Sunday’s the best day of the week on my new diet because it’s the only day of the week that I’m not on it.
From Monday to Saturday, I’m a Paleolithic. I’m using the American spelling (rather than Palaeolithic) because it’s thanks to an American (Dr. Loren Cordain) that I’m a Paleolithic. As you may have noted, I enjoy calling myself a Paleolithic. I like seeing others’ reactions when they offer me a particular food, tapa or dish, and I say: “No, I can’t eat that, I’m a Paleolithic.” There’s an instant reaction. Firstly, they look at me with sympathy as if I’m ill, insane, or as if I have an allergy or phobia. Being paleolithic sounds as though I’m paralytic, parasitic, paralysed, paranoiac, or paraclinically or paramedically-inclined.
Paleolithic is actually an adjective to describe something (or someone in my case) ‘relating to or denoting the early phase of the Stone Age, lasting about 2.5 million years, when primitive stone implements were used’. In other words, I try to explain to whoever is offering me something that I can’t eat … “I have to eat like our cavemen ancestors ate.” This normally provokes the second reaction: “You shouldn’t use a corkscrew, then.” The truth is that I don’t really have an answer for that. I merely try to argue that if, if our cavemen ancestors did happen to store wine in bottles with corks, then I’m sure they would have then invented corkscrews to open them. That doesn’t mean, however, that they would have also invented guacamole triple cheese bacon burgers with jalapeno dressing followed by Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey cheesecake with caramel fudge sauce and a bucket of French fries.
According to Dr.Loren Cordain the Paleo Diet will help me ‘lose fat, improve my health, and feel great’. Why? Because it works with my ‘genetics’ to help me realise my ‘natural birthright of vibrant health and wellness’. Healthy, delicious and simple, the Paleo Diet is apparently the diet I was ‘designed to eat’. I didn’t know I was ‘designed’ for anything, let alone a diet, but so far, nearly 3 weeks into it … it’s working.
What is the Paleo Diet? Simple, really. OK to eat: fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, nuts, seeds and healthy fats. Avoid: dairy, grains, cereals, processed food and sugars, legumes, starches (and alcohol, but let’s not go there, that’s just being silly). I try to simplify it further still: avoid anything in a box (except eggs) or a tin, and most things in jars. Dr. Cordain’s ‘The Paleo Diet’ book is fascinating, not just for the recipes, but for the links he’s researched between diet and health, through his fascination with anthropology and human origins, plus the Agricultural Revolution that began 10,000 years ago – ‘just a drop in the bucket compared to the 2.5 million years that human beings have lived on Earth’ … with or without corkscrews.
So I’m a Paleolithic on Mondays to Saturdays, but not Sundays, thanks to Dr. Cordain’s “85-15” rule. It works like this. Most people eat about 20 meals a week, plus snacks. Because I’m still on ‘Level 1: Entry Level’ (and always will be) of the Paleo Diet, three of my meals – 15% of them – can be ‘open’ meals … non-Paleolithic. Which is just as well. It’s taken me months to perfect my Sunday evening Jamie Oliver roast beef, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, with Colman’s Horseradish Sauce. The latter contains ‘8g per 100ml of Carbohydrate of which 7g are Sugars’ – but I couldn’t give a toss. It’s Sunday and time to open the Rioja again with a flint-axe corkscrew whilst I start to cook. Happy Sunday.