Hello my name is Rachael and I really, really like food. And coffee. And CrossFit.
Oh yeah, and my two gorgeous girls, and lovely husband :-)
How did I get into Paleo? Get yourself a cuppa and read on …
So, I had been doing CrossFit for a few months (that’s a whole other story) and my CrossFit box had a Paleo Challenge coming up, and I was like “I’m in! … wait, what is it exactly?”
No grains, no dairy, no sugar, no legumes, no alcohol … “erm sorry, I think I misheard?!” I swear I spent the first few days starving because I just didn’t know what to eat. Gone were my morning oats, my muesli-bar snacks, my sammies for lunch. I had the same look people give me now when I say I only eat animals and plants.
Okay, I thought, I’ll try it for a week, I can do a week …
After a week I actually felt pretty good: I was sleeping better, concentrating better and best of all, training a little better. Right then, I’ll give it another week. Blow me down, I felt even better. Well, isn’t that interesting I thought, I think I’d better do some research on this. And wow, there is a ton of it out there. All the science really clicked with me and made so much sense — just eat real food! If you haven’t done any research yet, do some, I promise it will change the way you look at food forever.
As time passed I was feeling pretty darn amazing!
My skin was clearer than it had been in years (which used to annoy me, approaching 40, I had worse skin than when I was a teenager), my mind was clearer and calmer (which working in a creative field is insanely helpful); I was waking up refreshed after focusing on getting more sleep (I had been surviving on 5–6 hours a night, feeling smug because it gave me more time to get things done, but wow it came at a price); and best of all my asthma was almost gone and I was leaning out!
I was trying not to harp on about these benefits too much on the home front due to hubby’s visible eyerolls, which I can’t blame — I’m always on about some new thing. So I just carried on my quiet-ish merry way. After a couple of months he chimes in “I think I’ll try eating Paleo for a month to see how I feel.” Me, nonchalantly as I could, “Oh, okay then” … inside I was doing a little dance, singing a little song, getting down tonight.
So there the two of us were, eating Paleo, feeling a thousand times better, hubby asking me repeatedly if the extra fat we were eating was giving him heart disease — good to see the studies around that becoming more mainstream!
But the more research I did on food and its effects, the more I felt guilty about what we were feeding our kids
Both my girls still loved their cereal and flavoured yoghurts and little packets of bikkies in their lunchboxes — clogging up their tiny bodies with chemicals and fake food-like substances.
When I grew up (the youngest in a large Croatian family), my parents had the whole food thing down. Grow the food, cook the food, eat the food, and eat all the food. My mum would have totally rocked the Masterchef mystery box challenge. “Joyce, here are some lamb’s brains, half a cabbage and some stale bread … your time starts now!” Bayam! Gourmet dish! Okay, slight exaggeration, but we ate whatever food we had, we cooked from scratch — which wasn’t even a saying then, it was just something you did. There was one type of mayonnaise on the supermarket shelves, not 20, and you could actually pronounce the ingredient lists on food labels.
I grew up with a fair amount of hunting and gathering.
I realised I’d got caught up with a busy life, working in a rapidly changing industry and raising two children. I just trusted that the many convenience foods we bought were created in our best interests. I laugh a little about my naivety now. Luckily I’d grown up cooking and had initially trained as a chef, so it was time to get back in the kitchen with natural ingredients!
Unfortunately I’m not a “food for fuel” kind of person, I wish I was.
I was chatting to one of the girls at the gym and she said she had a can of tuna and some salad leaves for lunch every day of the week — every single day. I actually gasped out loud. I felt both sorry for her and a little bit jealous at the same time. How easy would that be! I have never been able to eat just for fuel, every meal needs to contain some magic for me. Maybe it’s genetic, or how I was brought up celebrating with food at every opportunity. I just knew I wouldn’t be satisfied eating like that.
Did I mention I was Croatian; food is how we show love!
I had to get creative to stay the distance, and especially if I was going to get my kids on board! So I started to experiment with recipes again, recreating our Kiwi favourites, providing lots of snacks and treats to fill those little lunchboxes and make it easy for us all to eat clean for the long-term.
I now eat and feed my family delicious food for health.
It’s taken me a while to get there, but I’m there and I feel happy and content with my lot. I’m strong, my mind is calm, I’m healthy, full of energy and I want to stay that way.
So go, cook, and eat, and sleep, and workout, okay?
Feel free to contact me — I’d love to hear your story!