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Primal Journal - Owly

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  • Primal Journal - Owly

    My health and fitness levels have been up and down for much of my adult life. I was a really active, skinny kid, and that carried on through my high school years. I danced, swam, rollerbladed, and loved to play outside and go hiking in the mountains. I practically lived on my bicycle--it was my teenage key to freedom, and I would ride to the other side of the city to visit friends without ever worrying if it was too far.

    However, that all changed. I went away to my first year of university and lived in residence, where the food consisted of casseroles topped with tater tots, french fries and gravy, and desserts every night. I grew up in a house where healthy (if CW) eating was the norm, and I had no clue how much havoc that new eating style could wreak. I went from slim to chubby pretty quickly, especially living in a new city and living a sedentary student life. That was made even worse the following year, when I started smoking (I was one of those rare idiots who pick up the habit as an adult).

    Through my 20s, my weight went up and down. If I was active, I'd be slim, like the years that I worked in the stockroom of a store and lifted boxes all day. Then life would change and I'd go back to being larger again (topping out at a size 16, about 210 pounds).

    Then, four and a half years ago, I quit smoking. I had to do something with the stress, so I began doing taekwondo, followed by getting into ballroom dancing and running. That year, I was also diagnosed with celiac disease. The diagnosis meant learning a whole new way to eat. At first, I had no idea what to do, so I basically cut out all grains, becoming sort of paleo-by-accident. Over the next few months, I dropped from a size 14 to a size 4, losing 65 pounds in the process.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

    Owly's Journal

  • #2
    So then how did I end up back here?

    First of all, I learned how to do a lot with the grains I was still allowed. Let me tell you, I am a kick-ass gluten-free baker. I learned to make beautiful cakes, amazing cookies, and moist muffins without wheat, and I ate them like crazy.

    I also stopped exercising. For my body, that's a surefire way to gain weight. My mother had been battling brain cancer for a long time, and she ended up moving into a hospice. She was there for about two years before she died in 2009. The constant travel back and forth from her city to mine and the ongoing stress meant that I pretty much gave up on exercising for the last year of her life.

    Last summer, I got back to the dojang and started to get back on track, only to break my leg at my promotion test last August. The injury was complex, involving a serious ankle sprain, a broken fibula, a bad MCL tear, and a bunch of other soft tissue damage. My first physio was mostly only interested in getting me walking again, and it wasn't until I went to my current physio that things started to really get better with the leg. After a few months of strengthening and rehab, he approved me to start CrossFit. My knee is still not up to the rotational force of TKD, and it may never be there, but I'm finding new passion and challenge with CF (especially discovering that I can lift some pretty heavy stuff). Being active really helps my emotional state too.

    And that brings me to choosing to try PB. As I researched CrossFit, I came across the idea of paleo/primal eating. I'd read some posts at MDA before, thanks to some links on Stumptuous, and I came back here again to check it out. Seriously, I love eating fat. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I will eat butter off a spoon. The science makes sense, and it feels like a WOE that I can stick with. I already get about 90% of my weekly groceries at the local farmers market, and we'd already committed in our household to eating local, grassfed, organic meats and eggs. Making the transition seemed fairly natural. I love the way we're eating now and don't feel deprived. Being in grad school and working full time, it's easy to slip into eating boxed crap, but I'm learning more and more tricks to making healthy meals from scratch without spending all night in the kitchen. I've also funnelled my baking energy into cooking other stuff instead. Producing a delicious, real meal makes me feel grounded and reconnected with my physical self, which is important when my work and school life is so focussed on my head. The big food issue is my partner: he doesn't have a sweet tooth, he *is* a sweet tooth, and although he wants to be primal too, it's a struggle for him to kick the sugar habit.

    So, my goals:
    Keep building the habit of eating real, locally grown foods
    Fit into my favorite blue dress from Korea
    Get enough sleep--this is a major challenge for me with such a full life
    Play more
    Get to the gym 3x week--better for my mood, better for my body
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

    Owly's Journal

    Comment


    • #3
      SOOOO happy to have you! ... You have made some great contributions so far and I am glad you have a journal I can now stalk... look out!

      Welcome *warm hug* I can't wait to see the photo of you in that dress smiling and being all happy and stuff!

      Manda
      Live Like No One Else

      http://primalterp.blogspot.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Aw, thanks Manda! Your journey is pretty inspiring, and we're both newbie CrossFitters (I started July 20). I'm pretty sure we will both have lots to share with each other.
        “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

        Owly's Journal

        Comment


        • #5
          Three reactions to VFFs at my office:

          "Those are cool!"
          "Those are ugly!"
          "Those are sort of creepy..."

          Also, someone made popcorn in the office this afternoon. Instead of craving popcorn, I just wanted butter. I haven't totally decided what to make for dinner tonight, but zucchini sauteed in butter is definitely going to be a part of it.
          “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

          Owly's Journal

          Comment


          • #6
            Welcome!

            I wish I could use VFFs while working... maybe if I move to Boulder or something... people aren't into them as a "business professional" attire yet. booface

            On another note... what part of Canada are you from???

            Have a great rest of your day!
            Manda
            Live Like No One Else

            http://primalterp.blogspot.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              Heh. I work in a pretty casual office, and people here wear all kinds of interesting things. My VFFs are just another bit of character.

              I'm in Alberta. Very big sky, very big trucks.
              “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

              Owly's Journal

              Comment


              • #8
                OOO doesnt alberta almost border Minnesota and North Dakota???? if I remember correctly its the second prov. in from the west right?
                Live Like No One Else

                http://primalterp.blogspot.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Oh, much farther west than that. We are north of Montana (well, the western half of it).
                  “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                  Owly's Journal

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Breakfast today: omelette (2 pastured organic eggs, crimini mushrooms, cream cheese), cafe au lait (fair trade organic shade-grown coffee, organic full-fat milk).

                    Oh, and I got dressed this morning and fit into my favorite jeans (Mission Playground, organic cotton, best fit ever). Size 8 jeans. Oh yes. What's weird is that I'm still weighing in at 180 pounds. Is my body composition really changing that much? At my height, that's still technically 10 pounds overweight.
                    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                    Owly's Journal

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Owly View Post
                      Oh, much farther west than that. We are north of Montana (well, the western half of it).
                      Oh darn ... oh well... still closer than most of Canada.
                      Live Like No One Else

                      http://primalterp.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Owly View Post
                        Breakfast today: omelette (2 pastured organic eggs, crimini mushrooms, cream cheese), cafe au lait (fair trade organic shade-grown coffee, organic full-fat milk).

                        Oh, and I got dressed this morning and fit into my favorite jeans (Mission Playground, organic cotton, best fit ever). Size 8 jeans. Oh yes. What's weird is that I'm still weighing in at 180 pounds. Is my body composition really changing that much? At my height, that's still technically 10 pounds overweight.
                        This will happen more than you are ready for it. I swear my body changes daily and i look in the mirror and see something different yet the scale says the same thing. This is why I have learned to be less dependent on numbers and more dependent on how things make me feel inside and out.

                        So thrilled for you- +1 for fave jeans!
                        Live Like No One Else

                        http://primalterp.blogspot.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Lunch today: two hardboiled eggs (easy to transport to work), sweet beet soup (no sugar added, it's made with sweet spices like cinnamon--I get it from a friend of mine who sells her soups at the farmers market, all local ingredients, no weird stuff in it)
                          Afternoon snack: raspberries and blackberries, half cup of cottage cheese
                          Dinner: cheeseburgers (as in burger patties with pieces of cheese instead of buns)
                          After dinner: snap peas, strawberries, whipped heaven

                          I'm actually really pleased. We have my partner's nieces over for a movie night and sleepover this evening. We had some chips left from my partner's poker night on Wednesday (one of the guys brought them), and I thought the kids might finish them up for us because we definitely won't. I put out the chips, a big salad bowl full of snap peas, and some strawberries with a dish of whipped heaven for dipping. The girls didn't even touch the chips! The strawberries all vanished in a hurry, and the snap peas are almost gone too. I'm glad to see three preteens eating good stuff instinctively.
                          “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                          Owly's Journal

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Breakfast today was some back bacon from a local producer and a couple of pastured organic eggs from my favourite egg guy. The nieces slept over and devoured their breakfast. Lunch was a bit of nibbled-on stuff from the fridge (a bit of cheese, the last couple of pieces of pickled asparagus, a couple of spoonfuls of leftover whipped heaven, and a few raspberries) as I was putting the leftover chicken bones from the other night's roast chicken into the stockpot. I threw in a bunch of random herbs, odds and ends from last week (parsley, basil, thyme), some amazing fresh garlic from the market this morning, some onion, a bit of celery, and some olive oil. It's merrily simmering away as I type and making my house smell fantastic. I'll strain it later and then add some more onion and garlic (I may caramelize them a bit first), zucchini, the leftover chicken meat I cleaned off the carcass, wild mushrooms, and maybe some sweet potato and bell pepper. This will be my first time making soup after going primal, so it feels odd to not put rice in it, but I think it should be pretty tasty.

                            We took the nieces to the farmers market with us today. None of the three girls had ever been to the market before. I was shocked--I grew up going to the market with my parents, so I found it strange that none of these kids had ever had that experience. When we got there, they were completely blown away by all the different things for sale. My partner told them they could pick one treat each. Of course, they went for the sugar stuff: one had a candy apple, one had cotton candy, and one had kettle popcorn. Still, they had fun exploring the market, sampling foods from different vendors, and petting the many dogs that were there with their people. I ended up spending too much, as usual. All the fresh, beautiful produce gets me every time.

                            Some notable scores this week:
                            Duck breasts, which I plan to pan sear and serve with chanterelles sauteed with shallots, garlic, and fresh tarragon (all also from the market).
                            A bag of mixed miniature squash (pattypans, teeny zucchini, some other little fat ones).
                            Fresh, amazingly pungent garlic.
                            Raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries--our local berry season is almost done, so I'm devouring them while I can!
                            Local wines: wine grapes don't grow here, so I buy from a local organic fruit winery that makes an incredible red using wild cherries. I picked up a bottle of that, and I also bought a bottle of their alfalfa wine (sounds weird, but it is really tasty).
                            Elk roast.
                            Plus the usual array of produce, eggs, bacon, and so on that is part of the weekly list. Sadly, we went later this morning than we normally do, so the goat farmer was all out of yogurt. I'll have to stop in at the organic grocery store and pick some commercial stuff up for this week, or I might just skip the yogurt until I can get some of the local stuff again.
                            “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                            Owly's Journal

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think the way the girls had never been to a market before is indicative of a fundamental disconnect in urban Canadian culture. So many of us have little to no idea where our food comes from, and we don't ever meet the people who produce it. I like being able to ask farmers about their practices, getting to know the rhythm of local food production, the seasons of my home region. In the grocery store, unless you pay attention, it's hard to identify seasonal food (except for some items like pomegranates, but those are an import). By going to the market, I begin to cook with the natural pattern of the season: the first spring greens, the glory of asparagus season, the abundance of summer, the fullness of autumn's root vegetables and sharp apples, and the long winter eating what can be kept in a root cellar, frozen or canned. I cheat a bit. There's a local greenhouse that has tomatoes all year thanks to some very expensive sunlamps to compensate for the midwinter darkness, and there are times that I crave that freshness. But even then, I know where that tomato came from.

                              Many of the farms also welcome visitors. We're planning a trip out to visit our favourite elk ranchers soon. They're a really nice older couple, honest farming people who always welcome us at their booth. We've got a group of friends together to go in on a whole elk. The slaughter is planned for September 9, then the meat will hang for about 10 days, so we should have it to pick up near the end of September. It's interesting to know my food on this level. I don't hunt, although my partner does, so I haven't experienced that level of intimacy with my meat, although I've seen most other parts of the process.

                              I wonder if that's part of our problem now. I know people who eat meat who are disgusted by even touching it raw. People are disturbed at having to wash dirt off their own lettuces. They don't ever feel the joy of producing a meal from the basic ingredients, knowing that what they produce will nourish the bodies and souls of those they love. It's all about the quick fix, the rip of the box or bag, the beep of the microwave. We don't know our food anymore.
                              “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                              Owly's Journal

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