how to eat like paleolithic man and get more vegetables in your diet
[5 ingredients]

carrotti tofunaise carrotti tofunaise-4

Did you know that when our ancestors when from being paleolithic hunters and gathers to settling into a neolithic farming way of life, they lost an average of six inches in height? Well I didn’t either until I came across a disturbingly titled blog post by Tim Ferris.

In How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days), Ferris publishes an excerpt from Robb Wolf’s fascinating book The Paleo Solution. Basically Wolf’s theory is that when our ancestors became neolithic they started farming and their diet changed dramatically to rely heavily on grains and dairy.

He is convinced this caused the loss in height because grains have a negative impact on our digestive systems. According to Wolf, a diet heavy in grains causes malabsorption of nutrients which leads to problems with our health and well-being. Not to mention auto-immune diseases.

While I was reading I was thinking, yes fine for people with senstitivies like celiacs, but I’m not sick, I don’t think this applies to me. But Wolf insists that even if you think you are ‘fine’, you’ll be better off if you follow a Paleolithic Diet and cut out grains, dairy and legumes. He’s pretty persuasive.

I figured that if I ate less grains, and replaced them with vegetables and fruit that would have to be a good thing. Particularly considering my recent discovery that I’m not eating as many veggies as I should.

So my Irishman and I decided to give it a try for a month. Grain, legume and (mostly) dairy free. If you’re interested, I kept a diary of what we ate and have detailed it at the end of the post.

And the results?

So far so good. We’ve both felt like we’ve had more energy. We’ve been sleeping more soundly as well. My weight has pretty much stayed the same, as has my % body fat (from the not-so-scientific bathroom scale measurement) but my waist to hip ratio has become closer to ideal. A good thing I guess. But the biggest benefit for me, apart from the extra energy has been I’ve felt less bloating over the month.

Interestingly, after the month was up and I did chow down on some bread, I felt pretty ick for the next day or so. Which could have been just in my head, but I’m not so sure.

where to from here?

We’ve decided to stick to being mostly Paleolithic for the time being, although without the restriction on dairy and legumes. I’m loving the switch to fresh fruit and smoothies for breakfast and I’m enjoying cooking with vegetables and getting more creative with my lunches rather than just defaulting to a sandwich.

I am missing my sourdough starter and my bread making, but I’m happy to give it a rest for a bit longer and treat grains as very occasional foods.

which brings me to the recipe

I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite paleolithic inspired meals. I made the original version with beef, in a bastardised spag bol with carrot ribbons to replace the spaghetti. It was so good I haven’t been missing my pasta at all.

Todays version with crumbled tofu isn’t strictly Paleo, given that soybeans are legumes. Robb Wolfe covers the question of vegetarianism in his book. His opinion is that it’s not a great idea but if you must be vegetarian, focus on getting as much protein as you can from tofu and the like.

carrotti tofunaise-2

[5 ingredients]
‘carotti tofunaise’

serves 2-3
If you’re a big cheese fan, serve with freshly grated parmesan, but honestly, you don’t need it.

If you’re into being a real paleolithic person, by all means use minced or ground beef in place of the tofu. If using beef, brown first then let it simmer in with the tomatoes.

I’ve made this with regular firm tofu as well as smoked tofu. While both were delicious, the smoked tofu did have a slight edge in interesting flavours. If you’re in Australia the earnest bean co makes a lovely smoked tofu.

2 brown onions, chopped
2 cans tomatoes (400g / 14oz each)
300g (10oz) firm tofu, crumbled
2 – 3 large carrots
small handful fresh basil leaves

1. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and cook onion, covered over a medium low heat. Stir every now and then until the onion is soft but not browned.

2. Add tomatoes and their juices and break up with a spoon.

3. Bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 1/2 hour, or until the tomatoes have reduced into a lovely sauce.

4. Heat another few tablespoons of olive oil in another frying pan and brown the crumbled tofu over a medium high heat. Add the tomato sauce and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes or so.

5. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil. Shave carrot into long ‘noodles’ using a vegetable peeler.

6. Boil carrot noodles for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain well and return to the saucepan.

7. Season the tofu sauce generously. And toss a few tablespoons in with the cooked carrot.

8. Divide between 3 – 4 plates. Top with remaining sauce and a few torn basil leaves.

___________________________________________________________

4 weeks of almost paleolithic diet

OK I was a bit slack with the dairy, but did follow to the letter with grains and legumes, even though I’m a massive lentil fan.

tues 12 Oct
b. mango
l. tuna with chilli oil, mixed leaves with kale, Dijon, lemon
d. mixed sashimi, wakame salad

wed 13 Oct
b. apple + handful almonds
l. San Danielle proscuitto, Sicilian olives, carrot
d. pan fried salmon with ‘cauli-ganoush’ (cauliflower, lemon, tahini, olive oil)
steamed broccolini with lemon sherry vinegar dressing

thurs 14 Oct
b. tea with almond milk
papaya, lemon blueberries
l. roast tomato frittata, shaved cabbage parsley salad with sherry vinegar
d. Stir fried chicken with cashew nuts
shaved cabbage salad

fri 15 Oct
b tea with almond milk
apple
l. pea salad (peas, bacon, butter lettuce, mint sherry vinegar)
d. pan fried salmon with aioli & za’atr
roast beets with pickled red onion
cold oil chips
dark chocolate with almonds

sat 16 Oct
b. apple
soy flat white
l. roast mushies with garlic & thyme
fried eggs
green salad
d. marinated BBQ chook (smoked paprika, thyme, garlic, red wine vinegar)
potatoes with peas (garlic bay mint)
green salad
coconut vanilla pannacotta with roast rhubarb

sun 17 Oct
b. soy flat white
l. grilled asparagus with scrambled eggs & bacon
d. scotch fillets BBQ, romesco sauce, aioli,
steamed broccolini
BBQ yellow zucchini

mon 18 Oct
b. fresh pineapple
l. roast beets, pickled onion, roast walnut, rocket & sherry vinegar salad
d. cauliflower ‘pasta’ with peas & ricotta

tues 19 Oct
b. blueberry & papaya smoothie with coconut milk
l. roast chicken salad with tomato, avocado, sherry vinegar & parsley
d. red curry of potato, peas & cashews

wed 20 Oct
b. banana & blueberry smoothie with coconut milk
l. salad of roast chicken, raw jerusalem artichokes, rocket, lemon, dijon mustard
d. pineapple, apple, handful cashews (gastro day)

thurs 21 Oct
b. orange
l. scrambled tofu with brazil nuts
carrot & romesco salad with mint
d. warm salad of smoked trout, kipfliers, dill, lemon & caperberries
steamed asparagus with lemon, sherry vinegar & olio

fri 22 Oct
b. banana smoothies with honey & vanilla
l. shaved fennel salad with tuna, lemon, caperberries & parsley
d BBQ beef burgers with roast beets, pickled onion, aioli & chilli jam
cold oil potato chips

sat 23 Oct
b. skim flat white
l. pork rillettes with pear chuntey
green beans with snowpeas
d. beef ragu with riced potatoes & green salad
dark chocolate extravaganza

sun 24 Oct
b /l. broad bean salad with bacon & mint + a poached egg
d. bbq leg of lamb with rosemary, lemon & anchovies
babaganoush
sauted mushrooms with wilted spinach
5 ingredient carrot cake – supermoist!

mon 25 Oct
b. apple
l. green goddess soup
d. tofu sang choi bau
green bean salad with mustard & dill

tues 26 Oct
b. rhubab, blueberry & coconut milk smoothie
l. babaganoush, lamb, celery, mint, lemon
d. baked asparagus frittata (eggs, asparagus),
warm salad of softened red onions, wilted kale & parsley

wed 27 Oct
b. banana & blueberry smoothies
l. leftover lamb salad with rocket & tomato
d. 4 ingredient beef ragu – beef mince, tinned tomato, onion, butter
Carrot noodles
shaved fennel salad with peas, ricotta & mint

thurs 28 Oct
b. berry smoothies with banana & lemon & coconut milk
l. super simple broccoli with tuna pate and tuna in oil, lemon
d. steamed potato salad with lamb, aioli, mustard & parsley
roast beets with dill & red wine vinegar

fri 29 Oct
b. fresh pineapple
l. broccoli, mushrooms & leftover ragu
d. lamb kebabs with 5 ingredient Harissa
parslied potatoes
green salad
dark chocolate

sat 30 Oct
b. pineapple
l. baked frittata with ricotta & bacon
green salad
d. BBQ steak with roast garlic aioli
potatoes roasted in duck fat
green salad
little carrot cakes with ice-cream

sun 31 Oct
b. flat white
l. potato & sausage frittata
celery salad
d. BBQ pork spareribs with 5 ingredient BBQ sauce
red cabbage slaw

mon 1 Nov
b. apple
l. sardine & mixed leaf salad with lemon
d. tofu kebabs with 5 ingredient harissa
super simple broccoli

tues 2 Nov
b. berry smoothies with coconut milk
l. tuna with cherry tomato smoked paprika parsley & soybeans
d. chicken tikka curry
wilted silverbeet
roast cauliflower

wed 3 Nov
b. orange
l. pan fried eggplant salad with rocket & aioli
d. canned sardines
roast cauliflower, saffron & pinenuts

thurs 4 Nov
b. fresh pineapple
l. shaved carrot salad with Sicilian nut pesto & cashews
d. turkey salad with red onion & mixed leaves from the garden

fri 5 Nov
b. pear & berry smoothies with coconut milk
l. tuna salad with mixed leaves
d. turkey with roast garlic aioli
green salad
cold oil potato chips
dark chocolate tasting

sat 6 Nov
b. tea with milk
l. burgers with pickled onion beets & chilli jam
witlof & rocket salad with mustard dressing
d. BBQ leg of lamb with baharat & rosemary
buttermilk mash
BBQ eggplant
slow cooked zucchini with mint
baked cheesecake

sun 7 Nov
b. apple
l. baked frittata with chorizo
tomato salad
d. eggplant parmigiana
green salad

mon 8 Nov
b. orange
l. tuna salad – mixed leave, chilli oil, lemon
d. salumi plate
grilled blue eye fish with tomato salsa
silverbeet with garlic

__________________________________________________

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{ 39 comments }

Vanessa November 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm

I’ve been trialling paleo/primal-eating too, and absolutely loving it. The increase in energy and the lack of bloat and “icky feeling” is terrific!

I’m eating some dairy though (since, being of English and Danish extraction, I have the gene to handle it), and following the 80/20 rule (Primal food 80% of the time). Interestingly, I find that fermented grain products like sourdough bread and beer don’t cause me problems, but I still prefer them as occasional accents rather than staples. As you say, it’s so much easier to get plenty of veggies – and also to avoid blowing out the calorie intake.

Luke November 22, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Thanks so much for posting the menu, Jules! Planning meals is always a headache for me but this should give me lots of inspiration. :)

Jilla November 23, 2010 at 1:35 am

Soy. A phytoestrogen not recommended for women nearing menopause. That’s in your 40s. Studies continue to clarify a possible breast cancer risk.

Also not recommended for anyone with thyroid disease, diagnosed or undiagnosed. Thyroid disease is more common in women, and around menopause.

A woman is in peri-menopause (approaching menopause) with dropping estrogen levels which is normal, and not to be medicated, for about 12 years prior to actual date of menopause. So if 52 is the average age, then peri-menopause begins around 40.

http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/FactSheet/Diet/fs1.phyto.cfm

One of the ways higher estrogen exposure may be linked to breast cancer risk is through its ability to increase growth of milk ducts in the breast. Most breast cancer arises from these ducts. Several but not all studies examining the effect of soy phytoestrogens on breast growth in women have suggested that phytoestrogens have a weak estrogen-like effect. The longest examination followed 28 women for a year. These women received a soy supplement for six months. While they were taking this supplement the women were found to have more growth of the milk ducts in their breasts. These studies are not conclusive, but such growth could increase breast cancer risk. More study is needed to evaluate the possible effects of soy phytoestrogens on growth within the breast and hormone levels in the body.

Tori (@ Eat-Tori) November 23, 2010 at 1:36 am

This is seriously inspiring stuff- and I love the idea of the carrot noodles- had been doing ribbons of zucchini with pesto for a while as a pasta substitute- but this is brilliant!

Wei-Wei November 23, 2010 at 1:46 am

This is a really interesting diet! I think I might have to do a little research this time :]

Sharon November 23, 2010 at 2:36 am

I like to eat tomato sauce on “spaghetti” squash or a bed of spinach. This is something I picked up from a friend who does Atkins. Mashed yams too.

It’s so confusing. One source says eat lots of fruit, another, do not, because fruit is sugar. Yet another source, cut down on meat. Opposing that, eat lots of meat, it’s what our ancestors did. What to do what to do?

Amy @ seven grey sweaters November 23, 2010 at 3:01 am

You know, I read the same article and have been doing the same diet experiment… the results have surprised me! I feel 100 times better not eating grains, sugar, and legumes. I’m still eating some dairy.

My acne totally disappeared, unless I cheat and have sugar, wheat, or lots of dairy and then I get a spot. I really missed my lentils and bread at first, but I’m eating so many more fruits and veggies, and it really simplifies my cooking — just like 5 ingredients does!

Andersong November 23, 2010 at 3:08 am

Yargh, first you get me addicted to all these lentils and chickpeas* and couscous and stuff, and now you’re telling me I can’t eat them? ;)

Jokes aside, this sounds like a interesting idea – if nothing else to get more vegs into ones diet.

* Just had the Broccoli-Chickpea-Tahini dish – suprisingly good!

soni November 23, 2010 at 3:23 am

I dunno, I think just cutting wheat (esp flour), sugar, and most dairy from a diet gives for the 100 times better feeling, no more bloat, thinner waist, more energy yadda yadda yadda or even just cutting the processed foods.

I would like to find someone who eats very little of the above, and then stops grains and legumes and see if there is really a difference. I personally doubt it. Most scientists think agricultural groups are shorter because they are stationary/don’t travel much. Groups that have lived in one place for a long time are shorter. Nomadic groups have always been taller. And we are still getting taller. Anyway, I didn’t read the book so I can’t really argue.

Katherine Deumling November 23, 2010 at 3:28 am

I struggle with this concept for a variety of reasons. First of all the planet cannot support such a meat heavy diet for all of us. We all know the statistics about how much water, fuel, land, etc. it takes to produce a calorie of animal protein compares to plants–including grains and legumes, since they do feed most of the less developed world now. Of course this was not an issue in paleolithic times since the population of the planet was tiny in comparison to today. There just isn’t enough tuna, salmon, beef. . . for most of us to eat this way and to afford it humanely, sustainable raised. . .

And what happened to moderation? do we really need to cut out whole grains and beans? i just don’t quite buy it. I think the processed carbs and sugars claim is totally valid but I have my doubts about whole, unprocessed grains and legumes.
Love to hear other’s thoughts on this.
thanks for posting Jules. I do think it’s interesting but i really struggle with the feasibility of this for most of the world and i dislike the rarified, somewhat western preoccupation with fad diets.

Melinda W October 23, 2012 at 1:03 am

I have the exact same issue with it. Hubby and I are not exactly doing paleo, but cutting out almost all white grains and eating whole grains in moderation (this includes crispbread, which is 24% fiber, but I don’t really like the stuff and therefore don’t eat much). We’ve got coconut flour and low-carb baking mix on their way in the mail. I’d say I’m naturally a flexitarian, but hubby likes his meat. I’d much rather do a mostly vegetarian diet with the occasional meat, but that doesn’t fit the paleo and low-carb profile. It troubles me, because this whole paleo method goes against all logic and common knowledge of healthy eating as established by the AHA and others.

Besides all that, people now are living longer than ever before, due to changes in diet and medical advances. Malnutrition, though still a very big issue in many parts of the world, is no longer so rampant.

We’re making something with lentils tonight after not being able to figure out a substitute. Not exactly paleo, I guess.

The cost of meat almost all the time is enough to turn me off this one. I do want to eat more vegetables and I hate feeling bloated, but I am nowhere near convinced that this diet is necessarily healthy.

jules November 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Hi Melinda
If you’re struggling with the too much meat aspect… I’d recommend incorporating legumes (lentils beans chickpeas etc) into your diet – they fit the low-carb profile and are a great source of veggie protein… and they’re inexpensive too!

Michelle November 23, 2010 at 5:21 am

The Ferris/Robb Wolf article was facinating! I plan on reading more about this topic. Another great post, as always.

Ariana November 23, 2010 at 6:58 am

Your blog is one of the few blogs where every recipe I try is a success :-) I love the 5 ingredients recipes and have just made the broccoli pasta that tasted delicious.

However I read a lot about paleo lately and was wondering if I should give it a try. If you come up with some delicious recipes that would be amazing :-)

I am just wondering – are you really just eating an apple for breakfast? I would starve…

jules November 23, 2010 at 7:05 am

katherine
you’ve raised some excellent points about the sustainability aspect of the paleolithic diet – and something I don’t have an answer for.

soni
yes it would be inteteresting to see if it’s just the benefits of cutting out processed foods that makes the difference. Interesting about nomadic people always being taller.

andersong
yes I know….I should be more consistend;)
and I’m about to start eating chickpeas again .. think I’ll be having that broccoli dish soon!

amy
thanks for sharing your eperience too

sharon
I need to track down some spaghetti squash – haven’t seen it here yet but sounds intriguing.

jilla
thanks for the detailed information on soy. interesting stuff

Autumn November 23, 2010 at 7:47 am

In response to katherine: This is a book review of The Vegetarian Myth by Mark from Marks daily apple, a really popular “paleo” blogger. Basically the argument is that it’s large scale vegetable farming that is ruining our planet.
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/vegetarian-myth-review/

An interesting debate for sure.

Cato November 23, 2010 at 9:06 am

In our vego household – we do hit the grains pretty hard. So I am very grateful for the carrot (and zucchini) noodles idea! Guess what we will be having for dinner!

Its very easy to be enamoured by these new ideas about paleo eating (the buzz of Tim Ferris name alone seems to get people in a lather), but with any diet that creates such good/bad divisions – it tends to be really hard to follow for the average muggins like myself. I guess as jules suggests – ultimately as individuals we do need to eat more vegies. And if a paleo idea like this inspires this kind of kitchen creativity, that is a good thing.

et November 23, 2010 at 10:09 am

I find the paleo diet difficult – because of the higher environmental cost of all the meat and all the fresh fruit and veggies. Think of the cost of moving all that fresh food. If you grow your own – great. Otherwise it seems very heavy on the refrigerated transportation.

I’ll stick with organic, local, seasonal food. Grains, legumes, some diary, sprouts, canned, dehydrated and frozen home grown. And some “imported” fruit and veggies.

Ville November 23, 2010 at 10:35 am

i guess the paleo diet is about avoiding Western foods, so it doesn’t necessarily require eating meat at every meal or every day. I almost like what Staffan Lindeberg has written on the subject. However, it’s hard to believe that a home-made sourdough bread could be bad for you. I’m just waiting for a nice spelt loaf to rise third time.

Kristen November 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Hi again. I have read a bit about this approach and have been following it for a few months, but loosely. I like good quality bread and LOVE pasta but known they make me bloated. So I eat small amounts as a treat (a bit of bread with perfect tomatos and ricotta for lunch, an entree sized pasta now and again) and know there will be consequences. I don’t feel too deprived and feel great. No lentils and LF diary? Harder.

Jules, your food diary is amazing. A month with no restaurants or wine! And very small breakies. I would be starving! But good on you.

jules November 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm

ariana
yes I do just have an apple for breakfast but I tend not to eat until after I’ve been for a run so my breakfast is pretty late and then I have lunch at a normal time so I’m fine…although if I had to commute to work and sit in meetings all morning I’d need a much bigger breakfast!

ville
haven’t come across saffan lindeberg – thanks for the tip. good on you making your own sourdough – it is very rewarding.

kristen
don’t worry – there was no shortage of wine, didn’t even think to include it and there were quite a few restaurant meals, I didn’t cook everything. ;)

Lulu November 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm

“nomadic people taller.”

I disagree. North American natives and Inuit were/are short people.
Who were you thinking of?

Matt November 23, 2010 at 5:41 pm

So, I haven’t read anything on the paleolithic diet, and I’m a vegetarian (biased), but how exactly does ground beef fit in here? Our ancestors couldn’t raise crops, but they could herd cattle? My understanding has always been that between hunting and gathering, the latter was the reliable one. But I ain’t got nothin’ to back that up :)

jules November 23, 2010 at 7:53 pm

actually lulu
excellent point – the australian aborigines aren’t known for their height either.

matt
good point that paleolithic people probably didn’t have access to meat grinders. I think the thinking is that they didn’t raise the cattle or whatever other animals – they just hunted as they could.

Kari November 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm

I haven’t read a lot about this, but to me this makes sense:
the men ran ahead and did the hunting, while the women (and children and the rest of the community) followed behind, carrying the camp with them and gathering as they went along. When they arrived, they found a bunch of exhausted men and a dead wild animal, and proceeded to set up camp and slaughter (the beast!). Some people argue today that this is why the WR difference between men and women is smaller for a marathon than the 100m. Men are built for sprints (running after animals) while women are built for trekking hour after hour after hour.
And PLEASE don’t jump at me – I’m sure there are plenty of examples to prove me dead wrong. Both men and women come in all shapes and sizes – and speeds!

Jules – I love your blog. You are a constant source of inspiration in a hectic daily life. Simple as that!! Nuff said.

amybeth November 24, 2010 at 1:04 am

I have a feeling a lot people are going to treat this like Atkins. An excuse to eat a ton of fat. (Not you of course, but other people who are use it specifically to lose weight without changing bad habits.)

The thing that bothers me the most about this diet is the no beans thing. They are SO good for you. Which I guess is why you’re still eating them. :-)

I also don’t buy the no-dairy thing. Lots of nomadic people have goats and drink the milk. I mean that’s not hunter gatherer anymore…but its still pretty ancient. And we are mammals. We’re built to drink milk!

And as for no-grains, there is obviously a big difference between eating grains in their natural state a little at a time (whole wheat..brown rice ect.) and munching on French bread everyday for three meals.

Agriculture was a wonderful thing! Not evil! People all over the world rely on grains to keep from starving. I understand that we eat to many of them in a lot of the first world, but I don’t like how this diet is demonizing them.

Moderation and common sense won’t kill you even if they’re never in vogue.

(please know that I think you’re taking a good, sensible, moderate version of the diet and if you don’t want to eat grains everyday, that’s fine. I’m just frustrated with the dieting world as a whole, knowing many very frustrated dieters, who are constantly being told different things!)

de November 24, 2010 at 8:25 am

hmmm…sorry, but sounds a bit iffy to me – and seems to sum up some very dubious notions the western world has constructed around the figure of the so-called ‘native’ …

de November 24, 2010 at 8:44 am

It also depends on who you are comparing this archetypal ‘paleo man’ with. For example, the average diet of many poor farming people in europe during the middle ages consisted of little more than dark bread and beer (for children as well adults). So it’s almost impossible to compare an ideal hunter-gatherer diet with an ideal agricultural-based diet given the breadth and circumstance of people throughout history. So sustainability aside (though I agree its a huge issue) I just can’t see the science stacking up….

Leilani November 24, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I find it funny that I stumbled on this particular post today…I just finished day 30 of the Whole30 food challenge and your ideas for meals would have been SO nice during those last 30 days…First thing I made this morning? Not-so-nutritious-yet-SO-delicious Bostock! Nice little treat, but now back to my grain-dairy-legume-free meals! LOVE your recipes!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Erin November 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I don’t think there’s any reason to cut anything out of my diet unless it is sustainable in the long term. Is eating no dairy, wheat, or legumes sustainable? Or even healthy? And what about eating food because it tastes good?

jas November 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Delish! As a Coeliac I don’t have the ‘normal’ grains of wheat, barley, oats etc, but still have other grains like amaranth, rice, quinoa and buckwheat. it’s certainly interesting to change it up and I do believe that we probably shouldn’t be eating grains but as I’m already Coeliac I decided a long time ago not to cut anything else out of my diet as it’s already restrictive! I’ve seen the idea of carrot or zucchini ‘pasta’ before and love the idea…. I’ll have to try it with the sauce you’ve made my Mum (who is vego) would love it!

Sid November 25, 2010 at 2:33 am

Jules – brilliant blog, great discussions.

Personally, I think the biggest thing people overlook when discussing the ideal human diet is the time frame. We crave the easy-to-convert-to-fat foods like carbs because evolution places more importance in short-term survival and our bodies/minds are always preparing to us to starve in times of food scarcity (e.g., winter). In the short-term, the survival benefits of consuming grains/sugars outweighs the costs (i.e., inflammation, etc.). However, because we in the developed/western/first world rarely experience periods of starvation/scarcity any more, a short-term beneficial adaptation becomes a burden over the long-term as a result of too much fat and chronic inflammation, etc. Viewed this way, people who are considered “fat” (i.e., those who are very sensitive to insulin and store sugars as fat more easily) are actually better adapted for (short-term) survival than skinny people. Unfortunately evolution hasn’t come to terms (and likely never will because it can’t last) with the artificial conditions of a never-ending food supply so many/most people suffer in the long-term with diseases resulting from chronic exposure to foods that are meant to fulfil short-term dietary needs.

jules November 25, 2010 at 9:12 am

sid
excellent points about evolution and time frame – a great perspective. thanks for sharing

jas
As a coeliac, I can imagine it’s tough given that you need to be so vigilant. I’m keen to try some zucchini pasta as well. The tofu sauce is really lovely – hope your Mum enjoys it.

erin
I think you can live quite healthily without grains and legumes but it’s up to the individual. And thanks for raising the whole taste thing – I’m definietly not prepared to eat things that don’t taste good.

glad you enjoyed leilani
best of luck with the grain & dairy free path

de
you raise some interesting points – I have some friends who would consider the bread and dark beer diet perfect especially for children ;)

amybeth
At the end of the day you’re so right – moderation and common sense are always more important than fads.

thanks for sharing your perspective and kind words kari – really appreciate it!

LimeCake November 25, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I’d never heard of this diet until you mentioned it. Can’t say I’ll be trying it anytime soon, but the meals you’ve been having don’t sound too bad at all!

jules November 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm

limecake
I’ve found it much easier than when I was vegetarian for a month in july… maybe I’m a meat & 3 veg girl afterall ;)

AntipodeanKate December 1, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Thanks Jules for this post.

I mainly eat this way (even though I’m not super convinced by the just-so stories behind the diet) but mainly my focus is on eating more veggies and fruit and less processed food. of course, I still have chocolate and wine and pasta and bread and rice – just as occasional treats rather than everyday foods.

Like you I still eat a lot of lentils and dairy as well because I don’t have issues with either and the evidence that these foods cause inflammation seems sketchy at best.

And yes, the sustainability issue is a tricky one but it’s not only paleo which needs to address this problem.

Anyway, there are some great ideas in your post. Sometimes it’s hard to think of paleo-ish meals after years of building every single dish around pasta or rice or bread!

jules December 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm

antipodean kate
I agree, as long as you’re focusing on more veggies and less processed food you’re on the right track.
I need to work on wine being only occasional though ;)

Ben December 18, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Hi Jules

Late to the party, but catching up on your fantastic recipes while making some Me Time.

My wife and I went on the no grain diet (I called it the Slightly More Specific Atkins Diet, for the people who couldn’t handle something that started with “No Wheat”) and we had awesome results. More energy, less flash-point arguments between us and a general all over increase in visual appeal (the wobbly bits stopped wobbling).

At the same time, I convinced a coeliac friend to try the diet too. He was interested because he already couldn’t eat wheat, so expanding to grains wasn’t a big deal. He lost 2 kilos in three days. His wife (not coeliac) also lost a similar amount in the same time frame. After a week, he got bored with friut for breakfast and changed to his old cereal, the 2 kilos found him while his wife, thinking differently, didn’t change back and continued to lose a bit more. He stopped having cereal and was back on track.

Both couples finished out the month pretty much sticking to the changed diet and have decided to keep on with it (avoiding grain as much as possible). The most difficult thing: going out – it’s very hard to avoid wheat in social situations. Weird huh?

Anyway, thank you for what you are doing here and many thanks for the meal plan, it’s so hard to break the food habits of 30+ years, but it gets easier with practice.

jules December 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm

hey ben
thanks for sharing your stories.
it’s great to hear what other people are experiencing.

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