Since I began my Paleo eating journey I have reinvented my relationship with food and gotten a new appreciation for what it means to fuel my body. I have also had to come to terms with eating and shopping for food in London.
Part 1: Eating at home
I have always enjoyed cooking so the move to Paleo eating was not as traumatic as it could have been had I needed to learn this valuable skill at the same time!
Fruit and vegetables
The biggest help for us has been to arrange ‘automated’ deliveries of organic fruit and vegetables from Abel and Cole, one of a growing number of organic grocers to deliver ‘boxes’ around the capital. The vegetables (delivered weekly) and the fruit (fortnightly) are always fresh, seasonable, and full of taste.
They are also pretty random, in that I tend to get what is on offer that week, rather than my own choice. This is more convenient than you would first think. This way I don’t get stuck in a rut with certain “go to” vegetables (bell peppers, I’m looking at you), and am constantly challenged to find new recipes for things I haven’t come across before. After all, when life hands you Kale…you make garlicky Kale and grilled Salmon!
Finally, I chose Abel and Cole, because they allow you to specificy which fruit and veg you don’t want to receive. This makes it easy to eliminate potatoes and bananas, and other starchy stuff that we’d rather not have to deal with.
Lean Meats and fish
For our meat and fish, we tend to head off to either the local butcher or fishmonger (when we have time) or to the supermarket when we don’t. That said, there are a growing number of farmer’s markets across London which are also a good source of meat and fish.
Nuts and seeds
And what of the nuts and seeds, you ask? My top tip for this are the growing number of Turkish, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ‘supermarkets’ springing up in the suburbs. Locally we have a Turkish Food Centre who sell, amongst other things, kilo bags of almonds for a really good price. Homemade almond butter here we come! Incidentally, there is a TFC in Dalston, a short bus ride from the gym in Bethnal Green.
I have also discovered a new found love of what used to be referred to as ‘health food shops’. There is a terrific organic food shop in Greenwich market, and the Wholefoods Markets chain are also excellent. Finally, Holland and Barrett provide a sound high street option.
Other nice things
Having read a lot about from the US CrossFit affiliates, I thought I would have a go at finding some jerky in the UK. Not so easy, as it turns out. We Brits don’t seem so keen on the dried meat thing. Then I was tipped off by Chris at Conditioning Research about organic beef and venison jerky from Scotland. The aptly named Scottish Jerky sell a variety of flavours of jerky (e.g. curry, cracked black pepper) in convenient vacuum sealed packs. The taste is amazing, and combined with some nuts makes an unrivalled mid-morning snack.
This wasn’t as hard as I had imagined. Very early on I bought the Paleo Cookbooks from Nikki Young, and have never regretted it. Full of very simple, very tasty recipes they are my go-to reference materials. I have also bought a couple of Scotty Hagnas’ books (Cooking for Health and Performance) at The Performance Menu.
Nerd tip #1 – A useful website for search for recipes is Cookin’ with Google – a customised version of the Google search engine that is optimised to find recipes from ingredients i.e. type in the ingredients that you have to hand, and it’ll find the recipes that fit.
Nerd tip #2 – I store all my recipes (made or otherwise) using Evernote. It allows you to create a searchable database of notes and clippings that is accessible from nearly any internet connected device. This means that I can ‘clip’ a recipe from a website in the morning, and look it up on my iPhone in the supermarket whist shopping in the afternoon.