The Paleo way

The paleo way is a way of eating that many are trying or are intrigued about. I spent a few minutes with Donna Crous who is a nuritional expert and ambassedor for the paleo way.

Donna Donna is a South African who loves cooking and creating new recipes in her kitchen in Godalming, Surrey.  Her poor dishwasher is the most overworked item in her home and her days are spent creating recipes, styling food, photographing then sharing them on her blog www.eighty20nutrition.com. Her recipes are always taste tested by her two teenage daughters and husband before hitting the internet.

Here is what Donna had to tell me about the paleo way.

Being a paleo recipe blogger is a great conversation starter when meeting new people.  Thanks to loads of media coverage, many people have heard about paleo or know of someone who follows a paleo lifestyle, but most are still either cautious or unsure of what it entails.

In a nutshell, it is about channeling your inner caveman and going back to the basics with food.  Paleo is based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, healthy fats and the occasional fruit.   It excludes all processed food, grains, sugar, preservatives and in some cases dairy.

Paleo is not a diet.  It is a lifestyle change; after all food is designed to be enjoyed whilst still being nutritious and delicious.  The 80/20 rule is a great way to remain on track.  It means that falling off the wagon occasionally does not leave you riddled with guilt and feeling like a failure.  Reprogramming our eating habits means we learn to love the taste of wholefoods whilst being able to enjoy the occasional treat.

I’m not going to get into the hows and whys of paleo as there are many guides and articles on the internet.  Instead I’m going to cover some of the general questions that I am commonly asked:

How do you manage without bread?paleo bread

Homemade bread can be baked using almond, tapioca or coconut flours.  An easier alternative to bread is lettuce, either as a salad or boats filled with toppings in the form of tacos, or wrapped around a burger patty.

Instead of toast, eggs for breakfast either on their own, or teamed up with bacon or gluten-free sausages, are delicious.

Have left-overs for lunch instead of a sandwich: cook more at dinner time then simply warm up the remains for lunch the following day.

Is it more expensive?

Initially it can be, because it is highly recommended to purge your pantry of any non-paleo items, then restock with approved products.  Although purchasing good quality meat may feel pricey, the cheaper cuts and organs are often more nutritious.  Keep and eye open for specials and offers.

Investing in a pressure cooker or slow cooker makes it easier to prepare tougher meat cuts like shoulder, oxtail and shanks.  Most butchers are happy to part with bones for free and they are great for making healthy bone broth.

Purchasing vegetables from farmers’ markets is not only much cheaper, but also ensures an exciting variety of seasonal and often organic produce.

Making your own products like mayonnaise or stocks from scratch, means you only need to buy the basic ingredients.

As your health starts to return and energy levels increase, so will your productivity, which paleo meat reduces time off work or school.

Can I still drink alcohol?

Alcohol is loaded with sugar and many types also contain wheat, but an occasional glass is not a big problem, just not on a regular basis.  In general the 80/20 rule of thumb is a great way to be able to enjoy social gatherings without feeling guilty.

Is it safe for my children?

The biggest misconception is that it is a weight-loss diet.  Yes, you may well lose weight, but it is actually a healthier lifestyle.  Certainly, by reducing the amount of sugar, wheat and junk food that our children consume, will definitely benefit them.

Involving and including all the family members makes it easier for everyone to stay on track.  Five years later, my whole family is still following the paleo lifestyle successfully.

paleo broccoliWhat can I eat at restaurants?

I have yet to find a restaurant that has not been more than happy to substitute regular fries with a salad, and many restaurants are now offering sweet potato fries as a healthier option.  As a family we steer away from pizza/pasta restaurants, but a pub or steakhouse is always happy make a healthy swap at no charge.

Researching and reading is key to understanding paleo and there are many great websites packed with information, ideas and motivational stories.  Here are a few website that I highly I recommend:

www.thepaleomom.com

www.marksdailyapple.com

www.nomnompaleo.com

www.wellnessmama.com