Love him or loathe him, there's no denying Pete Evans is shaking up the health and wellness sector
Pete Evans is a celebrity chef, restaurateur and author, but more commonly recognised as (excuse the pun) a well-seasoned television presenter on Seven’s erstwhile top-rating My Kitchen Rules.
He has also become something of a news media staple due to his views on diet, health and wellness, many of which are way outside both the acceptable mass and media rhetoric, as well as long-held medical practices.
Evans’ views are polarising; people either love him or loathe him, depending which ethos they uphold or personal wellness path they’re on, if any at all.
"Your gut CAN stop the proper absorption of vital nutrients AND eating incorrectly CAN actually cause inflammation to the body and mind and some Might even say, spirit".
But he’s savvy enough to unashamedly ride the wave of negative exposure to his benefit, making lemonade out of lemons in taking the opportunity to share his knowledge, with a side serve of his trademark down-to-earth, laid-back persona. And therein lies the rub. Evans is undeniably likeable, regardless of his beliefs. He is also nobody’s fool, but well researched and articulate.
Make no bones about it, his popular diet, The Paleo Way, has won him thousands of converts whose testimonies show a wealth of health, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits stemming from three core components: diet, exercise and mindfulness.
'I only recommend what works for me (and many others),” explains Evans.
'And I always insist if people are interested in the information in my books, then to please consult their healthy health professional.
'I say that for two reasons.
'One is so people are guided professionally by their doctor.
'Secondly, I love for people to get their blood tests done prior, during and after a while on The Paleo Way so not only do they have the evidence, but their doctor also sees it. It opens the mind to how powerful this way of living may be for many.
'As for its `secret’ - are you ready, as it's extremely controversial?,' he laughs.
'Okay, here it is … meat and vegetables. Yes, that’s what all the controversy is about; eating based off an ancestral diet to the best of our ability in 2020.
'This means well-sourced meat and seafood that is sustainable and benefits the planet, and also spray-free or organic vegetables and fruit.
'Of course, you can include eggs and nuts and seeds also if you choose, but really it is meat, seafood, vegetables and fruits as its main foundation'.
The beauty of Paleo is in its simplicity, according to Evans.
'I don’t think there is anything hard about eating the most delicious meat, seafood and vegetables. It only seems to be hard for the journalists and dietitians who continue to say it is hard.
'All I hear from people who follow this way of life is how easy and delicious it is. You may want to ask the people who say it is hard why they think it is hard.
“It doesn’t bother me as it creates more awareness and debate, then hopefully more investigation from the people who read it.”
'Perhaps they just like opening boxes and packets instead of actually cooking?'.
When I question Evans about the flak he regularly cops, he is realistic in his acceptance of a media world that can make you or break you, as can their advertisers.
'It’s [media’s] job to protect their sponsors. To every journalist who has ever asked me for comment, I have suggested they talk to the doctors promoting this way of life. Do you know how many have followed me up on that zero! Not one over the last decade,' he said.
'Do you know how many have followed up with any of the thousands of people who have personally shared their stories with me and on my social media page and I have also offered for interview? Yep, also zero.
'So if they don’t want to interview the people benefiting from it or the health professionals promoting it, but would rather just ridicule and create sensationalised headlines and lies about me … I think the answer is pretty clear. Or at least clear for anyone who can think critically.
'It doesn’t bother me as it creates more awareness and debate, then hopefully more investigation from the people who read it.
'The number of people who have said they decided to investigate for themselves `as something about the constant negative press just didn’t seem right’ has been amazing.
'Every story that is created to try to ridicule me and Paleo inadvertently helps more people to discover the truth!'.
Evans says he discovered his calling through personal self-discovery, a process that’s ongoing and largely by way of trial and error.
'You could say, I like to be a detective for my whole life experience, this life I get to create on a daily basis. I am extremely grateful for all my decisions in the past, present and the ones I will make in the future. I own them all and I am responsible for everything in my life' he said.
'I don’t actually have a job. I have a passion and a life purpose of expressing myself creatively through many different avenues, and I do it with a smile on my face and I am a very curious person so I will continue to learn as much as I can for as long as I can'.
What’s next for Evans is, unsurprisingly, another controversial topic:
'We are about to release a film about cannabis and many more cookbooks and other exciting projects that keep me inspired'.
I come away with the feeling that, for Pete Evans, success doesn’t lie in fame, fortune or even recognition, however debatably its achieved, but will always lie firmly within his own personal experience and definition.
And there’s something really powerful and healthy about that.