Celebrity chef Pete Evans is embarking on a national tour, educating Australia on living life through making good choices nutritionally and changing a traditional mindset. Pete chats to FOCUS about all things paleo and what we can expect to get out of living “The Paleo Way”.
What is Paleo and “Living The Paleo Way”?
Living The Paleo Way is about applying principles from the Palaeolithic period, coupled with modern-day nutritional research, to seek out nutrient-dense foods that drive optimal physical and emotional health. By viewing the food we eat as medicine, we can ensure the body functions at peak capacity, giving ourselves the best possible chance of living long healthy, disease-free lives. It also factors in challenges our ancestors would never have faced, such as the invention of agriculture, the change in the grain strains, the creation of trans-fats and highly heated polyunsaturated oils. All of which scientific research now proves can impact gravely on our health.
At its essence, it’s about ditching the damaging highly processed, carbohydrate-rich and refined-sugar-laden products that are produced by multinational corporations, who create goods devoid of nutritional value, designed to solely drive profit margins and instead returning to a more natural, conscious way of eating.
What’s the difference between a paleo diet and a “Low Fat” diet?
I enjoy a diet of 100% grass-fed meat and organ meats, pasture-raised poultry and game, wild-caught seafood, nuts, seeds, some seasonal fruits and lots of brain-powering leafy greens. I avoid grains, legumes, conventional dairy products, non-organic produce and genetically modified and processed foods, so many of which fall into the category of “low fat” foods. The difference between paleo and a “low fat diet” (which I do not at all recommend) is that recent scientific research has discovered a myriad of health benefits that come by including the kind of beneficial saturated fats and essential fatty acids (omega-3s) found in everything from avocados to nuts to coconut oil to animal fats from quality sources. These are important cornerstones of paleo, because they give cues to our brains that allow us to feel fuller after each meal and – because our brains are 70% fat – these kinds of good fats are fundamental dietary staples important for brain health, memory function and reducing inflammation in the body.
New scientific research is also showing the correlation between dietary factors and their role in determining whether our brains age successfully or are more susceptible to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimers Disease.
And that’s why it’s so important to consume as many good fats as possible. Because research is proving that following a low-carb, high-fat way of eating (as opposed to the low-fat, high-carb diet that’s been promoted for so many years) is one of the best paths to achieving optimal health and wellbeing.
I hear Paleo is not just diet, but a way of life. Can you back this up?
Making healthy choices every day creates awareness about the ongoing impact the foods you choose to put into your body have on your individual physical and emotional wellbeing.
That’s why paleo isn’t a diet. This is designed to be sustainable and achievable because putting our health first is a lifelong journey – a choice we can all make for ourselves, every day with every forkful of food we put in our mouths. For myself, Nic and the girls, it’s about finding balance and consistency – we eat foods that fuel our bodies and minds in a positive way, and we encourage others to do the same.
I know for myself making healthy choices has given me the ultimate rewards. At 41, I am happier and healthier than I have ever been before, and I enjoy boundless energy, improved mental clarity and focus and positive emotional wellbeing. That’s why I’m driven with laser-sharp focus to share the benefits of what myself, my family, friends and millions of people around the world have discovered, which is that achieving ultimate health and wellness is something that we can do by choosing the natural foods that are right for our individual needs.
I’ve personally heard someone say “Pasta is good for you; it doesn’t have any sugar”. Please explain how this is untrue …
It’s important to be aware that all pasta will have some form of sugar in it, so this statement is completely untrue on so many levels. Most pasta purchased in the supermarket today is packed with refined-carbohydrates, as well as being full of gluten – a protein created from grains. And scientific research shows that the prolonged inflammation that happens within the body due to the over-consumption of gluten may be responsible for many major modern-day health issues, such as the dramatically increasing rates of obesity that we are currently experiencing throughout the developed Western world.
Gluten is very difficult to digest and because foods like pasta are full of it, it can often cause cravings as a result of the morphine-like properties it displays once it enters the blood stream. You see, the most easily digestible carbohydrates, such as pasta, breads and cereals, are actually the most fattening because they pump glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream quickly, causing insulin levels to spike, meaning you won’t feel full for long and will soon be craving your next fix.
Some people may say, “It’s too hard” or that they feel “too limited” or can’t socialise with friends eating the paleo way. Is this a misconception? If so, how?
Some people find it different initially, because living The Paleo Way isn’t about following a polite doctrine of modern-day “social norms”, and often people will criticise anything they view as different. So be prepared that when you take initial steps towards reclaiming your personal health and wellbeing, you may meet resistance from some. But to be honest, that’s all part of the journey, and why I encourage people to be bold, brave and to stand up for what they believe are the right food choices for themselves and their bodies. Remember, it’s OK to “fit out”. To be honest, I’ve never “fitted in”, and I’m OK with that.
Personally, I like to put my health first with every mouth of food I eat, and that’s why I don’t find it “too hard” or feel “too limited” by the way that I choose to live. The best advice I can give is to be prepared, plan ahead and try to always make the most nutrient-dense food choice possible available at any given time. My social life has improved dramatically since adopting this way of LIVING, as I have more time, more energy and the conversations are a lot more intelligent now than when I had had a few drinks to try to fit in.
What are some of the benefits and changes people will begin to see and feel from living the paleo way?
Some of the other major health benefits people have experienced (and we are not claiming anything here – but people have stated) from embracing a paleo way of life include freedom from debilitating digestive issues that gravely effect the immune system, as well as impact on emotional wellbeing. They will also experience enhanced cognitive and memory function and reap the benefits of a strong immune system that allows them to fight off bugs and minimise costly healthcare or doctor’s visits. There are also lots of other benefits, such as being able to get anxiety, depression and other emotional issues under control.
For myself, I went grain-free, sugar-free and dairy-free for three months, and I had never felt better. I immediately noticed a huge increase in my energy levels and stamina. I was able to focus better for longer and, over time, I became more confident.
In short, today I’m able to be smarter, faster, fitter and stronger, and I put that all down to my diet and the healthy, positive way Nic and I choose to live our lives.
Introduce us to the guests you’re bringing along with you on this tour.
I’m again joined on tour by personal trainer and paleo advocate Luke Hines, my buddy whom I met when he was a contestant on My Kitchen Rules. Not only is Luke the trainer for our 10-week Paleo Way activation programme, but he will also be joining me on stage to demonstrate skills that will let your live the paleo way on a budget, as well as talking about the importance on moving your body every day in the ways that you love most so that exercise isn’t seen as a chore, but as a source of increasing vitality and energy. We will also have some other special guests along for the ride in each location, and Nora Gedgaudas will be joining us as well on some special occasions.
What knowledge can we expect to take away after attending “Learn to Cook the Paleo Way”?
Last year, we focused a lot on the science behind paleo, thanks to having my mentor, US-based internationally recognised paleo diet expert Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind, discuss the solid scientific evidence that forms the basis of The Paleo Way. But this year, we are focusing more on the practicalities of living The Paleo Way, so there’s going to be lots of cooking! Luke and I will demonstrate the paleo way skills needed to cook on a budget, make bone broths, prepare family food and healthy kids’ lunches, as well as teaching you how to ferment in your own kitchen.
Where and when are you coming to town?
I’m excited to say that we’ll be at Rydges in Port Macquarie on Thursday, February 12 and at Opal Cove Resort in Coffs Harbour the following week on Thursday, February 19.
How can we find out more information about yourself and this tour?
Along with the tour, we are also launching a 10-week activation programme called The Paleo Way on January 18, 2015. This is a vibrant health, weight management and fitness program that sets you up and teaches you paleo so you can enjoy a happy, healthier life. For more information on both the tour and the activation program, head to www.thepaleoway.com