Update (25/04/2016): Alas, the online store has ceased operations. Looks like we have to source for these condiments at other locations!
I’ve lamented before that it’s never easy to eat paleo in Singapore. Every time I go to the supermarket, I have to read the ingredients label of everything I buy. Recently I was looking for miso soup paste and I had to study the back of every packet to find one that didn’t use MSG.
There is now a new online shop in town called The Naturalyst catering to us fussy paleo eaters. Run by a lady named Regina Soh who shares the same frustrations as me about the difficulties of healthy eating, she has stocked her online shop with essential paleo ingredients such as Red Boat fish sauce, which contains just two ingredients: fresh caught wild black anchovies and sea salt. Popular paleo blogger Nom Nom Paleo loves it in her dishes. It’s really freaking difficult to find sugar-free sauce so Red Boat fish sauce is a must.
I’m also excited by her supply of coconut aminos, which is used in the paleo world as a replacement for soy products. Coconut aminos are great when you need salty flavouring. I’ve used it to fry Shirataki no-calorie noodles. Before knowing of the existence of the Naturalyst, I bought my bottle of coconut aminos from iHerb.
So without further ado, let’s meet Regina and see what the paleo diet has done for her health.
Interview with Regina from The Naturalyst
1. Hi Regina! Please introduce yourself to our audience.
My name is Regina (a Singaporean) and I’m the founder of The Naturalyst. Besides eating healthy in a bid to steer clear of diseases and putting on fats, I also make it a habit to get active. Cycling is my weekend activity and I take walks every morning. I also do strength training because it makes me feel really good.
2. Why did you start this website and what is your personal healthy philosophy?
The reason I started The Naturalyst is because eating healthy in Singapore is too difficult. It’s not because are we surrounded by deliciously tempting hawker food, but rather, healthy ingredients are hard to get. Coconut aminos (a soy-free replacement for soya-sauce) is a good example. Even though we know where to get the good stuff, they are either too costly or too far from where we live. In fact, I’ve gone the mile just to get the different ingredients located in different parts of Singapore to stock up for a healthier pantry. And having done that a few times, I’m frustrated with the hassle and the amount of time these errands take.
In addition, some of the food products (even organic ones) labelled “healthy”, “fat-free”, or “sugar-free” etc. are in fact not as healthy as many think they are. If one were to scrutinise the ingredients label, one would find that there are a lot of unnecessary stuff added – chemicals, preservatives, and sugar. These are all harmful when consumed on a long-term basis. Truly healthy products should contain only the minimum. For instance, almond milk should contain only almonds and not “complemented” with guar gum.
As such, I decided to do something for myself, to consolidate all healthy products in one place. Hence, the birth of The Naturalyst. What I’m essentially doing with The Naturalyst is to sort out the truly chemical and sugar-free products from the clutter and make them easily accessible in one location, so that you don’t have to search high and low like I do.
When it comes to healthy eating, my philosophy is very simple – be good most of the time and reward yourself with comfort food occasionally. I follow the Paleo/Primal lifestyle closely as possible on week days and only indulge on weekends. I believe in indulgence because a slight stray will satisfy your palate. And the fact that I wasn’t that disciplined on week ends made me even more eager to get back on track again when it comes to start of a new week. It’s all about knowing what works for you in the long run. Besides, I’m are trying to be primal in an urban city which means certain social functions are inevitable. I don’t really have a choice to choose the right type of food. However, I avoid grains, legumes and sugar as much as possible.
3. What do you eat on a typical day and what health benefits have you seen since starting a paleo diet?
After starting to eat a paleo diet, I realised I do not need to eat meals at fixed intervals. In the past, apart from breakfast, lunch and dinner, I snack in between because hunger would start to kick in every 3-4 hours. If I had to describe myself, I would use the phrase “a hungry woman is an angry woman”. That was in the past. Nowadays, I usually skip breakfast and eat only lunch and dinner. And do I snack in between? Yes, only when I’m hungry. My rule is to not eat when I’m not hungry.
My lunch and dinner would usually revolve around poultry, fish, eggs and vegetables. I try not to eat out during the week days and all meals are home cooked. This way, I have control over what is added and fortunately for me, I love to cook. It was easy to eliminate sugar out of my diet for I was already doing it. But to also take away grains and legumes made me feel deprived initially. But just one week into the paleo diet and I discovered it was not the end of the world without grains and tofu!
I don’t see the paleo diet as a diet now. It’s more of a lifestyle for me because I’ve experienced benefits I’ve never felt before, including:
- No energy dips in the day
- Able to go without food for 6-7 hours a day without being cranky
- No cravings for carbs in the form of bread, rice, pasta etc
- Better control over portion size and temptations
- Better skin
And the best part is… effortless weight loss!
I wasn’t fat to begin with but I could stand to lose a few pounds of fat. Within a few weeks of eating right, I knew I was losing fat without even stepping up on a weighing scale. My tummy became much flatter, and the two flabs of meat on my upper right and left thigh weren’t rubbing against each other that much. Sorry for the image here but it’s true.
4. And lastly, what are the star products?
There are several popular products – coconut oil, coconut aminos and Mae Ploy’s Green Curry paste.
Do check out Regina’s online shop at http://http://thenaturalyst.com/
One important thing to note is that it takes about 2 weeks for the orders to arrive at your doorstep because they do not hold any stock. Regina recommends that you order two weeks in advance your desired delivery date.