My fad diet 65



View Profile

Reading anything about food in the popular press or online these days makes me feel like a criminal. That’s because I changed my eating habits a couple of years ago and I no longer eat processed foods, grains or anything out of a packet. I only eat fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and fish.

My crime? Well, when people ask me how come I look so healthy, I tell them I am on a permanent diet which is very close to the paleo, or caveman, diet. The word paleo never fails to get a reaction, usually a disapproving or distasteful expression, but a growing number of people are becoming interested. The unfavourable reactions are very odd, because they confirm that acceptable eating standards have sunk so low that a balanced diet of fresh food is now considered by many to be a fad.

I think the negativity stems from fear. I heard a comment from an American doctor who said that people would rather change religion than give up eating bread. And this fear makes people focus on what they can’t eat instead of what they can.

I say my diet is close to the paleo diet, but I haven’t gone ‘full paleo,’ as I still eat potatoes and a little bit of dairy, and I still drink coffee and wine (separately!) but the main difference these days is that I predominantly eat vegetables and fruit and I eat more fat but less meat than I used to. I also eat organic produce when possible, but I’m not religious about it.

The health benefits have been enormous. All those stomach aches, niggles, pains and discomfort I accepted as normal for years have gone. I rarely get sick. If I catch a cold, it’s mild and goes in a day or two. My weight, which used to fluctuate between 90 and 100kg, settled on 85kg a year and a half ago and hasn’t moved, even when I neglect my exercise. I have a full blood test every six months and everything is bang on where it should for my age (57), or better. Physically and mentally I have never felt better or more energised.

This is a very common result for people who follow a paleo-like lifestyle, who find that many long-endured ailments completely disappear after a simple diet change. So why all the bad press and the vilification of people like (Paleo) Pete Evans?

My thoughts are that the hostility stems mainly from three sources:

  1. The Food Industry. The widespread and growing popularity of healthy eating constitutes a huge and very real threat to the processed and fast food industries. People are turning away from packaged products which are disguised as food, but which are actually delivery systems for corn syrup, wheat and added sugar. Fresh food is the enemy, as people can consume far less – and avoid unhealthy addictions to sugar infused products – to stay healthy. It’s no surprise when mainstream newspapers, which are filled with food industry ads, run negative stories about paleo.
  2. Nutritionists, Dietitians and GPs. It’s very hard to embrace a huge shift in the way people need to eat to remain healthy when all your years of training say otherwise. A growing number of practitioners are seeing the light, but when I still see ‘qualified’ people recommending white bread as healthy in a Sunday newspaper, I am dismayed. But it is understandable as there have been so many recent developments, no wonder many of them are out of date and can’t keep up.
  3. People who listen to 1 and 2 above are often violently opposed to paleo. They presumably believe eating fresh food is harmful. They are the foot soldiers of the food industry, which is quite happy to sacrifice them in the same way that the cigarette industry used its addicted customers for years. Ignorance is easily overcome by knowledge, but don’t expect education from the media.

Another interesting aspect of my diet is that I have gone back to a variation of my childhood eating habits of meat and two veg, pretty much like anyone in the western world who grew up before the 1980s, before the serious large scale additives began infecting our foods. I even use lard and butter in my common sense diet, just like my parents and grandparents.

To me, it is no coincidence that people born since the 1980s suffer far more from a huge number of allergies, complaints and illnesses which were virtually unknown to previous generations. Research into diabetes, Alzheimers’, rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases has shown diet plays a big part. As Hippocrates so aptly put it, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Should you eat more fresh food? Well, that’s a no brainer. Should you go part or full paleo to improve your health and wellbeing? That’s up to you. I wouldn’t recommend a radical change to your diet without research.

All I ask is that when you get the urge to stick the boot into paleo, don’t knock it unless you have tried it.

In my case, the proof is in refusing the pudding.


Tell us your thoughts about Steven’s lifestyle change.

Dymocks Blogger Rewards

Steven Harrison

Steve Harrison lives in Sydney with his wife and daughter and is the author of TimeStorm, an epic action adventure, time travel, historical romance novel (he sends his apologies to any missed genres). He also makes short films under his Pronunciation Fillums partnership. Steve's website is at

  1. Similar experience and results, a little difficult all the time as I am a traveler and the only way to eat really healthy is go to the markets and buy and eat raw as all the resto and street food is fried everything.
    Maximise fruit and veg, minimal meat and consider animal fat as a normal part of your food. Any snacks I stick to raw veg, fruit and lots of nuts.
    I have changed the full on excercise for weight control, it was not working for me so I am always daily active and eating well, lost half my belly fat and look and feel younger.
    The no fat diet was not doing it for me, focusing on reduced sugar gave me the best overall improvement.

  2. Does this mean rice, pasta etc as well ?

    4 REPLY
  3. I have been on Paleo for over a year and it has been great. I was 73kg and am now 63kg and I have changed my dress size from 16 to 12. But most of all my health has improved – cholesterol ‘perfect’ – (my Doctor’s words) energy back to 20 years ago (I’m 73), my ‘old age’ problems disappearing – memory better, brain clarity much better, I can now play with my grandchildren all day if I wish without having to retire to the couch. Change your diet, change your life. I feel better, I look better. I walk 4-5kms most days and love life! Fresh fruit and vegetables, and meat, chicken, fish, is what my body thrives on, how can that be wrong?? Logical, really, compared to the highly processed stuff that swamps the shops and restaurants (although more and more places are offering paleo now.) Do try it. Thanks for the article.

  4. I personally don’t eat bread or pasta, as I have a yeast problem and trying to get on top of allergies. If there is nothing else, I’ll eat it, but would rather not.

  5. Very interesting I need to get away from bread but so like a salad sandwich made with real fresh bread, not so keen on just the salad. lol

  6. I agree fresh is best and you know what you are putting into your body. This way we can stay clear of the preservatives, artificial colours and flavours. This is the way forward.

  7. I follow a diet similar to yours Steven and feel wonderful. Haven’t lost as much weight but still dont miss eating white carbs or processed food. Love lots of fresh veg!

  8. Truely this is an easy way of eating. I don’t give it a name.just plain fresh food. I stopped marjarine and only eat butter I also have cream and sour cream..ive never been a bread eater as suvh and yes occasionally I have a ham and salad sandwich. I am not a tea on coffee drinker and very rarely have a fizzy. Maybe 1 a month or 2. Sugar isent a thing for me either for sweets but every now and then I take the piece of choc hubby offers.

  9. Totally agree with what you’ve written. How anyone could construe a fresh, non processed food nutrition plan as being a fad is beyond me. Obviously, the change in diet was hugely beneficial and if it works and you feel well, that’s all that counts. Myself, I’m mainly vegetarian (all vegetables) with a small amount of meat or fish now and again (which I enjoy), grains in moderation and very little processed food. And every now and then I treat myself to a big fat chocolate ice cream or a Mars Bar and don’t feel the least bit guilty!

    1 REPLY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *