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New starter - one step at a time?

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  • New starter - one step at a time?

    Hi all,

    Sorry - this is long and rambly. I haven't read the book yet (it's on it's way!) but I've read a lot here and on other sites. I'm not entirely new to this as I've played around with trying to follow a paleo-type diet and I've been down on grains for nearly 2 years now, but I don't want to keep going back and forth anymore and primal seems like a good balance for me. I was diagonosed with PCOS and insulin resistance about 2.5 years ago (I'm 34 now). My specialist didn't come out and say low carb would be the way to lose weight (I had about 70 pounds to lose, have lost about 20 so far) but he sort of pointed me in that direction. Except then I'd get referred to dieticians as part of my 'health management plans' and omg their obsession with grains drove me nuts. About 6 months after the diagnosis I spent a month following Cordain's book (and I read a bunch of others, including Protein Power) and I lurched between feeling amazing (it turned out that I was gluten intolerant and so for the first time in my life my stomach didn't hurt) and half dead from what I realise now was carb flu. Basically, I felt great and knew that something was wrong with how I was eating before, but I was just wiped out. At the time I was doing 2 intense sessions per week with a personal trainer and I remember lying on the floor thinking even if the building caught fire, I still wouldn't have the energy to get up and do something about it.

    Anyway, I investigated the gluten issue (the reactions I had when I started letting it creep back into my diet after that month let me know without a doubt that there was something wrong), tested negative to celiac, blah blah, went gluten free anyway and felt amazing. Would never eat that poison again. So many symptoms resolved. But then I had two issues that sort of contradicted each other, if I continued to follow CW and ate grains. Whole wheat is terrible for me all round, but gluten free products are more refined and totally screw with my insulin resistance. Cue stupid dietician who insisted on setting meal plans that I would ignore because I've known for over 2 years now that I cannot eat cereal at breakfast and cannot eat any grains with lunch if I don't want to set up cravings so bad I'd gnaw my own arms off out of hunger. I'd be all "I don't eat bread, it makes me hungry" and she'd be all "what about CRISPBREAD!". Noooooooooo!

    So, giving up grains entirely doesn't really make much difference to the way that I have been eating, since I don't have them for breakfast or lunch. But, I have lost a fair few carbs from my evening meal since I did fairly often have rice, quinoa or gluten free pasta with dinner (and in the interest of honesty - pancakes). I can happily live without those. But I tried also giving up dairy since I think it makes my nose run and my ears gunky and I discovered after I got rid of gluten that I was lactose intolerant so I've already stopped eating yoghurt. Aaaaand, I'm back to feeling shattered again. I've read a lot about carb flu and I guess I could ride it out, but I don't know if I can take a whole month of it? Maybe I'm one of those people that takes ages to get through it? I think I used to pick up quite a few carbs in a day from the approx 3 glasses of milk that I'd drink and maybe I need to add those back in until I'm completely used to no grains?

    I used to read paleo forums and they were all really down on milk, but from what I've read here, lots of primal people do still eat dairy. I feel like it's something I should experiment with giving up because I know I do have issues with it, but realistically, I don't think I can do it all at once. I've tried coconut cream in my tea, and I've tried heavy cream, and both are tasty enough but I think I miss the sugar hit that milk gives me. Whch in itself is a problem. I figure any time I really miss something, there's probably a problem. But isn't the sugar/protein combo less likely to give me an insulin spike than, say, eating more fruit ?

    Anyway, this long rambly post is more a declaration to myself I guess. I think the plan going forward is:

    1. Continue no grains.
    2. Ditch white potatoes. I've been eating them the last few days to up my carbs, but when I eat them I stop wanting protein or anything else. It becomes all about potatoes. And butter.
    3. Continue with hummus for breakfast. I love it with hard boiled eggs, and it's been working for me for over a year now. Keeps me full until lunch and I happily eat breakfast each day. These are enough to keep me eating it for now, even if it's non-primal. I'm looking at primal hummus recipes though.
    4. Back on dairy (lactose free full fat milk). I think I'll have it in my morning tea and a glass with dinner. I'll see how this goes. I used to adore yoghurt but now it makes me feel sick (so does cottage cheese) and I don't care for any other cheese all that much.
    5. Track food for awhile, just so I can see what my carb/calorie intake is and then see patterns in fatigue/other symptoms.
    6. Get my head around fat. I think that's the hardest adjustment to make. Ditching grains is one thing (with insulin resistance and gluten intolerance, I fully feel their badness), but embracing fat after years of CW brain washing is really, really hard.
    7. Look into the primal fitness. I'm doing boxing twice a week now, and I enjoy that, but not sure how it fits.

    I'm really looking forward to reading the book, the website is great but there's so much to read...

    If it sounds like I"m doing anything really wrong, please let me know!


    h: 5,6 ish
    w: 175lbs (28Oct11)
    (highest weight 205.5 lbs - approx 2 years ago. I hovered in the 190s for ages)

  • #2
    Welcome! I am new to this too...It is hard to find Dr's that will back this way of living.I had already read the book and tried this last year, but I derailed myself with all of the holidays.Fast forward to this year and I hit 160lbs my last Dr appt..For a barely 5'2 female that is alot.I also have HIGH cholesterol (.I was on zocor, but I am trying to see how I resolve it with primal eating),and the beginnings of Hypertension.My Dr suggested this and here we are Day 13 down 7lbs and loads of energy..I still eat potatoes.Just not all the time..and I reach for a small yam more than a white potato.I am trying to embrace primal fitness..this is a hard one for me since I am used to going all out in workouts( TurboFire, Chalean Extreme and P90x to name a few programs).There is a Primal Fitness ebook on this site that is very helpful.I did some of it yesterday( still need hubby to install my pullup bar)and have been going on long walks.My measurements are definitely changing.I hope to see an increase in health and a decrease in my cholesterol and blood pressure


    • #3
      Welcome Ana! Experimenting to find what works for you is the way to go. Personally, I eat lots of potatoes and moderate dairy. I am losing fat and feeling good. But that's me not you. Good luck finding what works for you.
      Ancestral Health Info

      I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

      Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.


      • #4
        Thanks Pa-RN. Nice ot meet another newbie. That's great that your doctor recommended this - tey aren't all deluded - and congrats on your weight loss so far!

        I have high cholesterol too. Interestingly it was highest when I was 21 and eating a very high carb, low fat diet (at that age, I basically only ate grains and low fat dairy). It's only come down in the last year or so since I stopped eating gluten (basically, cutting my grains so drastically). I'm sure you'll see great results with your cholesterol now.

        Thanks for the welcome, Hedonist! It's good to hear what other people do to help me experiment. The milk I've had today has been fine - it seems like the full fat stuff is a lot more filling. I'm glad dairy and potatoes work for you, I'm hoping I can keep both in my life :-)


        • #5
          Welcome, AnaBee. I've also dealt with PCOS and insulin resistance. I only started going Primal two months ago, but without any real effort (other than spending more time cooking REAL food! ), I've lost 23 pounds, I'm not HUNGRY all the time, and I've discovered a new passion - cooking colourful, delicious new things (and documenting it in pictures to my family/friends, who all now want to come over for dinner).

          I had to kinda jump a hurdle with the fat thing too, having grown up eating mostly lowfat / no fat foods, but I mostly started with just getting rid of my generic vegetable oil and started cooking everything in coconut oil (or butter). I restocked my spice cabinet, and got rid of the bread/grains/pastas/potatoes.

          I waited a month before I really did any kind of exercise, because my legs were constantly in pain and swollen (but no longer!). I guess you could say that I kind of eased into it one thing at a time. I still need to really work on getting more sleep.

          As far as dairy goes, other than cooking with butter, I will usually just have milk in my coffee or tea. This is a big change from drinking 3 glasses of milk every day (often times with Slim Fast... but I used to drink Slim Fast as a drink WITH my SAD meals, and not as a replacement. Terrible.) I also like yogurt, and can still handle it well, but I switched from regular non-fat 20ish carbs-per-serving yogurt to 4-7grams carb-per-serving yogurt. Just whatever you're able to handle that doesn't give you icky symptoms.

          --Side note on the milk ( in reference to your coconut or heavy cream in the coffee/tea) -- I found that I didn't like the sheer amount of calories that using heavy cream in my coffee/tea would give, but I need to use more milk than cream to make my drinks taste the way I want, so when I remember at the grocery, I will buy some half and half. Works out well -- more sugars than heavy cream, but less than just milk. But it's just whtever works for you.

          I also use FitDay to record my food instake daily, so that I can keep myself accountable, especially since I'm aiming for 50-80 grams of carbs daily for now (I have over 100 pounds to lose). One week I stopped recording, my carb intake went up quite a bit, until I slammed some sense back into my head and recorded things again. I can stay in the 100-150 range pretty easily without mesauring anything, but when you're at the lower carb levels, those extra carbs sneak up on you! (This would, of course, be easier if I totally cut out fruits and yogurt, and if I wasn't so tempted by the things I see on Gallery - dessertstalker , but one of the points here is to enjoy life, and I am a fruit fanatic. So, I'll keep my one fruit a day, and just work those in. )

          Good luck with your plan! Sounds like you're moving along


          • #6
            Hi Maryla! Thanks for your reply - it's really inspiring to hear how much you've lost already and it sounds like we have a lot in common. I can relate to eating slimfast with meals (who could survive on that stuff alone?) and I am also a fruit fanatic. Summer fruits - especially nectarines - are a problem for me, I need to keep a better grip on them this summer.

            I need to work on getting more sleep too. I really notice that it hinders my weight loss - when I gained all this weight I was barely sleeping more than 5 hours a night and hopping myself up on diet sodas and energy drinks to get through the day. Agh.

            I got the book yesterday and I'm enjoying reading it. It's great to get the 'why' on things that I've already seen start to work.

            All the best,