So today marks the start of Paleo May. For those of you unfamiliar with the Paleo or “caveman” way of eating, it’s based on the notion that we should be eating the way our hunter-gatherer ancestors did, before the farming and dairy industries brought us processed grains and milk and cheese. So this means no grains (bread, pasta, corn, rice etc), white potato, dairy, legumes, sugar or processed foods. Foods to eat include: grass fed meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, nuts, seeds, all non-starchy vegetables, some starchy vegetables and small amounts of fruit. Read more at Nom Nom Paleo.
To be honest, I don’t necessarily agree with all the theories behind the Paleo approach. I’ve read plenty of articles that debunk various Paleo ‘myths’, but there’s always another source out there that debunks the debunking. I don’t even know what to believe anymore! What I do believe is that there are many different ways to eating ‘healthily’; it’s just a matter of what works for you. Up until this month, I have actually been cutting down on my meat consumption, limiting it to a couple of servings a week, and eating mainly oily fish and eggs as my source of animal protein. Eating a plant-based diet I find works really well for me. It gives me energy, I don’t get bloated, and I find it extremely satisfying.
So why am I switching to a Paleo fix when my current diet ain’t broke, you ask? Firstly, I’m curious to see how cutting out grains will impact on my energy levels and how my body feels. Ditto with eating meat. I may find this way of eating agrees with me more. Or after the 31 days I may be longing to ditch the meat and get back into the brown rice, quinoa and millet. Who knows. It’s an experiment. The second reason is to see how it affects my physical performance in running, lifting and the general hell burning experience that is the Crossfit WOD. I’m not doing this to lose weight, but if it happens, then I guess I’ll have an excuse to buy some new clothes!
Ok, so generally, this is what I will be eating over the next 31 days:
- Breakfast – green smoothie (recipe to follow), or an omelet with veggies
- Snack – handful of nuts
- Lunch – organic chicken with lots of greens with sweet potato or pumpkin
- Snack – organic veggie sticks and half an avocado (told you I eat a lot of veggies…)
- Dinner – oily fish (or eggs, if I’m lazy) with steamed or roasted broccoli, zucchini etc
Other random snacks and desserts (I’ll be posting recipes soon!):
- Chocolate protein slice
- Chia pudding
- Nut butter
- Coconut flakes/butter
- Kale chips
- Other interesting things I find whilst scouring various Paleo blogs. I’m gonna need it!
I think the most difficult thing for me with this challenge will be giving up grains and legumes. I was slightly addicted to corn thins, and chick peas were my go-to emergency dinner addition. The easiest part will be no sugar or processed junk, which I don’t eat anyway.
One final thing
Giving up dairy means we need to find milk alternatives, and soy, oat and rice milks are totally non-Paleo, which brings me to: nut milk! When I tell people I make nut milk I usually get some weird looks. “I didn’t know nuts had milk in them!” is the general response. It’s actually ridiculously easy and makes you feel like a bit of a kitchen wizard. All you need is a high-speed blender, a jug and a fine muslin cloth/nut milk bag/clean stocking (I use the latter). Here’s how to do it:
- Soak about 1 cup of nuts overnight. You can use any nut or seed, but I like almond, brazil or cashew, or a mix. I tried it with sunflower seeds once and it was rank, but you may like it!
- Drain the nuts, rinse and put in a blender with 4 cups of water. It’s basically 1 part nuts to 4 parts water, so you can easily halve the amount if you wish. Blend for a couple of minutes. You can even add vanilla or cinnamon for flavour.
- Line the jug with your straining material. Slowly pour the nut milk in, then gently squeeze all the milk out. Pour into a glass bottle, and pop it in the fridge. It will last for 4-5 days. OMG nut milk.
Note: You’ll be left with nut pulp in the cloth. Don’t turf it! Each time I make nut milk I freeze the pulp until I have a heap of it, then I dry it out in the oven, and blend to make nut flour. Easy, and zero waste.