what is the paleo diet? (plus how I’m doing it)

Posted on March 29th, 2012

Paleo is the new Atkins. I don’t actually think this. But it’s what everyone likes to say. It certainly is a way of eating that’s attracting a lot of attention…and with it some terribly hysterical mis-information.

infographic mages via greatist.com

Wondering what the hell I’m talking about? How about I give a bit of a Paleo 101 rundown…with some pointers to how I’ve chosen to interpret this way of living. Because, as hopefully you know, I’m not into doing “diets” or being strict and draconian with my eating, or doing what I’m told I should do (this extends well beyond food, I’m afraid) or getting caught up in a fad.

I like to eat my way… and gently. And so: the below is not a guide to how I think YOU should eat. I’m simply sharing my experiences experimenting, which perhaps might prompt you to experiment, too.

To be honest, I’ve resisted writing too much about it previously, although a lot of you who quit sugar are asking whether you “should also be quitting carbs”. (Should, should, should.)

I’ve resisted in part because I’ve been wary of boarding too many bandwagons and becoming a dreary bore who tells other people what to do. And in part because I’ve wanted to distance myself from the Paleo bores. And there are many. And they are vocal!

But mostly I’ve resisted because I like to try things fully before I buy it and share it (although I’ve written about it briefly here and shared recipes here.).

I’ve now tried out the caper fully – for about five months. So, time to share:

The elevator pitch answer: what is the Paleo diet?

Also called the cave man diet, it’s about eating in a similar way to the way our ancestors – up until the agricultural revolution about 7-10,000 years ago – used to eat.

This equates to: meat, saturated fats (from animals, avocados, nuts etc), non-starchy vegetables, nuts, eggs and a little low-sugar fruit.

It means not eating: anything that arrived on the scene since farming and processing began (grains, sugars, vegetable oils, Dunkin’ Donuts).

But Paleo peeps vary their take on the details (see below). To this end it’s an approach, not a diet (there’s no manifesto or original author who cashes in on the idea).

Why would you do such a thing?

Because we evolved to eat this way – and metabolise this way – over millions of years. Grains and other “processed foods” require radically different metabolic and digestive processes. Our bodies simply haven’t adjusted to these different processes (evolution is a damn slow process) and so we struggle with these “new” foods  at every mouthful. Our genes are 99 per cent the same as they were 10,000 years ago.

We haven’t changed genetically; our diets sure have. Ditto our waistlines and health… Read more

why it’s good to give your stuff for free

Posted on March 28th, 2012

I like this story: Trevor from Youth Lagoon recently told my friend Tim (who told me) that back before he was Somebody he decided to release his first single “July” on Bandcamp for free. Everyone told him he was mad. That he should monetise his efforts. But then the track went viral. And he got fans. And Youth Lagoon got big.

We know this kind of story, yeah?

by Lee Basford via advice to sink in slowly

It’s The New Creativity. Give first. See what happens next.

PS: you might like to listen to “July” while you read the rest of this:

Seth Godin first explained the beauty of this concept to me early one morning on Skype. We chatted, quite literally, about the point of existence. He told me it’s about “shipping”.

“Real artists ship,” he says. You can fiddle and perfect and rehearse for a while. But then – fire up! – we have to press send or call in UPS to pick up our contribution to the planet – whether it be a report, a love letter, a meal, a blog post. That’s the point. Which is not far off my “quit the rehearsals, skip to the play” theory from last week.

Art is something we offer as a gift to humanity, Seth tells me. Read more

how to make your own (gut-friendly!) cream cheese

Posted on March 27th, 2012

This could possibly go down as one of my favourite recipe shares ever. It involves one ingredient. It’s satisfyingly wholesome and River Cottage-y to make. It produces no wastage AND results in two invaluable edibles. And it’s super superfood-y and gut-goodish. I could go on… 

I’m talking about homemade cream cheese.

The stuff from the box is terrible. It’s extracted by placing milk under high pressure, and contains very little goodness. The homemade version is essentially the by-product from extracting whey from milk or yoghurt (I do it with yoghurt), with extra gut-guarding goodness from the lactic-acid bacterial processes involved. Aaaaand, it tastes immeasurably better and creamier. Note: different yoghurt brands may produce different amounts of curd and whey. Generally, a cup of yogurt will yield approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup yogurt cheese and produce about 1/2 cup whey.

The cheese:

* spread it on biscuits and toast with a sprinkle of rock salt on top

* mix in some fresh herbs and oil, or pesto, to make a dip

* put a blob in an endive leaf and top with some smoked salmon or grilled sardines and chives

The whey:

Make sure you keep the stash of whey. Whey is great stuff and I’ll be writing about what you can do with it down the track. For now:

* store it in the freezer to use for fermenting your own saukerkraut and probiotics (as I say, more to come.)

* add a tablespoon to your smoothie in the morning. It’s full of minerals and will help digestion. Read more