Last Saturday I was extremely fortunate to attend The Paleo Way with Chef Pete Evans, Luke Hines, Nora Gedgaudas and Wes Carr. It was a 4 hour seminar presenting a vast amount of facts. Let me summarise what I learned and took away from it.
First to take the stage was Luke Hines. For those who haven't heard of Luke, he is a personal trainer and also competed in My Kitchen Rules. He shared that during his time on the show he got to know and chat with Pete Evans (one of the judges) about his own lifestyle and training, he felt he wasn't making as many gains as he could. Pete suggested Paleo and since then Luke has not looked back. He said that he was feeling his healthiest and strongest ever. And hey if he can look like that, well quite frankly I'm in! Luke was radiant, energetic, oozing health and confidence.
Cue MASSIVE applause and Pete Evans arrives on stage for the first of his seminars in 'The Paleo Way' tour of Australia. How lucky were we Brisbane that they picked us to kick things off.
Pete was overflowing with passion for the topic of Paleo. He presented some rather startling statistics. For example the Autism rate in 1974 was 1 in 10,000, today in 2014 it is 1 in 50!!! That fact blew my mind. What has changed? Increased processed foods for a start! Another fact for you, in the 1800's people were consuming 1.25 teaspoons of sugar a day, today in 2014 it is more like 40-45 teaspoons and to be honest I think for a lot of the population it is probably a lot lot more than that. It is hard to ignore those facts, they are real, they are happening, they are all around us. People are getting sicker a lot younger and expecting medical staff to fix things that they can't. As a nurse I see this day in day out, there is only so much we can do, sometimes you really do have to help yourself. Empowering healthcare workers with the knowledge to share is a great start and for that reason I am glad that I went to this event.
Another Quote that struck a cord with me during Pete's presentation was this.
"What we eat is a dialogue about who we believe we are to ourselves and to the world"
You owe it to yourself to eat the best diet you can so that you can be and present the best version of yourself.
Pete also shared about his up coming show which will air this summer. It will be about Paleo and include different professionals opinions, recipes etc. It was also discussed about his aim to get the food pyramid changed. The food pyramid in Australia and I am sure in other countries around the world has a base of grains. Our bodies do not need these and these grains and pseudograins are making us sick. Pete stressed the importance of eating mindfully. Ask yourself will this food nourish my body and help me achieve all that I want to? I can hear all the parents crying out but what about my children, how do I tell them they can't have sugar and sweets etc. Pete had a great response to this and it was about educating the children, not just dictating to them. He shared a story from his own parenting experiences. I have copied and pasted it below from Pete's facebook page.
“Here is a story I told my kids two years ago after I picked them up from a party. They both had big lollie bags in their hands and they wanted to know whether they could eat them or not.
I asked my girls if they had a bunny and they knew that by letting the bunny only eat grass, lettuce, carrots and drink water, that the bunny would live a healthy disease free life, would you feed it only grass, lettuce, carrots and water? They both replied with an eager ‘YES dad’.
I then asked that if you had some lollies or soft drink that the bunnies wanted, because some of the other bunnies in the field were being fed lollies but the other kids…but you knew there was a chance of the bunnies getting sick or shortening their life, or being in pain, would you feed the bunny those lollies or drinks?….well you know what the answer was, it was an adamant ‘NO dad’.
Well I said you are my bunnies and I will do my best to make sure that you have a diet that consists of the types of foods and water that will help maintain their health and they understood that.
And then the penny dropped for me and I told them that they have to treat their own bodies like that of the bunnies that they want to live a long disease free life, and they also understood that”.
Next to the stage was Nora Gedgaudas, I don't think I have enough descriptive words to explain how amazing this lady is. Nora's knowledge is vast and she has a talent for explaining it well and on many different levels. I want to be like Nora when I grow up!! (At 32 that should have already happened but hey, I'm a work in progress!) For one thing Nora showed just what Paleo can do for you just by giving her presentation. She was an example of stamina right there on the stage with an almost 3 hour presentation. I will summarise the bits that really hit home for me.
Some more shocking statistic's to begin
1 in 2 men will get cancer by the age of 85
1 in 3 women will get cancer by the age of 85
More than 30 % of the population will suffer from 1 or more chronic diseases.
The leading causes of death are Heart Disease, Cancer, Autoimmunity and Diabetes! We can each do something about each of those issues.
A quote from Nora
“We all need to understand where we came from to work out who we are, or who we need to be.”
Nora explained that we are all Ice Age beings, there is evidence of tools that humans used to carve up meat and fat. The statement that many people give us Paleo folk was then addressed.
"But the cave people didn't live long lives, it's therefore not like it will be good for you"
Nora addressed this perfectly. In those days life was a lot more dangerous, you know the whole wild animal issue, there weren't hospitals with high powered antibiotics to help with infections and they didn't have the cosy homes that we all enjoy so climate did take it's toll. During these times there was no such thing as ADD, obesity, dementia, autism and autoimmune issues. Therefore it is something that we are doing that has changed. Processed food anyone?
Some more interesting facts from Nora included that the human brain size has decreased since the introduction of more grain based diets. Our brains need fat to function properly, we need to be "fat heads not grain brains". I've seen this in many head CT's and in the older patients the doctors just point and say "oh that's some shrinkage, just from age", not true, it's from a lifelong diet low in fat and high in grains.
The grass fed versus grain fed meat battle was also touched on. And the census was that grass fed was definitely much better for us. Cattle are designed to eat grass not grain! As I've mentioned before if we are what we eat then so to are cattle. They also get inflammation and disease so feeding them a diet that they are designed to eat (grass) is what is best for the animal and the knock on effect is that it also benefits us.
Nora highlighted that our bodies have 2 fuel sources, we can have sugar for fuel or fat for fuel. If you body uses fat for fuel then the body is ketogenic. A ketogenic state results in a 39% increase in cerebral blood flow! If your body uses sugar then you just have sugar highs and sugar lows, you won't have that increased blood supply to your brain to give clear thoughts.
Nora went on to describe the body as a wood stove (stick with me this makes huge sense). A wood stove needs to be 'fed' in order for the fire to keep going (our metabolic state). Carbs in this scenario are things like crumpled paper and small sticks, with alcohol being petrol. Fats are large logs. If we eat a diet that is high in carbohydrate, then we will always have to tend to our wood stove. Ever wondered why you are hungry every 2 hours, even though you just ate that large bowl of pasta? Well it is like throwing paper or twigs into the wood stove. They will burn and burn quickly but the fire will begin to die. However if you have eaten a meal based on good fats and low carb, it will have been like throwing a large log in to your wood stove. The fire (your metabolic state) will burn consistently and you will feel a lot better and have no highs and lows.
Gluten was then explained and let's just say it should be public enemy number 1. If you can't give up grains straight away, then at least give up gluten. At least 200 conditions can be linked back to gluten and all autoimmune diseases can be. That for me was scary as I have autoimmune issues, luckily I have already given up grains, but this reinforced why it was so important for me. Autoimmune issues are now the 3rd leading cause of mortality in the industrialised world, behind cancer and heart disease!
Next came Wes Carr back to the stage to share a little of his story and that of his families. I found this really interesting as it was so personable. Wes has battled depression and anxiety and his son was diagnosed autistic. As a family they made the decision to switch to paleo and have not looked back. Wes reported feeling a lot stronger in his thought process and his son is thriving.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at The Paleo Way and it has reinforced so much for me. It has given me hope that through a change in diet to a more strict Paleo plan that I will begin to see changes in my physical, emotional and mental health. The journey may not be easy at first but it will definitely be worth it.
Thank you Pete, Nora, Wes and Luke for touring Australia and getting this message out there. Long live the healthy fats and grain free lifestyle.