My Epic Journey to a Healthy Relationship with Food

Almost 5 years ago (Pre-Pete Evans and his paleo way) I was introduced to the paleo lifestyle by a couple of local fitness professionals. I’d blown out weight wise, my diet had absolutely no guidelines.

It wasn’t that hard to grasp, I’d just finished reading David Gillespie’s book “sweet poison” so I was aware of the damage hidden sugars were doing to the world. I also followed Sarah Wilson’s  “I quit sugar” movement on facebook.

I didn’t really like milk in my coffee anyway, plus I thought it was way more badass to drink a perfectly extracted espresso like I’d seen and done all over europe. I read about Bulletproof Coffee. Game Changer! The only thing left to avoid was grains. Well I can do without bread, rice, pasta. I’d just eat something else instead, no dramas.

The weeks went by, the weight fell off. “Dropping weight as if it was my job” said the gym owner. I even had a few weeks without having a beer! Turns out my beloved nectar of the gods is made from grains.

By now, all the Caffe Republic regulars had noticed my wife and I. Ultimately we had lost 35kgs each!

“How?” They asked

“Eat these things” I said, pointing at my specials board and display cabinet.

Boom! The cafe was buzzing! We were buzzing, our energy levels were through the roof! We were both running (previously against my religion!) I completed my first (and last) half marathon and life was full of healthy activity like hot yoga, weights training, cross training, HIIT… Exercise was a fantastic stress relief.

Except I found myself starting to stress more and more about what I ate. I missed social functions to avoid the pressure for not having a drink. Or so that I could get up early and run 15 kms before work because I was sooo dammmm healthy! Or was it just so I could enjoy a beer that night?

Then there was the stress of what I could/should order at a restaurant. I’d often order a plain steak, chips and salad (very unlike most chefs) “I won’t eat the chips” I’d promise myself. But then I’d eat them anyway, have 6 schooners and an ice cream and be full of guilt. I knew I could cook the steak better myself but I couldn’t trust anything else on the menu to be “clean” or “paleo”. The guilty obsession grew.

It wasn’t long before I found those three simple exclusions (sugar, dairy, grains) becoming quite restrictive for me. A paleo lifestyle should not be restrictive. It’s not about what you can’t have, it’s more about selecting great quality, real ingredients to provide you with all the nutrients you need in the most natural way possible. I’d lost the focus. Lost the point. I figured if I didn’t eat any carbs at all through the week, I could then drink them in beer form on friday night and just run it off the next morning!

Then I got injured. Both my achilles tendons tore from excessive running and incorrectly repaired themselves with bone… I can never run, jump, bounce or frolic pain-free again. My fitness regime went out the window. I couldn’t burn as many calories as easily. Months of expensive physio, injections, acupuncture, supplements and rehab all led to nothing. It was a bitter pill to swallow.

People talked about the 80/20 rule. I started having a little too much 20 and not enough 80. My Paleo way gave way for pale(o) ale and a broader range of foods that I’d been avoiding over the past couple of years.

These days I feel at my best after a breakfast of bulletproof coffee, green smoothie or a simple meal of eggs, bacon, greens and avocado. Check out my Brekky Boss Ebook Combo!

Often just a little bit of sugar will leave me with cravings for more.

The only cure for evil cravings is to crowd them out with a giant green smoothie, a salad with good fats and proteins, loads of veggies…something to reign it back in. Eating mindfully is one way to put it. I eat Food With a Conscience – sound familiar?

I fondly remember the time we were in Tuscany learning to cook fresh pasta from a local Nonna. Imagine if I’d refused to eat it and missed out on this brilliant life experience! I don’t have coeliac disease but I recognise a bloated stomach when I get one. I choose to avoid breads and pasta and other starchy carbs because of this but “when in Rome”…it was the best damn pasta and sauce ever! Something to do with the Italian tomatoes, basil & olive oil, I reckon.  Or the family holiday to America – the home of burgers, fries and pizza! What was I gonna do? Starve? Enjoy it consciously. Move on. Eat better next meal.

I’ve recently taken up mountain biking and ride a road bike in between my family and work demands. I’ll get some of that fitness back.  Cycling clears my head and generates a healthy appetite. They say you can’t out-train a bad diet. I’ve tried and must agree, but I know that when I train I also want to eat clean.

I now enjoy life conscious of the fact that my next meal will be as healthy and nutritious as possible and I live guilt-free, enjoying life’s pleasures as they are gifted to me. After all, life’s too short to miss out in my humble opinion.

So thanks to Pete Evans for bringing Paleo to the masses here in Australia. I know for a fact that a real food diet works. There is just too much anecdotal evidence to deny.  One of my cafe regulars writes a brilliant blog Real Food Pledge and has released a couple of books during her journey. I will continue to base my families food and lifestyle choices around Paleo Principles. I have learned to enjoy a healthy relationship with food and most importantly will pass it on to my two daughters.

I recently read an article from those amazing health and happiness advocates The Merrymaker Sisters that really resonated and aligned with my food journey too. You should check it out here!

Paleo? Or Epic Fail(eo)? It’s just one small part of my journey that I’m thankful for. 

What’s your relationship with food? If you need inspiration or support  join my private Facebook Group or post your comments below.

 

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