I've finally found the downside to getting involved in American style celebrations. Christmas is coming and I'm still trying to recover from Thanksgiving. It's not just my bank balance that needs to go on a diet, right now I am dangerously close to shopping in the Big and Tall section. Not good... I'm gonna have to do something drastic to prepare for 25th so that I don't have to be one of the million January gym warriors who sign up for some bullshit shake diet which guarantees drastic weight loss but also includes Hangriness, Halitosis and Constipation as part of a miracle weight loss package.
DIETING? I GOT THIS NAILED
Earlier this year, I successfully proved a point to Mrs Shack in the summer. She challenged me to undertake one month of the Carnivore Diet which essentially meant I could eat nothing but meat for an entire month and yeah well, I won. No chocolate, crisps, fizzy drinks, nothing. Just one more point on the chalkboard we call marriage.
She was at it again. "If you're so worried about that belly of yours why don't you try doing a bit of Paleo".
Belly... what belly?
My time as a carnivore for the summer taught me that dieting isn't actually all about Jane Fonda videos and dropping the pounds. There are many health benefits associated with being mindful of what you stuff down your gullet.
Take for example a pal of mine from work. Had they had listened to their gluten intolerance on the day that they decided to eat greasy spoon chips for lunch then they could have avoided very nearly shitting themselves in a customer's house. You know who you are, wink wink.
THE PALEO DIET
Paleolithic diets are all about getting down and dirty with the basics and eating like our caveman ancestors did. Now while I am not proposing that you go out with your spear and hunt down a wild boar for your dinner, the idea is to eat as natural as possible. I'm thinking I can get on with this one, being the meat and two veg man that I am.
There are a couple of versions of the Paleo Diet out there but there is a basic list of foods which are on the naughty and nice list to get you going.
Yes to: Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, nuts and seeds, healthy fats
No to: Dairy, grains, processed foods and sugars, legumes, starches, alcohol
There is some REALLY controversial shit out there about the foundations of the paleo diet. Especially the no grains part. Tom Venuto, author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, makes an interesting point which I think is worth sharing:
"For one thing, I'm not sure if anyone knows EXACTLY how our ancestors ate, but I'm pretty certain that it depended a lot on the culture, climate and geography. Therefore, the amount of carbs eaten could have varied quite a bit, so I don't think there is just ONE type of paleo diet".
controversy aside, looking for inspiration for recipes for a paleo newbie can be a bloody nightmare and my attempts at creating a dessert recipe had me binning my zen. I laboured in vain to make a Paleo Christmas masterpiece without the use of butter or flour.
As I waited patiently for the results of the Paleo Gingerbread Slow Cooker cake I was expecting a gooey, brown, egg mess. So when it came out ACTUALLY looking like cake I breathed a sigh of relief. And it was pretty good. It did taste like gingerbread. BUT it was no gingerbread man. And I doubt that many cavemen had access to a slow cooker.
The Paleo diet has many claims to health benefits including better gut health, reducing inflammation, increased energy and insulin sensitivity, just to name a few. To reap some or all of these benefits without breaking the bank, investing in the worlds most expensive substitute ingredients or completely loosing your shit like I did, my advice is simple. Literally, just that. Keep it simple. Stick to meat, veg and fruits and you can't go wrong.
THE SAUSAGE REVOLUTION
Meet Michael. He cares about your gut.
Michael is the Creator of Primal Cut, completely Paleo friendly sausages made from high quality (free range) meat, sea salt, and natural seasonings. All mixed by hand and stuffed into natural casings with an average of 94% meat in each sausage. It's a no brainer really. Let Michael do all the hard work for you.
So the question is, would I consider life as a full time caveman? Unlikely. I like my sanity in tact and a proper gingerbread man at Christmas. After all, life is all about balance.