I get a lot of funny looks when the topic of diet comes up. So what’s the deal? What DO I eat then and why?
It’s quite simple really, I eat like a caveman. Everything as close as possible to our ancestral way of eating. Basically, REAL food:
What I eat in unlimited abundance:
Fresh cuts of whole meat, poultry and seafood – packaged the way nature intended with all the natural (good, yes, good) fat retained – organic, free range and ideally grass fed – think sumptuous steaks marbled naturally with fat, chicken and fish with the skin on, duck and pork. I prioritize wild meat such as venison and game birds as optimal choices, as they’re naturally organic and free range.
Fresh vegetables by the box full – organic where possible, always seasonal, and ideally locally produced or better yet, homegrown. The fresher the better! Think leafy green vegetables, everything bright and colourful, the more colour the better – oozing with antioxidants and polyphenols
Eggs – Free range and organic – we eat A LOT of eggs!!
Healthy natural fats -the best quality butter I can afford (ideally organic and/or grass fed) – I cook everything in butter – life is just better with butter!
Olive oil – extra virgin, the best quality affordable
Coconut oil – some of the best fat around
Animal fat – found naturally in meats, egg yolks etc
Fruit – It may be all natural, but still high in fructose (fruit sugar) and will still affect insulin production. Fruit juice is literally just a glass of sugar, stick to whole fruits with all the fibre mother nature created to help you not get fast tracked to an insulin coma that comes in a glass of OJ
Berries – An excellent source of antioxidents, eating abundantly when in season, surprisingly low in fructose! Yippee!!
Dairy – I always choose full fat options, as milk still contains lactose (milk sugar) and yup you guessed it,will still upset insulin levels. So I stick to Greek yoghurt, double cream and full fat cream cheese… Life is hard isn’t it…
So ill have double cream in my morning coffee and mascapone over berries. Its tough, but someone’s gotta do it…
Xylitol – Naturally found in various fruits like plums and birch bark, this natural sweetner is a godsend! It’s a sugar alcohol, but your body responds to it very differently than how it sees other sugars (glucose, sucrose, fructose, lactose) and it doesn’t elicit an insulin response. However, it can have a slight laxative effect in some people if over consumed. So stick to a few teaspoonfuls in your coffee and the occasional slice of chocolate raspberry cheesecake.
Nuts and legumes – Nuts are a great source of fat, but like legumes (beans, chickpeas, peas, peanuts, cashews) they contain a high ratio of carbs vs the amount of valuable fats and protein they yield, so in short there are better fat/protein sources out there. Plus they contain phytic acid which inhibits nutrient absorption. But in small or infrequent quantities they’re still fine.
Caffeine, 80% dark chocolate and alcohol – all contain stimulants that can mess with your bodies adrenal and insulin sytems if over consumed. But one cup of Joe a day and a glass of red wine on a Saturday night with your 21 day aged fillet steak and creamy mushroom sauce followed by a couple of blocks of Lindt 90% is fine.
Root vegetables, honey & maple syrup – potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrot etc, basically anything that grows underground tends to be very starchy, and this will convert into sugar if not burnt off. The same goes for honey and maple syrup. Great natural sugars, but still sugar. So only if you’re a triathlete or have absolutely no surplus body fat then you would be quite happy with these as primal carby choices. But if like me, you’re a bit round on the edges and prone to putting on weight, then you’re better off not eating these, or at least very infrequently.
Quinoa & Buckwheat – These pseudo cereals are great, grain-free alternatives. But if you’re trying to shed those extra kilos I wouldn’t recommend eating them too regularly as they are still quite carby.
Processed meats – Don’t get me wrong, I love salami, ham and bacon. But the processed meats (hotdogs, sausages, cold meats) tend to have a lot of added salt and nitrates to preserve them, so I eat these in moderation.
What I won’t touch with a pool net:
…and this is why
Any and all grains – wheat, oats, rice, gluten free flour, corn (yup it’s a grain, not a vegetable)
Sugar in any form – if it ends in “ose” don’t eat it!
Artificial sweeteners – Aspartame is the devil! and this is why!! Beelzebub I tell you!!!
Bad fats – Really? Is there such a thing? Sadly anything hydrogenated, polyunsaturated and trans fats are all no no’s. Think sunflower and canola oil…Yucky poof!
It may sound like the latest fad diet to be sweeping through Hollywood. But I’ve actually been eating like this for a year already, and honestly I’ve never looked back! In fact our ancestors have been eating this way for millions of years. So there must be a link to the food they were eating and our superior brain development that got us to the top of the food chain somehow. And I doubt it was the Mcnuggets that did it…
For a lot of people the idea of living without grains and sugar seems unthinkable, surely we’ve always been eating wheat and the like? Bread has been around forever right? But evolutionary speaking the agricultural era is the equivalent of a squashed bug on an 18-wheeler windscreen in terms of significance. The last 5,000 years are just a blink of an eye for 2 million years of evolution, and our bodies are taking the strain with this sudden adjustment… Know anyone with cancer, diabetes, over weight, heart problems? I know I do… It doesn’t have to be this way….
I’m not alone, I may be very weird I know, but at least I’m not alone… Its actually quite a common lifestyle.
You have the Paleo community – full fat, all natural meat & veg, but no dairy.
The Primal guys – Basically Paleo but with a bit more leniency on dairy
LCHF– (Low Carb High Fat) Taking Swedan by storm, they’re one of the healthiest countries for a reason clearly…
First there were the Atkins activists, which banned any and all carbs, even most veggies were banned. Favouring processed gunk as long as it was carb free. Incidentally trying to live on a low carb AND low fat diet left people feeling lethargic and with no zest for life. The reason -You still need to get your energy from somewhere. So by swapping your energy source from less than inadequate carbs and moving over to clean- burning fat fuel, it’s staggering the difference it makes in the way you feel. For me it felt like I’d been putting diesel into my unleaded tank all these years. The minute I made the change over, I felt like something out of a Twilight film, with a new heightened sense of things, a constant supply of abundant energy (I run all the way home from work most days -when it’s not raining-, I would have laughed at that suggestion a year ago) It now feels like I’m finally running on clean energy.
I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical at first. It all sounded too good to be true. OK maybe not the giving up bread and sugar part, but cream in my coffee! Seriously?
These are usually the questions I get asked when the topic of food comes up:
Isn’t it bad to cut out a whole food group?
Technically its not really a food group in the greater scheme of things…Ask Fred Flintstone what a peanut butter and jam sandwich is and he’ll look at you blankly.
Don’t you feel like you’re depriving yourself?
Oh yes, especially when I add a big dollop of blue cheese sauce onto my steak.
What do you eat when you go out for a meal?
Honestly I can’t say I’ve really struggled to find something suitable in a restaurant. The other day I met friends at a Mexican restaurant (carb central) but I just picked a selection of starters – soft shell crab with salsa tartare sauce, chopped salad with bacon, avocado, eggs and Caesar dressing, a side of olives and chicken wings in a spicy jalapeno dip… I was stuffed! But if you do find yourself really stuck, just ask the waiter to hold the bun and dredge it in olive oil to help offset the insulin surge.
Don’t you crave bread and sweets?
Nope! Never! I’ve made it through two Easters, a Christmas and a birthday without so much as a pitiful sniff! Once you cut the carbs cold turkey and re-wire your body, it’s such a relief to no longer be a slave to food and cravings.
Where do you get your, um… fibre?
I eat bags and bags of leafy green veg like spinach, broccoli, kale and loads of other veg at nearly every meal. Its really not hard when its covered in something creamy and decadent! There is so much good fibre in veg that there’s never a concern about things related to lack of fibre…I will spare you the details, but just know that all is good in the hood…
Don’t you get fat eating cream everyday and bacon?
Seeing as I’ve actually lost 8kg’s already effortlessly (I’ve hibernated all winter), then no, I think not. But don’t listen to me, listen to this sexy swede!
I could never give up pizza and cake!!
You know I thought I couldn’t either! Truthfully I had the worst will power around, and “diets” never really lasted past week 2. The difference with eating low carb high fat is that you’re giving your body everything it’s asking for, there are no sacrifices. Once it reprogrammes itself and starts burning fat for fuel, I found the desperate, clinginess to carbs vanished. Plus when you realise how awesome you feel when you’re fat adapted it’s just not worth ruining that with a stodgy muffin or worthless piece of pizza! For the first time in my life I could just get on with life without constantly being at the mercy of my blood sugar and her bitchiness!
At the end of the day it’s about doing what’s best for you and fits into your lifestyle. What makes you feel great and supplies you with the right energy levels to sustain you through your busy life. Its not normal to feel sluggish, lazy and listless. It goes against our genes to struggle with our weight. Its not right that anything we eat should make us feel bloated, gassy or give us heart burn never mind make us sick and fat on top of that! For a lot of people this is considered the norm, and until I made the transition, I didn’t know just how bad I felt on a daily basis on a conventional diet until I cut free from the shackles of a sugar/grain based diet.
Give yourself the quality of life you deserve!! If I can do it, anyone can…