Paleo. Primal. Clean eating.
Over the last 12 months these words have gone from being the preserve of a few health nuts to being catch-cry of a seemingly unstoppable food movement.
But what do they really mean?
Becoming “Paleo” is touted as the ultimate lifestyle choice by celebrities such as Gwynneth Paltrow, My Kitchen Rules’ Pete Evans. The media have also latched on to it and further muddied the waters with a myriad of articles in the news, in magazines and of course on good old social media about how to “eat like a caveman” or embrace “whole foods”.
Closer to home, Paleo cafes and restaurants have sprung up all over the Brisbane food scene. The photos look amazing … so good even you kind of think there must be a catch somewhere. The delicious looking paleo desserts are especially confusing – how can something that looks like cheesecake be good for you?
I’d been trying to make sense of all the hype surrounding the Paleo lifestyle for ages and I was still confused.
And then one night while I was googling around trying to find the answers I came across…
Caveman Kitchen is a meal delivery service with a twist.
Their mission is to provide time poor Brisbane peeps with “healthy, nourishing, and downright delicious meals” based on the tenets of Paleo eating.
This immediately struck a chord with me mainly because I AM a time poor Brisbane peep who would like to lead a healthier lifestyle.
So I got in touch Abbey, co-owner and founder of the Caveman Kitchen in the hope that she could she some light on the what is “paleo” eating. She went one better and provided me with a weeks worth of lunches so I could try it for myself!
But before I get into the food, here is Abbey’s take on the names, the benefits and how you can make this kind of lifestyle work for you.
What does being paleo mean to you?
“It’s such a cliche line at the moment, but to us paleo is not a diet, it’s a way of life. There are a lot of banners it can be placed under – paleo, primal, clean, whole, but at the end of the day for us it’s about eating good, whole foods that have been processed as little as possible.”
For the meals hey produce at Caveman kitchen this basically boils down to:
“Eat meat & vegetables, nuts & seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise, but not body fat.”
What benefits have you personally experienced from adopting this lifestyle?
Abbey has written about her personal journey to healthy eating here on the Caveman Kitchen blog, and you can see for yourself but basically the catalyst for her came after a super-indulgent overseas trip left her with…
“Flaring up of old illnesses, fatigue, skin like a 14 year old boy, and general I-hate-you-ness!”
In her quest to feel and look better Abbey started experimenting with what foods made her feel good and which ones didn’t. It turned out that gluten made her bloated and sugar made her feel totally messed up – and that following the paleo diet which removed those things made her feel great!
What advice would you give to a newbie who is starting out with Paleo / clean eating?
Abbey admits that just googling Paleo can be enough to bamboozle the most experienced of us, let alone a newbie! Her top tips for getting started are:
1. Don’t overload yourself with information right out of the gate. Abbey recommends checking out www.eatdrinkpaleo.com.au, which not only outlines exactly what paleo is, but also has a ton of recipes, as well
2. Figure out what works for you! Abbey did this by cutting out all grain, dairy, and gluten for a month and then slowly re-introducing one food group at a time to see what her body did and didn’t like. Trial and error is the name of the game.
3. When you go into the supermarket, don’t go down the aisles! Everything you need is around the edges – fresh fruit and veg, fresh meat, and yoghurt and cheeses (check the sugar content on these, if it has added sugar, think twice before buying it!)
And now the part you’ve been waiting for… what was the food like?
One word… AMAZING.
The system is similar to Lite’n’ Easy in that you can choose your meals from a weekly selection. The meals are then either home delivered (depending on where you live) or you can pick them up from one of the extensive networks of gyms that act as distribution points for the company.
But the similarities end there because these meals are like the best home cooking you’ve ever had!
So if you’re keen to give it a try here’s everything you need to know…
Favourite Meals: I loved the paleo Pad Thai and the Chilli Cheese Fries, which were INSANELY good. Think sweet potato wedges smothered in chilli con carne with a sprinkling of cheese over the top!
Sizes: Meals come in standard or large. I was kindly given the large size and I was either completely full after eating it or I couldn’t quite finish.
Cost: Five meal packages start from $68 per week – these are for standard meals, picked up from a location selected by you. If you’re buying lunch everyday my guess is you’d spend at least much every week.
So in the end I think eating “paleo” might actually just mean “good food”.
Food that’s made from ingredients you can buy in the fresh produce aisles. Food that tastes good and makes you feel good.
And after this experience I’ll definitely be eating more of it!
Have you tried a paleo style diet? Do you have any tips for choosing foods that make you feel great?
NOTE: Although Caveman Kitchen kindly provided me with some of their meals to try, all the opinions in this piece are my own. Mainly because if I hadn’t liked it I wouldn’t have written about it! Seriously – would I give you a bum steer?