i first thought about a more traditional, return-to-the-roots kind of eating style once i had finished john robbins healthy at 100 (yes, i know i mention this book all the time!). in his book he looks at different cultures that thrive in their old age - he looks at the foods they eat and the way they live. and it struck me just how differently these cultures ate... some ate high fat, some ate lots of fruit, some ate fermented dairy - yet they all lived strong and energetic lives right up until their 'old age'.
it got me thinking about what sort of diet my ancestors would have eaten. our westernised society is so far removed from something 'traditional' - how was i supposed to know what sort of food and lifestyle my body would live to 100 on?
from then on, i did a lot of googling, from traditional english foods, to medieval cuisine, to finding the dates of overseas food importations, to the roman diet... i even got out my bible to flick through for some hint at diet advice (hum, well Jesus ate fish, bread and wine, so these must be ok?!?)
anyways, somewhere along the way i stumbled into the paleo / primal online community (and my goodness is it large!), who were all claiming better health and happiness whilst living this lifestyle, that seemed to have their ideals set firmly in a natural, wholefoods logic that appealed to me - and they didn't seem to be selling me anything either, which gave the community some sort of credibility.
so what is the primal or paleo diet?
well, it is a hunter-gatherer style diet based on the presumed diet of those living in the Paleolithic era (10,000 + years ago). it consists of food that can be hunted, gathered or fished - like meat, seafood, eggs, fruit, vegetables, spices, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, and herbs. it is also important with this diet to follow the lifestyle guidelines that match the diet plan, like getting good sleep, lifting heavy things, avoiding pesticides, etc (more info here)
there's a lot of information out there about the paleo or primal lifestyle, so instead of me waffling on about it, check out these delicious blogs for recipes, exercise and nutrition ideas:
so, i guess you might want to know if i will be following a primal or paleo lifestyle from now on? well, yes and no. i sort of already have started following it by accident, in that on my new diabetes diet i am eating lots of protein and hardly any carbs. i think i'm probably 80% primal at the moment - and it does make me feel pretty good - granted i eat mostly vegetables, and not nearly as much meat as the other primal bloggers profess to enjoy.
the primal diet has also helped me to discover new recipes and ways of cooking particular vegetables. i also like understanding more about the nutrition side of it, so i'm more clued up when it comes to explaining the benefits of eating a low carb diet. (it's also helpful for those of you who are dairy free, gluten free, grain free, diabetic or wheat free, just fyi)
and finally, i think the paleo lifestyle is really very brilliant. i would highly recommend it as a sensible way of getting fitter and feeling better - it's very logical and easy to incorporate into your everyday life. more sun? check. more regular sleep? check. more time with family? check. walk around barefoot? check. go dog walking? check. weight lifting? well, maybe at some point.
what do you think? have you heard of or experimented with primal/paleo food before?
currenty listening to: l.i.f.e.g.o.e.s.o.n. by noah and the whale