Can Paleo dieters eat chocolate? Easter eating explained

Andy Zakeli

Feel the guilt but eat the chocolate anyway. You know you want to.

Did Palaeolithic people invent the Easter egg hunt?

New research shows the closure of supermarket chain Countdown for Cavemen, approximately 10,000 years ago, may have forced the hunter-gatherer civilisation to put down its activated kale smoothie and forage for actual food – including the eggs of ancestral chickens.

None of the above is true. But today, three months after your New Year’s resolution to go Paleo, follow the 5:2 diet or seriously do the Dukan, you may be wondering: Can I eat Easter eggs?

Bad news from the country’s hottest exponent of Paleo, the eating plan that focuses on the unprocessed foods consumed by cave dwellers. Arthur Green (better known as The Bachelor NZ) insists, "on a strict paleo diet, you can’t eat regular chocolate".

Your bedroom eyes are wasted on The Bachelor, he ain’t sharing that chocolate.

However Green, who co-owns the company Clean Paleo, says, "you can eat Paleo chocolate which is usually sweetened with dates or honey and tastes just as good".

And, in a shock revelation, The Bachelor says he will be eating dark chocolate this Easter.

"As I don’t let my lifestyle get in the way of enjoying chocolate."

While yet to appear twice a week on primetime television, the country’s hottest 5:2 diet follower, Sunday Star-Times columnist and music writer Grant Smithies, said he wouldn’t be fasting today.

"You can shift your days so you can pig out vigorously."

Smithies has lost 15kg on the diet that requires minimal calorie intake on two days every week. One of its toughest aspects, he says, has been limiting alcohol on fasting days.

"I’ve developed a reasonably punishing enthusiasm for craft beer and a decent beer is your day’s calorie intake in one go. You’d want to say no to the communion wine, I reckon, and not just because it’s the actual blood of Christ."

This 5:2 dieter is happier with buns than eggs.

Smithies, who describes himself as an "enthusiastic atheist" said he enjoyed the way Easter traditions like rabbits and eggs, had been borrowed from earlier pagan springtime rites. While he wasn’t a big fan of chocolate eggs, Smithies said he would be leaving room for hot cross buns from Nelson bakery Tozzetti.

"You have to virtually buy them on HP [hire purchase] because they’re so expensive. But they’re really dense and really great."

While Easter eggs have been stores for weeks now, Easter Sunday is, traditionally, the day of consumption. But what if you are following a food fad? Herewith, an unscientific guide to what you can (and can’t) eat.

THE CABBAGE SOUP DIET

The clue is in the name. This seven-day programme requires the dieter to consume vast amounts of cabbage, a brassica best known for inducing flatulence. Ground activated charcoal inhibits fart production, but so far, is not commercially available in Easter egg form. Look, instead, for products containing fennel seed or ginger.

Recommended: Molly Whoppy’s Nice n’ Iced Easter gingerbread shapes. (Includes two bunnies and three eggs).

THE PALEO DIET

Based on ancestral foods consumed during the Palaeolithic era, a period that wound up when humans figured farming was easier than foraging. In his new book celebrity paleo-chef, Pete Evans recommends pasture-raised, free-range, organic biodynamic eggs. He says they’re "particularly great" for breakfast. He also thinks it’s ok to feed babies a DIY "milk" formula made from liver and bones. Proceed with caution.

You know he’s day dreaming about Easter Eggs. Go on Pete, have one…just one

Recommended: First, purchase your ancestral chicken. (Brown shaver hens approximately $13 this week on Trade Me).

THE 5:2 DIET

Aka intermittent fasting. This diet imposes severe calorie restrictions – 2100kj for women – on two out of every seven days. You can eat absolutely anything you like for the other five days. Catholics should note the blood and flesh of Christ has been measured by some calorie counting websites at approximately 29 kilojoules.

Recommended: Two Cadbury crème eggs and one large head of cauliflower (1436kj for the chocolate; 664kj for the cauli; adjust according to gender and religious beliefs).

THE LOCOVORE

Lauded by the eco-conscious who eschew food with food miles in favour of that produced within a pre-determined radius – commonly, 100 miles – of their home. New Zealand is geographically small, so we get a bit of scope, but not enough to take advantage of the marmite or pot noodle flavoured Easter eggs British press trumpeted in January.

Recommended: Devonport Chocolate’s white chocolate fried eggs or Easter bunny lollypops. (Obviously, some consumers will have to move to Devonport. New QV figures put the median house price in the suburb at $1.3).

THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET

Want the body of a Greek god? (Or just that of a Greek?) Think plants, olive oil, limited red meat and plenty of fish and poultry. This is the diet based on the foods most consumed by healthy-hearted Mediterraneans. Nuts, eggs and chocolate containing more than 50% cocoa are all permitted.

Recommended: The Central Otago Pinot Noir Wine Story by the Seriously Good Chocolate Company. (Technically, nothing to do with Easter, but there’s wine and there’s chocolate. Suck it up).

THE DUKAN DIET

What you eat on the high-protein Dukan Diet depends on which of its four phases – attack, cruise, consolidate or stabilise – you’re enduring. In attack mode, for example, you must eat from a pre-approved list of 68 things that used to have a heart.

Recommended: Slow-braised wild rabbit stew, topped with flaky pastry, served with a wide of roasted vegetables, $26 at the Darfield Hotel’s Backcountry Kitchen. (Easter: it’s ok to be a bunny boiler).

 – Stuff