Before we left I did some research on eating gluten-free in Rarotonga… the results were not encouraging.
That is why we decided on the self-catering villa – so that, if it was too hard to find gluten-free food, that we would be able to buy food at the local supermarket and cook for ourselves.
It wasn’t difficult at all. All the restaurants we ate at had at least some knowledge of what it meant to need to eat gluten-free. We cooked breakfast at our villa – bacon, eggs and most days fried potato – all cooked in butter.
Then we would go out for lunch. We always ordered a fish dish – tuna, waho, mahi mahi. My favourite was a dish called Ika Mata – fish marinated in lemon juice until ‘cooked’, then served in coconut cream with chopped up salad ingredients – delicious, fresh and zingy. We really enjoyed going out for lunch – the restaurants and cafes are almost always in a beach setting, so the views are so gorgeous – white sand, sea so blue you would just not believe it. It seemed a shame not to enjoy the views, which you can’t really do at night because it is too dark to see anything! It doesn’t hurt that lunch meals are usually a little cheaper than dinner. The servings were huge – Rarotongans are large people , and I was usually not able to finish my meal. I don’t usually eat breakfast – let alone a cooked breakfast, but Rick just loves a cooked breakfast.
We found we were unable to buy fish at the supermarkets which was disappointing – apparently fish is pretty scarce around the Cook Islands – most of what is caught goes to the restaurants first. So for dinners we bought mostly steak. The steak comes from NZ and is export quality. It is FABULOUS – it really sucks that we can’t get this quality of beef at supermarkets here. Food is expensive in Rarotonga, because most of it is imported from NZ – most of the usual crappy processed food is available and there are a few gluten-free products available.
For dinner we would fry the steak and have it with salad leaves and potatoes. We didn’t have any salad dressings – I didn’t think to bring any with me and we couldn’t bring ourselves to buy a huge jar of mayonnaise which we would then have to leave behind. We didn’t really miss the dressings at the time.
I didn’t make any attempt to follow my Primal diet. I was happy to just eat gluten-free. However, because we were eating simple food, I found that I was pretty much following the diet anyway. I ate some chocolate (Whittaker’s 72% Ghana Peppermint) and drank a couple of glasses of wine each night. I did not expect to lose weight – I ate an awful lot of food.
HOWEVER – when we got home and I changed out of my drawstring summer trousers into my winter-weight trousers that have a proper waistband, I found they were a bit looser… I measured my waist and I have lost another INCH!!!!!
I have decided I am never going to weigh myself again. I’m going to track my progress through the measurements. I am simply astonished that I have had this result. I’ve bought Mark Sisson’s book The Primal Blueprint and have just started reading it. This diet works. That is all I can tell you.
It is not a diet where you feel deprived. All the blogs about it say that if you feel like eating a piece of cake – eat a piece of cake. It won’t hurt you. Then for the next meal, just eat meat (or chicken or fish) and vegetables again. I love the idea that if I want it I can have it, and I don’t need to feel guilty. Mark Sisson has an 80/20 guideline – if you eat 80% Primal and 20% not Primal, the diet will work just fine for you – I can live with that