It’s been over 18 months since I first stumbled on the concept of eating ‘Paleo’.
For those of you wondering ‘what the hell is Jules talking about?’, eating ‘Paleo’ is about choosing to eat the type of food that paleolothic man ate. Which translates as focusing on eating vegetables and meat and cutting out processed food, grains, dairy and legumes.
After trying it for a month, I was pretty happy with the results but found the lack of dairy and legumes a little too restrictive. So decided to create my own ‘almost-paleo’ way of eating where the focus is on eating more vegetables and including legumes and a little dairy. And of course, as a reformed winemaker, wine is definitely still on the menu.
So I’ve been eating ‘almost-paleo’ most of the time for over 18 months now and to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever been healthier in my life.
But the best part, as a food lover, is that I’ve been deriving just as much pleasure from my food as I did before, if not more. Win win!
Can eating paleo improve your waistline?
For me, absolutely!
I’ve always been one of those people who stores any excess weight around her middle. So while I haven’t ever been super overweight, I have always struggled to keep my waistline in check.
These days my waistline is the happiest it’s ever been, even more than when I was a teenager. I’m also finding that eating this way I don’t need to exercise any where near as much as I used to.
Is eating Paleo a fad? Is it unhealthy?
From time to time I’ve written about my almost-paleo ways on Stonesoup and each time it has stirred up quite a bit of controversy. So I thought I’d check in with some of my nutritionist friends to get a professional opinion. Here’s what they had to say…
Alene Baronian, Registered Dietitian www.eat2perform.com
“In my professional opinion and experience, eating Paleo can be healthy. However, what I find with my clients is that is not sustainable and just like you it’s altered in some form. However, that being said eating more Paleo like would be beneficial to a large population of the US. We need to eat more whole foods and eliminate all the processed items going into our bodies and following a Paleo way of eating assists with doing that.”
Sophie Roberts, Registered Dietitian www.mostlyeating.com
“At the moment there aren’t high quality, longer term studies to suggest that the paleo diet has superior health benefits, while it does carry with it risks of being nutritionally inadequate unless very carefully planned. Having said that, there are certainly elements to the paleo diet approach that most of us could benefit from putting into action more, such as eating less refined and high GI carbohydrates, consuming less processed food in general and making fruit and vegetables more of a focus in our meals.
Having worked with a lot of people looking to lose weight I’m not a fan of the paleo diet as a weight-loss strategy. Restricting food groups often leads to a weight reduction in the short-term but rules-based weight-loss approaches tend to lead to weight re-gain over the long-haul, perhaps because they don’t address the more human reasons behind why we eat more than we need.”
Melanie Thomassian, Registered Dietitian www.dietriffic.com.
“I’ll be the first to agree that much of the dietary advice from nutritionists, dietitians, and doctors is awful. It’s no wonder people look elsewhere. With regard to the Paleo diet, I’ve no doubt it can work for some people. It is not, however, the only diet humans should restrict themselves to, as Paleo advocates would have you believe. I have issue with the basic premise behind this diet, and also its zero tolerance of certain natural and nutritious foods. Nevertheless, for the average person, a typical Paleo diet will likely be an improvement.”
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the magic sausage supper
So you’re probably wondering where the ‘magic’ comes from. It’s all about how this dish turns some pretty common ingredients into something truly delicious. All it takes is a little time in the oven.
This is one of those dishes that’s best served at the table in the roasting pan so everyone can help themselves and pick at the crispy bits on the bottom of the pan.
1/2 butternut pumpkin (squash)
2 medium onions, quartered lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
4 thick sausages
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked
1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
2. Halve pumpkin crosswise then chop into wedges. Place pumpkin, onion, chilli and sausages in a roasting dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil.
3. Roast for about an hour, stirring at the half way mark. It’s ready when everything is golden and tender.
4. Serve with parsley leaves sprinkled over the top.
different veg – feel free to play around. Parsnips and sweet potato are lovely. Unpeeled cloves of garlic are also great.
no sausages? – use chicken drumsticks or thighs instead.
spanish – use fresh chorizo as your sausage and toss in a can of drained chickpeas instead of the pumpkin.
vegan – replace sausages with field mushrooms.
vegetarian - skip the sausages and serve the roast veg with a poached or fried egg on top.
video version of the recipe
Have you tried eating Paleo? Or do you think it’s just a crazy fad? Share your experiences + thoughts in the comments.