let’s all take individual responsibility for it. While perhaps not everyone will thrive on a Paleo based diet, so many of the principles make perfect sense and many are reporting immediate and longer-term benefits. This can’t be ignored, surely?  

Do I follow a Paleo diet? I'm not a fan of labels and definitely don’t tick all of the Paleo boxes currently. Over the past 18 months I have dramatically increased the amount of fresh, organic produce and have significantly reduced my intake of processed and packaged foods and I feel so much better! In fact, you will struggle to find many packets or jars of processed food in my cupboard or fridge these days. I still enjoy occasional dairy (my latest love is organic, unhomogenised milk) and whole grains. For now, I'm happy with this. I'm not going to feel guilty for not following Paleo 100% - it is purely a guide for me. I prefer to take parts of many dietary theories and find what works best for me. We are all unique after all. When I did follow a stricter Paleo diet for 28 days about 18 months ago, I have to admit I felt amazing. I thought I was a well-educated health professional, but it took me until trialling Paleo to highlight that my diet needed improving. While I thought that I ate “healthy” – the truth was that I had a long way to go! This discovery led me to wanting to learn more about holistic health and nutrition. That can't be a bad thing can it? If Paleo gets people thinking more about their health and taking more responsibility for what they eat, then hey I am a fan! 

“When you go Paleo, your mind, body and soul transforms in to the nourished, thriving, energetic, amazing human you were born to be.”  The Merrymaker Sisters

I believe you don’t have to be a victim and put up with a dodgy stomach or 3pm sugar cravings or constantly feel hungry to lose weight and feel better. Making simple changes can bring about the most incredible changes – clearer skin, improved sleep, healthier hair, weight loss, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, improved mood and clarity of thought. If you're interested in a free 20-minute consultation to learn how basic dietary and lifestyles changes can transform your life get in touch

I would love to hear your thoughts on this “hot” topic. Do you follow a Paleo lifestyle or elements of it? If so have you found benefits? Do you feel the dietary guidelines in Australia need to change and who is responsible for making it happen? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Much love, health and happiness to you all,

Mona

Xx 

Want to read more about Paleo?
Primal Body, Primal Mind
Robb Wolf
The Merrymaker Sisters (These lovely women are also studying at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in my intake and are such an inspiration!)