My Expat Life in Malta,  My Kitchen

How I Began the Paleo Diet

Food on a campfire.

Hi! If you don’t know already I am Alex, owner and writer of this website.

So…how did this paleo thing happen for me?  Two children and a husband. 

I had my first child, and like many women there was a certain ’roundedness’, shall we say, involved in the happy occasion that I was not quite so happy with. The weight had to go!

Believe it or not I had never dieted previously. However, over 19 years together I had seen my husband struggle through a variety of diets and ultimately fail on each one. Some of these had more of an effect prior to failure than others.

His best and fastest record of weight loss had come from the Atkins diet (a strict low-carb diet highly popular a few years ago). But, I had also seen him fail because of the strictness of the diet and knew I had to find an alternative.

An hour of research later, I made a proclamation. “I am going on the paleo diet.”

This was, I felt at the time, a highly important statement. It was met with “okay”. A man of many a prophetic statement my husband.

My choice of the paleo diet was largely to do with the 80/20 rule. It said that if I was 80% good I could be 20% bad allowing the leeway which had caused my husband’s failure on the Atkins diet (I could still have a snickers bar occasionally – yum, yum! Snickers bars!).

I looked for my first meal. Another hour later I was, I admit, a bit huffy. Almond flour? Coconut flour? Amino acids? Ghee? Who has these? Or, more appropriately what are these? (I actually did have to look them up on the internet.)      

On a side note, to explain this flabber-ghasted reaction, I live on a small island with small shops. What we get is what we get and specialised items are not what we get.

Wading through a truly mountainous amount of recipes, some a bit more ‘paleo’ than others, I found a few I knew I could get the ingredients for and, with my limited cooking expertise, hopefully make. It was a beginning.  

Over the following weeks I managed to arrange some sort of schedule.

The baby slept, I found a recipe. 

The baby woke, we went to the shop armed with a shopping list.

The baby slept, I cut vegetables.

The baby woke, I stopped.

The baby slept, I prepared a bit more.

The baby woke, I stopped.      

The baby slept, the baby woke, the baby slept, the baby woke, the baby slept…  

The meal was ready and… yes, the baby woke… 

We had a lot of burnt or cold meals – that was the baby. We had a lot of bad tasting meals – that was me.  

Time progressed and the baby gained more of a routine, the meals improved and I lost the weight.

My husband at some point joined me. Whether this was the result of having to cook his own meals otherwise, or because he reached a point of overweight that was just ‘too much’ and decided to take advantage of having diet meals cooked for him, I’m not sure.     

The paleo diet worked for him as well.    

I reached my goal weight… Yay, go me!!!

Even after reaching my goal weight I continued with the paleo diet because the health benefits I felt while on it I just couldn’t ignore. For reference, if you have an interest visit for more scientific information.

Fast forward a couple of years, to another pregnancy and in those years we had good meals and bad. The good found their way into a rollerdex, I bought it especially for the purpose, the bad got cleared from my browser history never to be tried again, the okay but could do with something more got scribbled onto my recipe paper pad to get worked on. Anything with an alternative flour or amino acids got passed over as soon as I saw them in the ingredient list. I don’t have those ingredients and I can’t get them easily enough to make the effort.     

I discovered that a paleo diet recipe doesn’t mean it will help with weight loss, just that it roughly follows the ‘lifestyle’ guidelines. Those who need to lose weight, beware!

I learned how to substitute things, most ‘normal’ recipes can be made paleo with a bit of a chop and change.  

My husband plateaued prior to reaching his goal weight.

On further research we substituted fennel for onions in recipes, due to the carb content of onions. If you wish you can directly switch them back at a ratio of 1:1. However, onions come along with their own set of health problems so it is possible you might find fennel a better alternative – my mum did. I dropped out carrots from the majority of recipes for the same reasons and I limited recipes with honey to one every other week.

His weight loss restarted and he attained his goal weight. Yay to hubby!

Baby number two arrived, so did a second occurrence of ’roundedness’. It had to go! The time to spend at a kitchen counter…

Well, that also…went…

Now, a few of years later, we have a list of easy-to-make, paleo inspired recipes with easy to acquire ingredients written on a dinosaur stickered laptop – my eldest likes stickers and dinosaurs.

Comments welcome!

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