Cave into your hunger
Unless you've been living in a cave, you've probably heard of the newest health craze, the Paleo Diet.
Scratch that. If you are living in a cave, you will be closely familiar with it, as the full title is the Paleolithic Diet, as in caveman-style eating.
The basis of this new lifestyle wave is that we should eat as closely as possible to the way our hunter gatherer ancestors did before the agricultural revolution.
The crux of this means lean animal products, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds get the green light.
Off the menu are dairy foods, legumes and grains, which are relatively new on the scene and were not part of the human diet until the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years ago.
In the grand scheme of time, this was a mere 333 generations ago and according to Paleo philosophy, our bodies haven’t properly adapted to digesting these foods.
The thinking is, fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood are high in the beneficial nutrients – soluble fibre, antioxidant vitamins, phytochemicals, omega-3 and monounsaturated fats and low-glycemic carbohydrates – that promote good health.
Steering away from nutrients believed to be at the root of health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, such as refined sugars, trans fats, salt, high-glycemic carbohydrates, grains and processed foods, forms the basis of the Paleo principle.
Now, whether you can be convinced the Paleo way is the path to which our species is generically geared, or not, you can still enjoy some very healthy eating at Cairns’ Paleo Cafe, where the motto is, “Eat clean, live lean”.
Served from 7am until 11.30am, breakfasts are varied, ie cavemen and women would have found them extremely exciting.
Eggs Benedict ($12) served on a Paleo muffin with bacon or smoked salmon; Paleo pancakes ($14) with coconut ice-cream, banana and honey; or banana bread French toast with bacon and honey ($14) are all winners.
However, for many, lunch (served until 3pm) is the big drawcard.
Soups ($9), curries ($16) and steak ($20) are all wholesome and satisfying.
Luscious salad combos such as mango, avocado and macadamia ($16) served with fresh rocket and chilli lime dressing can come with optional extras of chicken or prawns ($4), or salmon ($6) with the first.
Nut-crusted local fish ($19, on this occasion barramundi) is a great midday meal with a generous salad, a light dill dressing and what the menu under-sells as “sweet potato chips”, which are really delicious chunky roasted sweet potato wedges.
You really can taste the goodness in every dish and if you were thinking all this New Age healthy blah means skimpy bits of leaf and not much else, think again.
You’ll get lean, quality meat, seasonal produce and fresh seafood in good portions.
Kids’ meals are $9 and takeaways are an option.
By the way, it’s not just about being a goodie-two-shoes all the time (well, it is if you’re a dedicated caveman/woman), the effort of putting the willpower in isn’t really needed.
A very nice chocolate brownie, which would have had guilt written all over it somewhere else, was devoured without a second thought.
Teas, coffees and bottled drinks are all reasonably priced and the smoothie and juice bar brings in a constant flow of customers throughout the day.
You can go for a pre-designed smoothie, such as the splendid “breakfast” concoction ($6.50) of Paleo granola, raspberries, honey and banana, or you can create your own juice or smoothie, by picking any three ingredients from a prescribed list.
Refreshing sodas ($4) are made using sparkling soda water with fresh fruits, such as lemon and lime, orange and mango, or strawberry and lime.
An eclectic mix of people ebb and flow through Paleo Cafe on any given day, from greenies to grannies, many browsing the retail side of the shop which stocks everything from health foods, DVDs to organic baby foods, beauty products and books.
Possibly not the sort of things Fred and Wilma would buy, but we move with the times.Paleo Café, 62 Grafton St. Ph: 4041 3885 or visit: www.paleo-cafe.com.au
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