Paleo or Primal

As I mention Paleo/Primal a lot, a friend asked me to describe the difference. I’m no expert, but I research a lot on nutrition, as health and fitness are an important part of my life.  I realise this is a contentious subject so this is just my personal opinion.

I stumbled across some Paleo, Primal websites after conversing with a fitness academic, as I was having a discussion around with her about my husband’s struggle to lose weight, despite eating a fairly healthy diet. After watching a 45 minute interview on Mark Sissons, the light came on.  This guy truly inspired me. Basically we do not need grains (wheat, legumes, oats etc) to survive and we’ve never needed grains to survive. This relates back to the paleolithic diet (based on 100,000 years + of evolution history). Mark is 53, has the hottest body, loves what he eats, loves what he does, and has such a passion for life. His life principles resonate with mine.

Check out the fundamentals of the paleo/primal movement:

I also have recently started following and have followed this following website for 12 years- and love them.

8 years ago I realised gluten wasn’t my friend and now I don’t even eat gluten-free grains as the benefits I’ve experienced have been phenomenal. I’m extremely disciplined. I work out 6 days a week at the gym, have a personal trainer and I work hard as I love it. It’s about feeling better in general and I must admit, I do love my lean body at my age.

I started experimenting more so for my husband and as soon as we pulled away from eating my homemade healthy muesli with oats (x3) a week, and pulled away from bread and gf bread (say twice a week), I noticed a difference. We both lost about 3 kilos fairly quickly. I got him having smoothies 3x a week, eggs x2 a week, paleo muesli (x1) a week and my no grain banana pancakes and berries (x1 ) a week (and sometimes we have this with bacon). The latter is is my favourite.  It was the surge in energy I noticed, the improvement in sleeping which has been a long-term goal of mine and my menopausal symptoms have vanished. To help me commit, I cleaned out the pantry and donated the goods to friends, neighbours and the mission.

So in a nutshell Paleo is more focused on lean meat, no dairy, no tubers (potatoes, kumera etc). Primal is a little more lenient and focuses more on saturated fat (coconut oil, full fat milk, butter). They both focus on protein, restricted grains and sugars and lots of vegetables. Fortunately I learned about the dangers of fructose over 18 months ago so I’ve made a concerned effort to keep my fruit intake to maximum 1-2 pieces a day and to really avoid processed sugar at all cost. I’m no saint and do get tempted by lollies. I don’t buy them but if they’re in front of me, if I have one I just can’t stop as they’re so addictive so keep them out of sight from me. Every now and then I’ll sample a small piece of cake but I’ve noticed that when you pull back from sugar, things taste so awfully sweet, so I regret going there, as it’s not worth it. When I need something sweet, I have homemade chocolate or blissball (dates/nuts/coconut) in limited quantities. Sugar decreases production of leptin which helps regulate your appetite, it promotes fat storage and weight gain and ages you. So I have to keep reminding myself of that.

So what else are we eating? Tons of raw and steamed, roasted or stirfry veges with a variety of meats at night. Leftover veges with eggs for breakfast or frittatas on the weekends. Salads with lots of grated raw veges, chicken, steak, eggs or tuna, seaweed (good fermented food) and avocado as it’s the good saturated fat, and that’s the secret.

As I’m such a foodie, I just take a normal recipe and adapt it by leaving out the grains e.g. noodles and if it calls for rice, I substitute cauliflower rice. We don’t have potatoes or kumera much unless I entertain. I make a dessert that’s gluten free and processed sugar free and they are always delicious, so you don’t even notice.

Snacks are generally a handful of almonds roasted in tamari or a bliss ball. We drink a glass of red wine Thurs to Sunday with a few more on the weekend. We don’t have a lot of dairy but we have to have a daily latte as I won’t give up my coffee and if I have a second cup, I have a long black. You still gotta live right? We have a little cheese and yoghurt. If we get invited out, we don’t mention what we eat, as we don’t want to make a fuss and nor do we judge what others eat. We’re not going to die if we’re served rice or pasta, or we eat the odd croissant, it’s just something we’ve chosen to commit to, to not have on a daily basis.

I’m committed to this daily. It’s a choice. You have to be organised and be a quick thinker if you want results. I’m still learning. I don’t find it hard.

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