In this interview, I talk to the keto diet and fitness guru Scott Gooding about his real food and healthy living journey. He shares his tips for staying fit and eating in a nutrient-dense way.
We’re kicking off new series called Paleo Journeys, in which we interview bloggers, authors, medical practitioners, fitness gurus and those with amazing, life-changing stories about their health and well-being journey. As well as talking about their own paleo/primal/holistic lifestyle experience, our guests will share their favourite ingredients, cooking tips and fun facts. The aim of these interviews is to inspire, educate and motivate you to create your own, optimal paleo journey. We’re very excited to have Scott Gooding as our first guest.
A little bit about Scott Gooding before we get started
Scott is an advocate for health and fitness and promotes the path towards optimal health. An exercise specialist of 9 years with a background in exercise science, Scott has run a successful personal training and boot camp business in Sydney’s Bondi since 2005. Scott recently appeared on the popular cooking show – My Kitchen Rules with friend Luke Hines as “The Healthy Chefs” and promote healthy cooking to families across Australia. More recently Scott has published two books “Clean Living” – a healthy lifestyle book and Clean Living The Cookbook – paleo inspired recipes. Two more books have been written for the Clean Living series and will be out late 2014. Scott has been the resident foodie on the Live Well series on channel 7 and is an advocate for the Paleo lifestyle and brand ambassador for Nature’s Way Superfoods. Scott continues to share his message about health and aims to positively influence what people eat and how we move on a day to day basis.
Let’s find out more about Scott’s paleo journey!
How did you discover the paleo/primal diet and lifestyle?
Around 14 years ago I was living in a vegetarian household so my choice to eat meat came under scrutiny from myself more so than from my flatmates. I had been reading around the subject of nutrition and the concept of eating right for your blood type which was popular around that time. After being tested and discovering I was blood type-O which is labelled the “hunter-gatherer” or “caveman” it became clear to me then, as it does now, that we should be eating foods that our ancestors did.
What does paleo mean to you personally and how would you describe your own eating framework and lifestyle?
To me, paleo is a food philosophy embracing foods naturally found in the wild. It’s not necessary to hunt and gather anymore but for optimal nutrition and health, that’s how we should be thinking. In short, it’s the elimination of all things processed and refined, and eating foods in their most natural state. Men in the western world have adversely affected their health with foods introduced recently (last 10,000 years) so we need to get back on track by plugging into foods that nourish us, enabling us to thrive. My framework is constantly refining as I learn more and more about optimal health but essentially I eat a high-fat diet with varied sources of protein and minimal carbs. I also test my body every day physically, whether it’s a 5-minute workout or 1 hour – I aim to work up a sweat every day.
What are some of the major changes you’ve seen in the way you look and feel since you started your paleo journey?
I guess the number one difference for me is the increase in energy and not having dips in mood or energy as a result of food. Food should energise us and not make us sleepy or lethargic. I’ve also stripped excess fat. I’ve never been particularly overweight but now after years of being paleo, my body fat is relatively low.
What is the best thing about living a paleo lifestyle? What do you find challenging?
It’s the knowledge that I am nourishing my body and setting a healthy example to my son. The biggest challenge is eating out – I’m extremely lucky the part of Sydney I’m from has lots of options but the challenge comes when you travel and are on the road. The trick then is to plan ahead, making your own snacks or meals for the trip if necessary or researching what options there are at the other end.
In your opinion, how do you think paleo, as a lifestyle and as a movement, has evolved in the last few years and where is it going?
Paleo has become the buzz word in the last 12-18 months and has infiltrated the public consciousness which is exciting. Of course, there is resistance, but once people realise that it’s simply a diet promoting whole foods and avoiding a few harmful food groups, people’s fuss will recede. I believe Crossfit has had a lot to do with the speed at which the paleo movement has spread. For whatever reason, paleo and Crossfit go together and we have all witnessed the widespread popularity of Crossfit. I had the pleasure of sharing lunch with Dr. Loren Cordain recently who said for years no one listened to his message except a few close friends and family members. Over a couple of decades, it gained little momentum until he said it hit a critical mass and now he claims he goes anywhere in the world and people are talking about it and adopting it.
What are your favourite ways to stay fit and active?
As I mentioned I train every day, but have no set regime and choose to train how I feel on the day. I’m lucky to live in Sydney and close to the ocean so when the weather is good, I train outdoors. Otherwise, I’ll hit the gym and focus on plyometrics and Olympic lifting.
From My Kitchen Rules to your own cookbooks – you’re quite a foodie. Where does that passion come from and how did you learn to cook?
The passion stems from being aa healthy as I can be and being a role model for my son. The only way you can be 100% confident what’s in your food is to cook it yourself so that’s exactly what I’ve done for years. I grew up in the UK where my folks ran pubs in and around London, the food-focused pubs and my mum was an absolute gun in the kitchen but it was my dad who would sit with his head in cookbooks creating ideas for the menu. I guess growing up in that setting has rubbed off.
Do you have a favourite British dish? Well, there’s a few to choose from…..my memory of British food is Liver and Bacon, cockles, samphire, scotch eggs and black pudding. My mum made the best steak and kidney pie!
When it comes to food, what does your typical day’s menu look like?
I start the day with a bowl of banana and tahini with seeds, bee pollen, buckwheat and coconut oil. I’ll then have eggs for a second breakfast and usually the previous night’s leftovers for lunch. Dinner is often minced (lamb, beef, veal or roo) simply because it’s quick, affordable and versatile. I’ll snack on olives, pâté, nuts or broccoli.
What would you say your favourite treat or indulgence is?
I don’t really have a treat, to be honest, as boring as that sounds, there isn’t anything I sneak in when no one is around.
What are the top 10 foods/ingredients we are most likely to find in your grocery basket?
Smoked salmon, mince, garlic, ghee, broccoli, liver pâté, coconut oil, eggs, chilli and tahini
What are you must have gadgets and utensils for a healthy kitchen?
I have to say that my Vitamix gets a pretty good workout – great for nut butter, ice cream and smoothies. I also have a pressure cooker which I love….perfect for cold winter nights.
What’s the best well-being tip you’ve ever been given?
Get plenty of sleep.
What are 3 things people might not know about you?
I’m fascinated by natural history and watch nature doco’s most days. I have a specific fascination with cephalopods and have a cuttlefish and an octopus tattoo – soon to be adding a jellyfish on my arse. I can’t stand putting on jeans without socks on and struggle with unwrapping the foil from butter – that gives me the shivers.
If you could have anyone over for dinner (dead or alive), who would it be and what would you be eating?
Hands down – Sir David Attenborough. Perhaps sharing a slow-cooked beef cheek.
What’s your advice for someone starting their own paleo journey?
Make the changes in bite-size chunks. You are much more likely to adhere to the philosophy if the changes are incremental. Also, arm yourself with as much knowledge about nutrition and the paleo diet as you can – knowledge is power!
Would you be able to share one of your recipes with our readers?
Yes, my super easy paleo chocolate.