Thursday, 12 February 2015

Whole 30 and Paleo...what's it all about?

Apparently, last years most popular diet search on Google was Paleo and I'm pretty sure I contributed to this total about 800 times!
You might be aware of Paleo, you might have tried it yourself or you might have spent an evening arguing with friends about whether or not it's beneficial. I'm here to give you my opinion on it (by the way I'm no nutritional expert, just a vintage clothing expert!).
typical grocery shop, just add lots of meat and fish from your butchers!

To me Paleo isn't a craze, or a crazy diet it's just common sense. You eat good, nutritious, natural food every day with no additives or processed food. That's about as complicated as it gets. I don't call it the caveman diet as I think it's inaccurate. We're not cavemen, we live in a modern world. We live much longer but we've also developed a lot of horrible illnesses like Cancer.
The thinking behind it is that all of the cheap, unnatural additives that have developed through the mass production of food can't be healthy for us. Who wouldn't agree with that?

There are a few food items like soya beans, pulses and lentils which are all out and I wondered why  but it's because they contain phytic acid. Anyway I didn't miss them so it's no big deal. If you live on any of these then read up all about it and decide for yourself. Grains are out too so bye bye bread, pasta, couscous and rice. (This sounds crazier to achieve than it really is!).

For most Paleo followers they will remove dairy and I thought I'd miss this the most (cheese was my go to comfort food) but I haven't really thought about it. Some people seem to eat it occasionally so really it's whatever works for you. I think that as a woman, (who's already short!) calcium is hugely important so to prevent osteoporosis in later life I take a supplement. There is calcium in lots of veg but I like to err on the side of caution and take a little extra! When I'm 70 I'm really want to be able to see over a counter top! Anyway...

You'll be reintroduced  to coconut which will soon become your new best friend. I love coconut milk which can be added to coffee for an indulgence cuppa! Coconut also provides cream, sugar, flour and a million other uses. I can't think of any other food substance that's as adaptable...although almonds, eggs and cauliflower come into play a lot more than you'd think possible!

By the way, I didn't intentionally set out to try Paleo. I started on The Whole 30 which is Paleo ramped up with really strict motivators shouting at you!!! For The Whole30 you cut out all grains, legumes, sugar, alcohol, dairy, additives and preservatives for 30 days. It's a programme to basically kick your eating habits back into a natural rhythm. It stops any sugar highs and crashes and emotional eating.

I won't lie, some people find it tough, nae impossible. I did it last October and it went well. My sleep was amazing, my skin was bright and fabulous and I was bouncing around full of energy. My hubby did it too but he had a serious dose of sugar withdrawal cranks for the first two weeks (it was tough on all of us!). The rules are strict, if you accidentally add milk to your coffee and take a sip then you have to reset your whole 30 days and start again. So be good, you'll curse yourself if you get near the end and have to start again.

Food wise, I've pretty much stuck to a Paleo life since October. When not on the Whole 30 I'll have a drink every now and then, usually whiskey based (it's a grain, I know). Unbelievably the Whole 30 kicked my glass of wine in the evening habit into outer space. Now don't worry, I'm completely aware that alcohol contains sugar; but I like to think of myself as predominantly Paleo! I still might taste the cake at my children's birthday parties, I might even tuck into a cheese platter at Christmas but they are special occasions and not every day. I'm happy with that anyway. (Caution advised: when you steer away from your healthy life your new clean digestive system will not thank you for it!)

So next week I'm finished my second whole 30 and I'll be sticking to a Paleo life as much as possible for as long as possible. But who knows how long that will be. I'm a firm believer in doing what makes you happy and so far I love eating filling, nutritious food without ever feeling deprived.

I'm a sucker for the odd treat so next week I plan on making these salted caramel cheesecake bites

I can also make yummy chocolate from cocoa butter, palm sugar, sea salt and maple syrup and fudge  which are both divine.

For any hard to find ingredients like coconut yogurt, cocoa butter and tasty Synergy raw chocolate bars I'll head to Nourish on Wicklow Street or The Hopsack in Rathmines. If I'm out and about I'll head to Kaph or Clement and Pekoe for a delicious coconut latte and paleo treat.

So for now, Dirty Fabulous is a Paleo friendly environment and myself and Caroline are both healthier versions of ourselves who spend a lot of our time googling recipes from the likes of Paleo With Mrs PStalkervilleThe Clothes Make The Girl and one of my favourites Clean Eating With A Dirty Mind.

(Don't worry, it won't make your hair change colour!)

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