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primal journal (rumoredcellist)

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  • primal journal (rumoredcellist)


    I started easing into primal eating habits toward the end of last year as I was getting ready to move to a new house. I've been lurking in the background, reading the blog and boards for several months now, and finally decided to officially join the community.

    I love the recipe section, by the way. The Arctic Char Chowder (sans heavy cream) got me through the winter - my Sunday afternoon ritual was to make a batch of it to have for lunch a few times during the work week. It's my new comfort food.

    I'd been tall and underweight most of my life and could eat whatever I wanted as much as I wanted. I'd been avoiding cow's milk since my teens since it made acne and menstrual cramps worse, and after an acute attack of food poisoning in my last semester at college, I developed a gluten allergy. I assume the food poisoning triggered an auto-immune response somehow. Before the food poisoning, I could eat gluten-containing foods no problem; after the food poisoning, not so much.

    I'd been on a series of SSRIs for depression and anxiety for 12 years. I finally decided to get off of them because while they did lessen the depression and anxiety somewhat, I was gaining weight, not sleeping well, and lacking in mental focus and energy, and my thyroid levels were heading further and further away from normal. That's no way to live.

    Getting off SSRIs was the hardest thing I've ever done. The withdrawal symptoms were awful, even with gradual tapering off of medication. I had the shakes, sweats, brain zaps, horrible moods. Psychoactive drugs are addicting, especially after 12 years of them. Fortunately, I had an acupuncturist with experience getting people off these drugs. She started me on fish oil in addition to the acupuncture treatments. I also started knitting again and taking cello lessons - both are good distractions in my anxious moments. I've been SSRI-free for almost two years.

    After 12 years of meds, I had a weight problem, which was hard to accept, having been skinny most of my life. But I saw the number on the scale, and my skinny clothes didn't fit anymore, couldn't even be zipped up or buttoned. My highest weight was 178 (for a 5'8" female). It may not sound like a high number, but I'd been in the 120s in high school and college, so that's a fair amount of weight gain.

    I was new to the dieting world and fell into all the traps. The latest fads, the low-calorie (and, funnily enough, low-nutrient and low taste) bars and shakes, the workout DVDs. I could never stick to any of it for long. I figured I'd just go vegan and that would take care of the problem. However, not only did I not lose any weight at all, but I actually gained weight, and the carb cravings were atrocious - always hungry, never satisfied even when I did eat something. That led to bingeing and overwhelming guilt afterwards.

    For awhile, I thought maybe I should just accept the weight gain rather than do anything about it. But I had one nagging motivation to do something about it. My father had a triple bypass at 46 years old. His father died of a heart attack at 50, two years before the first bypass graft surgery was available to patients. Standing at the end of my father's bed in the ICU after his surgery and seeing him hooked up to a respirator, two walls of machines monitoring everything, tubes everywhere, and a huge incision on his chest, I faced my possible future. My father was diagnosed with hypertension and type 2 diabetes right before he had the cardiac cath that found the blockages that led to surgery. His lifestyle had everything to do with ending up on the operating table - little to no exercise and a great deal of unhealthy eating.

    Most everyone in my family is "pleasantly plump" or larger, except me and a few others. Hypertension and diabetes run in the family. I want to avoid both.

    In my work as a medical writer, I started running across articles and blog posts about primal and paleo diets. Just like anyone else, I was skeptical at first. Fat is good, not bad? Carbs are bad, not good? Really? But what about the food pyramid? What about everything doctors tell you about nutrition? It's all backwards? Even wrong? How can this be?

    I read more medical journal articles, I read Weston A Price, I read Primal Blueprint, I read Paleo Solution, I read blog posts on many sites, including this one. I read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I also read Michael Pollan and was attracted to his "eat real food" mantra, which is echoed in primal and paleo eating.

    So I decided to try it. I had a mild version of carb flu at first, which I attriute to already giving up gluten years ago, so I only had to deal with the rice and legumes issue. (I love chickpeas.) It hasn't been all that hard to change the eating habits, and who wouldn't look forward to a daily breakfast of free-range eggs and organic, nitrite-free bacon and homemade salsa?

    My weight has dropped below 160 and continues to fall, albeit slowly. The skinny clothes are starting to fit again and are even loose! I sleep better, I don't get tired in the afternoon, and I'm more clear-headed and focused.

    Strange to find a diet one actually likes, isn't it?

    I will write about my typical menus, supplements, and exercise in other posts.
    Last edited by rumoredcellist; 06-14-2011, 10:47 AM.

  • #2
    I assume with these journals that you reply to your own thread to post a new entry.

    My previous post was my intro, long though it may be. This one will be an overview of my eating habits.

    I've used a calorie counter for awhile now, and I am apparently always a little under 1200 calories a day. I probably need to up the calories at least a little, but I'm not sure how, especially because I feel full with all my meals and snacks, so I don't want to overstuff myself.


    An extra-large egg, a slice of bacon, salsa, breakfast tea with stevia. I cook the bacon first, and then cook the egg in the resulting bacon fat. I've tried adding another egg or another slice of bacon, but I feel overfull on a bigger breakfast.

    I sometimes skip breakfast altogether.


    Chicken or fish with vegetables, all of it cooked in butter or avocado oil or olive oil or coconut oil. Interesting that real butter doesn't bother my stomach like other cow's milk products do.


    Similar to lunch

    I average about three cups of vegetables at lunch and at dinner. My favorite vegetables are spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, bok choi, kale, collard greens, asparagus, broccoli.
    The chicken and fish servings are about palm size.


    Fruit (berries; grapefruit or grapes occasionally) or nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans) or a coconut-almond-date roll.
    A cheat for me would be dark chocolate - the good stuff, not the cheap stuff. Dark chocolate-covered coconut pieces are a favorite.
    I definitely crave fruit. I try to stick to berries, but they're scarce in winter, so I gravitate to grapefruit and oranges. I've tried frozen fruit, but it tends to taste watery and freezer-burnish. I also prefer my fruit to be as locally grown as possible, in the USA at a minimum.


    breakfast tea (black tea) - one cup a day
    green tea, unlimited
    water, unlimited

    I'm not a fan of avocados or macadamia nuts or cauliflower or beets. I've tried to like them, but I just don't. I don' t like raw carrots either - steamed or cooked are fine, though.

    Giving up gluten-containing grains wasn't hard for me since I was allergic to them anyway and had avoided them for years. Giving up gluten-free grains has been difficult, though, because it's another trap. There are so many gluten-free products out there, but a gluten-free cookie or five, is still a cookie or five. In other words, just because it's gluten-free doesn't mean it's healthy or good for you. I've been experimenting with almond flour and coconut flour. Not thrilled with either though. I may just give up baking altogether.

    I'm still wrestling with rice, which has been my go-to gluten-free grain for awhile now. I love rice, especially rice noodles. I've switched to sea kelp noodles, but it's not the same. They're so squeaky!

    Giving up sugar has been hard, too. I love my dark chocolate, and the above-mentioned gluten-free baked products (Pamela's and Amy's products are my weaknesses). I've switched to raw honey instead of sugar, and I use stevia as my tea sweetener. I don't bake with stevia though, as it leaves a yucky aftertaste.

    Sheep's milk and goat's milk don't bother me the way cow's milk does, so I occasionally have feta or halloumi made from sheep's milk or goat's milk. I recently switched from soy milk to almond milk. I do miss cereal and gf oatmeal. I know there are primal versions of both, but I've not been impressed with any of them.


    • #3

      multivitamin (Pioneer brand, gluten-free, iron-free)
      vitamin C
      vitamin D
      B complex

      may add CoQ10, vitamin E, glutamine, chromium

      I eat fish several times a week, so I don't know if I need to add fish oil


      • #4
        This is my exercise post.

        I don't really like exercise in the go-to-a-gym or take-a-class or work-out-with-a-DVD sense. I've tried them all and not been able to stick with them for very long.

        I like walking/hiking and yoga best, probably because they don't feel like exercise. I'm also one of those park-further-from-your-destination-and-take-the-stairs-whenever-possible type people.

        Two loops around the campus where I work is about a 30-minute walk. I get out for that as often as the weather is tolerable. I work near a mall, so in bad weather, I have someplace to walk indoors. There's also a nearby lake that I used to walk around until they started the walking path renovations. I hope those get finished soon because it's such a nice break from the city noise and pollution.


        • #5
          Wow, Sounds like your doing great! I'm looking forward to reading more about your journey!
          "If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place." Nora Roberts

          Start December 20th 2010: 177 lbs
          Currant: 136 lbs
          Goal: 125 lbs
          11 more lbs to go

          Follow My Journey :-)


          • #6
            I'm gaining a lot of positives from this eating strategy, but there is one negative. I have anger and irritability flare-ups far more frequently now. I started to notice it when I started this eating regimen. Since I've been doing this for about six months now, I doubt it's anything to do with carb flu. Perhaps due to being more alert and clear-headed, I've become more sensitive, which makes things get on my nerves more easily. Whatever it is, controlling my temper is becoming harder and harder.


            • #7
              Originally posted by rumoredcellist View Post
              I'm gaining a lot of positives from this eating strategy, but there is one negative. I have anger and irritability flare-ups far more frequently now. I started to notice it when I started this eating regimen. Since I've been doing this for about six months now, I doubt it's anything to do with carb flu. Perhaps due to being more alert and clear-headed, I've become more sensitive, which makes things get on my nerves more easily. Whatever it is, controlling my temper is becoming harder and harder.
              Reading this made me think of this

              But I too found myself very Edgy and more prone to snapping at the littlest things, My mom told me that I should start taking more vitimin B ( which I haven't yet but I have increased my vitimins and I think I will start adding vit B in soon.. But I don't find myself snapping like I used to I'm alot more calm I don't know if it's becaus emy body is more used to it or if my increased vitimins had anything to do with it..
              "If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place." Nora Roberts

              Start December 20th 2010: 177 lbs
              Currant: 136 lbs
              Goal: 125 lbs
              11 more lbs to go

              Follow My Journey :-)


              • #8
                Interesting! One of the comments in that thread was about being less likely to take crap. I guess if you are more alert and focused, you notice it more and be annoyed by it and are perhaps more inclined to do something about it.

                I don't like snapping at people (or at inanimate objects that aren't working properly), so that means being more aware of when I'm flying off the handle or about to and determining if it's worth it.

                I take a B-complex supplement. I'll go look and see how much B6 and B12 are in it and maybe up the dose.


                • #9
                  My skin seems to be getting worse lately. Far more oily and acne-prone. I'm trying a raw honey and baking soda regimen to see if that helps. This seems to go along with the dampness that my acupuncturist is seeing in my pulses lately.


                  • #10
                    Wow, I've not posted a journal entry here in more than a year. The problem is I keep a journal in so many other places for other things - I have a one for morning pages, evernote and moleskine for creative writing, OneNote for work-related stuff.

                    So to re-cap the year, I was in a serious car accident at the end of December 2011 (I had green light to go straight, other car coming from opposite direction wanted to turn left and didn't yield to traffic). It left me with right-side neck pain and lower back pain. The lower back pain has exacerbated my interstitial cystitis. I used to get maybe one flare-up a year that was stress-related. The back pain makes them more frequent now. Acupuncture is helping, and I've had a few zero-balancing/craniosacral sessions as well (rather like a gentler form of chiropractic on acupressure points).

                    I have changed jobs twice this year, and I'm sure the stress of that didn't help the IC. However, third time seems to be the charm, so I'm hoping I'll get settled in my new job, and some of that stress will go away.

                    I have no problem following the paleo/primal diet (been dairy-free since teen years; been gluten-free since my 20s), so now it's a matter of adjusting it to the IC diet to lower the consumption of acidic foods that contribute to flare-ups.

                    My acupuncturist recommended Good Belly as a probiotic, and it has cleared up my skin something wonderful. Just drinking 2 ounces a day, and within 2 weeks, I noticed major improvement. I still have PMS-related skin issues, but those come and go quickly. The raw honey and baking soda treatment did nothing for my skin. The oil cleansing method didn't do anything either.

                    My temper seems to have settled down a bit. That was really worrying me. I am feeling a little edgy as we head into fall, but that is not unusual. Seasonal transitions really seem to upset my system for a week or two.


                    • #11
                      So I had a serious derailment back in March. On the 17th, I came down with the flu, which I've not had since I was a teenager. Most of the symptoms weren't all that bad, except for the cough. That got really bad. I ended up going to urgent care because the usual home remedies just were not working, not even making a dent. Turns out I had bronchitis as well as flu. So I had to take an antibiotic for 7 days. I did take a probiotic the whole time. It did clear up the bronchitis, but of course digestively, I'm paying for it. Even nearly five months later, my stomach is still super sensitive. I changed to a stronger probiotic and I'm taking digestive enzymes with every meal, which is helping a little. I've been doing the usual bone broth and all the other healthy foods - just meat and veggies. I've had to cut out nuts, since those now do a number on my stomach. I'm even more sensitive to sugar now. Even a little bit will upset my stomach and give me a whopper of a headache and stuffy sinuses. I also have to watch the fats - they'll go right through me. My doctor said I could try rifaximin or flagyl as a sort of re-set, but she acknowledges that it's another antibiotic, and I'm wary of doing that. My acupuncturist has recommended another Chinese-trained acupuncturist who may be able to do more advanced treatments and possibly give me some herbs. I might try that route first. I'm tired of this IBS setback. It's discouraging to have done everything right, yet still catch the flu and get sick enough to need antibiotics, and develop even more food allergies. Sometimes it seems like this lifestyle has made me weaker and even more susceptible to the slightest disturbances.

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