The golden years

Cut­ting out pro­cessed food, eat­ing fresh trans­form­ing

Te Awamutu Courier - - Front Page - BY BETHANY ROLSTON

Swap­ping lol­lies for cel­ery sticks is one of the changes Tom and Patty Dud­son have made to live a health­ier life.

The Te Awa­mutu cou­ple say a new way of eat­ing — fol­low­ing the pa­leo diet — has trans­formed their lives. Tom is an ad­vo­cate for the style of eat­ing after be­ing di­ag­nosed with type 2 di­a­betes 20 years ago.

He wants more peo­ple to know the pa­leo diet is an op­tion in the wake of Di­a­betes Ac­tion Month. This month, na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion Di­a­betes NZ is rais­ing aware­ness and en­cour­ag­ing Ki­wis to “act now to live well”.

New Zealan­ders are chal­lenged to live well through healthy eat­ing, reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and es­tab­lish­ing a sup­port net­work to cre­ate bet­ter habits to re­duce the risk of or man­age the symp­toms of di­a­betes.

The pa­leo diet rec­om­mends shun­ning pro­cessed foods and fol­low­ing a diet sim­i­lar to that of our an­ces­tors in the Palae­olithic pe­riod — that be­gan about 2.6 mil­ion years ago and ended about 12,000 years ago.

Since start­ing the pa­leo diet three months ago Tom and Patty have each lost 11kg and are reap­ing the ben­e­fits of in­creased en­ergy lev­els.

For Tom, he has no­ticed a slight drop in his in­sulin lev­els.

Def­i­ni­tions of the pa­leo diet vary, but they ex­clude grains and dairy prod­ucts.

Pa­leo en­cour­ages eat­ing plenty of fresh food, in­clud­ing veg­eta­bles, and lit­tle or no pro­cessed food.

“If you can’t grow it or catch it, don’t eat it,” is how Tom puts it.

After try­ing var­i­ous di­ets over the years, the cou­ple fi­nally set­tled on pa­leo this year.

Although Patty doesn’t have di­a­betes, she’s en­joyed sup­port­ing Tom and feel­ing health­ier and slim­mer.

Tom says the new way of eat­ing is ex­cit­ing.

“We’ve had a lot of fun cook­ing to­gether and dis­cov­er­ing things in the kitchen — it’s like our own Masterchef,” he says. “How can I com­plain when I have ba­con and eggs — with­out the toast — for break­fast each morn­ing?

Tom and Patty are both keen gar­den­ers and eat veg­eta­bles from their back­yard most days. They ad­mit that hav­ing a veg­etable gar­den isn’t an op­tion for ev­ery­one.

“We’re for­tu­nate to have the time to man­age a gar­den and pre­pare meals.”

They say the start-up cost for a pa­leo life­style can be ex­pen­sive, but reckon they save more avoid­ing pro­cessed treats and take­aways.

What you won’t find much of in their house is white su­gar, flour and pota­toes.

Tom and Patty still en­joy dairy prod­ucts to keep their bones strong as they age.

They’ve given up on fizzy drinks, in­stead en­joy­ing wa­ter with a slice of lime.

The cou­ple have been mar­ried 44 years and say they are now hav­ing the time of their lives, en­joy­ing an empty nest and reg­u­lar trips in their camper­van.

Now that they’re both re­tired, they want to en­joy ev­ery mo­ment to­gether.

“These are the golden years and we have to look after our health.”

New Zealand reg­is­tered di­eti­cian and nutri­tion­ist Cathy Khouri, who works in pri­vate prac­tice at Hamil­ton’s Nutri­tion Care Ltd, says there are ben­e­fits to re­duc­ing pro­cessed foods.

“There is some­thing about the pa­leo diet that is con­sis­tent with good health — that is en­joy­ing less pro­cessed, whole foods, and I am in agree­ment with that.”

How­ever, she says to be care­ful about re­duc­ing dairy, grains and legumes.

“The re­sult of that can be a diet that is a lot lower in those mi­cronu­tri­ents which are im­por­tant for good health — things like cal­cium.”

Cathy says Min­istry of Health guide­lines per­mit a wide range of di­ets. “What they cau­tion again is to rad­i­cally limit any par­tic­u­lar food group.”

Cathy says the slower peo­ple lose weight, the more likely that their weight loss is long-term and sus­tain­able.

Di­eti­cian and se­nior lec­turer at Auck­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy Dr Caryn Zinn sup­ported re­duc­ing or elim­i­nat­ing grains.

“The pa­leo diet tends to be lower in carbohydrates and higher in nat­u­ral fats — and I think that re­ally should be the way that we should be guid­ing peo­ple with di­a­betes to eat. The lower car­bo­hy­drate ap­proach is one that needs to progress, as long and peo­ple are get­ting their mi­cronu­tri­ents and other vi­ta­mins from whole foods, then there's no prob­lem in re­duc­ing or elim­i­nat­ing grains at all.”

Photo / Bethany Rolston

Te Awa­mutu cou­ple Tom and Patty Dud­son say a new way of eat­ing — fol­low­ing the pa­leo diet — has trans­formed their lives.

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