Chef Rocco Antonelli and the Paleo Diet

Over the 30 years I’ve been cooking professionally, time in the kitchen has taught me one very important lesson – to make the very best food products, you have to start with the very best ingredients. Similarly, if you want to look, feel, and perform at your very best, you must feed your body accordingly. These days, I start with what I now know are the very best ingredients; simple, honest, fresh foods, free from chemicals, additives, and preservatives. I source organic produce whenever possible and use only the best beef, pork, chicken, and fish available to me. Of course, I didn’t always do this this.

Rewind back to about six months ago. Picture this – a somewhat flabby, late 40-something chef, munching on everything I made in my commercial kitchen with wreckless abandon. (emphasis on ‘wreck’ and the mis-spelling is mine, purposely) If I made it for clients, I ate it. And cooking gourmet food on a daily basis had me using some of the best of the worst ingredients one can eat. And I was eating this stuff every day- full fat milk and creams, cheeses, processed meats, lots of grains, pasta, and more. These were ingredients that I thought were actually high ‘quality’. But what is quality anyway? I mean, it tasted good, but afterwards I always felt tired. Or sick. Or both. And I was stuck in what seemed like an endless loop of sick and tired. This was most definitely not a ‘quality’ feeling I was experiencing.

Then one day in the kitchen, I met Dave from Paleo On the Go, who was living the Paleo lifestyle and had chefs cooking it on a daily basis and I was intrigued. Over the next few weeks I watched, listened, and learned. Call it my own personal culinary osmosis. They were using costly, expensive, and amazing ingredients – organic produce, grass fed and finished beef and pork, antibiotic-free, pasture raised chicken and wild-caught cold-water seafood of the utmost quality. They left out the additives, the preservatives, the thickeners, the oils and the sugars. They left out the grains too! What sort of ‘kitchen-sorcery’ was this? So I did my own research. I checked out the Paleo diet on the web and found Sarah Ballentyne’s excellent website, and found answers to some of my tough questions.

Once I had explored enough quality information, I decided that eating a Paleo based diet was for me a great option. You see, what I haven’t mentioned yet is that medically I was a mess. I had hit what my doctor had jokingly referred to as the medical ‘trifecta’. I had the big three maladies that plague good health – Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and High Cholesterol. And I felt that getting Paleo would help me so decided to give it a try. And guess what? I’m a new person now.

Five months later I’m down 25+ pounds. I’ve also absolutely astounded my doctor, who is ready to take me OFF my Diabetes meds that I’ve been on for almost ten years. My blood pressure has normalized enough that I may soon come off of that medicine too! I’m awaiting my cholesterol test results, but I’m willing to bet that my high cholesterol has come way down as well!

Now I smile, knowing that by making some life-adjustments, including a eating Paleo based diet, that I’ve actually won the REAL ‘trifecta’ and that’s the one of improved health. I feel good, I look good, and I have more energy.

And that’s something money can’t buy…. A winning Trifecta indeed!

From the Kitchen,

Rocco Antonelli
Culinary Warrior