Now stick with me here, I’ve already had a few people grunt in disgust and laugh at my supposed ‘caveman desires’ when I have mentioned the paleo diet. Believe me when I say that I am not one for fads, and most definitely not one for fad diets. I have always stuck by the philosophy that pretty much everything is fine in moderation. I would consider myself to be pretty healthy in that I do weights twice a week, yoga twice a week, train between 10 and 20 hours a week on the bike, always have a rest day each week, love vegetables and meat, my whole life is basically Dry-July and I would happily say that I eat well. When it comes to food, I am not one of ‘those’ cyclists. The one that uses riding around the lake as an all clear for eating packets of chips, pizzas, mountains of chocolate, protein shakes, buckets of pasta and for always stopping at bakeries to wash down sweet pastries with numerous coffees. Don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff, sometimes.
There have always been a few things that just don’t sit right with me though. Ever since a trip to South America in 2008, my insides have never been the same. Let’s just say that in the space of four weeks I had three bouts of salmonella poisoning, a bladder infection, acute bronchitis and giardia and was ordered to go home to Australia by a very nice doctor in Cusco, Peru. After coming back from that holiday (a.k.a trip from hell) I have suffered from terrible gut trouble leading me to see my GP, a holistic medicine doctor and even a naturopath who rubbed my tummy and gave me weird herbal drops to take. No relief. After four years things have settled down but I still find that anything wheat related, anything dairy or overly spicy will give me grief.
After reading recently about the benefits of a paleo diet, I realised I had no idea what paleo meant and started investigating. What it means is that you cut out dairy, grains, legumes and sugar; processed stuff that paleolithic humans didn’t have. At first I scoffed at the thought of it. What on earth would I eat to fuel my body then? Cause lettuce and fish sure wasn’t gonna cut it at an eight hour enduro!
It turns out that a lot of athletes eat in a ‘paleo way’ to stay lean but have excellent recovery resulting from all the protein. The options are huge in terms of the foods that are ‘left’ (as Seb calls them). Protein can be from all kinds of meat and eggs, plus you can eat all vegetables, fruit most and nuts. With boasts of higher energy levels, better skin, better sleep, faster recovery, getting more lean and most importantly having a healthier gut, what have I got to lose? I’m not going to rant and rave about the positives and negatives about why I should or shouldn’t. It is not like I am attempting Morgan Spurlock’s ‘Supersize Me’ or anything horrendous, this is good wholesome natural food we are talking about here!
So without further ado, I have filled the fridge to capacity with a plethora of veggies, the fruit bowl has turned into a ‘fruit table’, the freezer is full to the brim of fish and other meats, I’m stocked with nuts, almond meal, dried fruits, coconut milk and the tea cupboard looks like the tea section in Coles. Current weight is 70kg, current sleep quality is about 70% good and these days my gut is about 50% happy I reckon. Goodbye coffee, chocolate and pasta, hello healthy gut. Pressing the reset button now, I’ll update at halfway. 15 days and counting!