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Some Questions from a Primal Newbie in Chicago

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  • Some Questions from a Primal Newbie in Chicago

    Hello all,

    I'm a 29 year old male living in Chicago, discovered the crossfit lifestyle in June of 2009 and have been going strong ever since (minus this past February). Crossfit eventually led me to primal eating, which I am doing now.

    I've always been a pretty healthy eater, but I do have some questions. So I do hope you won't mind me asking some of them as I am genuinely curious how grokking has affected other people.

    1) How quickly did you notice energy returns/muscle recuperation? Since the 11th of this month I have been almost completely Primal (I like condiments), but have had no grains, no legumes and nothing processed. I also recently did 7 days of crossfit/boxing training in a row... I took a rest day yesterday but noticed that my body was not very tired and I was not feeling any extended fatigue. Is this normal or am I simply having an "on" week?

    2) Do you recommend a cheat day? I am really struggling with this one as some of my favorite foods are homemade pasta and pizza... I do not buy the canned stuff and eat it in moderation, but I do not want my body freaking out on me and storing those carbs in the spare tire I am currently trying to lose.

    3) Alcohol: I'm single and I like to go out. I do not drink beer, tonic, soda or ciders. I know red wine is okay on Primal (Thank God), but a lot of the places I go to are not going to have a "palatable" wine available. Lately I have resorted to scotch and bourbon because A) I sip them slowly and therefore consume much less and B) no mixing in sugar required. Are there other alternatives out there?

    Thanks in advance and I look forward to being a part of this community.


  • #2
    Hey Joe! Chicago Grokette here.

    I have noticed a significant decrease in recovery time and muscle soreness since going Primal. That could explain your "on" week. Plus I think our bodies just perform much better when they are being fed correctly.

    As for pizza, I hear you. What cured me was discovering meatza! I mix grass fed ground beef with herbs, some parmesan, salt/pepper & an egg and press it out pretty thin onto a cookie sheet. Bake until almost done. Then top with sauce and your favorite pizza toppings, some full fat mozzarella, and back in the oven until done. Mmmm...meatza.

    As for pasta, I thought i would miss it but i don't at all. I make spaghetti squash with meat sauce for a pasta-like experience, and someone on this forum posted a portabella mushroom carbonara recipe which looks awesome if you like mushrooms. So you can enjoy the good sauces (which are really the best part, right?) on more primal ingredients. Pretty soon you won't miss pasta at all.

    As for drinking...I drink red wine and vodka/soda for the most part. Booze is not especially primal, but let's not take things too far, right?


    • #3
      Hi Joe, and welcome!

      1. I've noticed that it takes me about 1 day between strength based exercise to recover, where it used to take 2-3 via pre-primal SAD. I used to have to skip a day between walking, now I can do it every day (skipping is now schedule based, not exhaustion based). It seems pretty normal that rest time is drastically reduced for people.

      2. Cheat days are totally mental. If you can will-power your way through the "need," I think you'll find it beneficial. I went for a month where I had a cheat day every friday or saturday (one, not both) where I would just throw caution to the wind and have chinese buffet and pizza and ice cream and allllll the stuff I missed. Which lead to being/feeling miserable for the rest of the day, and subsequently a kind of carb-hang over that made me not want to do ANYTHING the next day but rest and hate being alive lol. This April, I've managed to stay 100% primal (food-wise). I have had just as good results with weight loss as I did when I included the cheat day, but without the day and a half recovery required.

      3. Alcohol: if I can't find a wine I want to drink, I move to a frozen drink involving patron (or other 100% agave tequila) and pineapple juice. A little carb heavy, but at least still not from grain. If I'm in a sipping drink mood though, and haven't dipped into the 20% for the week, I get equal parts kahlua and amaretto on the rocks. Its sooooo sweet that the only thing I can do is sip on it, which causes consumption to be low. Thus I have a dark drink that looks really strong and I can nurse for a long period of time and won't knock me on my ass... fulfilling the social obligation of drinking with the group and not going overboard.

      Glad you've joined!


      • #4
        I'd recommend not to plan or schedule a "cheat day," and don't fret about alcohol. As Mark is fond of saying, "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good." Rather than plan a day to splurge, bank all those impulses and allow yourself to actually enjoy the backslide guilt free when the situation dictates.

        I control only what I can control. When I'm in the drivers seat, I am 100% primal. But if I'm hanging with "the guys" and they order pizza and beer, I enjoy the pizza and beer. I don't make a fuss about my dietary goals or nutrition choices and I don't preach about how I need a chicken salad ordered special for me. As the saying goes, 'When in Rome ...'

        I don't think you need a whole day to cheat. One meal or snack is usually enough to satisfy those carb cravings for a whole week. In fact, once you've been primal for awhile, you'll probably find a lot of things you wanted to backslide for aren't very good. Too much tomato product (commercial pizza sauces, pasta sauces, ketchup) gives me a sugar-buzz, then I completely crash. Last time I really went overboard on pizza I felt sick for a day-and-a-half. And the last time I had about two tablespoons worth of Heinz 57 on a couple of all-beef hot dogs I found it so ridiculously sweet to the point of being tart that I drank over 32oz of water and still couldn't wash the taste of ketchup out of my mouth.

        Three months ago if you had cut me I'd probably have bled ketchup and mayo.


        • #5
          Thanks for all the posts, these are exactly the same feelings I have had and I am glad that they are communal.

          I'm really looking forward to continuing this new lifestyle.

          Thanks again.