The other night at dinner my friends were quizzing me about my new diet! Now let me say upfront that I am not on a “diet” as such and am not advocating any particular diet, I am just interested in staying fit and healthy. A huge part of that is being careful about what you put into your body. I have always maintained, a fairly constant weight, except whilst pregnant of course. I guess I was just blessed with a fast metabolism. Those who know me would flip if they thought I was dieting to lose weight, as I am probably on the lighter side of normal! So, I suppose you would say I have altered the way I am eating to attain optimal health! I think I am heading in the right direction and like most things, it is a work in progress.
I have always eaten what most people would consider to be a pretty healthy diet. I’ve never been a fan of bread or milk. Whilst most mothers would pack their children a quick Vegemite sandwich and send them off to school, my poor mum was requested to make me a salad. In my day, they would provide milk to all of the school children except me, who was exempt and would have an orange juice instead!
My husband has a background in science and as such feels the need to base everything on research rather than just blindly following the latest trends. For some time now, he has been looking at the Paleo diet and the research to back it. Most of it seems pretty much like common sense, but there are some areas that we still haven’t found enough evidence to change what we currently do. Whilst conducting our research we have found various versions of the Paleo diet. Typically there are those who advocate a diet that is high is saturated fats such as coconut, olive oil and animal fat and others who advocate a low fat diet. In case you’re wondering, we lean towards the low fat version, but do eat some coconut cream, milk and oil on occasions.
I can’t say that we are fully Paleo, as there are other dietary restrictions that also dictate what we/I can eat. For example, while most people following the Paleo diet would probably drink almond milk, it is high in oligos which I react to (it is a FODMAP) so I drink rice milk. I probably should add that I exercise about 5 days per week, so I figure my rice (and the odd bit of potato) intake counts as what Dr Sharon Carson calls the “athletes carb option”. While we had been eating low fructose for some time we have now dropped cane sugar out of our diet completely.
This was prompted by a few things going on around us. One of which was a local orthopaedic surgeon, Gary Fettke, who has set about to raise awareness of the perils of fructose by starting a Facebook Page and website called No Fructose. He has some great information about fructose and weight loss, for those who are interested, on his site!
At around the same time one of my friends who is battling cancer quit sugar. Whether by coincidence or not, and with a bit of help from chemotherapy as well, she currently has no cancer growing in her body. While I didn’t feel the need to read about how to go about quitting sugar, I know others do. There is a great book out by a fellow Australian Sarah Wilson called I Quit Sugar. She also has recipe books out and a great blog. There are links to these on my website. Me being me likes to experiment with food, so I thought it would be a good idea if I cut sugar out as well and helped my friend to find products that would suit her and to adapt recipes so she didn’t feel like she was missing out on the good things in life, but without the fructose! In the mean time my husband did his research and found that there are links between fructose and cancer and that there isn’t really a beneficial use for fructose in the body. There are a whole gamut of health conditions that it’s thought that fructose contributes to. You can read more about that on the No Fructose website!
Anyway, back to our dinner conversation. I listed the things that I don’t eat which include dairy, grains, cane sugar, legumes and some fruits and vegetables. The girls wanted to know exactly what I did eat as they didn’t think there was much left! That day was a really bad example as I had been busy so only had a bit of coconut yoghurt for breakfast and some snack foods (nuts and fruit) during the day. So I thought I would share with you all a yummy breakfast that I found and adapted so that my friend could eat it, and it doesn’t contain any cane sugar!
I adapted the recipe from the very talented Alkaline Sisters. You need to make it the night before if you’re eating it for breakfast…it only takes a minute to make and is so worth it! No cooking required, and it’s really easy to take travelling with you.
3 tablespoons chia seeds (black, white or a mixture is fine)
1 cup milk (I use rice milk, but use any kind you like)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice (I sometimes use nutmeg instead)
1/8 teaspoon cardamon
1 teaspoon sugar free vanilla essence/extract or 1/2- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped and mixed in with the spices – also add the pod for extra flavour.
Measure the chia seeds into a container. I use a glass container with a good seal.
Add spices and milk and mix very well.
Put in the fridge and in the morning your breakfast is ready to serve with fruit, nuts or whatever takes your fancy!