Transitioning to a Paleo Lifestyle

Firstly, what a pleasure to be able to contribute to this fabulous blog. Freddie’s food has been a source of inspiration for me for the past couple of months and I am looking forward to contributing to Freddie’s Food to share a few ideas about my world of food … that being a fussy eater and transitioning to a paleo lifestyle.

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My husband and I have been buying organic fresh produce (including meat, poultry and dairy) and packaged food where possible as well as ethically farmed pork for the last 6 years. We lived in Singapore for 5 years and this was one expensive activity due to the fact nearly all of Singapore’s food is imported. Growing your own was almost out of the question given they ‘fogged’ around living complexes weekly with a hideous pesticide to control mosquitoes not to mention the fact we were in a high-rise apartment with a small balcony.

Moving to Sydney in December 2012, we were excited about the prospect of a back yard, with a garden. Two months into the new adventure we had a one month old (yes, we moved countries when I was 8 months pregnant, flying the night before the cut off) as well as our then busy toddler, and we moved from temporary accommodation to a lovely (renovated in the 90’s) cottage with a decent back yard and loads of room for growing our own veggies, not to mention the glorious, very established mango tree! My husband went crazy at Bunnings buying seeds and seedlings and we ended up with a garden full of random veggies, none of which were overly productive apart from snow peas. I requested that for the next crop that while it is really exciting to grow zucchini balls … it would be great to have some staples like broccoli, carrots, beetroot etc. That’s the current project, a step toward semi self-sufficiency.

We were inspired by my brother and his partner to go paleo back in October last year when they stayed with us in Sydney. They had cut sugar, grains and legumes out of their diet and looked so healthy and they both talked about how much more energy they had. We thought we ate well, limiting sugar and fat and eating plenty of fruit and veggies, which of course is a fantastic way to eat.

I was breastfeeding last year so I did really just eat treats like baking and chocolate and not think about it. I was having horrible stomach cramps from around April 2013 and I was beginning to think an elimination diet was going to be the fastest way to work out what was going on. Gradually we have used up condiments with sugar, grains and processed vegetable oils so as not to waste them. We also gave a few unopened things away to friends to help begin our transition to eating paleo.

If you’re not sure what I am raving on about, the term paleo is derived from the word Palaeolithic, as in the Palaeolithic era, the time of our hunter/gatherer ancestors, well before agriculture and planting grains began. There sure is plenty to read about the paleo lifestyle. There are so many questions about this way to eat, a gazillion websites, blogs and opinions. Excuse the pun, but in a nutshell, strict paleo means no grains, legumes, dairy and sugar. Why on earth people would WANT to give up bread and sugar has most minds boggling and asking lots of questions. Well … since going sugar and grain free, my cramps have ceased, I have lost weight and I am less grumpy!! That’s enough for me. Plus, who can go wrong with a clean food diet? What it does mean is meat, fish, all kinds of beautiful delicious fruit and veg, nuts and seeds.

Our family is REALLY struggling to transition. We don’t buy many of the things we used to, and most of our food is from the organic grocer and the butcher and fishmonger, with a weekly delivery of grocery basics of whatever organic I can get from the supermarket plus the usual suspects … loo paper etc. The biggest struggle is feeding the kids. Meals for my husband and I are so easy – meat and 3 veg or thereabouts. Loads of salads, grilled or roasted veg – all kinds of what’s in season. The kids? No thanks Mum. I don’t like just about every vegetable we have in the house or garden. I just want toast. ARGH! Understandable too and it just makes me desperately want piles of toast, covered in butter and slathered with a thick layer of peanut butter, honey, jam, whatever. Give it to me! Then I remember my tummy, the horrible cramps, the fact I don’t yet know exactly what is causing the pain. The fact that I have read stacks that tells me I could just avoid a few things for a few more benefits. OK, that’s right, I can have free range, nitrate, preservative and sugar free bacon … if I can track that down! Temptation is everywhere. Especially since I still buy a low wheat and full of seeds type bread for the kids. I need to be brave and try a paleo ‘bread’ recipe to further push the kids in the no grain direction, especially when my almost 3 year old complains of a sore tummy as soon as she eats particular grains.

I feel like I have done a good job of substituting lots of food and often I will give the kids something that is gluten free but not paleo and they are still satisfied. We have kept dairy in our diet; organic, grass-fed where possible except cheese is just normal, we can’t seem to live without cheese right now and we are OK with that! While calcium is found in all the leafy greens and plenty of other ‘paleo OK’ foods, I feel like foregoing dairy in our kids diet wouldn’t be ideal. Turns out there are lots of us paleos keeping dairy in.

We are allowing peas as they go down well as the one green veggie that is ‘enjoyed’. Lilly will occasionally eat broccoli but lately she has been excited by ‘salad’ – baby spinach, olive oil, balsamic vinegar or grape must, tiniest pinch of salt. I’ll go with that! On the brink of starting preschool, we are having more discussions about trying new things in the hopes that I can get more fruit and veg in her lunchbox. Her fussiness really is another story! A LONG story … My nearly 14 month old son eats a lot more than his sister, he eats fruit, for a start.

So, what will I feed my kids now that we are for the best part, paleo? Well, tonight is orange roughy fillets with a basil pesto topping, roasted sweet potato and broccoli and I am going to attempt finely julienned raw beetroot for something different. We will call those ‘purple sticks’. As I am sure many of you would find, renaming food seems to encourage slightly more elevated levels of excitement about meals. Whatever works!

Enough from me. Make sure you follow Freddie’s Food so you don’t miss my next installment and a ridiculously easy recipe that both kids and adults will love … Oliver chases me around the house if he knows I have got one, desperate for a bite! You can also follow Freddie’s Food on facebook, twitter and instagram.

Written by Anneke Newing mum to two beautiful children under 3.

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2 thoughts on “Transitioning to a Paleo Lifestyle

  1. Fantastic entry Anneke thank you for this. I love how you write about your nutritional changes being a transition – not a big overwhelming sudden change. It is also refreshing to hear you make ‘allowances’ that work for your family and their needs. I look forward to reading more of what you have to say

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed Anneke’s first post such an interesting read. Her next one is coming a week tomorrow. Make sure you follow the blog so you don’t miss out on her next one. Great to hear your feedback. Kate x

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