Following a healthy Paleo diet has completely transformed my life!
I am the only person l know in my life that follows a Paleo diet. This can make it quite a lonely experience but at the same time has increased my motivation and has ignited in me a desire and passion to share this nutritional path with others. I have created a wonderful website where l share the new recipes l have created and offer a glimpse into living with and overcoming chronic illness. I also share through other social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and shortly will be in a position to consult with people directly.
By using a Food as Medicine approach l have been able to reverse the digestive dysfunction that was causing me so many daily health issues. I have adapted the Paleo diet over the past 1.5 years to suit my own body and have observed that there are many interpretations of the Paleo diet being followed, but at their core is a common element of wanting to offer our bodies the type of food that nature intended for us to eat. When transitioning to a new diet it is important to make the changes slowly so that your body can adapt and l feel that l am in a good place now nutritionally, as it has been a huge task to completely change my eating habits and to learn how to cook with a whole range of new ingredients. At the core of the holistic Paleo diet is that you are being kind to yourself by providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its optimum, with the result being that you can enjoy your life more.
The challenge of living in a non-Paleo household also needs to be considered, as although l have the support of my family, my diet is seen as o.k for me to eat, but they can pick and choose which Paleo meals to eat. The extra workload cooking everything from fresh ingredients as well as having to cook regular meals for my husband and children places a great strain on me and has required constant planning, organisation and negotiation.
Weight loss and Wellness:
As well as having improved health by eating more whole foods, there will generally be a considerable weight loss as you say good-bye to many of the foods that form the basis of your diet such as anything processed, everything with wheat in it, all popular junk food and all unhealthy drinks including alcohol.
It probably sounds quite boring at this stage, but if you want to feel better the healthy Paleo diet is a great place to start and a change that you can do for yourself. It is a diet of discovery, abundance and simplicity!
My version of the Paleo diet:
Many people who follow a Paleo diet eat a lot of meat and bacon (preferably grass fed & organic). This is a challenge for me as l have had my gallbladder removed and have difficulty digesting it and have removed red meat from my diet and now eat limited free range or organic chicken and fish as often as l can manage it. This could be fresh fish or canned tuna, salmon or sardines. I sometimes eat free range bacon if l can source it but no more than once a month as it is definately not an everyday food for me.
I eat quite a lot of free range eggs but no more than two at a time and always have lots of fresh ingredients with them. I have several omelettes each week and find them quick to make and always delicious.
All grains are out that contain gluten: wheat, barley & rye, as well as oats which may be contaminated with gluten. Processed corn is also not eaten. I cook with coconut flour and Buckwheat flours mainly, but there is also chickpea flour, banana flour and quinoa flour as examples. I occasionally eat brown rice and quinoa, but not often. I make a healthy pancake each morning which l love and experiment a lot with different flavours.
I soak all of my legumes to aid digestion and to remove anti-nutrients and once again these are consumed very infrequently but every now and again l add them to a meal for a change. Examples are chick peas, lentils and split peas.
I have between 2 to 3 pieces of fruit per day. I spread them out as l can’t eat too much fruit at once and try to always have a protein with it such as some nuts to help maintain blood sugar levels. I avoid eating fruits such as grapes because of the chemicals on them and the high content of natural sugars which cause Irritable Bowel type symptoms in me.
Lots of vegetables both raw and cooked. I have vegetables at every meal, in juices, smoothies, cakes and any other time l can. I generally don’t eat a lot of potato and try to use sweet potato when l can. I make cauliflower rice in preference to regular rice and leave the skin on the vegetables where ever practical to increase my fibre intake.
I drink a lot of filtered water, herbal teas, smoothies and juices. That’s it!
I don’t eat dairy because of my gallbladder removal and use organic coconut oil and olive oil in my cooking in limited amounts.
I really like nuts and soak/dehydrate the hard nuts such as almonds, walnuts and brazil nuts as well as pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I used to soak the cashews and macadamia nuts but l don’t eat them often and decided l liked them better just raw.
I have some Loving Earth brand raw organic chocolate each day. I have also discovered so many delicious recipes both cooked and raw with the avocado based chocolate mousse being a favourite. These are treats though and the tart below is something l might have every few weeks.
Exercise: A less is more approach is how l am dealing with this issue now. I used to strictly exercise for around 1.5 hours a day and now take into account that l am active all day and exercise in a more mindful and purposeful way. I spend about 30 minutes exercising most days of the week, but this is mostly stretching and weights with cardio a couple of times a week. I have quite a lot of exercise equipment at home such as fit balls, a home gym and hand weights so that l can exercise in a way that fits in with my family.
Throw out the scales:
Stop weighing yourself and let your body find its happy place. Oh, this is a challenge! I weighed myself every morning for years and it is a mental battle to let the numbers on the scale go, but l know l am at a healthy weight and if the numbers change a bit here and there, part of my wellness plan is to try and not worry about it.
Connecting with others:
When you change your life it is important to have support from like minded people, educate yourself so you can make informed decisions and be flexible in your approach so you can slowly work towards your long term goals. My website is a way that l can share what l have learnt and l also take pictures of most of my meals and place them on Instagram. This is a wonderful resource as l have learnt so much by following other people on Instagram, and not just Paleo followers but people who eat raw, vegan and vegetarian diets. I also listen to wellness podcasts, read lots of health books and have studied Nutrition so that l can make the best choices for me.
All the rest:
It is about trying to find balance in your life in this crazy, busy, intense modern world. So much information coming into our lives through the media and social media at all times of the day. Life is busy! Family, work, study, leisure, health, finance, worry, pressure, stress, anxiety….
Taking the stress off your body Nutritionally is the start of your wellness journey! I am amazed at how different l feel now that l have changed the way l eat. I have more energy, an increased sense of self, a clearer nutritional path and an excitement about the food l am preparing and eating.
You can follow me on Instagram at holistic_paleo