Start here

Thanks for dropping by.

Before you starting reading my posts (aka my rants), here is a little sample of things that make me mad. I have made a list of several priceless pieces of Conventional Wisdom (CW). In italics below you will find my take on them.

Jump in, sit still and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times.

1. A calorie is a calorie. As long as you eat less and move more you will lose weight.

Our weight is regulated by hormones, not calories.

 2. Cholesterol is evil. You need to avoid it in your diet at all costs and this will reduce your blood cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

 Cholesterol is a substance essential to life and health. Dietary sources of cholesterol do not have any correlation with heart disease. Blood cholesterol values are nearly useless in predicting a possibility of a heart attack or death.

 3. Saturated fat clogs your arteries and makes you unhealthy and fat. You must avoid it by substituting butter with margarine, only consuming low-fat dairy and cutting fat off your steak.

 Saturated fat consumption has no correlation with heart disease or obesity. Replacing natural animal fats with man-made highly processed vegetable and seed oils contributes to our bodies’ pro-inflammatory state.

 4. You need several servings of healthy whole grains daily to provide necessary nutrients for health and fibre to keep you full and your bowels regular.

 Grains are not a natural part of human diet. We are not birds. We have not evolved to process grain products and have no need for them. They can disrupt digestion and metabolism. They can also be downright toxic to some people.

 5. You need to eat 5-6 small meals a day to rev up your metabolism, avoid spikes in insulin and maintain healthy weight.

 Humans are not cows who graze all day. We can function perfectly well on 1-2 meals a day. The breakdown of muscle tissue after 3-4 hours with no food is a MYTH, perpetuated by the makers of protein shakes and cereal bars.

 6. You need to exercise at moderate intensity for 30-60 minutes every day to keep your heart healthy, maintain your weight and live longer (you lazy fat slob).

Exercise should be short in duration, high in intensity. There is no evidence that doing it 7 days a week is better than once a week. Do resistance training for strength, bone health and metabolic effect. Do random stuff for fun, sense of well-being and social interaction. 

7. You need to have rigid x:y:z ratios of macronutrients in your diet. According to this new diet [insert the latest fad here], as long as you have x% of calories from protein [carbohydrates, fats, acai berry], it doesn’t matter whether it comes from a chemical cocktails (errr, I mean, a protein shake) or a piece of steak.

 Stop reducing food to a sum of its parts. Eat real meals, made out of pronounceable ingredients which you could easily find yourself on a farm.

 

The list is far from exhaustive, but it will do to start with. Feel free to share your favourite CW pearls.

 What is it you say? I have no evidence? On the contrary. Please check Resources section regularly or send a comment with your questions.

82 thoughts on “Start here

  1. Fantastic list! I’m so glad I found this. You have neatly summed up everything I have been wanting to communicate to my loved ones about all the nutrition research I’ve been doing. I look forward to reading more!

    • This was actually my initial motivation in writing this list as well: to explain my “weird” eating habits to my friends and family. Welcome to the blog.

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  3. Great stuff on here Anastasia. All so true. Nice to see someone in the medical profession (soon to be!) leaning away from the generally accepted BS that flows from so many medical ‘experts’ re health and wellbeing.

    Have you though about distributing your ‘rant’s via newsletter? I reckon u would get plenty of subscribers signing up to hear your thoughts.

    • Thanks Tony. This blog is like an outlet where I can say what I really think instead of toeing the party line for exams. The newsletter will probably happen eventually when I am done with constant exams. For now you can subscribe to new posts at the bottom of the screen.
      Glad you are enjoying it.

      • Here’s my candidate for myth #7: that exercise will get rid of body fat! I proved that one to myself after six months of 2hours/3x-week religiously. I admit my cardiovascular health improved, but the fat on my stomach didn’t budge, and I was soooo disappointed — it was the whole reason I tried so hard! Now I understand better the reasons why that didn’t happen: it’s what you say, the hormones. Thank you for a great blog :-)

  4. this is an amazing resource! Thank you for spelling it out in such an easy and doable way. Nutrition gets so over complicated for the public that they just settle for it.
    I’m a huge fan of this blog!

  5. I have added your blog to my blog roll, as I love reading it, thanks to the intro by Emily Deans.

    I like the photo, but I think nowadays, even modern grandparents don’t know what food is anymore.

    • Hi Wati. Welcome to the blog. Maybe we should change the caption to “greatgreatparents”? :)Thank you for including me on your blogroll, by the way sweet potato muffins with rice flour look delicious.

  6. This is exactly the page I need to explain my diet to my husband. He has ‘fat phobia’ and thinks that he’s actually feeding himself by consuming whole grains. He doesn’t get that he’s actually depleting his body of nutrients by eating that garbage. I’m going to read this page to him over dinner tonight. I just want him to live longer. Thanks, so much for an amazing site. Any chance of a podcast?

    • You are very welcome, Shannon. I don’t see myself doing a podcast in the near future. I can write a post on the train to the hospital (if a person next to me doesn’t talk/eat/snort/play horrible music) but I can’t do it with a podcast. Plus the accent would be an issue for some :). Good luck with your husband!

  7. Thanks Anastasia! I have just found my way here through a link from Balanced Bites. I love the sincerity and succinctness of your “conventional wisdom” rebuttals and like others I think I will be checking in regularly. Awesome stuff!

  8. There is nothing “natural” about eating animal fat. Humans are primates, like apes and monkeys, and have the exact same digestive system. Primates get their protein primarily from eggs, insects, worms, and grubs. You are making statements with no scientific data, just silly assumptions. Yes, cultivated grains contribute to obesity and other health problems in our culture, but that’s because, like all animals, our instinct is to eat as much as we can while it is available. Count calories and you will lose weight and be healthy. I’m glad you have at least one person in your family with a lick of sense.

    • It’s quite interesting that you accuse me of lacking scientific data but offer none for your statements. I would suggest you reconsider your statements regarding humans and primates having exactly the same digestive system. Primates are an extremely heterogenous group with various dietary adaptations. Digestive systems are accordingly varied. Colobine monkeys for example have 2-chambered stomachs. Not so similar to humans, are they? Our closest primate relatives, chimpanzees, eat other animals, including primates. 

      To start I would recommend this article on comparative anatomy of primates from a well-respected author Tim Billings, who happen to be a vegetarian. (http://www.beyondveg.com/billings-t/comp-anat/comp-anat-1a.shtml
      Here is another article from the Vegetarian Resource Group (http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/omni.htm). I assume you will find vegetarian sources more convincing) about humans as omnivores, adapted to both plant and animal food sources. After you get some basic education on primates, humans and their respective digestive systems please get back to me so we can continue this discussion. Thanks for your contribution.

    • Eggs are full of animal fat.
      When I was counting calories, I was gaining weight, because I was so tired from being hungry all the time I couldn’t exercise, and I couldn’t work without “protein snacks”– that on closer inspection turned out to be full of sugar. When I gave up 80% of the sugar and 80% of the grain I’d been eating, and potatoes too, and cut back about half on the chemicals, I suddenly had the energy to work without snacks, and could work out at 1-2 day intervals instead of 2-3 days without being too sore or getting injured. Some primates need more carbs than others, some need more fats and proteins.

  9. Are you aware that many primates are cannibals? That sounds a bit like animal fat to me…

    “Cannibalism is commonly thought of as the consumption of human flesh by other humans, however in the natural world, cannibalism can be a common occurrence, even in species as evolved as primates. Researchers and scientists have documented numerous, incidents in which many different species of primate have consumed the flesh of other primates..”

    Read more: http://greenanswers.com/q/138977/animals-wildlife/behavior/do-any-primate-species-practice-cannibalism#ixzz1VOCfwhZG

    That is one among many articles on this subject. Here is a search you might want to look at about Primates and Cannibalism:

    http://www.bing.com/search?q=Are+primates+cannibals%3F&go=&qs=n&sk=&form=QBLH

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  11. Hi Anastasia,
    I have just started reading your blog and was wondering if you are taking on patients or could recommended a doctor/nutritionist with the same way of thinking as you. That would be much appreciated.
    Sarah

  12. I am an undergraduate university student in the States with her mind set on medical school (it wont be long, now!) and I must say I am very comforted and somewhat relieved to see you are as disenchanted with “popular health” (is that already a magazine?) as I am. I find your blog to be highly entertaining, yet grounded. Thank you for putting this blog together. Congratulations on your achievements and cheers for the road ahead!

    • Thank you Morgan. I have to say I love medicine but I just don’t like what it is becoming. I think doctors can make a big difference in people’s life, we just need to try not to give our patients any more reasons to distrust us. You will love medical school (and hate it sometimes too). Just keep an open mind and approach everything with critical thinking. Lots of luck.

  13. Awesome! I have been doing a tremendous amount of reading on diet and health in the past 3 months (which started with my husband’s annoucement that he was stopping his statin drug…I panicked and began to read…I’m no longer panicked…I’m happy about it!) and I have learned SO much. However, I have a daughter who is a first year resident in Family Medicine and she seems to think I’m reading quack medicine on the internet. She gets mad if I try to state anything contrary to the propoganda she’s been fed. I have hopes that her eyes will be opened as she watches what happens to her Dad and I. I wish I knew how to open her mind. I am encouraged that you have had the same propoganda and have not succombed to it! Keep up the good work. The world needs more doctors who aren’t so influenced by big pharma.
    Patti

    • Hi Patti, that must be so frustrating! I shouldn’t criticize because I have said and done the same thing a couple of years ago. I was lucky to come across the right books and the right people. An open mind definitely helps. Hopefully your daughter will see your own progress. If you can convince her to read about the subject I would recommend Gary Taubes “Good calories bad calories”, as I think this book is most suitable for medical professionals. Keep educating yourself and your husband, you are definitely on the right path.

  14. Really comforting to see a future MD with some knowledge on nutrition! First page of the blog and I am in love already! I wish you all the success in the world!
    From (apparently, your natural enemy) a naturopath :P

  15. I just found your blog, and plan to ‘poke around’ a bit when I have time. In brief, I agree with many of your points (in general and on this page) but would like to nitpick a few things.
    1. A calorie is a calorie. As long as you eat less and move more you will lose weight.
    Our weight is regulated by hormones, not calories.
    I both agree and disagree with this. Meaning that hormones and macronutrient composition of our diet as well as carbon (weight) control our weight. More specifically….
    What about the general concept of Carbon balance? The carbon (bonds) in foods that we eat have a somewhat set amount of energy (kcals) that is released during metabolism. Now certain enzymatic pathways to process certain substrates will differ in the energy released (ATP, NADH, etc.). But for the most part, they have that amount of energy potential (in the bonds) independent of how we process those energy bonds (I.E. metabolic efficency of fat to adipose tissue, protein metabolism, etc.)
    The carbon that comes “in-in” (in to the mouth and is ultimately absorbed as M.E. ) is stuck in until it is metabolized. So what I am saying is that the weight of the organism is still determined by the amount of carbon that comes in and goes out (primarily since carbon is what we need to get rid of).
    Now hormones (and other factors) change energy expenditure and pathways, but I would still argue that carbon balance (and thus energy balance) is still the trump card.
    What do you think? Where in your opinion, am I wrong?
    I would also like to discuss some aspects of muscle protein breakdown, maximizing MPS, and things of that nature at some other time.
    Good luck on your exams. I look forward to continuing this conversation….
    Dr. S……. PhD Human Nutrition…..

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Brian.  Sorry I took so long, been recuperating after the exams and I felt your comments needed my full attention.
      I see what you mean and I agree in principle. I’m not arguing the thermodynamics, it is certainly true that the carbon balance between in and out has to be achieved. My problem is when this concept is used inappropriately in real life. Human beings do not live in a metabolic ward with all variable controlled. Even if you lock two people of the same weight in a room and feed them the same meals you will still have differences due to (in no particular order) intrinsic metabolic rate, muscle mass, thermogenic effect of food, conscious activity, non-conscious activity etc. Then there is a problem of relying on calorie measurements of inputs: relying on the numbers provided by manufacturers, dieting websites, measuring out 100g exactly of salmon steak on your kitchen scales. C’mon that’s just silly. 
      My point is that animals in the wild do not have calculators, websites and nutrition tables. They rely on their metabolic signals to measure hunger/satiety/movement/playfulness. I think we have lost that skill. Our hormones are supposed to be perfectly well adapted to down regulate appetite and provide enough energy for spontaneous activity when we are well nourished. Any weight loss strategy which relies on counting calories and dragging your tired self out to exercise is bound to fail. As we have observed for the last 20-30 years.
      So my thoughts, Brian, is to try to encourage people to rediscover real food which will satisfy their appetite and prevent cravings, teach them what foods set off an abnormal hormonal (and emotional) response and encourage enjoyable activity.
      Thanks,
      Anastasia

  16. The problem with invoking carbon balance or, more generally, the First Law of Thermo, is that these explain nothing – they are constraints that must be true, but they aren’t knobs you can turn to make changes. The question is – _why_ is the body retaining more energy than it is expending when one gains weight? Often, the answer is hormonal effects caused by diet, or lesions in the brain, or tumors, or ….

    Someone pointed out the following: if at 5:00 p.m. one notices that there are 35 people drinking in a small bar, and someone says it’s because 35 more people recently entered the room than left, you’d say “so what?” The real answer is “Happy Hour.”

    • Hi Chip, I’m pretty sure the analogy belongs to Gary Taubes. He came up with another fitting one. If obesity is caused by consuming too much calories, alcoholism is caused by drinking too much alcohol. D’er. Gives you zero information why one person has 1 glass of wine with dinner 3 times a week and why another goes on to drink a bottle of bourbon before breakfast.

      • I recently found your blog following some paleo links. Very interesting: thanks for sharing your learning with us. My wife (we’re in our late 40s) was recently put on birth control pills to deal with some health issues. She is lean, muscular, active and swims regularly through the year. What fascinates me is that she clearly has put on some size around the middle, coinciding exactly with the pills. At the same time, she eliminated gluten and dairy. So in my estimation, she has improved an already clean diet (we don’t eat packaged foods) but now stores more fat. At the same time, I joined in the new diet to support her, but took the primal aspect further. I’ve dropped 5Kgs during the time that she gained wait–not that I wanted to lose weight. I just got leaner by eating better. How can her fat storage be anything other than hormone-related? It definitely isn’t the result of more calories or inactivity.

  17. Hi – I agree with almost everything you say, but the phrasing of 4. is somewhat unfortunate.
    Have you watched Matt Lalondes AHS presentation ?
    As a health professional, claims regarding causation are probably something one should be careful about.

    Keep up the good work !

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  19. Hey Anastasia. You blog is bloody fantastic. So happy to have found it! Wonderful to see a final year med student with soo much knowledge of real nutrition. I consume a diet which could be classed paleo (not that I outwardly tell most family and friends about such.) It has not been a cure for my health issues but it makes a tremoundous difference particuarly with hypoglycemia, digestive issues etc. Look forward to following your journey. Let me know when your practicing!

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  21. Hi – I have enjoyed back-tracking in your blog – and you write beautifully. Any chance of a search button some day? There was something I knew you had written – but I didn’t know which month. I did eventually find it…….but would rather have spent more time reading something else of yours! Please keep writing.

  22. Fantastic!!! I’m so glad I was given the link to your page through a good BLOG friend of mine. It really is an eye opener to me, as a vegetarian. I have now come to a point in my life, where i wanna try something new, do a self-experiment, go PALEO. You know, i always say that someone can JUDGE when he has done or experienced the thing/s he is or is going to judge.
    And reading this list from a doctor it surely gives me some kind of reinsurance about my decision.
    Ofcourse, i’m still gonna to some reading on PALEO and get to know the theory before going into practicing it, but at least you gave me a gut push for a positive start, and for that i’m REALLY THANKFUL TO YOU and hope you appreciate giving someone new meaning and hope.
    THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH!

    • Welcome to the blog. One of the main differences between Paleo and conventional wisdom is that we encourage people to experiment and find their own path. There are no gurus, you are your own teacher. Educate yourself, keep reading and the results will be worth it. Thank you for your kind words.

  23. Anastasia

    I learnt about you from Jimmy Moore. I first became aware of paleo through Art De Vany of Evolutionary Fitness fame. You are a new shining beacon in this movement and for that I am most grateful. I am Australian but now live in the UK. And it is so refreshing to see an Aussie perspective on this vital area of health and wellbeing.

    Best wishes
    John

  24. Just found your blog. Am glad for two reasons. 1) it’s Australian. Love all the other blogs out there but most are US based which isn’t always applicable for us aussies. 2) scientific but humorous.
    Nice work.

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  26. You have beautifully said everything I have learnt over the last couple of years and that I try to tell my friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Thank you! If you ever start a practice in Brisbane I will be your first patient! I’ve just listened to your chat with Jimmy Moore – well done.

  27. Hello Anastasia: Just discovered your site and love it. Read “Glorious Fat” part 1 and 2 and enjoyed it very much. Quick question please – if excess carbs convert into palmitic acid and causes leptin problem, does this make sat fat a bad thing? Or is this conversion a normal proces of one third of a fatty trigl?

    Thanks again!
    Jack

  28. Hello Anastasia: Love your site! Just read “Glorious fat” p 1/2 and enjoyed it very much. thanks for the clarification on fats. Quick question please – if excess carbs causes palmitic acid, does this make sat fat a bad thing? Or is this converstion a normal or 1/3 of a trig?

    Thanks again!
    Jack

  29. Hi Anastasia! I was just listening to your podcast with Jimmy Moore and I am so excited to have found a primal-minded doctor in Australia! Are you in Sydney? My husband owns a personal training studio in Double Bay (Primal Fitness) and we have been trying to find a good doctor to refer our clients to. Are you currently practising anywhere? I would love to catch up for a coffee with you, if you are interested. I am currently completing my degree in dietetics so would love to learn from your wisdom! I am sure you are extremely busy, but if you are interested in getting together for a chat, please pop me an email – kate@primal-fitness.com.au

  30. Oh wow, I have just found your blog from a link in Marks Daily Apple, which I follow and has helped me so much. This is a fantastic blog, and I am going to really enjoy the conversation. I am 50, and have been paleo/primal since august 11, and very low fructose since June 11. Cutting out sugar made me euphoric, but apart from laughing all the time, I still couldn’t loose weight. It was only when I found the paleo/primal world, that life has changed so much. PCOS is gone, insulin resistance (and it’s medication) is gone, GERD (and it’s medication, which I only took for a week, phew) is gone, allergies largely gone, sinus headaches gone, and 12 kilos gone!! First time I have been able to loose that weight since the birth of my second child 19 years ago!
    Food now is a celebration, we eat when we are hungry, 1 or 2 meals a day. My husband is trying, and my lads are a bit resistant, but living out of town helps when the bread mysteriously runs out.
    My doctor can’t dispute the positive turnaround in my health, though frets over my cholesterol which is high by CW standards (the worst in her practice!! Someone has to be there), but I am confident that my profile will change as I settle into a new body composition.
    I feel that I am still a work in progress, with more weight to loose and to try and get off the hypertension medication, but I am happy to allow my body to heal. Its taken decades to get to this point and I expect a few years to heal. It’s great to hear from people like you, which makes me fill a bit less alone, when choosing not to eat at a function where all the food is toxic to my health, I will never go back! We started eating so many eggs, we had to buy more chooks!!
    All the best for your residency, I hope you can get sufficient sleep amongst the long shifts, sorry this is so long,
    Cheers
    Heather in O’Connell, NSW

  31. Hi there! I’m just starting to investigate paleo in response to worsening GI health symptoms and a lifetime of being overweight, even when dieting and training. My one issue is that I really enjoy cooking, and write a food blog – I have heard that paleo food isn’t about creating “dishes”, but rather just putting several different things on a plate (see for me, I would prefer to not eat than eat like that). Can someone shed some light on what you might eat in a typical day? Also, I have heard you can eat only 1-2 times per day – is this true, and is it safe?

  32. From a 55 year old fitness nut, who lost a kidney to cancer, just over a year ago, ‘Thank you’ for your refreshing outlook, I am quickly losing faith in our medical fraternity, choosing to do my own research, to prolong my life. I hope for all our sakes that there are other like minded doctors in Australia, who don’t simply just tow the big Pharma/AMA line. Please keep up the good work.

  33. Beautiful bravo and wonderful. And bravo.
    I’m not alone.
    Ps my websight is just starting. I’ve been a personal trainer and nutrition hack for 30 years.
    Bravo my friend. May the wind be at your back.

  34. Hi Anastasia, Nice blog! Very informative! I’ll certainly come back here and read future (and old) posts!

    Grtz,

    Daniel, The Netherlands. (The country where Flora (“Becel” in Dutch) was invented)

  35. Hi Anastasia. I stumbled upon your blog via Mark’s Daily Apple. What a treat for my Monday morning day off work. I work as a GP in New Zealand. Back in June a series of commenst from unexpected places set me off on a new exploration and a whole new attitude to food, dieting, weight loss and health. As a conventional medic I have a good whack of skepticism curing through me. At least I can say I have opened my mind to change. Who can ignore Gary Taubes dissection of current/conventional wisdom? I have battled with my weight forever. I have a story common to most people who struggle with their weight. I feel like a whole new world has opened for me to take control of my health and my weight. I feel empowered to help my patients too. This in and of itself is difficult: how do I tell someone the statins I told them were necessary 6 mnths ago may not be so good after all. I will pick the apples off the tree one at a time with the patients I know will be the most receptive and least at risk ( in the eyes of CW). Hopefully little successes will accumulate and word will get out! Most of all I am hoping that my own self experiment will show the way for the people around me. I look forward to continuing reading your blog. I really understand your message, where it comes from and also just how eloquently you tell your story.

  36. Hi Anastasia
    An amazing find…just launching on a healthy eating plan and stumbled on the Paleo lifestyle and you. :)
    Do you do phone consults ?
    Kym

    • Hi Kym, glad you are finding the site useful. I currently do not do phone consults but I am planning to do consults via Skype and/or email in the future. These will not be in my capacity as a doctor as I obviously cannot treat patients over the Internet but general advice on nutrition and lifestyle. Watch this space.

  37. Heya Think I just became follower 300 – really enjoyed your blog. I have had an autoimmune disease – reactive arthritis – this year and have gone gluten free and head toward a paleo lifestyle, however, I am still very confused as I am a work out nut and everyone around me pushes protein, 5-6 meals a day, “healthy whole grains”. It is hard to change the habits of a lifetime (I am 46) but the confusion has meant I have put on weight and simply feel confused about how to go about diet and exercise these days. LSD or HIIT, yoga or triathlons, low carb, grain / no grain, high protein, vegetarian, low fat, high animal fat, dairy or no dairy, soy or no soy. I know too much to be ignorant about what I eat but only enough to be confused.

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  39. Hi,

    I know you’re not local to me but I was wondering if you know of any Brisbane Doctor’s that are low carb/paleo/primal aware and friendly? I have been searching for a while now with no luck and so I’m hoping perhaps you may be aware of someone in your network of like minded individuals. It would be greatly appreciated.

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  41. I am very excited about your blog. My doctor suggested I do the paleo lifestyle, as I have weight issues, along with high cholesterol and triglycerides. I would love your opinion on something. I also have fatty liver disease, and it is my first priority on working on. I have done some reasearch and I am confused. My doctor told me to give up oatmeal, one of my favorite foods. But, for fatty liver, I feel it would be very good for me. Could you please give me your advice on this. Thank you so much, and good luck with your blog!

  42. I have been following the paleo lifestyle for over 10 months now and am passionate about it and the health benefits it gives. I live in Christchurch and would love to be able to connect with others following this also, especially those with Families who are paleo also. Do you know of any groups etc that meet?

    • Hi Suzanne, welcome to the blog! We have only just come back from Christchurch where we ran a Paleo nutrition seminar! I am not aware of any current Paleo meet up group but there is nothing stopping you from starting one at Meetup.com. We has around 50 people at the seminar and I am sure there are plenty more out there. To keep an eye on Paleo events and news in NZ you can “Like” Whole9 South Pacific on FB and Twitter and for workshops go to whole9southpacific.eventbrite.com.au We have a workshop in Welly in June if you are interested.

  43. Love your blog! This is my first introduction to the paleo lifestyle…here in the states we hear “high protein, low carb is the way to go” and “As long as you count calories, you can eat whatever you want” and yet even with my background and certification as a personal trainer, I still have trouble losing weight and actually feeling healthy. I can’t wait to read more! Thank you so much for this enlightenment!!!

  44. Hi Anastasia, great blog! I am a like minded Clinical Psychologist living and working in Taree. Just so pleased to see a bright med student on this path. Food is fuel and medicine! I am linking health principles into my work practise, am amazed it is still considered somewhat “alternative”. Am loving the new research re gut and mental health too! Will enjoy your blog very much and perhaps we need to start a local society of sorts?

  45. Hi Anastasia,
    Are you still in the Port Macquarie Hastings region (info from primaldocs)? I am nearby (Camden Haven region) and have a dream/plan to set up a group along the lines of paleo/low carb information sort of thing. Or have you already done so?
    Cheers,

    Vicki

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