Just Eat Real Food (#JERF)

So apparently I joined a cult. And all I was after was a healthy life style. – As you know I attended a symposium on primal living … and according to some really qualified (sarcasm intended) Sydney journos that is a cult, others claim that eating Paleo is a hipster thing. If I need a label, can I go by caveman (supported by the chin wig) or lumbersexual?

eat-real-foodmy story

Over the last year, I have noticed that I feel better (and in particular don’t get viral infections as much) if I reduce sugar and processed foods (or let’s say “things I don’t know what they are”) from what I eat. I had an inkling that I wasn’t eating “my veggies” as the saying goes. Being an early adopter (google “technology life cycle”), I jumped on the “vegan diet” hype, with the goal of adding more veggies to my diet. Done.

Last winter I took the next step and made a lot of stews, they are quite filling and – boys need toys – you can whack everything in the pressure cooker on full throttle whilst you enjoy a glass of antioxidants or your favourite hops tea and half an hour later you have a week’s worth of lunch. Done.

IMG_3524Eventually craving meat, I thought it won’t hurt to get some good, grass-fed, non anti-biotic pork (beef is generating to much CO2) from the butcher and add it to the stew (with a bottle of cider). Gelatinous soup is good for a triathlete running a few Ks a week (joints). Done.

Naturally I was eating less processed foods and notably less sugar, and felt so much better. Plus I was training much easier (must be all those nutrients in the veggies), maybe they are right and what you put is what you get out. With Christmas (3 triathlons already in the bag by then), came the visit to my parents and the annual weigh-in (I don’t have scales) … plus the “shock” of having lost 10+% of my body weight. I am a stick figure as it is, so if you find the 10%, I only want them back as muscle mass, thanks. But more interestingly, how do you loose (that much) weight by eating more saturated fats. What the … ?!

IMG_3569the theory

With a minimal amount of “Google to the rescue”, I find out that we consume too many carbs (in particular since the food industry discovered high fructose corn syrup is cheap – check any food label) that we don’t use, which (long story short) the body stores as fat for rainy days (of which there are none in the Western world – and no, I am not referring to the California drought). That’s how you gain weight. And the reverse is that if you, as in my experience, reduce your sugar intake, you will loose weight – and I didn’t sign up to “I Quit Sugar” or any other program. Not because of the “cult” thing, more because of the “cave man” thing.

Now the symposium answered all the technical details behind this. Excess glucose is triggering an insulin response that in turn will convert the glucose your blood stream into fat in that is then stored by the body… unless you use it (the rainy day thing). Mind you, your organs can still store fat even if you are skinny.

just eat real food #JERF

This sounds difficult. It is not! Somebody said at some point “Just do what your grandparents would have done”. So buy fresh & in season produce, non-antibiotic meat, real eggs (no, they don’t come in a milk carton). If it lives in the centre of a supermarket, check how processed it is, what ingredients are in it and how much of them you would consider food.

IMG_3567Start growing your own herbs, then take it to the next level. See what works, laugh at my 3cm carrots … I mean your failures (and buy good soil).

Google Paleo or primal recipes.

Do whatever works for you. This is about what you put in and what you get out.

Now, I will come back briefly to the sugar thing. “Experiment” with your sugar (or carb) intake and see how it affects you. Trust me, this is worth trying.

I (re)discovered the local organic farmers market. This is like paradise, mostly guilt free shopping, and whilst the meat is a bit more expensive, the fruit and veg are actually cheaper than at the big supermarkets. Non waxed apples and they don’t start to rot after 2 days either.

Enjoy the journey of rediscovering real food #JERF!



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