Paleo evangelists have a reputation of being slightly nutty in their extreme healthy living choices.
But, I guess we are all a little nutty when we stand up for a cause we believe in, especially one that makes us feel full of energy and good health.
There are things about the paleo lifestyle I like and things I’m still not too sure about. I’m not completely sold on the idea of eating little fruit, nor am I a believer that a diet heavily focused on meat protein is good either.
The idea that paleo is founded on a caveman diet unsettles me; there is a thing called evolution. I no longer see men hunting, unless they are at the local nightclub on a Saturday night.
One thing I do really love about the Paleo lifestyle however is the Paleo Café in Cairns.
It almost converted me.
The Paleo Café opened in October 2012 and is already an institution.
Patrons steadily streamed in filling up the tables and stood around waiting for take away orders during our hour long lunch.
The owners, Marlies and Jai Hobbs, have taken a lifestyle they are passionate about and combined it with a unique opportunity to create a place people are flocking to.
“The Paleo Café is the only paleo café in Australia and pretty much a first for the world. We have people flying from Western Australia and even the US just to come here. The success has been so huge that we just finished franchising it this week, so hopefully more stores will be opening soon across the country.”
Our group of travelling journalists had just arrived into Cairns from our respective hometowns. We would be spending the next 3 days together exploring Far North Queensland region.
There is no better way to get to know one another then over an extended lunch of Paleo food.
I almost had to be airlifted out of the café from gorging so much on delicious menu items such as the Caveman’s breakfast, sweet potato shepherds pie and coconut ice-cream, forcing me to question whether a Paleo diet can really help you lose weight?
I started with a choc banana and honey smoothie made from raw cocoa and coconut milk.
Although it was filling, it also gave me a light boost of energy; I wasn’t bogged down by fat and sickly sugar.
A healthy chocolate smoothie? Give me more.
A few bowls of sweet potato fries with lemon aioli arrived on our table while we waited to order.
Conversion number 1 occurred – out with those starchy potatoes and in with the orange equivalent that taste so much better!
Marlies shared with us how she fell into the paleo lifestyle. Her 4 month old son had severe dairy intolerance. She started investigating food and the effects it has on our bodies and the paleo lifestyle made sense and worked for her family: more energy, feeling lighter, healthier and clearer skin, weight loss and of course no allergic reactions.
“We are cross fit trainers as well and cross fit goes hand in hand with paleo living. The exercise is based on the movements of cave men and so a paleo diet works well with that. A lot of our patrons regularly cross fit train”
Again not too sure if that is for me, but I was definitely hooked on the food.
What pushed me a little further over into the I am so excited about this cafe, is that every item on the menu is gluten-free. It ain’t easy to be a gluten-free, pescatarian traveller who also likes to eat low (if not free from) sugar.
Thank you Paleo Cafe for giving me these options with food that tastes bloody sensational!
Deciding what we wanted for lunch was a task in procrastination – the choices were far too good. I finally settled on the Dukkah crusted local ocean fish and Craig the mango and avocado salad with prawn.
I didn’t care how full I was, I made sure to not leave a single flake of fish on my plate. The fullness was topped with a layer of deliciousness and missing that unhealthy, gluttonous fatty layer.
I was going to call it a day until Marlies mentioned the coffees.
“You use coconut milk in your coffee?”
“Yes. We didn’t want to segregate a whole market of people who like milk in their coffee so we do offer dairy and soy options, but the healthiest way is with almond or coconut milk.”
I sat up creating a little extra space in my stomach. Maybe this paleo is for me. I am obsessed with coconut and ignoring my decision not to have coffee today, I asked for a coffee with coconut milk.
Maybe if I had this every day I might not be so attacked by the coffee guilts each time I have one. It was delicious. The only problem is now I have to fly to the Paleo Café in Cairns if I want one as no other café in Australia would probably offer it.
There’s a reason why the Paleo Cafe is becoming a Cairns destination rather than just a random place to eat. Put it on your bucket list and feel healthy on your travels.
Would you like to eat here regardless?