Paleolithic diet (caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet): A modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era – a period about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. (Source)
Paleo is a term I’ve heard thrown around more regularly of late, and yet I didn’t fully comprehend what the diet involved or why people chose to follow it. When the Low Carb Downunder What Should We Eat event popped into my newsfeed, offering an all-day seminar with a host of speakers discussing everything from the evils of sugar to the growing Paleo movement, I decided it was an answer to an unasked prayer and I booked my ticket.
To be entirely honest the biggest drawcard of the day for me was David Gillespie, the leading Australian writer and speaker on quitting sugar, more specifically, quitting fructose. His book Sweet Poison sits atop the must-read list for anyone considering ridding their lives of sugar, something I did back in April of this year.
The event boasted American Jimmy Moore as its main guest, someone I had not heard of before but who everyone seemed to be extremely excited over. Jimmy’s diet is one of the more extreme I have heard of in my time, first starting on the Atkins diet before transitioning to Paleo and then to his latest experiment, Nutritional Ketosis, which sees his daily diet consist of mostly fat, some protein and only a miniscule amount of carbohydrates. As a hopeless vegetable romantic I couldn’t fathom eating the way Jimmy does and yet for him it seems to work. That’s the main message I took away from this event, each body is different and so each diet will be different. At the end of the day you must learn to listen to your body and do what is right for you.
Considering this was the first event of its kind from the organisers the day ran fairly smoothly with the exception of a few speakers who were out of their league or lacked vital public speaking skills. David Gillespie, Jimmy Moore, Ivy Thompson and Nat Kringoudis were the top speakers on the day, mostly because their passion and knowledge shone through in their delivery and you felt as though you could sit there and listen to them talk for longer than the fifteen or so minutes they were given, with Jimmy being the exception and having a second stint up on stage.
Coming away from the event I can say decidedly that I am not tempted to “turn” Paleo but there are several things I heard which I plan to research further or adopt into my diet. One of the things I’ve noticed since quitting sugar is that this simple step prompts the removal of a lot of food from the supermarket trolley through default and so I’d rather like to keep my occasional consumption of legumes and beans, which the Paleo diet tends to skip. The diet allows for fish, grass-fed meat, vegetables, fruit, roots and nuts, excluding grains, legumes, dairy (although some Paleos still consume some forms of dairy), refined sugars and processed oils. I’m really looking forward to reading Gillespie’s new book next year, which promises to blow the lid off the dangers of processed oils.
What the event didn’t cover too well was the food side, which is in my opinion quite important. It’s great to be educated on why this or that isn’t metabolised well by the body or how we’ve all been duped into believing saturated fat is bad for us, when it is in fact the opposite, but at the end of the day if you can’t sell your message through the food itself you’ll have a hard time getting people onboard. When a speaker stands up and the first thing they say is how much they don’t like public speaking you know you’re in for a rough ten minutes. Mick Reade was charged with the duty of running through a few low carb recipes – finally, I thought, I can see what a Paleo plate looks like! What came up instead was a tutorial on how to make cauliflower rice and how to crumb fish without breadcrumbs, complete with amateur photographs which did little to stimulate the palate. I know I shouldn’t complain when Mick was giving his time and advice for free but it would have been great to see food given a larger portion of the day’s attention, to see the theory put into practice.
One speaker on the day said something that has stuck with me since then; he said that if you were here today (at the event) it meant that you took your health seriously or you took the health of your loved ones seriously, and it was great to see so many people invested in their health and expanding their knowledge about their health. As someone who is still on an uphill battle to apologise to my body for years of neglect I can see so many people around me trapped in the same web I was in for so long. Taking time out of your day to read an article, taking time out of your weekend to attend a seminar, even taking time during your weekly food shopping to read the ingredients list, these are all forms of taking responsibility for your body, relearning to love and respect your body, and realise that, like many things in life, good things take time.
Have a look at the Low Carb Down Under Facebook page for more details and links to videos from their events.