In February 2014, I applied for a job at a health food café in Burleigh. I had basic knowledge of what the Paleo lifestyle was, so I started by using google to expand my understanding. I liked what I was reading, although my interest faded as I didn’t hear about the job. The health benefits seemed unbelievable. I have always believed that food is medicine, and I choose not to take supplements or antibiotics, always using food to gain what my body needs. As my grandpa would say, “You have been in a good paddock.” My husband and I were so comfortable in our relationship, we had let ourselves go.
In the 5+ years Greg and I had been together, I had gained at least 25kg. I lost a little before we got married in October 2012, although I was always looking for new ways to lose weight. When we moved, we decided to do things differently. I wanted to look good at the beach so I started a food diary and tried to eat clean. Well, what I was told was clean! Think I lost 3-5kg in the first 6 months we were here, and then nothing. I was so excited when I finally got the call for an interview. My interest was sparked again. Firstly, I purchased the Paleo Café cookbook and began baking paleo treats for my husband, Greg, as well as making cauliflower rice to accompany curries and casseroles.
In late March 2013, I was offered the job and it was Greg who suggested we give this way of eating a go, since I would be cooking it every day. Secretly I was excited. Firstly to have his support as I also knew that eating this way was going help his health too. Greg's energy levels would plummet every day about 2pm. Greg loves to tell the story of how I ignored his stomach pain back in September 2012. As long as I have known Greg, he has had an irritable bowel. At different times he has avoided dairy, thinking that was the cause, but he loved ice cream too much to make this permanent. So in 2012, he was admitted to hospital in the middle of the night. After a scan, the doctor concluded that his appendices were septic and it wasn't IBS after all. Although he continued to have IBS symptoms, he also caught every cold, stuffy nose, cough and anything that was going around. Oh and he snored terribly! So much so that I went to sleep every night with the TV on, otherwise I couldn't fall asleep, because his snoring and breathing was too distracting.
We started telling people we were adopting the 80/20 diet, eating paleo 80% of the time. Breakfast was the biggest change we had to make. We had always eaten just toast every morning with butter and jam or peanut butter, then bacon and eggs on weekends when we had more time. It took some time and pre-planning, to make frittatas and egg cups. Lunch was easy; Greg was not a fan of sandwiches and always took leftovers to work. I would cook him curry or casseroles to freeze for lunches, and dinner was always meat and vegetables or salad, so we just adjusted our condiments. We swapped soft drink for mineral water, and reduced our fruit intake. Weight just fell off. I had gone from working part time to full time so there was not a lot of time for me to exercise. I lost 10kgs in 2 months!
We then went to a friend’s 21st, where pizza was the only food option. Great, I thought, I haven’t eaten pizza in months. But my body didn’t think it was great, and I was sick for the next two days. Since then, I committed to 99% paleo, with a small slip up here and there. Greg was not losing weight as quickly as I was and this frustrated him. He was still drinking coffee at work and - shock horror - still with sugar in it! Although he had cut down from 4 spoonfuls per cup to only one, and his overall health had improved ten fold. His energy had increased, his snoring stopped, minimal IBS and no sick days for nearly 12 months. Late last year he completely cut sugar from his diet. After going cold turkey, he had headaches and shakes for nearly two weeks; definitely an addiction. He has now also swapped his coffee for tea.
We are both better versions of ourselves today and all because we exercise, make good food choices and made our own decisions after being informed... And we are still working on it! To continue following our journey, visit our website www.pglifestyle.com.au, or say hi in the cafe. I'm always happy to share my story and our journey with the wonderful RFK customers, to inspire others on their own tranformations.
By Paula Wadeson-White