To Paleo or not to Paleo – that is the question?
So at the moment the Paleo or caveman style of eating (I won’t call it a diet because that is not the idea) is becoming very trendy and popular. Everywhere you look there are Paleo blogs, recipes and now even specific Paleo cafes. It seems that a lot of people are turning to this “way of life” eating plan.
I was first introduced to Paleo in May 2012 when I participated in the first Primal Boot camp at Haddins Gym in Abu Dhabi. It was a very simple 2-page description of what to eat and what to avoid and made a lot of sense to me. I tried it (kind of anyway) but didn’t notice any real immediate results. It seems that Paleo is not a quick fix, but something that takes time to adjust to, and to see the real results from.
I continued to “dabble” with Paleo for about another 6 months, however with very little information other than to eat fresh vegetables and lean meat, and don’t eat grains or dairy – I was so sick of chicken and salad to be honest. I changed my diet again in June 2013 when I participated in the Glory Girls – A Beauty Like Yours Program. Focusing on eating around training and using proteins and carbohydrates to change the way your body actually looks. I learnt a lot more during this time about how foods affect your body and how you can in fact play with your diet to control your definition and energy levels. Not something you want to do all the time, but certainly a learning experience that let me see how my body worked with more protein and lower GI carbohydrates, along with the exclusion of diary and processed foods. Although not Paleo, a lot of the underlying concepts were the same. Eat real food, eat lean organic proteins, eat fruits and vegetables in line with your energy demands, eat clean and natural foods. Its pretty simple.
The problem however is that once something becomes trendy, mainstream and dubbed as a diet it tends to get more complicated – with so many more people having varied opinions and definitions. People start over analyzing it, some natural foods are Paleo – some aren’t. I thought it was just about eating real food? Milk is real right? Home baked bread is real right? If I’m not lactose intolerant or a Celiac why do I need to cut these things out of my diet completely (I totally understand why you don’t want to eat them all the time though)? These are some of the questions I am asking right now.
I like the idea and basic principles of Paleo, and I would say I follow it along the 80/20 rule for sure. But I still love a flat white at a cafe, and avocado on sourdough after a swim session. I always drink 250ml of low fat chocolate milk after long training sessions. I like my chocolate (Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt) on occasion, and if it’s someone’s birthday I’m going to make a cake – a real cake, not Paleo, but from scratch with real ingredients. Oh and I like a glass of red wine, and love champagne on special occasions (or just cause it’s there other times). For me, there has to be some balance. Years of dieting and over analyzing food for me are over. I know what works for me; I know what my treats are. I know what I need to look out for (sugar you suck) and I have over time become more aware of the misinformation and misconceptions that surround the food industry and nutrition in general (Soy is a good example). But I manage it – I try to stay balanced and consistent in what I eat. I learn about where my food comes from and try to make balanced and conscious decisions about how its production could impact my health – and for the most part my diet is total healthy, natural foods. It just makes sense to me.
Some would say cause I have my flat whites, sourdough and champers that I shouldn’t say I am Paleo, well if so, then I’m not. I am going call the way I am leading my lifestyle something else then – like Leyleo – because at the end of the day, if you are eating in a way that supports your values, ethics and body then its your own unique way of eating isn’t it.
I believe that the main thing is to get to know your own body and what works. Eat real food. My main point is that when you stop trying to loose weight and start eating to be healthy, its so easy to get to a place where you can control what you put in these amazing bodies we have. They really are phenomenal, one of a kind machines – treat yours well.