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Food, Fitness, and Music: Mozart's Primal Journal

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  • Food, Fitness, and Music: Mozart's Primal Journal

    I decided that this is the only way I'm going to do this properly. With my journal open wide for the Primal community to see, I can take better stock of what I'm doing--and hopefully pick up some good correspondence and tips along the way.

    First, a little about myself (which will probably grow with each entry): I turned 30 years old just over a month ago. I live in Boston with my girlfriend, K. She's going to grad school in Cambridge and we moved down here so that we could be together and, at the same time, save money and roommate hassles by sharing an apartment. Things were kinda rocky at first, but they're getting better.

    I'm a musician. Part time. To be honest, I just landed a gig at a dueling piano bar in the Financial District, after four years of performance celibacy. My old high school friend, H, borderline coerced me into showing up at the club and playing a few songs. The next thing I know (I hate that expression, but in this case it seems like the truth!) I'm excepting their offer of employment despite not ever having been trained on piano! During the day Monday through Friday I'm a GIS analyst/Project Manager for a telecom company in Westborough, MA. Is that confusing? Well, let's just say that I'm a contractor ( a glorified temp) who has been there so long and learned so much that he's been given a lot of responsibility--including the quasi-management of a small group of underlings and the total charge of a project so critical, that the CEO Himself wants weekly updates on its progress. Whew. An opportunity to change jobs has presented itself, and my journal will probably be a testament to my future life-changing decisions in that realm. Anyway, on to the real reason I started this journal!

    I am 5 foot, 8 inches tall (without my shoes on), exactly the same height as my father. A little over a month ago I weighed myself after a winter of complete sedation and emotional, destructive eating habits. I topped the scale at 222lbs. The USDA says I'm "obese." They're right! The thing is (and people say this to me all the time), I don't LOOK 222lbs. I carry it very well. The layer of fat surrounding my body seems to contour to my muscles. I actually look stronger than I really am, due to all the bulk-creating fat surrounding my muscles! Some guys have skinny arms, no pecs, and big bellies. Other guys have a giant spare tire and spindly little legs. I'm different: I have a well-shaped, yet fat-lined upper body, a belly, giant fatty thighs, and normal-looking lower legs. But all I have to do is flex, then push down on the muscle with my index finger. I push easily through a solid inch of fat before I'm stopped by the firm muscle beneath.

    The thing is, I FEEL obese. I feel out-of-shape. I feel weak. And it's time for that to change. I have to admit, I've been into the Paleo diet for over a month now. I no longer weigh 222lbs. In fact, I'm down to... 205.8! I just weighed myself now and it seems that I'm the lightest I've ever been since starting the Paleo diet. My goal is 180lbs. I could probably go lower, but right now that's all I want.

    Well, enough introduction. On to the real entry.

    Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee with a splash of whole milk
    Lunch: can of tuna fish in water
    Snack: a couple spoonfuls of almond butter
    Dinner: leftover paleo meat loaf I got from Primal Toad's blog. Delicious!

    Eat animals, insects, plants: my food was good today. Didn't make a lunch or have leftovers, hence the tuna and coffee during the day. The meatloaf is fatty, grass-fed, and delicious.

    Move around at slow pace: nothing today, despite the weather (76 degrees in Boston!). Have to spruce up my resume, clean the apartment, and practice piano.

    Lift heavy things: nothing today. Yeesh. I'm seriously considering buying an "off-hours" membership at the nearest gym for 60 bucks a month. Just so I can run down there three days a week and lift heavy things.

    Run really fast: no sprints for me today.

    Get lots of sleep: got 4 hours last night. My sleep schedule was all effed up from my piano gigs over the weekend. It's 7:48 right now and I plan on hitting the sack very soon!

    Play: nothing. Wow, today really sucked, Blueprint-wise. Just didn't have the time.

    Get sunlight: I walked around the building today at work right around noon (like 5 minutes), plus I walked to the packie to get some wine this afternoon (10 minutes). That's it.

    Avoid trauma: I successfully avoided trauma today!

    Avoid poisonous things: I'm drinking my third glass of wine tonight. But I hadn't had any in almost a week.

    Use your mind: Yes! I sat down at the piano and almost learned "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles in its entirety. I'll have to play it on stage later this week, so I hope I can get it down. Plus, I've started learning "Follow Through" by Gavin Degraw. (People in bars like overplayed pop songs! lol)

    Well, that's it. Until tomorrow then.

    "I will stand for the truth I see, so that truth is seen in me."

  • #2
    Welcome Mozart! Good luck with primal!
    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.


    • #3
      Thanks, Hedonist! Thanks for stumbling upon my journal!

      I couldn't write yesterday because I had an appointment to do my taxes (yes, this year I actually waited until the last week. Grah.) and I didn't get home until late. And I'm trying to get as much sleep as possible on Tuesday nights because for the next three nights I'll be staying up WAY too late playing piano and singing in downtown Boston. So I'm doing yesterday's entry this morning! My day job doesn't really get rolling until after 8am anyway, so it's no big deal. Okay, on with the facts:

      Breakfast: I had THREE cups of coffee, some cream, and several glasses of water
      Lunch: lunch was awesome! I had the foresight to cook a bunch of bacon strips and two organic, additive-free sausage links and stick 'em in a Tupperware container. It was awesome!
      Snack: no snack. I went straight up to New Hampshire after work to do my taxes
      Dinner: I had a parsnip and a glass of wine when I got home, but it was UNfulfilling as hell. So then I scrambled four n-3 enriched eggs, added some spinach and a small can of whole oysters (yup!). It was surprisingly delicious.

      Eat animals, insects, plants: see above

      Move around at slow pace: it was a typical commute-work in cube-commute sort of day, only with extra driving. The walking I did was from my car to wherever I drove to and vice versa.

      Lift heavy things: nothing today. again, this day was white-collar-tastic. No physical activity, unless you count walking up three flights of stairs to my apartment at the end of it.

      Run really fast: no sprints for me today.

      Get lots of sleep: a-ha!!! I got plenty of sleep last night! I actually feel refreshed and awesome.

      Play: nope. The closest I got to playing was listening to the Red Sox game on the radio (which they lost).

      Get sunlight: no sun. I just had too much to do that necessitated me being in a car or in a building.

      Avoid trauma: I stayed trauma-free.

      Avoid poisonous things: I had ONE--count it, ONE--glass of red wine tonight!

      Use your mind: I studied another song tonight at Barnes and Noble (for the few minutes I stopped there): Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson. It's in C with tons of diatonic chords. Should be simple. And it's not too high to sing for a tenor like me.

      "Today" is actually Wednesday morning, so I'm still a little nervous about my upcoming shift at Howl (the piano bar). Over time, these performance jitters will stop. The feeling of release and accomplishment after my set is wonderful, though. Throughout the day, I get brief, sporadic butterflies in my stomach when it suddenly occurs to me what's waiting for me at the end of the day. I can just feel the Grok in me crying; to him, he's spending an entire day getting sporadically chased by a large carnivore. With all the things in my life right now, at this crossroads, my cortisol levels are constantly too high. I can eat all the grass-fed beef and veggies I want, but I know I won't see real changes until I can get outside and relieve some of this stress. Just some parting words.

      "I will stand for the truth I see, so that truth is seen in me."


      • #4
        Well, I'm through the first of my three weekly shifts at Howl. Man, am I tired. I did manage to eat very well and very Primally yesterday, despite needing two hours to practice music between Day Job and Piano Gig. I wish I could just take an hour or so at around noon and walk around in the hills and knolls around my office park. That would get the old blood pumping without drinking a cubic meter of coffee. It's going to be 64 degrees today in Westborough! But alas, I have project meetings and whatnot. Blah. Okay, on to yesterday's entry:

        Eat animals, insects, plants:
        B: no breakfast except coffee with little half-splashes of diner-style half and half cups (it's all the kitchen has )
        L: I had a big plate of steamed Brussels sprouts and a can of tuna in water
        S: no snack, unless you count the four cups of water I had during the day
        D: Paleo Scramble!! Yum! This is where I take a pound of some meat (in this case, grass-fed beef), and add it to a skillet full of fresh veggies cooked with bacon fat, ghee, or olive oil (in this case, delicious buttery ghee). I had enough left over to have it for lunch tomorrow (today). I can't wait.

        Move around at slow pace: I walked from Aquarium on the blue line down to High St. for my piano gig. Then I walked back again. What's that, like a quarter mile? Maybe? Sigh.

        Lift heavy things: the heaviest things I lifted yesterday were an electric guitar and a laptop.

        Run really fast: no time for sprints

        Get lots of sleep: Fail. I got 6 hours... and it should have been 5 1/2, but I had no willpower this morning and I hit snooze too many time.

        Play: this might be a gray area. Does playing piano/guitar/drums/singing onstage count as play, in a Primal sense? I am working up a sweat; it does tire me out after a while. But let's be honest--it's no flag football or ultimate frisbee game. However, my heart rate WAS elevated, as it is for every performance.

        Get sunlight: no, it was dismally rainy and wet for the entire day. By the time it stopped, the sun had gone down.

        Avoid trauma: I stayed trauma-free.

        Avoid poisonous things: I had no wine last night. And I drank water at the gig while everyone else was drinking soda. AND, my friend H bought a pizza and she wanted to share it with me, but I declined! Good for me!

        Use your mind: I practiced music in the afternoon. Plus, I grabbed the guitar and had to figure out how to play a couple of songs on the fly, on stage, by looking at the nearest piano player's left hand. If that's not a brain workout, I don't know what is!

        More tomorrow.
        "I will stand for the truth I see, so that truth is seen in me."


        • #5
          Originally posted by MozartNH99 View Post
          Play: this might be a gray area. Does playing piano/guitar/drums/singing onstage count as play, in a Primal sense? I am working up a sweat; it does tire me out after a while. But let's be honest--it's no flag football or ultimate frisbee game. However, my heart rate WAS elevated, as it is for every performance.
          this might not be the kind of play mark talks about (yeah, a game of some sort or walking a dog or something would be better) but playing music is incredibly primal. music would have been extremely important in grok's life as a source of entertainment and fun and bonding, but also as a way to pass on stories and such.

          you'll find ways to get more moving into your days. too bad boston is kind of crappy for walking...though, on a nice day walking definitely beats the T.

          are you from NH? where?


          • #6
            Hey Primalrob, I'm from Merrimack, NH, which is sandwiched right between Manchester and Nashua. I've lived in either Nashua, Merrimack, or Manchester for pretty much my whole life; I moved to Boston last August. You're right about playing music, though. Now that I think on it, playing music together, even if it was just drumming, scraping, and singing, was probably very prevalent in hunter-gatherer societies. Standing on a hot stage and strumming some Third Eye Blind chords is kinda different, but it has the same effect, for sure: a large group of people standing together, dancing and singing. Basically, it's a good-vibes factory, so although it's not improving my muscle tone, it's definitely improving my overall happiness. Thanks for the tip! Hey, I went to college with someone from Belmont. Isn't Belmont right on Lake Winnipesaukee?

            Yesterday was another busy day at work, another crazy night at Howl. When I arrived at 8pm it was already packed. The requests were coming in so fast that there was barely time enough for players to play their own chosen songs. In fact, this one portly dude in a suit requested four songs, each with a hundred dollar bill!! That's right: he paid $400 to hear us play four songs. When something like that happens (and I didn't even know it did!), you drop what you're doing and you play that gentleman's song. He requested The Gambler by Kenny Rodgers, Livin' on a Prayer twice, and I forget the fourth song. I think I was in the kitchen when that happened. We don't normally play the same song twice in a span of less than four or five hours, but hey--for a hundred bucks? You got it!

            Yesterday's journal will look a lot like the days before it. I don't have much time to elaborate this morning, so I'll be brief.

            Eat animals, insects, plants:
            B: again with the coffee and small amounts of half and half. I should start drinking it black.
            L: I brought the leftover Paleo Scramble leftovers and they were as delicious as I knew they'd be!
            S: just water.
            D: I had wild-caught salmon (SUPERMARKET wild-caught, which might actually mean "farm-raised," but it looked and felt like that firm, boned, brightly-colored wild salmon to me, so eh), along with a scramble of curried bell peppers and root veggies. And yes, I have the leftovers with me today for lunch!

            Move around at slow pace: walking from Aquarium to Howl and back again

            Lift heavy things: just musical instruments

            Run really fast: nope. Hear me now: I WILL sprint on the weekend some time. There, I wrote it down so now I can't avoid it.

            Get lots of sleep: 6 hours again. And I have to stay up until 3am tonight for the gig. But after that, it's four nights of sleep-filled bliss until next Wednesday.

            Play: no physical games, but I played music. The Grok in me fashioned himself a wooden flute and spent several hours tootling a charming tune with the tribal drummers while the rest of the clan gathered around the fire, ate, drank, and socialized. That's the best comparison I can make, and I like it.

            Get sunlight: I had some computer problems at work yesterday. While IT fixed it, I spent a half hour walking around my building in the 70 degree weather.

            Avoid trauma: I stayed trauma-free.

            Avoid poisonous things: no wine, no sugar. Water at the gig.

            Use your mind: they stuck me on stage with a guitar and started playing Born To Run by Springsteen. Well, the verse is some pretty easy I-IV-V stuff, but the prechorus is chock full of descending figured bass lines and secondary dominants. By the end of the song, I "kinda" had an idea of what I was doing, but goddamn if that wasn't a brain workout. I really need to learn more songs. Born To Run isn't exactly obscure.

            Gotta work. Will log more tomorrow!
            "I will stand for the truth I see, so that truth is seen in me."


            • #7
              I burrowed right through this past weekend without so much as a peep on this forum. Then I made it worse by starting the week in much the same manner. Fortunately, I remember much of what I ate and did for that time, so this journal will still serve its purpose.

              I worked at Howl until almost 5am on Saturday morning, then I passed out until 11am. I weighed myself when I got up and I was startled to see 202lbs! I've lost TWENTY pounds so far! Granted, some of that is probably because it was the end of a stretch of a few days where I didn't eat as much as I should have, didn't get nearly enough sleep as I should have, and spent a lot of time burning calories on stage. The thing is, I definitely felt tired and worn down, but at no time did I feel ill or like I was abusing my body (which is how I felt in college when I'd stay up for a few nights in a row on the SAD). At this point in time, I'm finding it difficult to make the time for moving around at a slow pace, so although this lifestyle (Day Job + Gig) may not be ideal, it's sustainable in the short term--and I stress short term. At some point I'll have to choose between the two.

              Anyway, back to the weekend audit. Unfortunately, right after I got up and weighed myself on Saturday morning, I drove to Connecticut for my friend's son's 2nd birthday, where I drank too much wine and ATE THREE SLICES OF MEAT PIZZA! It was at the end of the night, after not eating anything except veggie platter, cheese blocks, and chicken dip. I was intoxicated and hungry. Well, I paid for it. My GI tract spent Sunday morning trying to purge itself of that awful food. That was the very first grain-based piece of food I've eaten since beginning this diet in February. I didn't feel guilty for more than a few minutes and I didn't flagellate myself. The best part is, when I got home on Sunday, I CRAVED my grass-fed beef/veggie scramble! I ended up eating the scramble with ground chicken because I already had that thawed. Man was that good.

              Monday was a typical day: Day Job, came home, drank some wine, practiced music. But I didn't get a lot of practice in because K doesn't have her internship this week. Normally I have Monday nights to myself, so I told her that I would need to be left alone somewhat to play the piano. Of course she agreed. But no, every ten minutes, she comments about something or asks a question or otherwise brings my attention away from what I need to learn and back to her. And I can't come right out and say, "can you please stop diverting my attention tonight? I need to work on this" because she'll get upset. I'm sure I'll have more to say about that later.

              And finally, on to yesterday, for which I'll do a legitimate post. I got a little more practicing in, plus I found out that two band members won't be available on Saturday night, so Howl will need me to work Saturday this week in addition to my regular three nights! Oh boy. I'll only have one night to correct my skewed sleep pattern before Day Job again on Monday. But it has to be done! To show this new job that I'm serious and dependable is very important, regardless of whether it becomes permanent or not.

              Okay, on to the entry:

              Eat animals, insects, plants:
              B: coffee and a swig or two of whole milk. Mmmmmmm. I've been having my first cup of coffee black, and hope to increase that number as time goes on. Then I'll work on phasing out the coffee entirely.
              L: K made slow-cooker curry carrot stew on Monday and I had some leftovers, plus ground chicken and six strips of BACON. Holy shit was that good!
              S: l'eau
              D: I cooked more wild-caught salmon with garlic, basil, and lots of spices. Plus, I scrambled a bunch of veggies with four eggs. I have those leftovers for lunch today and I can't wait!

              Move around at slow pace: hardly any walking. Didn't even go to the store.

              Lift heavy things: nope

              Run really fast: I failed. And I DIDN'T sprint last weekend like I said I would! I guess the fact that I hit the 20lb mark drove that thought from my mind.

              Get lots of sleep: got almost 8 hours last night in preparation for four sleep-deprived days that are coming up. The night before was good too--solid 7 hours.

              Play: no. I did some idle research about Boston-area coed softball teams (I'm a hell of a second baseman who hits left-handed for decent power), but trying to squeeze that into my life isn't happening right now. Once I settle on one job, the opportunities for lots of physical activities will present themselves.

              Get sunlight: Aside from Sunday, there hasn't really been much sunlight to get. Boston is cold and rainy these days. But the extra water is accelerating the leaves' appearance this year! Yay for green things!

              Avoid trauma: no trauma

              Avoid poisonous things: I had too much wine on Saturday, plus pizza. But since then I've been very clean.

              Use your mind: during the past four days I've learned three new songs on the piano, two of which I'll be debuting tonight, so the brain workouts have continued. Plus, my Day Job is mentally taxing too; I've had to alter the plans for the next stage of a project I'm in charge of. That reminds me, I need to type that up now, before the meeting today.

              Until tomorrow, then!
              "I will stand for the truth I see, so that truth is seen in me."


              • #8
                It's gonna be a quick one today. Just a brief note: yesterday I seemed to suffer from some kind of head congestion. I didn't feel acutely ill; my glands were not swollen and there was no pain anywhere. But I felt as though I had just emerged from a lake and hadn't yet drained my ears of water. It made singing at Howl last night a really frustrating experience. You try singing on stage when every note you make sounds in your head like it's coming out of blown speakers. They let me go home a half our early. Today seems better and I plan on staying the entire time. Okay, that's enough--on to the entry!

                Eat animals, insects, plants:
                B: I had coffee and a little piece of gum that my coworker gave me because she insisted that it helps with head congestion. Something about the chewing muscles releasing air pressure. I figured the sugar was a sacrifice I was willing to make to feel better. It didn't work.
                L: I brought the egg/veggie spicy paleo scramble and it was awesome.
                S: less water than I usually have. I already felt like I had Lake Winnipesaukee in my head; the last thing I wanted was more water. Note: my company had an ice cream social for us employees yesterday. I declined.
                D: I had another scramble, this time with grass-fed ground beef, PLENTY of fat (I needed some nourishing comfort fattiness), and different spices (went with more of an herbal parsley/basil combo. Got the leftovers for lunch today.

                Move around at slow pace: just to and from Aquarium to Howl

                Lift heavy things: not unless you count the two guitars on stage

                Run really fast: no. It was frigging COLD outside yesterday anyway.

                Get lots of sleep: despite leaving Howl a half hour early, I didn't get any more sleep. I had to wait for my trains like always. The only difference is I was waiting a half hour longer at the T station.

                Play: no. All work and no play makes Roger a dull boy.

                Get sunlight: there WAS no sunlight yesterday

                Avoid trauma: I had a stressful day at work and I carried that home with me. I actually kind of feel like I was put through the wringer yesterday, between the meetings, project problems, weather, congestion, commuting, and performing. Hopefully I can have a nice, fun, somewhat relaxing day today for my inner Grok. The weather certainly seems to be better.

                Avoid poisonous things: no wine, no dairy. Check.

                Use your mind: I was a problem-solving machine yesterday at Day Job, plus I played "The General" by Dispatch at Howl last night, reading the lyrics from my Droid. I've known the guitar part for years, but other people have always sung those hurried, action-packed lyrics. I'd seen other performers do songs from their phones, so I knew it was only a matter of time before I'd have to. It's a bit of pressure, but I did it well!

                In the words of Mr. Bingley, "Until tomorrow, then!"
                "I will stand for the truth I see, so that truth is seen in me."