Much has been written and spoken of the Paleo diet recently – it seems everyone is either on it or talking about it. So I decided it was time to find out what the fuss is all about and gave it a go for a few weeks.
For those of you that are not familiar, the Paleo or “Cave Man” diet is an eating plan based on the foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate prior to the agricultural revolution, about 10,000 years ago. This includes anything that could be hunted or found – meats, fish, nuts, vegetables and seeds. It is not intended to be a gimmick or a fad diet, but rather a way of life. The main motivation for going Paleo is to improve overall health and boost energy levels.
On the Paleo diet you can’t eat grains (wheat products, pasta, rice, bread, etc), legumes (peas, lentils, peanuts, etc), dairy products, processed foods, refined sugars or artificial sugars, refined oils (eg canola, polyunsaturated vegetable oils, etc) or consume alcohol. However you can eat meat, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and natural oils (olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia, etc).
Although the diet sounds rather restrictive (what, I hear you say – no bread, pasta or cheese?!), there are a surprising number of alternatives that can be used to create satisfying, flavourful meals that do not make you feel at all deprived. Whilst I’m not ready to give up bread, cheese or wine completely, I have recently implemented an 80/20 routine which for me is a flexible and realistic approach which allows enjoyment of a few treats some of the time. I know I feel a lot better for it.
Chai Coconut Chia Breakfast Pudding
Ingredients (serves 6-8):
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
1½ cups almond milk
1½ tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
7 cardamom pods, bruised
7 whole cloves
5cm piece ginger, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup chia seeds
1. Place all ingredients except the chia seeds in a saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and set aside to cool and infuse.
2. Strain then add the chia seeds to the milk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight to gel.
3. Serve with granola, fresh strawberries or mango.