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Halfway there but lots of work to do

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  • Halfway there but lots of work to do

    For me the primal blueprint has been hugely disorienting because I grew up in an entirely vegetarian family. My parents and sister still eat a 100% vegetarian diet, and generally believe they are quite healthy. Given where they live - practically the obesity epicenter of the world - they aren't exactly wrong, but as I see them getting old and weak at an age where I'd still like to be vital.

    I'm sure I'm not the first person to shift from vegetarianism to primal. It's been fantastic physically and harder mentally, because I always understood that vegetarian = healthy/responsible and carnivore = fat/unhealthy/heart attacks. I grew up in a city with one of the largest meatpacking plants in north america so my idea of meat was colored by all the super-processed junk they churned out.

    Currently I'm healthy... but I could be a lot healthier. My weight is fine, I'd just like more strength, a leaner physique, and a diet that is a lot closer to the primal ideal.

    From the meet & greet template:

    Your location: Canada

    How Primal are you: halfway? I think I have the core down but there are a ton of little things that prevent me from saying I'm fully primal. I observe the basics of the diet - eating mostly protein and vegetables, snacking on almonds and fresh fruit. And I lift heavy things for at least 2 hours a week. Except that I also... drink coffee constantly, have a glass of whiskey almost every evening, chew a pack of gum every few days, and a lot of my exercise is still distance running. I consume cheese, wine, chocolate and cigars too often.

    Do you consume dairy: yes, a lot. My fridge currently has Cheddar, Gruyere and two kinds of soft cheese, plus butter and plain yogurt. I have been snacking on cheese forever and I'd like to phase that out a bit, though probably not completely.

    Do you drink coffee or tea: 5x a day at least. Believe it or not this is less than before, but obviously another area for improvement.

    Motivator for switching to Primal: Working in a professional setting and seeing how much this environment takes its toll on people's health. You look around and the average person at 40 is at least 20 pounds overweight, sleep deprived, living on coffee and muffins. I was drifting in that direction.

    Also I took a vacation to spain and experienced their wonderful diet - cured ham, simple seafood dishes, olive oil on everything, coffee and red wine in moderation. I had read a bit about the primal blueprint but this was somehow the Spanish food was catalyst that made me think radically switching my diet would be an improvement, not a sacrifice.

    Favorite exercise: cycling, bodyweight stuff like dips and pull-ups, kettleball exercises

    Favorite Primal food: I'm having it this evening, pulled pork. I love spicy food and deplete an industrial-sized tabasco container almost every month.

    Best part about being Primal: increased energy! I felt so laconic and tired before. I'd like to have kids and I was a little scared of it because if I was this tired without kids... how could I ever keep up with toddlers running around. Now I feel calmer, stronger, just more ready.

    I've dropped several pants sizes and throwing out all the oversized pants was one of the most gratifying moments of the past year, because my mental image of myself was always as someone lean and healthy.

    Better digestion and overall smoother physical functioning - sweating less, smelling better, falling asleep more easily, better circulation, etc.

    Worst part about being Primal: the usual doubts from family and friends who think you need an intervention from your "fad diet." Giving up beer. Dealing with sugar-addicted in-laws who want to eat a whole cake every time you get together. Lack of pizza.

    Here's to great things!
    My journal:

  • #2
    Good Luck, and enjoy the New Primal You:-) Grok On!
    Free your mind, and your Grok will follow!


    • #3
      Thanks for your reply!

      Some specific goals:
      • stop taking milk with coffee
      • eliminate "healthy" snacks like powerbars, energy bars, etc
      • give up gum - this one really shouldn't be that hard but I've failed on it before
      • try a new recipe every week
      • no whiskey except for special occasions and company - my old norm was 1-2 after work routinely

      So far so good...
      My journal:


      • #4
        Here's something to help you with ditching the powerbars:



        3 cups of nuts (mixture of whatever you like, or have access to)
        1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds
        1 cup pitted dates, or even dried pineapple or mango(these both have lower sugar than the dates)
        1/2 cup dried cranberries
        Juice from 1 lemon
        1-2 tbsp lemon zest
        1/2 cup coconut flakes
        1-2 tbsp ginger(chopped or grated)
        1/3 cup almond flour
        2 eggs
        1/8 tsp baking soda
        1/8 tsp baking powder
        1/4 cup molasses(i prefer using almond butter)
        1 tsp vanilla
        1 tsp ground cinnamon
        1 tsp ground Nutmeg
        I also like to add dark chocolate chips...Added bonus:-)
        Preheat oven to 325. Grease muffin pan(i use coconut oil for this). If you don't have a muffin pan, you can use a cookie sheet and just make a flat sheet and cut into squares when cooled.

        Mix nuts/dates(or mango, pineapple) in a food processor, or blender if you don't have a processor. Chop until the mixture is chopped, but not too fine. Pour into a bowl, then add the other ingredients and mix well. This usually makes about 10-12 muffins. Scoop into tray, and bake until tops are brown(about 20-25 minutes). Let cool, eat and enjoy
        Free your mind, and your Grok will follow!


        • #5
          Thanks! I'll definitely give them a try.

          To get things off on the right foot I made some of these last night:

          Cocoa and Coconut Snacks | Mark's Daily Apple

          No baking required which was good since I was getting a late start.

          So far so good. No gum, coffee only in the morning with no milk, no powerbars, homemade chili for lunch (not completely primal I suppose, as it contains black beans). Hopefully I'll get some exercise this evening.

          I had some wine last night at a neighborhood social gathering, and I will probably have a drink with my partner this evening, we often meet after work at a nearby irish pub on Tuesday evenings. Caesars are the closest thing I can find to primal drinking... it's an Irish pub so of course the standard fare is beer and whiskey. But they make a great Caesar with fresh-grated horseradish and lots of Tabasco and pepper.
          My journal:


          • #6
            So far so good. I find the snacktimes the biggest problems but I've managed to largely avoid any sweet things, broccoli with almond butter for an afternoon snack, a boiled egg with a pear for the morning snack.

            I worked out yesterday and tried to cut out the usual isolation stuff like dumbbell shrugs and instead do more dips, pull-ups and bench press. Very tired by the end but I think I can keep it up.

            I'm going out with friends for chinese food tonight, which is probably the easiest kind of restaurant food to keep primal (aside from whatever oils they use I guess?). My friends usually like to go for either burgers-and-beer or tacos, so I consider this a good omen for my attempt at being seriously primal, the universe is smiling.

            No whiskey thus far.
            Coffee in the morning only. No cream.
            one tiny piece of chocolate and some dried fruit, but otherwise no unnecessary sugars I can think of.

            I stocked the fridge with crunchy greens: cabbage, kale, broccoli and curley endive (I don't really like plain lettuce much). Got some plain and simple meals planned (e.g. baked salmon with salad). I like to cook but on weeknights simplicity is usually the key.

            read through a bunch of the testimonials and the "post a triumph" thread... some seriously inspirational material there. I'm absolutely in awe of what some of you have achieved.

            I suppose I should just move this over to the journal forum.
            My journal: