I’ve been living the paleo way for just over four years and I can honestly say this lifestyle helps me feel more energized, focused, balanced, and productive with every month that passes.
Paleo is right for me because it’s a wonderfully simple way to love my body, nourish my mind, and exist in a way that looks after our planet and honors its animal and plant life.
Although I’d always been pretty conscious about the ingredients I used to cook with — thanks to the fact that I was a chef — and had a good palate for different flavors, there were still a few bits and pieces that weren’t quite clicking for me. That’s what led me to first become interested in paleo.
Sure, I followed basic dietary guidelines — consuming lots of whole grains, fruit, veggies, meat, and fish, as well as a bit of dairy and pasta. But I still just didn’t feel like I was firing on all cylinders. Then one day my partner Nic came across a very well-researched book written by world-renowned American author and nutritional expert Nora Gedgaudas.
Nic grew up on a farm in New Zealand and has always been pretty connected to her food sources. That interest is what led her to discover Nora's book Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life.
Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. So much of the information in the book resonated with me, and that was when I ditched starchy carbs, refined sugar, toxic oils, dairy, and legumes and began to embrace a new world of nourishing alternatives. It’s a book I now highly recommend to anyone interested in paleo because it really delves into the science behind it.
After cutting out dairy, sugar, and gluten completely for three months, I felt the changes pretty much immediately. My energy levels increased, I was able to focus for much longer periods of time, and my memory and mental alertness increased tenfold. Within a month, the digestion issues and skin irritations that I had suffered from all my life disappeared.
Until then, I really thought I had a good diet, but once I discovered real health and well-being, I realized how little energy I used to have and how sluggish I often felt after meals.
Today, I eat a diet that’s abundant in seasonal vegetables, moderate amounts of protein from quality animal sources from land and sea, good fats and oils, and daily bone broth. I also like to include fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, coconut yogurt, and fermented dips, and fermented drinks, such as coconut water, kefir, and kombucha.
But it’s not only the way I feel that lets me know paleo is right for me, it’s also about the scientific evidence that supports this lifestyle.
Of course, paleo takes its cues from our Paleolithic ancestors, focusing on food groups they would have recognized, such as meat, fish, fowl, a wide variety of organically grown fibrous plants and herbs, and as much dietary fat from a diverse range of natural sources as might be needed to satisfy the appetite.
Fat was particularly important because when you supply your body with enough fat (in the absence of sugar and starch) to satisfy your appetite, it tells your brain that “hunting is good.” Rather than the body storing fat, it burns it naturally and freely.
Scientific research has also proven that fostering this sort of fat-based metabolism leads to healthier weight, a healthier brain and immune system, and mood stabilization. Plus, keeping blood sugar, insulin, and leptin levels low are among the most reliable markers of longevity there are.
Most recently, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and concluded that the paleo diet is one of the most effective dietary strategies to reduce body weight and prevent the risk of chronic disease.
That’s why I know that this lifestyle is right for me and will continue to be right for me — because it gives me the best chance of being able to surf well into my later years and to be as healthy and active as possible for my kids.
And as a chef, it’s got me more excited about food than ever because there are so many awesome ingredients to experiment with. That’s why I wanted to share some of my favorite paleo recipes. I hope that they will inspire you to get into the kitchen and get creating!
See some of Pete's paleo recipes here: