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How the Other Half Live: The Paleo diet

April 19th 2013 / Christa D'Souza

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Christa D'Souza brings out her inner cavewoman and tests the latest craze: the Paleo diet

Is anyone else out there a sucker for a new diet? Oh good, I’m so pleased I’m not the only otherwise intelligent person out there who is.

The latest of the lot? It’s got to be the Paleo diet, invented in the States, of course, and making its way over here. Created by Professor Loren Cordain, its basic principle is that you eat like a caveman (Paleolithic, geddit?). That is, the way we did before we began farming and raising domestic livestock around 10,000 years ago; the way, as it were, God meant us to...

This means no cereal grains, no legumes (which include peanuts and soy), no salt, no sugar. Just fish, free-range eggs, lean grass-fed meat, nuts and plenty of fruit and non-starchy veg. What distinguishes it from every other low carb diet is that no dairy is allowed (how would you milk a wild animal, after all?) but you are allowed to hammer it on the fruit. Yes, says Cordain, a low carb diet that excludes fruit will make you lose quicker; but why does fruit exist if man is not meant to eat it?

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Enlisting the help of Get The Gloss’s favourite ever nutritionist Amelia Freer (the one who got Boy George to lose what looks like half his body weight) I have decided I’m going to try to give it a go. No I don’t need to lose weight necessarily, but there’s that irksome roll around my midriff I’ve developed over the winter, and if it’s true what Cordain and his legions of followers say, that ‘going Paleo’ dramatically lowers one’s risk for cancer, heart attacks and osteoporis, why not?

Being a low carb chick anyway it shouldn’t be too hard, should it, I ask Amelia (whose dog, by the way, a glossy coated chocolate lab, also follows Paleo). No, she says - like her dog, the picture of health in tight leather trousers and heels - but when it says ‘low carb’, do understand that is what it means.

Meaning, those two slices of healthy organic granary toast I’ve been having every morning for the last two decades, with no-extra-sugar-added jam, that’s TOTALLY out. It also means no milk in my coffee, and actually if we are being strict here, no coffee either; but such is the horror etched on my face at the sound of that, she says I can have one a day as long as it is either with coconut or almond milk.

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Eggs it is then, sigh, for breakfast, fried in a little coconut oil (coconut oil being the best thing to cook with if you are on Paleo). Itsu, my other long term habit is fine for lunch (poached salmon wrap, forget the wrap bit) but without the edamame or the innocuous-seeming seaweed crackers (there’s glucose and palm oil in there, I’m afraid). As for tea, well… that super-fatty, super well-done lamb cutlets habit I’ve got going, sadly, she shakes her head, it’s going to have to go as well. Bison. That’s what Cordain recommends most. But in the absence of bison (or game, which I hate), skinless free range chicken breast, lean steak, lean pork; they’re all good. Salmon or prawn stir-fry again made with coconut rather than vegetable oil would be even better.

Now. The alcohol thing. That’s going to be a biggie. Amelia says I’m allowed wine, yes, along as it is biodynamic and organic (I’m pretty sure cavemen used to get legless on rotting fruit) but only a glass. A glass? How do partial drunkorexics do that?

Wish me good luck and godspeed. I thought I was such a discipline queen, but toast in the morning, a good part of a bottle of red wine before supper - those are mighty hard habits to break.

To be continued…

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