Paleo… is it worth the weight?

So, one thing I hear a lot at the moment is that Paleo is a “diet” [as in, a method to lose weight].  That its “like the Atkins diet”, which, for those who don’t know it, is a high protein, high fat diet that embraces processed foods. There are loads of pictures of people ‘before and after’ Paleo and I’ve yet to see one where the subject wasn’t skinnier in the ‘after’ [although I can imagine that such a person would not likely display their failure].

That said, I’ve never thought of Paleo as a way to lose weight. It’s been about eating healthier and feeling better, physically.  Losing weight has been a side effect.  For both myself and my husband, weight started to drop off within two weeks of going Paleo.  It involved no conscious decision or effort by either of us.

I know for certain its due to the change to Paleo because the day I start to eat ‘bad’ foods, the weight starts to return. I kid you not.  Here is the chart of my weight since Feb, when we started Paleo:

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I have had 3 ‘non-Paleo’ [NP] periods since Feb; for just over a week at the end of March/beginning April, again from 12-19 April and then recently when I went to Lombok mid-May.

Now here’s the same chart, with those three periods highlighted:

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The results are fairly conclusive in my personal case!

I notice it physically the day I go NP.  It does depend on what I eat as to how quickly I feel it – for example within 1/2hr of eating a chicken & avocado focaccia a few weeks ago I was in a fair bit of discomfort – stomach cramps, bloating and generally feeling sick.  Whereas something like a one-off pasta I can tolerate a lot better.  But if I fall right off the wagon, by the next day I can feel it.  I feel sluggish, heavier and whatever the opposite of lean is.  And the weight starts to creep on immediately.

Thankfully, if I get back on the wagon, the opposite is also true. Within about 24 hours I feel cleaner and lighter.  And I am lighter – within a week I will be back to the weight I was before the deviation.

This draws me to the conclusion that the extra weight that I was carrying is created and sustained by processed foods, sugar, dairy and grains.  When I stop consuming those types of foods and replace them with nutritious vegetables, meat, fruit, fats and eggs, my body is able to flush the ‘crap’ out and so, I lose weight.  Start eating them again and they stockpile faster than I can get rid of them. I’d almost bet on sugar being one of the main culprits, and also over consumption of carbs via grain eating.  We just can’t process sugar in the ginormous amounts we consume via processed food and drink, so it sticks and causes fluffiness, bloating, nausea.  And unless you are an elite athlete, the amount of carbs most people consume is never going to get utilised as fuel so it ends up as stores.  Energy in = energy out right?  So if you consume it but don’t use it, you store it as gained weight. And let’s be frank, while we aren’t talking about a lot in my case, maybe 5-6 kg, this figure represents approx. 10% of my body weight so it is worth mentioning.

That all said, I do know people on Paleo who haven’t seen any change from their pre-Paleo weight – unsure why and of course everyone is different. Individual circumstances need to be taken into account too, I guess.

So is Paleo good for weight loss? I have to say no.  Because, I firmly believe if weight loss if your motivation for going Paleo, you are going to fail.  It’s just too easy to get discouraged and stop.  Anyone I know who’s tackled this way of eating specifically to lower the numbers on their scales has not lasted a week.  Paleo needs to be a lifestyle change for the right reason – overall health and well-being – for it to stick… if you don’t lose 5 kilos you won’t feel discouraged because that’s not your goal. So you’re more likely to stick to it, get healthier and probably lose five kilos along the way.

I do encourage anyone who’s curious or doesn’t feel good physically right now to give it a go, for sure. But give it a proper go – 30 days at least.  Take all your measurements ‘Pre-Paleo’, take photo’s, whatever.  Then put away the scales, tapes and cameras and dedicate yourself to researching foods and recipes, reading blogs and books. Learn something new, try different fruits and vegies, get creative with spices.  Take note of your clothing – is it getting looser? Record how you feel.

After thirty days later – reassess. Re-take your measurements and photos.  Ask yourself, was it worth it? Is how you look and feel now worth giving up some of your favourite foods? Choose your path. And then… go forward 🙂

x S

Fried Eggs on Sweet Potato “Toast”

So, I love eggs on toast. I miss it!  But it was just something consigned to the “Pre-Paleo” days.. until my cousin, Louise, introduced me to this version.  Sure, I was skeptical at first but it totally works! Its now one of my favourite Paleo breakfasts.  This is how I do it, and these quantities are for one person.  Its pretty basic but I wanted to put it up anyways.

 

So, your ingredients:

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2 eggs + 1 small sweet potato (this was NOT a small sweet potato – it was medium – and it was too much for one person)
Your method:

Peel & slice the sweet potato into thick (1cm) slices. You can go for round slices or lengthways, depending on the size and shape of your sweet potato. I did both, to demonstrate:

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Place slices in dry frypan / sandwich press or under grille.  I use a sandwich press because, provided your slicing is neat, you can cook both sides at once and it cuts down the cooking time. Fry until cooked through, 5-10 mins, turning as necessary.

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Cook in batches if required, put cooked pieces on a plate and into the oven/microwave to keep warm. When you are done, or are on your last batch, fry up two eggs:

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Again – the sandwich press allows me to do both top and bottom simultaneously – saves time 🙂

 

Then its just a matter of putting your slices of “toast” on the plate, topping with your eggs, and voila!  Yum yum yum.

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Again, I know this is simple… but it had never occurred to me, so maybe there are those out there its never occurred to either. Anyway – hope you enjoy, let me know if you try it and what you think, or any variations or improvements that you make!

 

Thanks for reading – til next time,

 

x S

 

The [final?] “Weekly” Update

I’ve been pretty slack of late but you’ll have to forgive me – I had a wedding to attend, in Lombok, at a resort… it was sublime. If you ever need a break to just relax, may I respectfully suggest you check out Qunci Villas, Lombok.  Amazeballs. The wedding was OK too…. Kidding! Of course the wedding was the highlight, the ceremony was stunning and the reception was in the most beautiful villa I have ever seen, bar none.  AND, to my immense satisfaction, the food was superb. Not strictly Paleo, but fantastic nonetheless.  As we know, sometimes it’s OK to fall off the wagon, right?  If you don’t know what I’m on about, see here [insert link to previous post].

Anyway. This is supposed to be about Paleo – my Paleo journey.  Not Shane and Erika’s wedding.  I thought it was time I did a weekly update – which should be renamed because I haven’t exactly been doing them weekly eh?  And then I realised, with amazement, that without realising, my husband and I have completed our 3 month trial. Shock! Horror! I can unpack all those pantry goods… I can eat normally again… I can have a less than astronomical food bill…

Or…

I can continue to enjoy the light and clean feeling I have.  I can continue to eat as much as I want and still remain lean and healthy.  I can continue to feel great about the quality of nutrition I am putting into my body.  I can continue to discover tasty, satisfying recipes that I never, ever have to feel the slightest twinge of guilt about eating.

Hmmm. Tough choice.

I think that my husband I wordlessly decided, quite a few weeks ago, that we would never go back.  “Going Paleo” was probably the healthiest thing we have ever done and neither of us wants to undo the good we believe we’ve done ourselves.   Yes, we now include some dairy in our diet, and we occasionally have non-paleo meals when out and about, but on the whole we are very, very happy with how we choose to live.

So many people ask me, ‘so are you still doing that diet?’, and seem shocked when I say yes – and then confused when I follow up with, ‘Well, it’s not a diet; it’s more a way of living.’  It seems inconceivable to so many that I could cheerfully say goodbye to grains and legumes, forever.  Especially when they realise how much of the modern diet contains grains or legumes such as soy.

But, I say, why wouldn’t I continue with this way of eating when it works so well for me? When I’ve slimmed down, feel 100% better, no longer suffer from any digestive issues, have clearer skin and best of all, feel so emotionally / mentally good about how I’m treating my body?

I know loads of people who have ‘tried’ Paleo and been unable to stick it; that’s fine. At least they tried it.  And loads of people who say ‘Oh I could never do that, I love [insert variable item here] too much.’ Again, that’s fine. I have very little desire to ‘convert’ people to Paleo.  It’s not a religion and I don’t think anyone who isn’t Paleo is any less responsible, any more likely to die than me, etc.  Sure I’d love for everyone to feel as good as I do and I sincerely believe that everyone would be better off if they ate this way, but it’s not up to me. These are my beliefs…I won’t preach.

But for those who try to ridicule my husband or myself, or judge us for our choices – well, I’ve no time for them.  I have plenty of information to support my beliefs and am happy to discuss the ideas behind Paleo with them. They aren’t really the listening type though.

So – how are we going, overall? What foods are we eating?

Well, typically for me breakfast is eggs and bacon – fried, or in scrambled eggs; or breakfast muffins, or a recent favourite is fried eggs on sweet potato ‘toast’ [soooo yum].  An alternative to this is what’s known as ‘intermittent fasting.’ Not for everyone – my husband doesn’t do it – it basically means cutting out one of the “standard” three meals per day, or, in more Paleo friendly terms, increasing the non-eating period in a day from the typical 8 hours [sleep time] to 12 – 16 hours.  I literally do it only because, some days, I am simply not hungry when I wake up and so I don’t force myself to eat. As a bonus, it gives my digestive system a longer period to clear itself out once in a while.

Lunch can be anything – I have things like left overs, salmon or chicken and salad, or jumbled veggies.

Dinner – seriously the sky is the limit.  We’ve had every meal you can think of from chicken schnitzel to roast beef to Thai green curry with [cauliflower] rice. Or my personal favourite so far: Bangers n Mash …grass-fed beef sausages with cauliflower mash n onions….oh my lord it was good!!

Snacks: Kale chips, sweet potato or beetroot chips from Coles/Woolworths; homemade granola bars, banana or pumpkin bread, nuts or fruit; maybe date & cocoa balls if we want to be naughty [too much sweet is still not ideal, even when the “sweet” is not sugar!].

What we drink: water and sparkling mineral water [sometimes with a slice of lime for something different] with <10% sodium/100ml; my husband also loves coconut water but me, not so much; coffee [white, but no sugar, and max 2 cups per day] and black or green tea. That’s truly it.

What we sometimes eat: dairy [cheese, milk, ghee], potato and for me, pasta. Not often though. It’s a special treat and I cannot wait to try to make sweet potato gnocchi.  I was wondering if it was possible and then had it at that resort I just stayed in – see the start of this post! – and it was absolutely scrumptious. So that’s on my soon-to-do list!

What we sometimes drink: wine [white and red, organic preferred], vodka [with mineral water & fresh lime] or very, very occasionally my husband will have a couple of beers.

Reading back over that, I almost feel like it sounds quite staid and boring but I can assure you it isn’t, the possibilities are endless and you are limited only by your imagination or your internet connection.

So that’s it. 3 mths of Paleo, done. Would be awesome if I could put up before and after photos but I didn’t take any before shots. Really wish I had now! And got the ‘before bloods’… apparently it is a startling result for most.

My only question at this point, is whether or not to continue this blog… I mean it was supposed to be about my journey from Pleb to Paleon, which is kind of complete… but on the other hand I am really enjoying sharing my thoughts. Hmmm. I guess I’ll have a think and see if I think there’s more I have to offer… let me know YOUR thoughts, if you want – do YOU want to see more from me? Either way, I’ll be sure to be back at least once, if only to say a final adieu.

As always – thanks for reading… have a fabulous day be good to yourselves….See you next time

x S

Oh, PS – I just found another great site for us Paleons: paleononpaleo.com – check it out!

x S

Some staple substitutions…

So, jumping on the Paleo wagon removed a whole lot of food from my fridge and pantry that I would consider staples.  Rice, being a huge one. Pasta – my all time favourite food. And things you don’t think of so often – like tomato sauce (not paste) or breadcrumbs or flour.

But there are things you can use as substitutes, some better than others, and I thought I’d just run through a couple of the ones I’ve latched onto. Basic, yes, and there are loads of alternate recipes if you Google it, but here are a couple that work for me and mine.  I’ll add more as I go along 🙂

[One basic direct substitution we love is dukkah for breadcrumbs. EG on Chicken Schnitzel.  Just brush oil on your fillet then sprinkle it with dukkah and fry. Yum!]

Substitute Cauliflower for …. Rice:

I used to eat rice a lot. I mean, we bought it in 5kg bags because we went through so much. One of our favourite meals: steak, egg and rice. Yummmm.  But, now not an option and I’m ok with that – its not like I can really miss the flavour, right?  But I do miss having that bland, liquid soaking texture in certain meals, like Thai Green Curry. So, our solution?

Cauliflower Rice.

I’ve read lots of variations of this, and loads of recipes call for it, but it actually took me a while to find a “How to make Cauliflower Rice” recipe. I tinkered because I wasn’t happy with some outcomes, and this is what I’ve come up with to create a reasonably fluffy rice that will actually soak up sauce:

[This makes enough for 2-3 people. Prep time is about 10 minutes and cook time about 10 minutes]

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into large florets
  • Oil [I prefer to use olive – but your choice]
  • Spices to suit – I just use garlic powder generally
  • Equipment: board & knife, food processor, bowl, large frypan.

Ensure the cauliflower is dry. Moisture is your enemy here! Buzz the florets in a food processor until grainy, removing the grounds regularly as you go to ensure you don’t get any that is over processed.  Place in a bowl and set aside until you 10 minutes from chow time…I imagine cold cauliflower rice would be fairly unappealing!

When its time – heat your oil in a large frypan.  Add your chosen spices to your rice and stir well; if you are using fresh garlic, I’d add it to your oil now so it heats with the oil.  Add the ‘rice’ in manageable amounts [I have a really big pan so it all goes in at once] and stir fry your ‘rice’ until it is heated through and a little soft. This should take no more than ten minutes – taste it to know.

Serve with your favourite meal J  You’ll find some recipes call for you to cook the cauliflower florets first, but I find the frying from raw is what allows this rice to soak up sauces like actual rice would. If its cooked first, its soaked in moisture already and can tend to be gluggy. Boo to that!

 

 

Substitute Zucchini for…Pasta:

Again, something I heard SO much about but it’s as if the recipe owners just assume you know how to produce this wondrous thing. So important fact #1 – this will NOT taste like pasta does. Sorry. Important fact #2 – if you over cook it you might as well toss it. It will NOT go well with the food you’d planned to put it with. Important fact #3 – when I say medium zucchini I am referring to one that is approx. 25cm long and has a girth of 4-5 cm.

 

Zucchini Pasta

[Prep time depends on how many people but should be no more than 10mins. Cook time is 30 seconds. For real.]

  • 1 medium zucchini per person [adult]
  • Equipment: Julienne [spaghetti] or flat vegetable peeler [fettucine] or a ‘spiralizer’ [loads of shapes], microwave safe dish large enough for your ‘pasta’ [or cook it in batches], microwave.

Peel the skin from your zucchini & discard. Using the peeler, peel the zucchini length ways to make your ‘pasta’. Try to rotate the zucchini per slice so you arrive at the seeds on all sides at once. It’s not imperative – it’s just easier. Once you get to the seeds, stop. Give the core to the worm farm.  Place your pasta into your microwave dish and add about 2cm of very hot or boiling water. Put in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Drain the water out immediately and cover to keep warm if not serving straight away.

Draining the water out immediately afterwards and only cooking for 30 seconds ensures your pasta will have an ‘al dente’ texture and not be mush. Which has happened to me before and it was terrible. Ugh.

 

Anyways so that’s it for now, just a couple of simple ones – let me know if you’ve got any simple substitution recipes to share – I’d love to read them 🙂

As always – thanks for reading and take care out there x