One of the ironies of living in a time of complete, some say obscene, amount of comfort and plenty is that so many people yearn for a simpler way of life. In the industrialised West the increasing speed of our lives has an accompanying dark side, the kind of financial and career pressure which leads many to dream of just walking away from it all and stripping life back to an idealised version of ‘how it used to be’. But how far back do you want to go?
In pre-historic times the life was short, but a daily routine of hunting and gathering seems to have created ancestors who were healthy, lean and strong. A migratory lifestyle, moving north-south or east-west around the seasons, meant an absence of housing stress. No cars, or public transport, meant all moving was done via your own two feet, so fitness became a normal part of life. Poor body image, bad hair days and fashion crises were unknown – it makes me want to cheer “Go cavies!”
One particular time in pre-history is seeing an astounding resurgence of interest, the Paleolithic age which began roughly 2.6 million years ago and ended with the dawn of agriculture. It is the period when early humans developed primitive stone tools, banded together in small groups and evolved behaviourally and anatomically into modern humans. By the end of the Paleolithic age these new homo sapiens were producing the earliest known works of art and for the first time engaging in religious and spiritual rituals.
The current Paleo buzz is not so much about lifestyle, but diet, and it’s causing an extraordinary level of nutritional excitement world-wide. The Paleo diet is based on the presumed diet of humans during this period, reflecting that they survived by gathering plants, fishing, hunting and scavenging, meaning their diet consisted of: fish, grass fed meats, eggs, vegetables (but not potato), fungi, (some) fruit, roots and nuts. The core belief of Paleo devotees is that human genetics have scarcely changed since the end of the Paleolithic era and therefore we should eat as we have evolved to eat. Grains, dairy and processed foods are ‘new’ foods which are not optimum for our bodies and if eaten long-term are linked to the rise of specific diseases prevalent only in the first world.
Right here in the West End we have our own Paleo dietary experts, Fit and Fresh Australia, who provide dietician-approved meals not just for those people embracing a Stone Age way of eating, but for anyone wanting a dietary overhaul. They can create specialised meals for weight loss, muscle building and for those with specific training requirements. These meals are portion and calorie controlled, high in protein, lower in carbohydrates, can be vegetarian or Paleo and delivered fresh to your home or office.
Convenience food has traditionally been the enemy of good health, full of hidden fats, salt and processed carbs, sending blood glucose levels rocketing and scoring a minus on the nutrition scale. Now Fit and Fresh’s revolutionary new approach means that great food can also be convenient, it’s a 21st century win/win. The business was started by local Newcastle brothers Adrian and Ben Sutter who had a passion for travel; when they returned home from their various overseas adventures one particular thing kept astounding them – how fat Australians were getting.
Our national statistics are certainly grim, according to a 2013 United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation report, our obesity rate is 25%, by any measure this is an epidemic. Worse still, the figure has been rising consistently for many years. When the Sutters x 2 settled back home in Newcastle they quickly saw that real nutritional education was desperately lacking, the next thing which struck them was the pervasive junk food advertising which seemed to come like a constant bombardment. Out of this need for good food, good information and just plain good sense Fit and Fresh Australia was born, with the slogan ‘nutrition is the foundation of fitness’.
It’s a new year, maybe it is time for a new approach to fitness and nutrition. Dig deep and ask that inner cave man/woman/person “what would be on the menu at a prehistoric dinner party?” Regardless of whether Paleo is for you or not, what is irrefutable is that indigenous peoples throughout the world eating a traditional diet are largely free of the so-called ‘diseases of affluence’ such as: type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, hypertension and cancer. Now that’s something to chew over.
Fit and Fresh, 11 Union Street, Newcastle West. Email: email@example.com Website: www.fitandfreshaustralia.com.au Phone: 4929 4601. They have a Facebook page: Fit and Fresh Australia. Paleo followers have many websites which explain their philosophy, recommended are: www.eatdrinkpaleo.com.au and www.paleoplan.com. A balanced anti-Paleo argument by food writer Michael Pollan can be found at:
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