I recently introduced avacado into my diet. I had good reason to do so. I was diagnosed with gout five months ago after experiencing of the most painful and sleepless nights I’ve ever had in my adult life. The thing is, when the pain set into my big toe (where gout typically manifests in the body) I knew what it was right away. Gout runs in my family.
I knew what the doctor was going to say to me too, when she saw me. “Alex: You’ll need to make some adjustments in your diet. Cut out alcohol, red meat, and limit your intake of shellfish and cheese.” I admit, when I heard the doctor saying these things to me, I thought she was crazy. Of all things, how could she ask me to cut out some of my favourite foods on earth? Cheese? Red meat? Seriously? There must be another way, I told myself.
That way, as it turns out, was the paleo way. Paleo is short for “paleolithic”. I had come across the paleo way while watching My Kitchen Rules, an Australian amateur cooking show that features Pete Evans, perhaps today’s most famous celebrity chef who enthusiastically endorses all things paleo. What then, is paleo exactly?
For the record, I’m not an expert paleo enthusiast. Far from it. But, what I can tell you is that if I were to summarize paleo in a few bullet points, here’s what I would say:
- paleo is a way of life, it is not a fad diet
- paleo focuses on consumption of foods that are naturally healthy for you, especially vegetables such as kale, broccoli, asparagus and all leafy greens
- most paleo enthusiasts do not consume grain products (for me, that means no more processed white rice, or bread products)
- most paleo enthusiasts advocate inclusion of meat or seafood protein on the plate
- I endorse use of coconut oil for its health benefits as an alternative to olive oil
- I endorse use of avacado/avacado oil for its health benefits in breakfast, lunch and dinner meals
- most paleo enthusiasts cut out dairy from their diet (that means milk and cheese products)
- 2/3 of your plate should be vegetables
- 1/3 should be protein
- I add a dollop of fat on the side
- I also endorse drinking at least 1L of water a day
I should emphasize again I’m no expert in paleo. But, Pete Evans is. I would recommend that anyone interested in learning more about paleo should visit his site at: http://peteevans.com.au/the-paleo-way/ Pete even has a book out which is aptly called “The Paleo Way”. It is available on iTunes. I recently purchased it and it is fascinating.
For the last 5 years of my life, I was a busy insurance litigator working in a large downtown law firm in Edmonton. In September of 2014, I made the decision to leave my law practice to become legal counsel in the Alberta public service. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that in the weeks leading up to my departure from the firm, I experienced my first attack of gout. I believe (though I can’t confirm) that my physical well-being and the work-place stress I was experiencing had something to do with this. I hate to admit it, but my attack of gout was the wake-up call I needed to re-evaluate my spiritual, physical and emotional well being. Making the transition to the public service has allowed me to re-evaluate my priorities in life.
I am not embarassed to say I have a plate full of avacados in my kitchen, all the time.
And paleo has introduced me to a way of life that has improved my overall physical and emotional well-being. I have more energy in the day, I’m more alert to my surroundings, I have better sleep patterns (i.e. I’m sleeping a good 8 hrs at night), and perhaps most importantly, I haven’t had an attack of gout in months. I’ve also lost a few pounds as well going paleo, which isn’t a bad thing either. For the first time in a very long while, I genuinely feel healthier and happier. I’m eager to take on each day that comes with gratitude and intention. Indeed, paleo has become a part of who I am.
If there is one image that could sum up the paleo way, for me it would be the avacado: a super fruit jam-packed with health benefits and so, so delicious to eat in any meal. I am not embarassed to say I have a plate full of avacados in my kitchen, all the time.
If you see parallels in your life to mine, I highly recommend that you consider the paleo way. But, don’t just take my word for it. Please do check out what Pete Evans has to say about it. I can’t rave enough about how inspiring his example is to me and I’m sure to many, many others.