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What is Paleo, Anyway?
The paleo diet, also know as the paleolithic diet, the stone-age diet and the caveman diet, was founded on the concept that we would be better off if we stuck to the diet that was available to our ancestors during the Paleolithic era. What is the Paleolithic era? It is the time before the development of agriculture, when humans were still hunter-gatherers, and this is the key to understanding the paleo mindset. Agriculture began around 10, 000 years ago and has had a large impact on our diet. Paleo adherents point specifically to the increase in grains, legumes and dairy products that we consume now, all foods that were unavailable pre-agriculture. The paleo diet proposes that many of our modern day diseases, such as obesity and and heart disease, are the result of this over-consumption of agricultural bi-products. As such, the paleo diet is made up of grass-fed & wild meats, wild seafood, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Further, processed foods of all kind are shunned. From a macro point of view, it’s loads of fat, protein and fiber with few complex starches and almost no simple starches.
The largest concern on any diet is what to eat. Looking for recipe inspiration? Elana’s Pantry is literally a treasure trove of delicious Paleo-friendly recipes. Covering every meal of the day and then some, you will find creatively repurposed favorites such as paleo Shepherd’s Pie- all of Elana’s recipes are simple to follow and consists of minimal ingredient lists. Elana’s Pantry also has an incredibly informative section on various paleo ingredients to help you expand your paleo palette. Prefer to leave the cooking to experts? No problem! Busy Hong Kongers can rely on Paleo Taste, a breaktast, lunch and dinner Paleo meal delivery service- the founder Priscilla cooks every dish herself and the menu changes often- we love her Paleo Classic Chicken Curry, Zucchini Paleo Bread Load and Classic Banana & Chia Pudding. Want to go out? The Awakening in Sai Ying Pun specializes in paleo friendly dishes- all menu items are gluten- and sugar-free, beef is grass-fed, eggs are cage-free and the menu features mains such as South African Ostrich Steak. A selection of the menu is also available for delivery or pickup. Need to cure your sugar craving? Hapa Food provides paleo friendly desserts, treats and snacks many of which are also vegan, such as their chocococups made with chocolate and raw honey or their PB Chews made with peanuts, chocolate, dates and almonds.
August 15 2015 Update: The Awakening is now closed.
Stocking Up A La Paleo
Choosing the right ingredients is key with Paleo- factory farmed meat/seafood will not do. You will need grass-fed meats, wild caught seafood and ideally organic nuts, seeds and produce- basically you are looking to source everything in its pre-industrial version (or as close to it as possible). Stocking your fridge and pantry with paleo fare is easy: rely on tried-and-true health food store Just Green‘s many outlets for your paleo essentials. They have a wide variety of paleo-centric products such as organic nuts & seeds, organic coconut products, frozen paleo bread, and a wide array of snacks. For those who prefer to shop using their mouse there is Berrytime, which stocks a variety of paleo-friendly products such as paleo snacks, nut butters, and died berries. The Green Queen Guide’s Sustainable Grass Fed & Organic Meat & Wild & Organic Seafood section is the best list in town and check out our roundup of HK’s Top Organic Fruit & Veg Delivery- We Do The Homework So You Don’t Have To.
Let’s Get (Paleo) Physical
Nutrition is a key part of the paleo lifestyle but it would be amiss not to mention that fitness’s role is almost as important. Many paleo enthusiasts advocate workout routines that are inspired from our Paleolithic ancestors’ workout profiles (if we can call it that). That means short bursts of high intensity exercise i.e. workouts like weight lifting and HIIT are ideal (read more about the paleo fitness approach on Paleo Leap, also a very comprehensive paleo resource). Nothing embodies the Paleo workout ethos more than the Crossfit approach and luckily for you, there are a plethora of Crossfit studios scattered across Hong Kong, so there are zero excuses: Coastal Fitness Performance Training in North Point, 9 Dragons Fitness in Tung Chung, CrossFit 852 in Central and Causeway Bay, CrossFit Cavaliers in Happy Valley, and CrossFit Typhoon in Sai Ying Pun. Another great Paleo fitness is outdoor workout Bikini Fit, which holds sessions (for women only) in Sheung Wan, Central, Causeway Bay, and TST.
For those who want to learn more and for resources to help jump-start your paleo adventure, Pack Of Packs is a Hong Kong based website dedicated to the paleo lifestyle with resources like dining out maps, a beginner’s guide an pre-made shopping lists. Looking for some fellow Paleo companions? Join the Paleo HK Meetup Group.
Photo Credits: Pack Of Packs, Elana’s Pantry, The Awakening, Bret Contreras.