Pete Evans is on a mission.
He wants to encourage people eat in a healthy and mindful way and I think that's awesome. Whether you're a vegan or full blown carnivore, if you're anything like me you'll appreciate those people in the world that are trying to make it a more nourished place. People who are trying remove the foods from our supermarket shelves and pantries that are causing us more damage than good, no matter what their dietary choices, are good people in my books.
Pete was kind enough to share some of his beliefs, including how he finds nourishment outside the food he eats, with me. A healthy body can start on your plate, but a healthy life needs whole nourishment. Here is what Pete had to say...
I’d really love to know what pushed you to view food in the way that you do now, what moment did you realise the importance of nourishing yourself with food?
For the past four years, I’ve been driven and inspired to share with others my belief (as well as what I’ve learnt through nutritional science, studies, influential researchers and my own personal experience) that food can be our medicine and should be our first port of call to discovering better health. For me, I really started focusing on this a few years ago for myself personally because even though I’d always been pretty conscious about the ingredients I used to cook with and, thanks to the fact I was a chef, had a good palette for different flavours, there were still a few bits and pieces that weren’t quite clicking for me.
Sure, I followed the dietary guidelines - consuming lots of whole grains, fruit, veges, meat and fish, as well as a bit of dairy and pasta. But I still I just didn’t feel like I was firing on all cylinders. Then one day my partner Nic came across a very well-researched book, written by world-renowned American author and nutritional expert Nora Gedgaudas. You see, Nic grew up on a farm in Christchurch, New Zealand, so has always been pretty connected to her food sources and that interest is what led her to discover Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond The Paleo Diet For Total Health and A Longer Life,written by Nora. I started asking questions. She suggested I have a read for myself and once I began, I couldn’t stop. So much of the information in the book resonated with me and that was when I ditched starchy carbs, refined sugar, toxic oils, dairy and legumes and began to embrace a new world of nourishing alternatives. It’s a book I now highly recommend to anyone interested in a Paleo way of life because it really delves into the science behind it.
For me, as soon as I read it, I jumped right in and cut out dairy, sugar and gluten completely for three months. 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. I really thought I had a good diet but once I discovered the path to total health and optimal wellbeing, I realised how little energy I used to have back then and how sluggish I often felt after my meals that’s when I understood the importance of nourishing ourselves with real food and what a game-changer this could be.
There has been a little bit of negative press around the Paleo Diet. How do you cleanse yourself from that negative energy and handle it all so well?
I don’t need to cleanse myself because it’s not about taking any of this on board. This is about focusing on what Paleo really is at its core and getting the message out there. All this lifestyle is doing is encouraging people to eat nutrient-dense wholefoods, know your food source and live in a sustainable and holistic way that honours our animal and plant life. Living with true intent, believing in what you do and creating a community of connected consciousness that celebrates real food is the focus for me, not what other people may be saying. Cause remember be proud to ‘fit out’. You don’t have to ‘fit in’. And like we always say to our The Paleo Way tribe members, “We’re not extreme, we’re informed”.
What’s your number one tip for people who want to live a healthy lifestyle outside of the food they eat?
Find what you love to do that makes you move and do that each and every day, as well as making healthy food choices. For me, I grew up on the Gold Coast so I have a real affinity for the ocean and this expresses itself in my love of surfing. There’s no better freedom than the mental clarity that comes when you are in the moment and surfing a decent wave. Surfing is the way I like to move every day when I’m near the ocean. And our trainer, Luke Hines, has also taught me the art of tabata. It’s an awesome way that we can move our bodies every day, no matter where in the world we might be.
What do you do to stimulate your mind outside of work?
Spend time with my family. My family are everything to me. Life is complete when we are on the tools together in the kitchen and then sit down to enjoy a delicious meal. Meal-times are when we connect and talk about our day because, for us, food is a real celebration and that’s what I love about cooking because it brings love, laughter and creativity into my life every day.
Who would benefit from having a Health Coach in their life?
Everyone can benefit from having a Health Coach in their life because it’s a person you can work with who has the knowledge to understand how your own individual body responds to certain foods. If you’re starting on your health journey, they can help to tailor your lifestyle and give you tips and tricks. But not everyone has access to a health coach and this reason - coupled with my own studies at the Integrative Institute of Nutrition (IIN) is why I was compelled to create the recipe books I have over the past few years and to launch The Paleo Way online programme, film the television series and conduct the live tour earlier this year around Australia and New Zealand.
What do you believe is the most crucial way to nurture the closest relationships in your life?
In the same philosophy as the way I cook - “with love and laughter”.
How do you ground and connect to the earth during the busy times in your career?
I have a frantic schedule that involves a lot of travelling so it’s really important for me to take time out wherever I am in the world to re-connect and ground myself. The way I do this is you’ll often find me wandering around in bare feet in the sunshine or sitting down quietly outside, with my feet on the ground and the sun on my face. It’s a technique called earthing. By putting your feet on the ground, you can literally re-connect with Mother Earth. It gives me an easy way to bring healing, calming energy into my world, even when things are hectic.
What are you most grateful for right now?
The same thing I am always grateful for - my family. They are everything to me and I feel pretty blessed to be able to experience such simple joy whenever I am with them.
Health is : the key to getting the most out of life.
I believe in : living in a Paleo way and that food as medicine should be our first port of call in order to achieve a healthier life.
The best advice I’ve been given : listen to your heart, your head will follow.
I cannot live without : my children.
I’d never : judge anyone else.
I practice gratitude by : living with pure intent and completely in the moment.
Exercise should be : whatever way you enjoy moving - for me, it’s surfing.
The best way to heal is : through the food that you feed your body and by surrounding yourself with good energy and love.
"I’m grateful for the life I lead and the people who share it with me every single day."
- Pete Evans