There are tons of diets out there: carnivores and vegetarians, paleo and plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, no sugar, and MANY more. How do you choose the best diet? In the first of a series brought to us by local online groceries store Kate & Kimi, local chefs tell us about their personal eating styles and how it’s reflected in their cooking. First up: marathon runner and family man Gary Shaw shares the story of how he got back to his healthy self with the paleo diet, and his favorite miso soup recipe.
My journey started after a few years in Shanghai. I was part of a team in a Shanghai bar pool competition where we would practice and play pool at different bars. Lots of beer was being drunk and bars being bars, weren’t the healthiest places in the world. I realised I had put on a bit of weight, but when people noticed on our regular trip back home to OZ I knew I was a bit fatter than I realised. I also noticed I was getting sick a lot more often.
I was fit when I was younger with surfing and soccer. I was even a running champion at school 3 years in a row. It all culminated when I was filling in for a friend during a soccer match. I went in thinking I was 21 again and after 2 short attempted sprints; I was struggling for breath and on the verge of collapse. I went off straight away to my wife and 10-month-old son who were waiting on the sidelines. This was a kind of awakening for me, and after some soul searching I realised because of my weight and age that if I didn’t do anything about it, it would be a lot harder to get back to some semblance of the once healthy person I was. I knew it wouldn’t be an overnight task so made my goal to be a lot healthier within 2 years. I didn’t set weight goals as I think you can be thin yet unhealthy. My plan was to start exercising and to go out less.
Fast-forward 7 years, 5 marathons and 2 more kids later, I’m a happy, healthy, strong, fit man!
Having tried different diets along the way, paleo, vegetarianism, high carb, and low carb, I’ve found the paleo diet works best for me. I say that because, when you put your body under the strain of training and running marathons you have to be in tune with how your body feels and reacts to how you choose to fuel it. When I first started taking marathons seriously, I was eating a paleo diet and I was happy with it. I felt light after meals and felt I was getting enough carbs from the sweet potato and seeds component of my diet, with the occasional addition of brown rice.
Paleo is, in the true sense of the diet, what our cavemen hunter-gatherer ancestors ate and the way nature intended.
Having run a couple of marathons as a paleo eater, my concern about animal welfare got the better of me and I became a vegetarian hi carb eater. Interestingly, I noticed straight away that during training I was gaining weight, which continued all through my training and at the end I had gained 4 kgs. It was unusual considering the amount of calories I was burning. I ended up running 18 minutes slower than the previous year on this diet. Having gone back to paleo for 2 months now I’m back down to my original weight.
Paleo is, in the true sense of the diet, what our cavemen hunter-gatherer ancestors ate and the way nature intended. Essentially a diet based on meat, fish, vegetables and fruit while excluding dairy, grains and processed foods. I’ve found that since I’ve gone paleo, I rarely get sick anymore, I feel a lot lighter after a meal and I’ve also lost weight.
In terms of advice for people, I think it’s important to be honest with yourself. Don’t choose unrealistic goals and don’t get disappointed if you miss a training session or if you fall off the diet wagon, just regroup and get back on the job. As I mentioned before I think setting weight goals or diet goals is unrealistic and destined for failure, it’s making your health a priority in your life.
Here’s a favorite recipe of mine:
Light & Refreshing Miso, Salmon, Kombu & Goji Berry Soup
1 litre filtered water
2 tbs brown miso paste
150 g any desired fish (preferably salmon) either pre baked or poached and flaked.
50g goji berries
1 lg piece kombu (seaweed) soaked in fresh water for 10 mins
50 g coriander
1 small Lebanese cucumber
1/2 medium chilli (optional)
Start by bringing miso and water to a soft boil. Add thinly sliced Kombu and goji berries and simmer for 3 minutes. Add thickly diced cucumber and thinly sliced carrot sticks and simmer for a further 3 minutes. Add flaked fish and chopped coriander to finish. Enjoy!
The Blue Sky Kitchen is a partnership between the artisanal food community in Shanghai and the culinary team at Kate & Kimi. This shared community collective offers safely sourced and prepared wholesame foods using strict safety standards and high quality, traceable ingredients. Watch this space for the next interview with a Blue Sky Kitchen chef.
Kate & Kimi offers free delivery from RMB200 across Shanghai 7 days of the week. Call 021-61671620 or email [email protected] to ask for more information.