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Australian not healthy star ratings system paleo network-min

Have you seen who’s behind the (not so) Healthy Star Ratings system?

I saw a TV commercial recently for Uncle Toby’s Oat sachets and the main focus of the advert was how amazingly healthy they are. Apparently these Oats achieve a “4 healthy star rating” – and the higher the star rating, the healthier the product. So they say. Whilst I don’t want to pick on oats specifically, as I think they’re probably one of the not-as-bad-as-the-other-cereals out there, it really highlights how dangerously misleading these Healthy Star Ratings are. Initially I thought the Healthy Rating System was just based on old, outdated (incorrect) advice, but when I saw who was involved in it’s creation, it took a far more sinister turn.

Australian not healthy star ratings system paleo network-min

What are Healthy Star Ratings?

This is an Australian initiative, and it’s jointly funded by the Australian, state and territory governments, and developed in partnership with industry and public health and consumer groups.

I took a further look into these groups, who have jointly developed these ratings, and they include the Australian Beverages Council, and the Australian Food and Grocery Council.

And just who makes up these bodies?

Members of the Australian Beverages Council include:

  • Coca-Cola Amatil Pty Ltd
  • Coca-Cola South Pacific
  • Heinz Australia P/L
  • PepsiCo Australia Holdings Pty Ltd
  • Red Bull Australia Pty Ltd
  • Tropico Fruits Pty Ltd

Among many others… (Surely we’re not going to ever see health ratings on Red Bull?)

The Australian Food and Grocery Council has on its board:

  • Clive Stiff who is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Unilever Australia & NZ – their brands include Bertolli, Streets Ice Cream and my favourite Flora pro-activ
  • Trevor Clayton who is Chief Executive Officer for Nestle Australia Ltd
  • Andrew Towle who is Managing Director for Kellogg (Australia) Pty Ltd
  • Darren O’Brien who is Managing Director for Mondelez Foods Australia (better known as Kraft Foods and Cadbury)
  • Michael Ryan who is General Manager of Mars Chocolate, and
  • Peter West, Managing Director of Lion Dairy & Drinks

So the very companies who produce packaged, processed convenience food have very helpfully come up with a healthy star rating system? And we’re supposed to use this to tell us what is healthy food we should be eating lots of?

How to get a high star rating?

No surprisingly the star system is based on the old beliefs that whole grains are good for us, and fat to be avoided. Products receiving above 4 stars will include whole-grain foods, low-fat milk and reduced fat cheese, and extra lite (urgh I hate that word, theirs, not mine) spreads.

And how to get a low rating?

Products getting below 1 star include those that are full fat, regular fat yoghurt, high saturated fat cheese, salted butter, coconut oil (yes, they expressly list coconut oil on the less healthy foods list) and of course, untrimmed meats. So we can pretty much assume if it’s a natural, unprocessed, paleo food, it won’t get a high healthy star rating.

So I’ve come up with a new system to help you use the star rating system to identify healthy foods:

If it has a healthy star rating, avoid it tweet this quote

What’s your opinion on the Healthy Star Rating system?

Eat margarine or your family will die

Eat margarine or your family will die

“Health food” commercials are getting worse and worse – and of course I’m not referring to adverts for kale or grass-fed beef. I’m talking about products with a list of unpronounceable ingredients – products I go out of my way to avoid. And given that you’re reading my blog, I suspect you do too.

There seems to have been a huge turn here. It seems to slow be becoming the norm to eat an unprocessed diet of real, whole foods. Avoiding processed carbs like bread and pasta seems to be slowly becoming mainstream, and a feat of fat is definitely starting to disappear. I get the impression the manufacturers of  all those other food-like-products are getting worried…

So which advert has been annoying me most this week?

Eat margarine or your family will die

Flora Pro-Activ

Cue upset wife that her husband has high cholesterol. He undertakes the Flora Pro-Activ challenge for three weeks, has his cholesterol re-checked. Ends with happy wife, now her husband isn’t about to drop dead due to a high cholesterol invoked heart attack.

So what is the Flora challenge? For three weeks you eat 25 g of Flora every day, make sure you eat your wholegrains, replace BAD saturated fat with healthy saturated fat and generally keep your fat as low as possible. Nooo!

And what does Flora Pro-Activ actually contain?

Ingredients: Water, Vegetable Oils (30%), Plant Sterol Esters (12.5%), Buttermilk, Modified Waxy Corn Starch, Salt (1%), Emulsifiers (Mono-and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, Sunflower Lecithin), Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Citric Acid, Flavourings, Colour (Beta Carotene), Vitamin A and D

And evil butter? Let’s remind ourselves of the dangerous ingredients that contains: Pasteurised Cream (from Milk), Water, Salt. Three ingredients that I have in my kitchen; compared to unidentified “vegetable” oils and a host of ingredients not available at the local farmers market.

Despite a lot of research showing a higher cholesterol actually lowers the risk of heart attack, of course, these companies still like to keep us fearing cholesterol. More worrying is the margarine they want us to eat to benefit our health – so chemically processed, they are a fat that our bodies don’t recognise at all.

The other issue, is the claim that the plant sterol esters in this product actually lower our cholesterol. The adverts make it sound like a magic potion, with the ability to dramatically cut your cholesterol in a matter of days. The reality is that alone, these chemicals can supposedly only reduce cholesterol by a maximum of 10% (average results presumably a lot lower) – and of course that’s assuming reducing cholesterol is a good thing.

All in all I find the advert extremely misleading and think it’s outrageous that they come into our homes every day, suggesting that if you love your family, you need to make sure they eat 25 g of margarine a day – or risk losing them to heart disease.

What do you think about the Flora Pro-Activ challenge and the health commercials that come into your home each day?

Did you guess the health food rights from the ingredients answers revealed-min

Did you guess the health foods right?

Last week I showed you the ingredients from five “health” foods – did you guess them right? Well, none of them are what I would class as a health food. Wouldn’t you agree?

Did-you-guess-the-health-food-rights-from-the-ingredients-answers-revealed-labels-min

Product one – this will help you lose weight

Atkins: Endulge Caramel Nut Chew Bar

Another reason why Atkins just isn’t paleo. Just because it’s low carb, doesn’t make it healthy as the chemicals in this ingredients list demonstrate. What ever happened to eating real food?

atkins_endulge_bar_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

Product two – it’s never too young to start being healthy

S-26: Gold Soy Baby Formula

I assume for babies who are intolerant to dairy or for vegan parents? Introducing Soy baby formula….
s-26_gold_soy_formula_baby_milk_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

Product three – start your day the right way

Sanitarium: Up & Go Chocolate Flavoured Milk

This is marketed as a good nutritious way to start your day. Right. I think I’ll just have a normal paleo breakfast instead, thanks…
sanitarium_up_&_go_chocolate_flavoured_breakfast_milk_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

 

Product four – the best bet for children everywhere

Cottee’s: Coola No Added Sugar Cordial

No added sugar – so it must be good for you, right? Surely no one needs any of these chemicals. Is it so hard to drink water?
cottee_coola_no_added_sugar_cordial_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

 

Product five – watch your cholesterol

Flora: Salt Reduced Sunflower Margarine Tub

And the biggest scam of them all. Avoid butter and have margarine instead….
flora_salt_reduced_margarine_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

 

How many did you guess the health food from the ingredients right? Any “health” foods with ingredients that shock you? Share in the comments below!

Guess the health food from the ingredients-min

Guess the health foods from the ingredients

There are a lot of “food” products out there with health claims, and sadly a lot of people who take the claims on face value – and don’t give much thought to the ingredients….

I’ve found five popular products (I cringe to call them foods) with health claims in my local grocery store and I’d love you to take a guess as to what each product is…

Guess the health food from the ingredients labels-min

Product one – this will help you lose weight

Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product

Ingredients: Chocolate [Sweeteners (Maltitol, Sucralose), Chocolate Mass, Cocoa Butter, Sodium Caseinate, Milk Fat, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin, Flavourings, Salt], 14% Roasted Peanuts, Sweeteners (Maltitol Syrup, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Neotame, Whey Protein Isolate, Inulin, Bulking Agent (Polydextrose), Butter (Cream, Salt), Water, Palm Kernel Oil, Peanut Butter [Peanuts, Emulsifier (Mono and Diglycerides), Salt, Antioxidant (Mixed Tocopherols)], Non-fat Dry Milk, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Salt, Flavouring

Product two – it’s never too young to start being healthy

guess-ingredients

Ingredients: Corn Syrup Solids; Vegetable Oils [Palm, Soybean, Coconut, Oleic Sunflower, Oleic Safflower]; Soy Protein Isolate; Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin); L-Methionine; L-Tyrosine; Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids from single-cell sources [Arachidonic Acid (AA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)]; Taurine; Nucleotides (Cytidine-5′-Monophosphate; Disodium Uridine-5′-Monophosphate; Adenosine-5′-Monophosphate; Disodium Inosine-5′-Monophosphate; Disodium Guanosine-5′-Monophosphate); L-Carnitine; Antioxidants (Mixed Tocopherols concentrate, Ascorbyl Palmitate); Lutein. Minerals: Calcium Phosphate; Sodium Citrate; Magnesium Chloride; Potassium Chloride; Potassium Citrate; Potassium Hydroxide; Potassium Bicarbonate; Ferrous Sulphate; Zinc Sulphate; Copper Sulphate; Potassium Iodide; Sodium Selenite. Vitamins: Vitamin C; Choline; Inositol; Vitamin E; Niacin; Pantothenic Acid; Vitamin A; Vitamin B2; Vitamin B1; Vitamin B6; Vitamin D; Beta-Carotene; Folate; Vitamin K; Biotin; Vitamin B12.

Product three – start your day the right way

Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Skim Milk Powder, Cane Sugar, Wheat Maltodextrin, Soy Protein, Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Canola), Hi-Maize? starch, Corn Syrup Solids, Inulin, Fructose, Cocoa (0.5%), Cereals (Oat Flour, Barley Beta Glucan), Minerals (Calcium, Phosphorus), Food Acid (332), Flavour, Vegetable Gums (460, 466, 407), Vitamins (C,A, Niacin, B12, B2, B6, B1, Folate), Salt.

Product four – the best bet for children everywhere

Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product
Ingredients: Water, Food Acids (Citric Acid, Malic Acid), Flavour, Sweeteners (Calcium Cyclamate, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose), Thickener (Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose), Preservatives (Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Metabisulphite), Colours (Tartrazine, Brilliant Blue).

Product five – watch your cholesterol
Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product

Ingredients: Sunflower Oil (34%); Water; Vegetable Oils; Salt; Milk Solids; Emulsifiers (471, Soy Lecithin); Preservative (202); Food Acid (Lactic Acid); Colours (Annatto, Curcumin); Vitamins (A,D); Flavours.

So what do you reckon the healthy food products are? Make your guess in the comments below – and watch this space for the answers next week!

Paleo school lunches dinners UK healthy government free-min

Paleo school lunches – dream on!

I’m recently back from the UK, where a lot of my friends have young children. I was interested to learn about a new rule in the England, where children aged between four and seven (reception, year one and year two) are now all eligible for a free school lunch.

Paleo school lunches dinners UK healthy government free-min

The idea behind this, is a great one. I gather a significant number of young children were sent to school with a lunch box of processed junk. The same children aren’t likely to go home to a good meal either. By giving all children a hot school dinner, at least we can be certain they are getting at least one good meal a day.

There has been a lot of research on the issue, which has shown children getting a regular “healthy” meal concentrate better and perform better academically.

Whilst packed lunches are still allowed, obviously for financial and social reasons, children taking that option are likely to be in the minority.

Free School Lunches Dinners Policy UK

It all sounds great

Well yes, it does all sound like a great idea. Until one of my friends showed me the kinds of food on the “healthy” school dinner menus. Of course (and how could I have expected it to be any different) the offerings are based on conventional wisdom and the good old food pyramid.

That’s right, make sure children get their six (SIX!) daily serves of grains (especially wholegrains) – and watch out for those bad saturated fats!

Here are some of the meal plans for the free school lunches:

Paleo-Free-UK-School-Dinner-Lunches-Healthy-Menu-Plans

So whilst there’s a balance of lots of different types of food – aren’t they carb heavy? With options like pizza AND potatoes, pasta bake AND garlic bread and even Macaroni cheese and bread – there seems to be quite a lack protein and fat.

What’s the answer?

Clearly nothing is going to change until the government see sense on the food pyramid. And when almost all of the school children will be eating the free school dinners, I’m sure it would be very difficult to go against the flow and insist your child takes in a homemade packed lunch.

If you’ve got children, I’d love to know what their school lunch policy is and what you do about it. Please share in the comments, below.

In case you couldn’t read the photo, here are the main course school lunch options in full:

• Loaded vegetable pizza with new potatoes and garden peas
• Lentil pasta layer with mixed vegetables
• Spaghetti Bolognese with sweetcorn
• Sweet potato & cheddar cheese whirls with country style potatoes & broccoli florets
• Roast chicken with gravy, stuffing, roast potatoes and spring cabbage
• Quorn fillet with roast potatoes and carrots
• Tempura fish goujons with crispy herb and baked beans
• Cheese and potato pie with green beans
• Cumberland sausages with gravy mashed potatoes and sweetcorn
• Roasted vegetable filled Yorkshire pudding with mashed potato and baked tomatoes
• Mediterranean vegetable pasta bake with garlic bread and vegetable medley
• Jacket potato filled with Boston beans and broccoli florets
• Savoury pork pies with crispy herb potatoes and baked beans
• Frittata with crispy herb potatoes and vegetable medley
• British roast beef with gravy, roast potatoes and cauliflower
• Vegetable crumble with roast potatoes and green beans
• Salmon fish fingers with lemon mayonnaise, potato wedges and garden peas
• Cheese ploughmans with carrot and orange salad
• Chicken fajita wrap with potato salad and mixed salad
• Quorn sausage and tomato roll with potato salad and sweetcorn salsa
• Quorn balls in tomato sauce with spaghetti and garden peas
• Cheese and onion pasty with mashed potatoes, homemade tomato sauce and roasted summer vegetables
• Reggae Reggae chicken with cous cous and sweetcorn
• Margherita pizza with coleslaw
• Roast pork with gravy, apple sauce, roast potatoes and cabbage
• Country bake with roast potatoes and carrots
• Chilli beef with rice and mixed vegetables
• Macaroni cheese with herby bread and broccoli
• Baked fish with country style potatoes and garden peas
• Vegetarian stack with country style potatoes and green beans

What if it’s all a big conspiracy conventional wisdom paleo theory-min

What if it’s all a big conspiracy?

So conventional wisdom tells us that saturated fat is bad for us. We must only consume low-fat foods. We must eat 6 – 11 servings of healthy wholegrains every day. We must cook in healthy vegetable oils. We should avoid eating meat (especially red), especially on meatless Mondays. We should replace meat with soy instead. We need to make sure we have low cholesterol. We should take preventative statins.

What if it’s all a big conspiracy conventional wisdom paleo theory-min

And so what happens?

We eat processed low fat, high carb foods. The grain and junk food companies retain the power. They fund studies and lobby governments. We’re reminded to eat more of their products for the good of our health.

We get sick, but luckily there’s a drug to help us with that. It gives us side effects, but luckily there’s a drug to help us with that. It gives us side effects, but luckily there’s a drug to help us with that. The drug companies make lots of money and retain a lot of power. They fund studies and lobby governments. We’re reminded to take their drugs to save our ailing health.

What if it’s all a big conspiracy?

Dessert for diabetics sugar paleo

Dessert for diabetics

My gran is just about to start receiving “Meals on Wheels”, which is a great service. In principle. Vulnerable people (mainly the elderly) are provided with a cooked nutritious meal at lunchtime. For many recipients, this will be the main nutrition they get in that day, so it’s really important that the meal provides the nutrition they need. Especially for those with conditions like diabetes, you’d think?

Dessert for diabetics sugar paleo

Each day (it’s even available on Saturdays and Sunday’s) they offer a choice of a main course and a choice of dessert. The main course choices, as you might expect are a traditional meat based meal, or a vegetarian option. And the desserts? Yep, hot, cold or diabetic.

Diabetic Meals on Wheels-min

I was really shocked to see diabetic desserts – and even more surprised to see what they are. You’d maybe expect low-carb options, like a cheese board perhaps. But no, they’re traditional sweet desserts, such as cakes and pies.

Looking at the definition I found on the web of what the diabetic options should consist of, it’s clear the providers of nutrition are stuck with conventional wisdom. “Desserts for diabetics must be sweetened with artificial sweeteners or sweeteners combined with a minimal amount of sugar”.

Diabetic definitions meals on wheels

How about making desserts sugar (and sweetener free) entirely – or even swapping the dessert out for a starter instead!? Where did the idea that all meals must be finished with a dessert come from anyway?

As meals on wheels only provides one meal a day, they have some helpful recommendations as to what diabetics should eat for the rest of their meals:

Diabetic-recommendations

That’s right – diabetics should get 6-11 servings of bread and grains a day! DIABETICS! Also, note the low-fat recommendations. Those diabetics have got to steer well clear of anything so much as resembling fat, and instead go for low-fat options, that have replaced the fat with carbohydrates. Oh, and fruit – go right ahead.

I’d love to hear our comments on the diabetic nutrition for the most vulnerable diabetics in our communities. What meals do you think they should be offered?

Why you need to eat more salt not less paleo diet-min

Why you need to eat more salt

The title of this article may come as a bit of a shock to some, especially with the range of ailments an increased salt intake has been linked to. Salt is vilified by conventional wisdom; but then again, so is saturated fat. We know that the ‘experts’ don’t always get it right, and it seems that this is true once again when it comes to salt.

Sodium, the mineral that makes up approximately 40% of table salt, is an essential nutrient for human health. It regulates your fluid balance, improves muscles function, and allows your nerves to send impulses throughout your body. Sodium maintains the balance of other minerals, such as calcium and potassium, in the bloodstream. It also helps to maintain sugar levels in the bloodstream, thus reducing the need for insulin.

Why you need to eat more salt not less paleo diet-min

Salt itself is also an important part of the process of digestion. In the mouth, salt activates the enzyme salivary amylase, which provides signals to the brain that digestion is due to take place. In the stomach, it assists in the creation of hydrochloric acid, which helps break down your food.

Studies show that people with a higher sodium intake are at greater risk of developing heart and blood problems and suffering from strokes. However, this correlation is not a fair one. The majority of people in Western society who consume a higher level of salt are generally doing so through a higher intake of processed foods. There have been no studies that directly show the link between the sodium itself and the problems it is said to cause; so could this in fact be the processed food that is the root of the problem? It’s highly likely.

When choosing your salt, look for a salt rich in trace minerals such as Pink Himalayan Crystal Salt or Celtic Sea Salt. As with everything, the key is moderation. Too much salt is likely to put excess pressure on your kidneys; however, anything up to 1tsp of high quality salt each day and you’re definitely in health promoting territory. As processed foods are not on the menu in any Paleo household, you can afford to be a little more liberal with your seasonings.

How much salt do you consume? And which type is in your pantry right now?

Your Health Messages To YOURSELF Ten Years Ago paleo network-min

Your Health Messages To YOURSELF Ten Years Ago

I recently asked the fans of my Facebook Page The Paleo Network this question: “If you could go back and tell yourself a key health message ten years ago – what would it be?” What would your answer be?

There were hundreds of answers covering all sorts of aspects of physical & emotional health, here are some of them.

Your Health Messages To YOURSELF Ten Years Ago paleo network-min

Quit grains

And sugar. This was (unsurprisingly) a very common theme. Here are some of the messages:

  • No grains
  • Grain brain
  • Give up wheat
  • Kick the sugar
  • Don’t eat sugar.
  • Cut sugar n carbs
  • Stop eating grains
  • Put down the sugar!
  • Don’t. Eat. Grains.
  • Go grain & sugar free
  • Don’t eat lots of bread!
  • Don’t eat so much sugar!
  • Give up wheat and sugar.
  • Eat less sugar and grains
  • Don’t eat grains or sugar!
  • Stop eating bread and pasta
  • Fat is not the enemy…sugar is!
  • Don’t eat candy or chocolate bars!
  • Cut the bread bro and lay off the booze.
  • Ditch the GRAINS, forget the SUGAAAAR!!!
  • Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar is the enemy.
  • Reduce your carb intake, don’t eat bread anymore!!!
  • Avoid grains and sugar, they make you feel like crap.
  • Give up sugar and grains. You honestly won’t miss it!
  • put down the loaf of bread and spinage dip!… I have a long list…
  • Once a sweet tooth, always a sweet tooth! Cut out sugar from the diet!
  • Stop all grain not just gluten don’t look for substitutes there really enough to eat….

Easy on the vices

Alcohol and smoking also featured…

  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink beer
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Ease up on alcohol
  • Avoid alcohol better
  • Don’t start smoking again
  • Don’t smoke or hang out with those who do!!!!
  • Cut the grains and sugar and it will be easier to quit smoking.
  • Stop drinking alcohol it’s poison. So is wheat dairy and sugar. Paleo paleo paleo

Fat?

I thought more people would have commented about body weight and body image…

  • Stop Eating!
  • Don’t get fat!
  • You’re not fat. Eat something
  • Being fat is not genetic and you’re not big boned.

Ditch the soda

Soda and fizzy drinks were also prominent in your messages to your younger self

  • No soda. No diet soda.
  • Stop drinking pop and fast food
  • Drink water not coke or coke zero
  • To never touch diet drinks or diet anything and drink lots of water!

Fitness

Fitness was one of the most popular themes, with these messages being added:

  • MOVE
  • Stretch
  • Do yoga
  • Exercise!
  • Weightlifting
  • Don’t overtrain
  • Stay strong fit and fast.
  • Don’t quit weekend sport
  • Start CrossFit. Eat Paleo!
  • Don’t ever quit sport/exercise!!
  • Don’t stop exercising because of pregnancy
  • Put down the sugar and lift weights…. heavy weights
  • And start yoga young to keep u strong and flexible !!!
  • Keep moving…don’t stop the exercise…even for a week!
  • Paleo and CrossFit….if only I had discovered this years ago!!
  • Don’t wait till you gain weight to start exercising. Biggest mistake I made!!!
  • Go to the gym & get a trainer/training partner. I’d be so much further along in my physical development

And perhaps best of all, the random messages!

There are definitely some stories there…

  • Speak up
  • Sleep more.
  • Stay consistent
  • Don’t marry him.
  • Pack it in. Idiot!
  • Bitcoins! Buy them!!!
  • Omg! Where do I begin?!!
  • Put the candy bar down fatty
  • You really are allergic to dairy
  • Stay away from the chocolate
  • Stay focused don’t get complacent
  • 27 is not too young to have babies
  • Don’t get the flu shot and go Paleo
  • Your friends and chidren are amazing
  • Stay away from snotty nosed children!
  • Thank god u took the advice to lose 95 kg.
  • Stress less, not a food thing but a health thing
  • Don’t ever stop, that’s what I tell the youngsters.
  • Don’t marry him! Hahaha. I would Def be healthier
  • Dont listen to your mother… and dont eat like her….
  • Take the time to feed your kids and yourself healthy!
  • Enjoy the small things! Work to live, not live to work!!
  • Stop making stupid excuses and get divorced now !!!
  • Nothing can be fixed until you sort out that zinc deficiency.
  • The habits I have will be the habits my kids will have. Eat clean!
  • NOTHING and I mean nothing, taste as good as healthy feels!!!!!
  • Don’t take hormone contraceptive pills and quit that stressful job!
  • You are worth loving and you don’t have to turn to food to feel loved.
  • Don’t sweat it me, you are going to look better at 37 than you did at 27.
  • I would tell me to keep eating clean and switch degrees to sports science!
  • Don’t shrug off the little things cause sometimes they mean there is a big thing.
  • My biggest down fall, closely followed by, avoid chocolate – it is not a meal!!!!!
  • Don’t get lazy and give up. YOU’RE worth the EFFORT of cooking healthy food!!
  • Everything you’ve been taught about nutrition was false. The food pyramid is upside down.
  • Slow down, create more homemade meals (organic) than eating meals on the run (processed junk).
  • Exercise, laugh, set goals be flexible, action is the key to fruition, rest, relish silence, no sugar, grains, no dairy
  • Take a kids cooking class to master basic cooking skills – especially knife skills & don’t be bloody lazy about eating properly!!!
  • Do not do the endometriosis treatment that your supposed specialised GP said was latest and greatest. It will ruin your health forever…
  • Don’t have vital parts surgically removed unless you’ve been diagnosed with a deadly disease and the removal of said parts is the way to eliminate the disease.

So over to you… what message would you tell your ten-years-ago-self?

Why can’t I lose weight My story weight loss slimming paleo diet-min

Why can’t I lose weight? My story…

Ask almost anyone how to lose weight and you’ll get the same answer. It’s easy. All you need to do is eat less and move more. In the Paleo world it’s almost as bad – eat Paleo and your weight will naturally regulate. For a lot of people, this seems to be the case – but unfortunately this simplistic view just does not work for everyone. I’m now almost certain that for myself, weight loss is a far more complicated equation than eat Paleo,eat less, move more.

I’ve made a lot of huge discoveries in the last few weeks, and am starting to understand why my body is fighting all efforts to burn fat. It’s time to share my weight loss struggles with you…

Why-Can't-I-Lose-Weight-Paleo-Diet-min

As you may have read when I first found Paleo in 2010, I quickly and effortlessly lost 17 kilos. This was several dress sizes and changed me quite dramatically. I felt so much better, my asthma disappeared, my sleep improved – I felt like a brand new person. With another maybe 15 kilos to go, I assumed my weight loss would continue – perhaps not at the same speed – but I thought I would gradually get to the right size for me (that’s what the experts tell you, after all…)

But then nothing happened. Nothing. For the last four years I have stayed within a 3kg weight range. I have been completely unable to break through this barrier, no matter what I’ve tried. And believe me, I have tried almost every approach.

Excuses

With the distractions of day to day life – a busy corporate job with weekly inter-state travelling, running a business, blogging, multiple house moves etc etc– I’ve always been able to blame my inability to lose weight on a variety of things I’ve “been getting wrong”. My favourite thing to blame has always been sleep. When I’m stressed, I don’t sleep well. Poor sleep increases cortisol causing the body to hold onto its fat stores. Therefore even though I’m eating well and lifting weights, it must be the poor sleep preventing weight loss, right? Or perhaps the problem lies with one of these problems:

  • Living alone and cooking for myself, perhaps I had been eating huge football team size portions, without realising?
  • Perhaps I’ve been lying to myself all along and punctuating my amazing Paleo meals with McDonalds every few hours?
  • Perhaps I’ve been sleepwalking to the fridge with no knowledge or recollection?
  • Perhaps it’s my adrenals?
  • Perhaps I’m just big boned?
  • Perhaps I’m just meant to be this weight?

Enough

Last year I went to PrimalCon for the third consecutive year and felt really embarrassed to have made no progress over the course of another year. I spoke at length to Sarah Fragoso (of Everyday Paleo – one of the sweetest most genuine people you could ever hope to meet) about my weight loss plateau. Sarah didn’t take the “eat better/ move more” approach, but really encouraged me to focus on stresses in my life and get my sleep in check. Coming back I had a renewed belief that I could change this – and a determination not to give up.

Experimenting

Last year, I was fortunate enough to have several months off the corporate conveyer belt, for the first time in years. Escaping the daily early mornings/ commute/ work/ meetings/ pressure/ deadlines/ late nights gave me a golden opportunity to experiment with everything. I could to finally start losing some weight.

What I did every single day

The first change I incorporated was sleep. Just how much was that really impacting things? In all the time I wasn’t working, I only set an alarm twice. I stuck thick cardboard* to my widows to make sure my room was darker than a remote cave in the middle of the night.

After sunset I turned off all main lights and used side lights with red bulbs. I forced myself to turn off all screens (tv, laptop, iPhone) at least two hours before bed.

I read. Real physical fiction books before bed.

I turned off the wifi in my house overnight and switched my iPhone/ iPad to flight mode (I still do this)

I did interval sprits to the local outdoor swimming pool most days. I swam. I lifted weights.

I got sunshine everyday.

On the nutrition side, I took the time to get excellent, quality food (pastured/ grassfed/ organic – you know the drill). As always, I cooked everything from scratch.

Why can’t I lose weight My story weight loss slimming paleo diet-min

Changing things up

Once I had my baseline established, with the new habits I mentioned above, I tried pretty much every piece of paleo weight loss advice. Whenever I tried something new, I stuck at it for a few weeks, without introducing any other changes. Here are some of the things I tried:

  • Intermittent fasting. Without the usual life stresses this was the perfect opportunity to give this a real go.
  • I tried very low carb (below 50g a day, then lower, about 20g a day)
  • I tried high (relatively speaking) carb, which meant eating a lot of things like pumpkin and sweet potato.
  • I tried counting calories strictly, sticking to a conventional wisdom approved daily limit (keeping it paleo, within that limit)
  • I tried eating more fat
  • I tracked my macros and micro nutrients and made sure I was hitting all of the recommended amounts of everything (except for calcium)

And guess what happened….

Nothing. That’s right. NOTHING. I could get to the bottom of my 3kg range, but I could not break through that barrier.

Perhaps I eat too much?

I was able to spend a couple of months in the UK with my family during my time out, which gave me some great insights into this weight loss puzzle.

Looking at me and hearing about my weight loss plateau, I’m frequently quizzed on my portion sizes. I know people think I must be eating an entire chicken, 2 packs of bacon, 6 eggs and a litre of coconut oil for a mid-afternoon snack. Well, actually no. And my time in the UK proved this to me.

My parents are both slim having lost a few pounds when they went Paleo three years ago. For the duration of my stay we ate exactly the same for all but two meals. Same food and similar portion sizes (my Dad having slightly larger portion sizes). They are at ideal body weights – and their weight remained constant. I didn’t lose any weight, despite having significantly more kilos to support than my parents do.

So what’s going on?

For the first time I felt I had conclusive proof that there was more going on in my body, than I could control with nutrition and movement…
I was explaining my puzzle to my friend Jodie – who happens to be a trainee naturopath (and eats a natural, real food diet too).  “There has to be more to it than eat less, move more?“. Her empathetic agreement encouraged me to delve a lot further into this and for the last few months I’ve been on a journey to find out everything I can….

Over the last few months I’ve been on an incredible personal journey into this puzzle. Over the coming weeks and months, I’m going to share with you who I’ve met, what’s really going on – and what I’m doing to fix things. From emails and comments I get from you, I know I’m not alone in this struggle. For all of those who are doing everything the “paleo experts” tell you – and are still struggling to lose weight, I think I have some answers that will help you, which I’ll be writing about in detail in the coming weeks and months.

You can read the next post on my weight loss journey here

In the meantime, if you’re struggling to lose weight (or you overcame a struggle), please please leave a comment or email me. I’d love to hear about your journey and what you think the problem is for you.

* If you’re renting, don’t do this. It took hours and hours to scrape the glue off the windows when I moved out