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Gout and the paleo diet health nutrition-min

Gout & The Paleo Diet

A common form of arthritis, Gout is a condition which can cause a lot of pain to sufferers and can have a highly negative effect on a person’s standard of life. It can be apparent in any joints of the body but is most widely found in the toe, knee and ankle. The signs of Gout are obvious as the area may become red in appearance and can be sore to tough or feel really stiff. It may be restricted to one joint in the body or may spread to other areas; Gout is an unpleasant condition in both the way it looks and feels. It can be mild or more serious and can even lead to the most simple of tasks being an uphill struggle.

The pain of Gout may disappear of its own accord after a couple of weeks, but it can return in the same area or other parts of the body. The areas where Gout appeared can become sore and red out with the attacks of Gout and it is more likely that those who suffer from Gout will also end up with kidney stones. If an area of the body become red, hot and sore, it is likely that this is an attack of Gout and it is important to seek medical attention and treatment, so it is dealt with quickly.

It is believed that Gout is caused by high levels of sugar in the body as this leads to high levels of Uric Acid in the blood stream. The best way to decrease these levels is to avoid food which has high levels of sugar. As with all forms of arthritis, it is important to look closely at the diet and make changes towards a healthier lifestyle in order to reduce the symptoms and prevent the Gout from becoming a major problem. It is much safer and more effective to concentrate on a healthy diet and lifestyle than to turn to strong painkillers and anti-inflammatory tablets as a way of combating the illness. These may only help for a short period of time and won’t really get to the root of the problem.

Gout and the paleo diet health nutrition-min

As the Paleo diet is one which restricts the intake of sugary foods in favour of those which are high in protein and vitamins, it is believed that it can help to prevent Gout or reduce the signs for those who already suffer from the condition. The uric acid has to be restricted and this can be achieved with a healthy choice of foods, including animal fat which has a positive effect on the body.

It is also thought that a diet which is low in carbohydrates, as can be the case with the Paleo diet, can be a much healthier option to minimise the risk of suffering from Gout and other painful diseases. Carbohydrates are high in sugar, which is the main cause of Gout and by restricting this food group; there is a good chance of minimising the likelihood of suffering from the painful illness.

A diet which is very low in sugar is the best way to reduce the chances of suffering from Gout or minimise the symptoms for those who already suffer from the condition. A combination of the right foods and daily exercise will ensure that the risks of suffering from Gout and other illnesses are kept to a minimum.

Do you, or have you, suffered from Gout? How did changing your diet impact it?

borderline paleo food paleo network-min

Borderline paleo food

Eating a strict paleo diet is simple; meat, veggies, eggs, nuts, seeds and a little fruit. Right? What about all those borderline foods? Are they paleo, or not?

borderline paleo food paleo network-min

Dairy

Dairy is a huge grey area for a lot of people following a paleo diet. Strictly speaking, a paleo diet omits all dairy, since it contains lactose and casin, which a lot of people can’t tolerate and other components, such as IGF-1 which may be harmful. Of course, dairy encompasses a huge wealth of foods, some better than others. Fermented dairy, such as kefir and traditional yoghurt, is going to be a lot better than highly processed dairy, such as skim milk. The key is to try it for yourself and find out what works for you.

Fruit

Yes, the fruit we’re encouraged to eat every day is a food I would consider borderline paleo. Fruit, being carbohydrate, is packed full of sugar. Yes, it contains vitmains and is natural – but the sugar can’t be ignored. Of course, not all fruit is equal, and whilst I’d avoid high sugar fruit like apples and melons, berries are great as they are far lower in sugar.

Safe starches

There’s been a lot of talk lately about safe starches.  A safe starch is a carbohydrate that is low in anti-nutrients, such as phytates, for example sweet potatoes, plantain, yucca, tapioca, white potatoes and white rice. To slow down the glucose release, and lessen the insulin response from the carbs, they are best eaten with fat and protein. Why are these borderline? Clearly rice is a grain – and white potatoes are a nightshade. Whilst paleo is not, by definition, low carb, many people do take a low carb approach and should therefore take a considered approach with safe starches.

Non-paleo “Vegetables”

Corn on the cob and green beans might sit nicely on the plate masquerading as vegetables, but they’re not. Sweetcorn is a grain and the green beans legumes; both food groups which are excluded on a paleo diet.

Paleo sweeteners

Whilst honey and stevia might seem like far more natural options than table sugar, the fact is, in your blood stream they’re all the same. Whilst some sweeteners may more natural than others, they’re best off avoided.

Paleo baked goods

The more popular paleo becomes, the more popular paleo breads, paleo cookies and paleo cakes become. They might be made with almond meal and coconut flour, and use dates as a natural sweetener – but take care with these. They often still have a lot of sugar and are best kept as an occasional treat.

Pseudo grains

We know how bad gluten is – wheat is a grain strictly avoided on paleo. There are a lot of other pseudo grains that don’t contain gluten, that are become popular, especially amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa. Whilst a lot better than conventional grains, it’s worth bearing in mind that gluten-free and paleo aren’t the same thing!

 Manufactured meat

So we know meat is paleo, but it becomes a lot more borderline when we look at things like bacon, sausages, hamburgers and cured meats. If you’ve not made them yourself, you need to know how they’ve been made, as many processes will use sugar, soy and chemicals that most definitely aren’t paleo

Recipe Grain-Free Crackers Potato Rosemary Dehydrator Paleo Network

Recipe: Grain-Free Crackers

One thing I’ve really missed from my pre-paleo days is the humble cracker. They’re just the perfect thing to go with cheese, hummus, all sorts of dips.

Recipe Grain-Free Crackers Potato Rosemary Paleo Network

But with fairly typical cracker ingredients looking like this:

Wheat Flour, Vegetable Oil, Salt, Malt Extract, Yeast Raising Agent (E336, E500), Emulsifier (E322:Soy), Milk Solids

That’s a high price to pay for a vessel for a bit of cheese….

So I’ve been experimenting with my dehydrator, and have come up with these paleo crackers. Yes, the main ingredient is white potato. But these would work just as well with sweet potato or parsnip. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out!

Recipe: Grain-Free Crackers
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A simple grain-free alternative to shop-bought crackers.
Ingredients
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary
  • sea salt &black pepper
Instructions
  1. Boil the potatoes as you would to make mashed potatoes (this helps to breakdown the starch)
  2. Drain, and mash in with the olive oil
  3. Add in the rosemary and season.
  4. Spoon a spoonful of the mixture onto a dehydrator sheet and use the back of the spoon to shape into whatever cracker shape and size you prefer.
  5. I dehydrated for about 16 hours on 145 degrees - but please check regularly and adjust accordingly!
  6. You an also make these in an oven if you don't have a dehydrator (but please research times and temperatures carefully!)

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Recipe Grain-Free Crackers Potato Rosemary Dehydrator Paleo Network-min (1)

Recipe Grain-Free Crackers Potato Rosemary Dehydrator Paleo Network 2-min

Grain-Free Cracker Balls

In my experimentation to make the perfect grain-free cracker, I came up with these cracker-balls, which if I do say so myself, are delicious!

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I used white potatoes and sweet potatoes, but I think you could easily use parsnips or even pumpkin or squash. The key is in the dehydration to give the crunchy end result. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven on a low heat instead (though I’ve not tested this method). If you’re keen to try a dehydrator (and I highly recommend them), you can go really cheap like this one, or go all out on an Excalibur like this. There are so many ways to use them.

Grain-Free Cracker Balls
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These grain-free crackers use potatoes as a base ingredient and thanks to the dehydration, have that satisfying cracker-crunch!
Ingredients
  • 2 large white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Boil the potatoes in two separate saucepans, as you would if you were making mash
  2. Drain the saucepans and add in half the oil to each
  3. Mash the potatoes and mix in the rosemary, then season.
  4. Once cool enough, roll the mixture into small balls of about 1cm diameter.
  5. Arrange the balls on dehydrator sheets alternatively and "press" them into each other, to ensure they stick together.
  6. Dehydrate at 145 degrees for about 18 hours (but this will depend on the thickness of your crackers, so please check and adjust accordingly!

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The Paleo Diet Lectins Grains Gluten Wheat-min

Lectins & The Paleo Diet

No matter what type of food we eat, we can’t avoid Lectins as they are in absolutely everything we consume on a daily basis. Lectins are proteins which are found in animals, plants and our very own bodies and they have a number of functions which offer a means of protection to us. They can help to control the protein levels in humans but are also protective for plants as well. It is also thought that the right Lectins can also be beneficial in acting as a defense mechanism against serious illnesses, such as cancer.

Lectins can be useful for the body, but they can also be damaging, depending on the type of Lectin. There are many different types of Lectins found in different foods, so it is important to ensure we are taking in the right ones which offer the best benefits to our bodies. The function of Lectins also depend a lot of the individual and how sensitive their digestive system is as to how they will react to specific types of Lectins. The foods which contain particularly harmful Lectins include grains and legumes, which is why they are forbidden on the Paleo diet. These foods have the potential to destroy all of the good nutrients and vitamins in your body which makes you more susceptible to suffering from serious illnesses, such as heart disease and obesity.

If you consume the wrong Lectins and your body rejects these, it will also start rejecting all the good foods you eat, which means they will be of no benefit to you whatsoever. In order for the body to function effectively, it is essential that we absorb the right minerals and nutrients, which is why it is important to avoid legumes and grains on the Paleo diet. There are plenty of foods which contain Lectins which are good for our body and act as a way of protecting it, so it is important to be aware of the right foods to eat in order to get the most out of our bodies and feel as healthy as we can.

The Paleo Diet Lectins Grains Gluten Wheat-min

Gluten is one of the harmful Lectins that can cause a lot of problems with the digestive system, which is why many people who have particularly sensitive guts have to eat gluten-free foods. Gluten-free foods are becoming standard in supermarkets and restaurants these days, which shows how much of a problem gluten can be. Gluten is often found in wheat products including the high sugar and high fat foods we are advised to avoid as part of the Paleo diet. These harmful Lectins can attack the body and cause a lot of damage to the intenstine which results in a leaking gut, not to mention a lot of pain. Bad Lectins can completely destroy the immune system, leading to issues such as extreme weight loss, diarrohea and sickness. It can also cause more serious illnesses, such as diabetes.

There are ways of reducing the presence of bad Lectins in legumes and grains, including soaking and soaking them, but it won’t completely destroy them so it is much better to avoid them completely. The Paleo diet encourages the avoidance of these food groups for a reason; they are not good for the body.

Nuts and seeds also contain Lectins but again, they are only beneficial to the body if you eat these in moderation. There are many of us who can’t stop eating nuts when we start, so if this sounds like you, it is best to just avoid eating them. There are plenty of nutritious foods on the Paleo diet which will offer good Lectins as well as plenty of other important vitamins and nutrients which are essential for a healthy body.

Overall, Lectins won’t pose problems for most people, but there are a number of people who have particularly sensitive guts, which means the bad Lectins, such as those found in grains and legumes can end up causing issues with the digestive system. Sufferers of a sensitive gut are not always born with this; it can develop over a number of years and become a worse problem in later life. It is better to completely avoid these, which is why the Paleo diet is such a beneficial one to follow.

Do you avoid lectins, or prepare foods to minimise their effect?

Weston A Price Foundation Conference New Zealand Australia Events Sally Fallon-min

Weston A Price v The Paleo Diet

I went across to Auckland, New Zealand at the weekend to hear Sally Fallon-Morell, of the Weston A. Price Foundation, speak.

As with the Melbourne Sugar lectures, the audience was full of people new to the concept that the government approved low-fat diet is not the right approach. It is great to see so many people interested in making changes to their diet and I find it encouraging how many people were in attendance.

I meet up with Julianne Taylor at the talk – and I also meet and spoke Paleo with Rodney Hide. There’s nothing like being able to have real-life conversations on your favourite topic, is there? After the talk Rodney introduced me to Sally, which having had her book Nourishing Traditions for such a long time, was a real privilege.

WAPF-Paleo-Weston A Price Sally Fallon-min

Whilst there are some important differences between the Paleo style diet that I follow and the WAPF diet, I think it’s more useful to focus on the similarities, of which there are many. Whilst I believe a Paleo style diet is the optimal nutrition plan, if anyone were to convert from a SAD diet to a WAPF plan, I think they would see tremendous health benefits. If they then went one small step further to a Paleo or Primal diet, I think they’d see even more health benefits.

There are a number of principles that are the essence of the nutrition recommended by the WAPF.

FIRST PRINCIPLE: No refined or denatured foods

So much SAD food is refined or modified in some way;  sugar, flour, industrial seed oils, HFCS and so many more. If people did just one thing differently, completely removing these products from their diet would surely be the most beneficial. On this point Paleo/ Primal and WAPF are in complete agreement.

SECOND PRINCIPLE: Every diet contained animal products

As with Paleo, the WAPF believe that a healthy diet needs to include animal products and an optimal diet can’t exclusively contain plant food. Organ meats were mentioned a lot in the talk as an important source of many nutrients.

THIRD PRINCIPLE: Nutrient Density

The primitive diets studies by Weston Price were far richer in nutrients than much of the food available today. Mineral content in soil is depleted so many produce just don’t have the same nutrient density. This is where selecting good quality food comes in. Organic, home grown and grass-fed all promote far better nutrient density than the same items produced from intensive farming. Again, this is completely in line with Paleo.

FOURTH PRINCIPLE: All cultures cooked some or most of their food; but always ate some of their animal foods raw.

Weston Price noted that whilst primitive cultures did cook animal products, they also all ate some raw. This came down to raw dairy, which, whilst I agree it is absolutely better than pasteurised dairy, I find a big grey area. The talk focused on comparing processed dairy to raw dairy – where clearly raw dairy is the winner. Excluding dairy wasn’t discussed, which is the approach taken by a lot of the Paleo community, myself included.  My areas of concern with dairy are around the insulin response and the growth hormone IGF-1, which weren’t mentioned at all during the talk. I’d like to come to a more definitive view point on dairy, so had hoped to hear compelling reasons why dairy should be included. As it stands, until I find more conclusive evidence, I’m still of the view that dairy is best excluded.

FIFTH PRINCIPLE: High Levels of Enzymes and Beneficial Bacteria

This focuses on foods that provide enzymes to promote good digestion & metabolic health. Whilst raw dairy is noted as a good source, the super-foods here seems to be lacto-fermented foods such as Sauerkraut. The take-away point for me here is on fermented foods – something I need to make a conscious effort to include in my diet far more.

SIXTH PRINCIPLE: Seeds, grains, legumes & nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened

This principle starts off in line with Paleo, observing how components such as anti-nutrients, phytates and lectins in grains are not desirable. Where Paleo excludes grains and legumes altogether, WAPF promotes preparing these foods to minimize the damage. As with the dairy issue, I didn’t hear any compelling reasons why it is better to have grains in this form, than not at all. This is the main point on which Paleo/ Primal varies to the WAPF – whilst I’m certain people transitioning from a SAD diet to a WAPF would see significant improvements by preparing grains and legumes – I think their health would be far more optimal foregoing the grains and legumes altogether.

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SEVENTH PRINCIPLE: Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30% to 80% of calories, but only about 4 of calories come from polyunsaturated fatty acids.

This is a key point on which Paleo and WAPF are in agreement. I would probably promote this as the key point, since it concerns the importance of saturated fat and the dangers of the industrial seed oils.

EIGHTH PRINCIPLE: Nearly Equal Amounts of Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

This is also essentially in line with Paleo, stressing the importance of maintaining a good Omega 6/ Omega 3 ratio. This comes down to making the right choices in choosing quality meat and avoiding seed oils.

NINTH PRINCIPLE: All diets contained some salt

I think this point is hard to accept for people transitioning from Conventional Wisdom, where we are told how dangerous salt it. Once the processed food is removed the natural levels of salt remaining are often very low, so supplementing with a good mineral salt is very beneficial.

TENTH PRINCIPLE: All traditional cultures made use of bones, usually as bone broth

Another point I need to work on, bone broths are such a great source of nutrients, easy and cheap to make and very satisfying.

ELEVENTH PRINCIPLE: Traditional cultures made provisions for future generations

This principle was very interesting and concerns issues such as optimal spacing of children, nutrition of pregnant and nursing women and teaching nutrition to the younger generations. This seems to be all too often ignored or not considered in modern society.

Paleo vs Weston A Price?

I learnt a lot from this talk and it was a great reminder that I need to make sure I make provisions to include more organ meat, fermented foods and bone broth in my diet. I plan to make sure I include these regularly.

Whilst I completely agree that prepared grains are far superior to their refined counterparts – and that raw dairy is far superior to pasteurised, I didn’t hear anything to make me consider changing my anti-grains, legumes and dairy stance.

What do you think about the Weston A Price principles? Do you agree with their stance on dairy and grains?

It's Dangerous to Quit Grains sponsored by Kelloggs paleo diet-min

It’s Dangerous to Quit Grains (Sponsored by Kelloggs)

I received an interesting comment pointing me to an article on the website of the Dietitians Association of Australia (update: this has since been removed), all about the Paleo Diet.  The four paragraph critique questions whether there is any merit to this way of eating.  It concludes that they do not support the diet, as

It excludes nutritious core foods such as breads and cereals, and dairy foods

They are also concerned that

The Paleo Diet encourages restrictive eating – an approach that is not sustainable in the long-term. And by banning certain nutritious foods, followers of the diet will be at a greater risk of falling short on important nutrients, such as calcium. Like many fad diets, the Paleo Diet, is no substitute for expert, individual dietary advice from an Accredited (SIC) Practising Dietitian.

There is a lot of evidence to suggest calcium balance, rather than calcium intake is of crucial importance – something that a paleo diet promotes.  Sadly they don’t mention the other nutrients they are concerned about.  This would interest me greatly, as when I have tracked my daily diet I have greatly exceeded all of the micro-nutrient RDA’s (except calcium) by eating in this way.

They say Australians should eat a diet with a wide variety of food from all food groups; that meets their health needs; that is sustainable in the long term and that fits in with their lifestyle.  This implies that they don’t consider a Paleo diet meets these criteria.  I know I’m not alone in finding Paleo is the best diet for my health; very sustainable and fits in easily into my lifestyle.  The fact that it is restrictive in not including processed foods and grains, certainly isn’t what I’d call restrictive.  I don’t consider grains a proper “food group” and I think my diet is far more varied than those who eat from the food pyramid.

It's Dangerous to Quit Grains sponsored by Kelloggs paleo diet-min

Before I let the inaccuracies and complete lack of research and studies bother me further, I had a look at the partners of the Dietitians Association of Australia.  It might surprise you to see that their partners include Kelloggs, Nestle, Unilever, Dairy Australia and the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council!

Just to be completely clear, that’s Kelloggs, who make “healthy” high-carb breakfast cereals.  Nestle who make drinks, snacks, breakfast foods and confectionery – which for the most part all share grains, sugars and other un-Paleo “foods” in their ingredients lists.  Unilever – whose products include margarine and diet meal replacement shakes.  I think we can guess which foods Dairy Australia and the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council endorse.

Sadly I think the more popular Paleo becomes, the more we will read stories like this warning about the dangers of a Paleo diet.  There just isn’t the same degree of money for the food industry in real, unprocessed foods like meat and vegetables.

How can we trust an organisation that has a financial relationship with these partners, to give us true, researched dietary advice?  I wonder what would happen to their partnerships if they were to take a different stance on grains?

Unhealthy Health Food IKU paleo diet healthy-min

Unhealthy Health Food?

I’m so disappointed with Iku.  When finding out how I eat, a few friends have suggested Iku, which is a whole food, “healthy” outlet, with a few locations around Sydney.

I’m not disappointed with options like McDonalds, as I doubt anyone goes there to fulfil their aim of having a healthy, wholesome nutritious lunch.  Iku however shares so many of my nutrition beliefs, yet tackles them with pretty much the polar opposite nutritional approach.

Iku strive on providing organic food, and local where possible.  I completely agree with this approach and can’t think of any other food outlet that goes this far.  This ensures produce that should be free from pesticides, fresher and being local, far more sustainable.  Tick!

They also try to keep foods as close to their natural state as possible, with minimal processing.  This is very in line with the Paleo approach.

Their foods are also all dairy free, additive free, preservative free and free from genetic modification – more Paleo approval for getting this right.  So far, so good.

But, then it all starts to go wrong.  They strongly believe in the nutritional prowess of grains and legumes, believing that they help to fight disease.  This is completely at odds with Paleo thinking, where legumes and grains have been shown to increase inflammation and reduce gut health.  Their ingredients “slow blood sugar responses”. Whilst Paleo, without grains, will take blood sugar responses out of the equation – surely this is far healthier.  Their menu is also designed to “keep cholesterol levels in check”, which is a clear reference to the outdate lipid hypothesis, to which Paleo does not subscribe.

It then gets even less Paleo.  All of their food is free of any animal product.  I can’t find any explanation on their site as to why they (presumably) perceive this to be the healthiest way to live.

Their tagline is “Feel great, have huge amounts of energy and a strong immune system”.  I’m not sure how I could possibly feel good consuming grains and legumes – and no meat.  I know it certainly wouldn’t give me much energy.  I currently have so much energy on my (fairly strict) Paleo diet.  As for having a strong immune system, this also puzzles me with all of those lectins, phytates & proteins like gluten in the grains and legumes.

I’d love to see a national chain of food outlets that would combine the local, whole, organic philosophy, with great quality meat – and not a grain or legume in sight!  Perhaps I’ll have to open my own!

Do you have well meaning “healthy” food outlets where you live?  That actually aren’t what you would consider healthy?

Handling Social Gatherings Whilst Remaining Paleo diet primal party dinner friends socialising-min

Handling Social Gatherings Whilst Remaining Paleo

Throughout my “official” Whole-30 period, I found it really easy to keep on the Paleo-straight & narrow, without a single cheat.  I think I’m especially fortunate living in Sydney, where many restaurants pride themselves on fairly whole, local (and often organic) food.  I eat out fairly often, and continued to do so during the 30-day challenge.  I’ve always avoided certain types of restaurant, so that wasn’t a problem.  In the restaurants I did eat in, without exception there have always been a few meals on the menu that are Paleo (for example fish and vegetables) and even more meals that I can “tweak” to make them Paleo (swapping the fries for a salad for example, and asking for no sauce/ dressing).

Last weekend however, I encountered my first Paleo difficulty.  I was invited out for a friend’s Birthday as a Moroccan restaurant in the Sydney.  However, as we were such a large group, we had to have the set menu.   I’d been quite busy, so just had a cursory glance at the menu a few weeks ago.  I saw “beef” and “chicken” and assumed I’d be able to make it work, and left it there.  Had I looked properly, I would have called the restaurant ahead as often, with notice, they can be very accommodating.  Fortunately I played it safe and had a late lunch on the day, a tactic I often employ before social events.  I’ve found there is nothing worse and more challenging than being ravenously hungry, surrounded by less than optimal food options.

We started with bread and dips.  One of the dips seemed to be egg plant, but with nothing to “dip” in it, I gave that a miss.

We were then presented with a Tabouli Salad, which after asking about the ingredients I dived into.  It contained parsley, mint, onion, olive oil, lemon & something called Bulgar.  After the first two mouthfuls I found out Bulgar is basically wheat, so didn’t have any more of that.  Why put wheat into a lovely salad?

Handling Social Gatherings Whilst Remaining Paleo diet primal party dinner friends socialising-min

With the salad came Halloumi Cheese (I’m avoiding dairy, as I’ve felt so good since I eliminated it for my Whole30), Fried Cauliflower with Eggplant jam (sugar!), pinenuts and yoghurt (more dairy).  I was starting to get a bit embarrassed by this stage that I hadn’t eaten more than two mouthfuls, so I was very relieved when the next dish was BBQ Garlic & Harissa Octopus & Skordalia.  Octopus – perfect.  One of the things I love about eating out is having things like Octopus that I would never have at home.  Octopus is supposed to have a good amount of Omega 3, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and selenium, so a good option.  I’ve since found out that sometimes Skordalia is made stale bread in the puree; or potatoes, walnuts or almonds in olive oil; but I guess you can’t win them all.  The other dish in this course was the Moroccan equivalent to Spring Rolls; spicy lamb & pinenut boreks, with yoghurt sauce.  Didn’t have any of that either.

I was sat with lots of people I’d not met before, who were very interested in my “unusual” diet and why I was quizzing the waiting staff about what was in every dish.  I love talking about Paleo, and it definitely helps to be upfront about what you’re doing.  I always find it interesting to hear how others perceive Paleo – the main response I get time after time is how impossible they would find it to give up bread.

The main dishes would have to be more Paleo, surely!  Fortunately they were, we had: –

  • Lemon Pepper Chicken Shish Kebab with Tomato Caraway Sauce, Served with Chickpea & Nut Pilaf Lamb Kafta Shish Kebab with Pomegranate Glaze, Served with Chickpea & Nut Pilaf
  • Beef Cheek Tagine with Sweet Potato & Caramelised Onions, Served with Carrot Steamed Couscous

Served with

  • Fattoush Salad Sumac and fries
The Chicken and Beef Tagine were great, and better still my fellow dinners were so full up on the bread, pastry and beer that there was plenty left for me.  Luckily I realised the Fattoush salad contained pita bread pieces (why?) before I took any.Dessert was a beautifully presented sugar laden meringue with ice cream and lots of miniature sweets and cakes.  I used to have such a sweet tooth, but I noticed my attitude towards food like this has completely changed. I wasn’t even remotely tempted by these items.  When I look at food like this, instead of the enjoyment and taste I used to see, I now see the unwanted insulin spike it will give me, the less than par feeling I’d get an hour later and the Gluten, Phytates & Lectins in the grains creating all sorts of problems I just don’t want.

I left the meal $57 lighter, but feeling great – which certainly wouldn’t have been the case had I indulged as I would have pre-Paleo.

Going to a social event with non-Paleo friends soon?  Here are my top three tips to make the occasion as Paleo friendly as possible: –

1.       Find out what food will be offered in advance – call the restaurant several days in advance to explain your requirements and see if they can help you out

2.       Be open with the people you’re with about what you’re doing & why

3.       Don’t go to the event hungry, this will make it much harder for you to find your way through the maze of SAD food to the best Paleo choices

How do you manage social situations with SAD food?  Are your friends supportive?  Do you find particular social events better than others?  Let me know in the comments!