The answer is Cook It! I know we don't have to cook everything that we eat. We eat raw vegetables, salads even some meat and fish dishes, so by cook I mean taking a real food ingredient and getting it to our plate in a fit state to eat.
Cooking is quickly becoming a lost skill for many, but it is a fundamental skill that we should all have a basic knowledge in. It is very important in leading a successful Primal lifestyle as we are aiming to get the best possible raw ingredients for our body and if you don't have a basic understanding of how to prepare and cook the food, it is going to be much harder.
There is no hard scientific evidence out there to say exactly when our ancestors started cooking food, but we are sure that at some point after discovering how to control fire we did and probably by accident. When it did happen however it gave us the opportunity to diversify our food choices as the cooking process helps break down hard to chew and digest food stuffs that prior to cooking were off the menu. If we look at primates we see that their diet is very limited by comparison.
There are some theories that the advent of cooking is what helped us evolve into modern man, helping us to grow bigger brains and stronger bodies although this is contested by others. Either way the increased diversity of nutrients and the increased bioavailability of the nutrients after cooking surely helped in some way?
So where did we start going wrong?
As with many of these questions the answer comes to very recently. The last 30 to 40 years has seen a huge rise in prepackaged convenience food, fast food restaurants and phone through takeaways, none of them requiring any thought into how the food is made, short of the amount of time it goes into the microwave for.
Prior to the late 1970's there really was not any other option but to cook your own food from scratch and the choices were much more limited. Children now have limited access to cooking education at school, if any, and there is a lack of knowledge even where food comes from other than the supermarket.
The hectic modern day lifestyle leaves less time for people to get into their kitchen and even the desire to do so has decreased. The increase in cheap restaurant food is taking people out for dinner more often that they used to. A recent study by Round Table found that on average brits eat out 1.5 times a week, and those aged between 18 to 24 are doing it twice as often. Now I love eating out and you can make good choices however you don't get the satisfaction from producing a meal for your family yourself or the certainty of what ingredients have gone into the meal.
So what can you do to help you in your Primal kitchen?
Clear out all of the foods that can be tempting and are not on the Primal diet food list. Go through your cupboards and throw away or donate all foods not recommended in this food template. If you have family that are not doing the same as you then try and have your own cupboard and fridge space so you know exactly where to go for your food and not be tempted by others.
Plan ahead. Always plan exactly what you will be eating for the week, get the ingredients and prepare food in advance. Make more than you need so you can freeze for another day or have the leftovers for the following day.
Get some good cooking equipment. A good sharp knife, pans of various sizes, mixing bowls anything that you will need in preparing the food you have planned for. A slow cooker is a great investment, just throw in the ingredients in the morning and when you come home from work the cooking is all done, and generally with left overs for the next day. Storage containers are an essential bit of kit for freezing or for transporting your food with you.
Go on a basic cookery course. Find one online near you and get the knowledge you need, you don't need to be Jamie Oliver but it will help.
Get some good cookbooks and recipes. There are loads of Paleo/Primal and low-carb cookbooks available plus loads of free online recipes.
Experiment with your food. It doesn't matter if things go wrong it's all a learning curve, try new things and vary the ingredients.
Herbs and spices. Get loads of kinds, you can make lots of varied meals from the same ingredients just by changing the spices you cook them in.
Cook for friends. This will help get your creative juices flowing and maybe even inspire your friends to make the change.
Get quality ingredients. Get the best you can afford, go to farm shops and markets, ask about the food you're buying. Growing your own is an even better option, just a window box of herbs is a start. If you are in a supermarket, only buy what you go in for, make a list and stick to it.
Cook with the kids. If you have them they will love it, getting their hands dirty and producing their own food is great entertainment for them and at the same time you are passing down valuable lessons that are slowly dying out.
You don't need to become a master chef overnight but having some basic skills in the kitchen really can help keep you on the right track in your healthy lifestyle choice.
Keep it Primal
Further reading and resource.
Nom Nom Paleo, food for humans - Michelle Tam and Henry Fong
www.paleohacks.com (Send regluar recipes if you sign to mailing list)