It’s not every day you get a chance to chat to one of the leaders in the health and wellness industry. We were lucky enough this week to catch up with Pete Evans. Pete is known as an international chef, a judge on My Kitchen Rules, an author of several amazing books, and founder of The Paleo Way.
But behind all of his success, Pete is just an easy an easy going guy, a family man, a lover of the outdoors and someone who leads by example with his own health and wellness journey, inspiring many along the way.
Tell us a little about your journey and who you are?
I’ve been a chef for as long as I can remember. Pretty much from the moment I first learnt to surf, I’ve been kicking around the kitchen. In my twenties, I travelled and experienced other cultures through flavours and food and also became pretty interested in healthy eating.
But while I’ve always been inspired by food, I’ve become even more so since following a paleo lifestyle because I get to experiment with so many different ingredients.
My partner Nic grew up on a farm in Christchurch, New Zealand and one day she was reading a book called Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond The Paleo Diet For Total Health and A Longer Life, written by world-renowned American author and nutritional expert Nora Gedgaudas. So much of the information in the book resonated with me and that was when I made the decision to ditch starchy carbs, refined sugar, toxic oils, dairy and legumes.
Instead I began eating a diet rich in nutrient-dense wholefoods, a whole lotta fresh, seasonal veges, good-quality protein and fats and some fermented veges and I felt the changes pretty much straight away. My energy levels increased, I was able to focus for much longer periods of time and my memory and mental alertness increased ten fold. Within a month, the digestion issues and skin irritations that I had suffered from all my life disappeared. Today I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been and I know this because if the surf’s pumping, I can ride waves for four or five hours without tiring. It’s sweet!
You live by a Palaeolithic lifestyle, What do you believe the benefits of this lifestyle are?
More and more scientific research is being published that supports the health benefits of paleo. For example, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – the highest impact factor nutrition journal in the world – published a meta analysis of randomised controlled trials and concluded that the paleo diet is one of the most effective dietary strategies to reduce body weight and prevent the risk of chronic disease.
Our nutritional expert at The Paleo Way Nora Gedgaudas also explains that she has witnessed innumerable reports of improvement in the following areas including: Mood stabilisation, reduced depression or anxiety, better cognitive function, enhanced energy levels, improved neurological stability cessation of migraines, improved sleep, improvement in ASD symptoms and reversal of type 2 diabetes.
The other cool thing is paleo is more than eating good food, it’s also about moving your body, living in a positive way and caring for ourselves, our animals and our planet.
What is one of the first changes someone should make to their diet and lifestyle when going Paleo?
One of the best ways to ensure you have success is to be prepared and organised. Clear out your pantry, fridge and freezer of refined carbohydrate and sugary foods and instead stock up on healthy ingredients. That way, it’s easy to avoid temptation and also you’ve got everything on hand to make nourishing, nutrient-dense meals and snacks that will give you sustained energy and keep you feeling full.
Another great tip is to make double and triple batches at mealtimes so you always have leftovers that can be frozen and reheated for lunches. We eat leftovers a few times a week for breakfast, lunch or dinner and when I’m on set for long days filming, I usually have a lunchbox to keep me going. We also love doing a big roast on a Sunday and make extra veges and meat that I can add to soups and salads throughout the week for quick meals and lunches.
You are a judge on My Kitchen Rules often many of the dishes that are presented to you as a judge were not Paleo. How did you find the balance, and what advice can you give people who also face these challenges when eating out?
It’s all about choice. You get to choose what foods you eat at every meal and with every snack. When I go out, I try to make the best choice available to me at the time and what I eat during My Kitchen Rules is such a small fraction of my overall diet that it doesn’t concern me. As a judge, I make a call on the dishes I’m presented with based on how the flavours and textures work together.
What are your ‘non negotiable’ when it comes to your health?
Eating organically, seasonally and straight from the source and making sure that I set aside as much time as I can for my family. This includes planning my holidays well in advance so I always know we have quiet time to look forward to at the end of the busy periods. I also need to get into the water at least a few times a week, no matter where I am in the world. Ideally it’s for a surf but I find exercise outdoors allows me to stay focused and it’s great stress relief.
You cook some AMAZING dishes. What is your favourite go to meal?
Thank you! Right now, I’m loving my homemade merguez sausages. They are from North Africa and have a bit of kick to them thanks to the harissa. I like to use lamb but you can also try pork, chicken or beef. I like to serve them up with a bit of kraut or a salad of tomato and onion. It’s a good dish to serve guests as the days get a bit longer.
How do you spend the first 80 minutes of your day?
I’ll start with a cup of broth (a brothee) with lemon and turmeric then it’s down the beach for a surf or a swim and back afterwards for a brekkie of eggs or leftovers. Then I’ll hit the emails.
What is the single best thing you believe someone should do to get their health and wellness journey started?
Make the decision, act with intent and be proud to fit out.
Where can people connect with you?
TAG and SHARE the official @thepaleowaytribe and @chefpeteevans
I hope you have enjoyed another week and another inspirational story by the amazing Pete himself.