Personalising Paleo 2

The first instalment of this three part series by guest expert Nell Stephenson, introduced the concept of Paleo and how to tailor its principles to an individual.

In this article we presented Nell with a challenging case study, asking her to explore the practical applications of Paleo and its adaptability. Over to you Nell…

After a client completes the food log analysis, the next step is for me to review the challenges each client has and help them in setting up goals that are reasonable and measurable. Also factored in are current fitness regime, sleep habits, stress levels and any supplements or prescriptions they may be taking.

A common theme amongst my clients is an interest in adapting a Paleo diet, the one similarity between everyone is that there is an implementation period to be expected. Some opt to transition gradually, while others prefer a complete overhaul in one shot. I present the latter during the time in which we work together, in order to allow for more support and success for each client.

Following the analysis, the client might continue with monthly custom Paleo nutritional counseling, or an hourly consult on a regular basis to provide accountability.

Boost Energy, Mental Focus, Stamina, Flexibility.
Hurdles: Vegetarian but will eat fish in small portions.
Fitness Regime: Crossfit, Plyometrics, Sprints, Endurance Cardio.
Supplements: Whey, MCT, Glutathione.

Daily Breakdown

8am Crossfit/Body Weight Circuit
9am Coffee with MCT/Butter
1pm Cardio (Alt. Sprints/Endurance Sessions)
3pm Salad, Macadamias, Salmon, Coffee, Slippery Elm Porridge
6pm Same Salad with Pumpkin, Parsnip or Sweet Potato
8pm Grass-fed Whey and Flax Shake

Paleo Analysis

Fasted training is recommended for everyone; allows the body to become more efficient at being a fat burning machine (using fat as a substrate) which is useful for becoming more lean, steadier energy levels throughout the day and a decreased chance of making poor food choices later in the day as a result of blood sugar crashes, spikes and insulin surges. No food until 3pm is an extremely long period of time to go without eating. Since the client did not indicate that they’re trying to fast intermittently, I’d want to know if this was intentional or simply a result of forgetting to eat or not preparing adequately.

Coffee with MCT oil is a non-issue, but grass fed butter is not Paleo. 3pm caffeine is however likely to interfere with proper sleep.

The lack of protein throughout the day, as well as lack of fat is concerning. Maintaining the macro nutrient ratio of a ‘True Paleo’ regime is far more important than number of calories, and despite the fact that the client hasn’t eaten anything obviously unhealthy, it’s still too high in carbohydrate. Not eating chicken and meat doesn’t necessarily need to be a problem, although it is certainly less than ideal to omit them. However, eating a diet too low in protein is undesirable as it will not provide sufficient amino acids to allow the body to rebuild and repair. Far too little protein, and far too little leafy green vegetables—these should be present at every meal!

The client knows the importance of eating protein as evidenced by the inclusion of whey, however whey powder is far less desirable than actual protein for several reasons: Dairy is not Paleo. It’s one of the most acidic foods we can consume, creating a situation where the body must extract Calcium from the bones in order to buffer the pH back to alkalinity, leading to a compromised skeleton over time, then osteopenia and osteoporosis (Learn more from Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD in chapter 4 of his latest book, The Paleo Answer). Dairy contains a protein, casein, which is cross-reactive with gluten. In other words, one might omit gluten and still experience similar negative side effects from consuming casein. Dairy is linked to increased rates of diabetes, acne, bloating and sinus issues, amongst other undesirable and uncomfortable conditions.

Favourable to see the addition of a little bit of salmon to provide some fresh protein as well as a rich source of Omega 3s to balance out the Omega 6s in the seeds and nuts. Sweet Potato in the salads may be a bit too starchy given the lack of veggies, protein and the physical activity being on the more moderate side as compared to that of an endurance-training plan. Collectively, these will contribute to a feeling of decreased mental focus. By adding protein and good fat, the client is far more likely to experienced increased mental focus, due to a steady balanced energy flow resulting from real fresh food and the lack of sugar spikes, insulin surges and subsequent crashes.

As the client is not local, we are unable to meet for logistical reasons in terms of the fitness component and address any concerns. As such, client would be referred to local physio for analysis.

Paleo Application

* Better balance of Paleo Macro nutrient ratio.
* Increased meal frequency.
* Possible post workout meal with starchier carbohydrate (endurance specific).
* Significantly more vegetables-varied, seasonal, local, colorful.
* More fish (varied, seasonal), hopefully including a segue to other protein sources.

To be continued next month, when I’ll discuss a final review of the client’s experience, achievements, and changes to mind, body and spirit.


A Gift for Easter, from Earth Endeavours.

Last issue we released the first installment of our tribute to natural history, which explored innovating projects connecting people with nature through education and visual media.

In this issue we look more closely at the skills and motivation of content production. Creating content value, requires balancing the objectives of a cause or campaign, with the interests and engagement of the audience.

Methods of delivery are as diverse as the content covered, and media producers must adapt their skills to reflect new opportunities of engagement.

They seek to expand our knowledge of the natural world, and to inspire unified involvement towards the preservation of biodiversity through evolving mediums. Creative platforms such as applications, interactive publications, integrative media models which offer on and offline resources, documentaries, and many other developmental communications.

Join us in exploring the potential of tomorrows technology, and the creative pioneers helping engage new generations in the plight to preserve nature.

Caroline Mytinger © Mytinger Project, LLC

In the brush strokes of the artist, a painted effigy of timeless culture.

Explorers share a sincere desire to understand and preserve through account or art the vanishing traditions of a people. Thus the expressions of an explorer convey a history of uncommon culture with abiding reverence.

Today, photographer Michele Westmorland relates the story of one such explorer, who’s visions enlightened and engaged a legacy of art and historical capture.

“Artist, Caroline Mytinger, realised the enormous impact that western influence was having on indigenous peoples and wanted to capture changing cultural traditions before they vanished forever. This led Caroline to Melanesia, where there are over 800 unique cultures. Caroline wanted to paint portraits of her subjects depicting the pride and dignity they deserved. As a photographer, I wanted to take photos showing that same sense of pride—to tell the story of change in Melanesia—to open eyes and minds to a place only a small population of the world even knows about.” — M. Westmorland

Michele’s Passion Project

‘Headhunt Revisited’ is a documentary film about the power of Caroline Mytinger’s art to span oceans and decades. The film retraces Caroline’s improbable journey to Melanesia in the 1920′s, then known as the land of headhunters, to paint portraits of the native islanders. 80 years later her paintings have inspired two contemporary artists. Motivated by Caroline’s art, Michele and Papua New Guinean painter Jeffry Feeger, have created their own modern interpretations of Melanesians. ‘Headhunt Revisited’ illustrates with paintings, photography and filmmaking, that all forms of art are instrumental in communicating stories of culture and tradition.

Learn more about the production, read highlights from the experience, and discover the art and history of Melanesia through the expressions of an explorer at:

Help Bring the Production to the People

The elements of this documentary are all but completed, but our support is needed to bring the production to the people. Launched this month on Kickstarter, a campaign to fund public broadcast of ‘Headhunt Revisited’.

Chocolate Kale Cakes

Innovative Easter Indulgence, with a delicious difference!

Chocolate is a unique ingredient as it has both sweet and savoury connotations—blended in combinations that can create the richest dessert or most complex main.

In this recipe, kale’s earthy green leaves add depth to a dark, velvet-smooth, and nutty treat—perfect for Easter.

Chocolate Kale Cakes (Yields: 8-10 serves)

4 large eggs
1 cup kale (finely chopped)
5 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk
100g Orange and Gubinge Dark Chocolate* (chopped)
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut flour (sifted)
1/4 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon hazelnut meal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease 8-10 cups of a muffin tray with butter.
Whisk together butter and eggs in a large bowl, and then remaining wet ingredients.
In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients (keep chocolate pieces and kale aside).
Add the dry mixture to wet ingredients and stir until completely blended.
Fold in the kale and chocolate chunks, then spoon the batter into prepared cups.
Bake for 25-30 minutes (if cooked through a toothpick should come out clean).
Allow to cool for a further 5-10 minutes before removing them from the tray.

* This is a bespoke ingredient that can be substituted for plain dark chocolate. However, the flavour difference from this wildcrafted, raw, organic chocolate adds unique, citrus notes of ancient origin.

Purchase Orange and Gubinge Dark Chocolate from Loving Earth at: Made from this year’s Gubinge Harvest

Personalising Paleo P.1

In the coming weeks we shall feature a series of lifestyle articles from leading experts in various fields, exploring evolutionary science as it relates to diet, exercise, and health—covering the latest research and innovations, from ‘Bedrock’ to ‘Biohacking’.

Introducing the series with a three part piece by Nell Stephenson aka ‘Paleoista’, a competitive endurance athlete and healthy lifestyle coach, best known for her modern approach to paleo nutrition.

Nell shares her secrets on how to adapt the principles of paleo living for a modern world, with advise applicable to everyone from mothers to marathoners.

Step One in Better Overall Health and Eating: Starting Where You Are!

What’s behind the motivation? What are the implications and direction of analysis?

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, it’s no wonder you’re looking for a new regime, something different to give you back that joie de vivre you seem to have lost along the way.

But what went wrong?

You used to be fit- you exercised often and ate what you wanted, yet never put on an extra pound or had any illnesses.

Now, it’s a different story, but you haven’t changed a thing!

Or, have you?

Often, we begin to form bad habits so gradually that we don’t realize what’s happening. One day of skipping workouts turns into two. A small, occasional treat turns into dessert every night, and those healthy salads with chicken we used to eat at lunch have somehow become fewer and further between in favor of whatever is an easy, quick option to prepare in the constraints of our busy schedules.

Here is where the dietary analysis comes in handy.

When I begin work with a new client, the first step is for them to complete a food log for a few days, which provides the basis for me to determine what the current picture looks like. We need to know where we are starting in order to accurately measure progress.

Interestingly, by tracking what one is eating, they often become aware of trends and habits even before you share the details of your diet with me!

Perhaps you realize that every afternoon, you’re ending up heading to the local café for ‘cake and a milkshake’ (otherwise called a muffin and a blended coffee drink), after a blood sugar crash that occurs three hours post lunch that was far too big.

Or you notice that you’re waking up still full from the night before since you ate such a late dinner that was also too big; no doubt a consequence from the residual effect of the second crash that occurred after the cake and milkshake debacle.

Still others observe that that seemingly innocent snack of low fat cheese and crackers left them with bloating and a headache, likely due to the proteins found in dairy and wheat (casein and gluten, respectively), that cause a host of negative side effects.

Clients often confess that they’re worried about what I’ll think since their current diet is appalling, and not remotely Paleo.

All the more reason to address the issue sooner than later!

Even if one frequents fast food restaurants every day and a stop at the garage for a candy bar is the norm, an analysis is the key beginning part in making positive changes.

Clients keep a food diary of what they eating, how much and when, how they feel before and after, as well as how much they’re sleeping and exercising.  

In addition, including other important factors such as any prescriptions or supplements one might be taking, water intake and medical conditions all factor in to dietary recommendations.

Once the log is complete, the work can begin.
 For some, an immediate, cold turkey, 100% Paleo approach is preferred; others opt to wean themselves off of the grains, dairy and legumes in stages.

All is well and good, with a few exceptions.

White sugar is something I feel must be eliminated straight away. With zero nutritional value and a laundry list of side effects, including the fact that even a little is enough to keep you hooked, it’s simply got to go.

Same goes for gluten and dairy- cut them out completely in order to facilitate your body’s healing process as the these two sneaky culprits are responsible for far more bad than any good that one might profess them to offer.

Aside from those, if you prefer to take it in steps, like adding more veggies each week and eliminating the other non Paleo foods such as the rest of all grains and legumes in stages, that works perfectly, too.

As long as one gets to 100% Paleo for a full month to really test it out with certainty, that’s the goal I have for all clients.

Learning to identify which foods make you feel good and which make you feel awful is a key component of implementing and adhering to the Paleo diet.

By beginning with the analysis, one can accurately measure before and after, and have data far more significant than anything anyone might find in a study, or hear from a doctor.

What our bodies tell us must supersede all else.

Only we know how we feel and striving toward optimal health is an attainable goal for all of us, so please don’t settle just because you’re a certain age or have a certain health issue you’re dealing with.

After seeing many remarkable recoveries from people from all backgrounds who’ve adapting the principles of True Paleo living, I continue to be further inspired by the impact of eating real, healthy foods and the avoidance of everything that isn’t food has on the body.

Don’t let your fear of facing where you are starting be the reason to not make positive changes.

Set your foot on the path to better health now and face those bad habits head on!

Want to adapt the principles of paleo into your life?

Start here: