Dave is 30 and lives in London. He works in the City and spends his days being bossed around by spreadsheets. This results in him making up for it in his spare time by training hard and throwing heavy weights around at CrossFit Central London. Dave spent a few years in Hong Kong training in Muay Thai and this fuelled his love of fitness. On his return to London he continued with his martial arts training and supplemented it with his CrossFit workouts. Dave primarily started eating a paleo diet after hearing about it through CrossFit and decided to find out for himself what all the fuss was about.
What made you start Paleo, and why did you carry on?
Having made the classic mistake when I went to uni of stopping all sport yet eating and drinking like a spokesperson for modern binge culture, by the time I was 25 I was in pretty bad shape. I decided something needed to change and what followed was a period of gradually improving my diet, cutting back on drinking and actually getting off the sofa once in a while. I was already a few years into this process when I came across Paleo (through crossfit) and so it seemed worth a go. I have carried on with it because the basic tenant of eating good, unprocessed food makes sense to me and I have never been particularly interested in dieting in the traditional form of reducing how much you eat.
How Paleo is your diet at the moment?
I’m not an example of strict paleo living by any means however in general I think my diet is probably 70% paleo. I do allow myself some dairy because tea without milk makes me unbearable and I love cheese. I also find that the occasional treat/cheat meal keeps me balanced and sane. I have tried periods of being completely strict but found it difficult to sustain long term so have settled on a general commitment to eating healthy but allowing myself a little of what I fancy.
What do you find hardest about sticking to Paleo?
Cravings are not really an issue because I allow myself the occasional treat so the main difficulty for me is a practical one. Work occasionally keeps me quite late and I am almost wilfully disorganised so it can sometimes be tricky to stick to paleo in the evenings as the temptation to buy a ready meal just for speed and convenience is always there. Arifa and Alicia have both encouraged me to do some cooking at the weekends and have some meals ready in the freezer to help with this but, until I finally take their good advice I get around the problem by keeping evening meals quick and simple.
How do you manage when you’re eating out?
I don’t find it too difficult to be honest. A lot of my friends are eating Paleo anyway so we would tend to choose restaurants where it is fairly simple to order a Paleo meal, such as a steak restaurant. Living in a city like London also makes it much easier because of the sheer number and variety of restaurants available, a lot of which are used to catering for different dietary requirements.
It becomes slightly more difficult when surrounded by people not following Paleo, such as when I visit the family. Even then if we go out to a restaurant I can order something Paleo friendly but if someone has cooked for me then I am happy to compromise on food for a weekend and I’ll simply revert to Paleo when I get back home.
What would a week of Paleo meals look like for you?
Breakfast will usually involve eggs of some sort, especially since I was shown how to create passable scrambled eggs in the microwave at work, sometimes supplemented with some avocado or meat/fish if I am feeling particularly hungry. Weekday lunches typically consist of chicken and salad and I have fruit/nut/biltong as regular options if I fancy a snack. In the evenings chicken/steak/fish is coupled with plenty of vegetables, stir fry being a particular favourite of mine.
Speed of preparation is usually the determining factor and most of what I cook is ready inside 20-30 minutes.