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A Primal Dietitian??? Martha T.'s Journal

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  • A Primal Dietitian??? Martha T.'s Journal

    Yes, I'm an RD, have been for 25 years now. I trained in the heyday of the low cholesterol/low fat research, back in the early eighties. It, of course, has been the basis of all our science and interventions since that time, until the recent gradual move towards recognizing the role of healthy fats and the start of the recognition of the dangers of high sugar and processed foods. My own professional path has been into geriatrics, where I consult to long term care as a self-employed dietitian. I have been able to move very slowly and gradually towards improved health interventions such as adding whole ground flaxmeal to all the hot cereal served in my homes to improve the omega-3 intakes. And Vit D supplementation across the board for all residents (most of these poor folks never get outside).

    On a more personal note, I am much more of an experimenter. I have always struggled with 20-40 extra lbs, more when I was in active childbearing years. My highest non-pregnant weight was 171 lbs, a year after son #1 was born. I lost all the baby weight and 10 extra lbs and went into pregnancy #2 at 148 lbs. Spent most of their childhoods in the upper 150's to low 160's. When I turned 40, I decided to train for a walking marathon (I was a total non-runner, non-exerciser at the time). I completed the training for a full marathon (~5 months worth), and only lost about 5 lbs. I continued to run for the next 7 years, completing countless half-marathons as a runner, but still struggled with my weight.

    Almost 4 years ago, I discovered the Shangri La diet while waiting for kids in a Chapters bookstore. It was an epiphany moment. The idea of taking straight, flavourless oil calories to affect a body's setpoint was soooo far out there, yet it made such good sense. At that moment, I had struggled from 153 to 150 lbs, but could not get my weight to go lower without misery and starvation. Within 2 weeks of starting SLD, I was at 146 lbs, busting through my longtime setpoint of 148-150, absolutely painlessly. I continued with SLD and was at my goal weight of 135 by 3 months later. It's not a lean weight for me, because I have a very fine bone structure (I'm 5'6"), but I felt like a million bucks. Maintained the upper 130's for over a year, but then slipped gradually up into the lower 140's. I have continued the oilshots most days up to the present, close to 4 years. It was my introduction to the concept of high fat diets and the health benefits of consuming more fats. I used either light olive oil or canola for my oilshots.

    In ongoing research and experimentation to help me lose the elusive last 10 (or sometimes 20) lbs, I eventually worked my way around to lower carb, then higher fat, then Primal. I have discovered along the way that I really don't digest wheat well, and my longtime smelly evening gas issues vanished when eating wheat-free.

    So here I am, starting a thread of my own to journal my experiences with the Primal lifestyle. Over the past year, I have:
    Reduced my running thanks to a chronic Achilles injury, just this past week regained running without pain. (That's another story - I credit the Whole 30 for that!) I love running, it nourishes my soul. But I'm slow, very slow, so it qualifies at the Move Slowly part). I practice Chi-running principles to minimize injury risk.
    Acquired a chin-up bar (I can only hang at this time, but my sons are loving it!). Goal is to do one real pull-up.
    Asked for and received the PBP and PBP cookbook for Christmas, then promptly lent them to my obese brother. I'll get them back soon.
    Started the Whole 30 for April. Went dairy free for the first time in my life. I'm losing weight, though I don't know how much until the end of the month.

    I enjoy this forum community, though it seems dauntingly big. I am hoping to journal the remainder of this Whole 30 experience, and then hopefully the long and fruitful path of Primal living that is ahead.

  • #2
    Hey Martha!
    Welcome, I'm pretty new too (1 week in). Your story's really interesting - a dietitian's point of view always is. Nice job starting the Whole 30!
    How have you been doing?


    • #3
      Whole 30 is going great. I'm finishing up Day 18 with no slip-ups yet. I feel great.

      Wed is going to be a challenge - all day workshop with about 80 other Dietitians in Gerentology, at a conventions centre with a catered lunch. There will be a green salad on the buffet, but it may be already dressed. That's about the only thing that will be primal. Lunch for a bunch of women is generally not heavy on the meat. I will be taking my own stuff, but it appears a bit weird eating it in that crowd. I'll make do. May need to go eat in my car.


      • #4
        Welcome, I appreciate having somebody here who has "crossed over" from the other side.

        I'm curious how you do the Shangri-la diet.
        What oil
        How much, how often
        Do you mix it with water
        Take it all at once or over timw
        Do you also do sugar water? If so, when


        • #5
          Re the Shangri La diet: I take 2 tbsp of oil (has been canola or ELOO historically) as a shot once a day, usually mid afternoon, within a 2-4 hour window of no other flavours at all. No gum, toothpaste, foods, beverages. I hold my breath, throw it back, rinse out my mouth by drinking some water, then release my breath. Voila! Totally flavourless. I have recently been using half ELOO and half heavy whipping cream to reduce any oiliness factor in my mouth. Not right now, obviously, as I'm doing Whole 30. Seth Roberts, the developer of SLD, has been experimenting with butter for his SLD calories, and finding good effects on mood, among other things.

          SLD is a tool to assist the body to reduce it's setpoint and allow weight to drop - that's the theory. When taking tasteless oil calories, you are getting calories with no impact on insulin levels, either carb-wise, or even psychologically "brain-wise". The actual mechanism is not clear, but it does work to help with weight loss. It allows one to eat significantly less with no cravings or rampant appetite.

          I've never tried the sugar version. Can't stand sugar or most sweets. And I think that white sugar and HFCS are nutritionally demonic.


          • #6
            I don't understand the sugar bit at all, as I think it would trigger an insulin reponse. And a version I read of taking oil in a glass of sugar water over 30 minutes still doesn't sound logical although you do spread out the insulin response.

            The stand-alone fat between meals makes sense to me in the area of reprogramming your system to burn fat. I'm trying it with


            • #7
              Well, I survived my Gerontology Dietitian's conference with perfect compliance to the Whole 30. I took a thermos with my coffee and coconut milk, then just made a joke about getting up really early as I poured my own coffee into one of the convention centre's cups. I had eaten macademia nuts in the car during the 2 1/2 hour drive down. The morning refreshments were entirely wheat and sugar, plus butter. Lunch turned out to be better than some conferences, with chicken, roasted potatoes, steamed mixed fresh veggies, two salads, fresh fruit and baked goods for dessert. I had two little bits of chicken and a big plate of greens with no dressing but a large spoonful of real bacon bits. I figured the steamed veggies would have butter on them. Then I made mention to my tablemates that I don't eat wheat and I pulled out my own lunch, a smoked pork chop, sliced into ribbons and with a big glob of my wonderful homemade mayo for dipping, and for added fat. It was delicious. On the way home in the car, I finished off the macademias and ate the carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes that I hadn't needed at lunch. Good car food.

              Day 20 done - 2/3 done!! I can't believe I've gone 20 days with pretty well perfect compliance. There was a big cheese platter at the luncheon today, lots of yummy fancy cheeses that I would normally have munched out on. Easily 400-500 extra cals after my meal. But not today - Yah!


              • #8
                Way to go, Martha!


                • #9
                  I feel like I've had a cheat, supper was so good. I made a stirfry with vegetables and shrimp, and dressed it with oyster sauce, soy sauce and, for the first time ever, a big tbsp of coconut oil. OMG, it was so delicious. The coconut flavour infused every bite, adding the sensation of slight sweetness without any sweetness. I cooked it all up, scooped out a huge 2 cup or so serving for myself, then threw in the pre-soaked rice stick noodles for hubby and son (still working on them). They liked it too, though they added an additional (sweeter) sauce over top. Fine, whatever.

                  Then for dessert, I found in my cupboards a packet of dried seaweed, Chinese or Japanese in origin, fried and with sesame seeds mixed in. I had bought them on an excursion to an Asian grocery store, thinking they were dehydrated seaweed salad, like the kind we love from the Japanese/Thai restaraunt. Instead, they were vaguely sweet, crispy and delicious. I had a few for dessert. Not quite Whole 30 legal (wee bit of sugar), but sugar is not my "boogie man", so I don't stress over the tiny bits. I'm now 22 days dairy-free, grain-free, legume-free, mostly soy- and sugar-free. I feel grand. Actually, right now I feel stuffed! I think maybe a run is in order, when the food settles a bit.

                  Workout already today: 50 minute hike on the Bruce Trail (rough, escarpment trail, lots of rocks and trees) in heavy hiking boots, like weights on my ankles. Before anyone gets going about the barefoot stuff, please remember that this is Central Ontario, Canada, in mid-April and the snow is just all gone in the last week or so. Rough, in places muddy, and the air was 9C (about 47-48F, I think).


                  • #10
                    I just completed the first of my personalized workouts, using all my own equipment. My older son's room has become the "gym" for younger son and myself, at least until he comes home from university for the summer. I dreamed up this workout yesterday, based on my equipment and my own current level of fitness. No travel time, no gas, no changing clothes, no special shoes, as close as upstairs.

                    Here's my workout: Total time invested: 11 mins
                    Warm up on my stepper - 1 min
                    Plank - 90 secs (I managed 60 today)
                    Sprint on my stepper - 30 secs
                    Grok hang (overhand) - 10 secs (I'm a long way from doing a pull-up, but I can now hang without shoulder pain, an improvement already)
                    Sprint - 30 secs
                    Chin up hang (underhand) - 10 secs
                    Sprint - 30 secs
                    25 lb kettlebell swings x 20
                    Sprint - 30 secs
                    2nd set kettlebell swings x 20
                    Sprint - 30 secs
                    Side plank - 45 secs each side (did it, but just barely)
                    Slow cooldown on stepper - 1 min

                    I did it with no rests in between and a digital kitchen timer to monitor my time. Home gym equipment - doorway chin-up bar ($40), yoga mat ($~30 - good one), 25 lb kettlebell ($40), digital timer ($5), stepper (like this - Bladez Core Glide Stepper | Canadian Tire I got it for $40. All prices Canadian $.

                    Goals for progress: Planks with less struggle, more energy in the sprints and sprints up to 1 min each, a real pull-up and/or chin-up, single hand kettlebell swings with my 25lber.

                    I feel well worked out. And great! Now that's something that I think I could do on a regular basis!


                    • #11
                      I can't believe that it's day 26 of my Whole 30 and this experiment is over in 4 days. Well, 5 days of eating if you include today. I'm almost sorry to see it end, thought the restriction on butter has been a pain. Butter, plus tiny bits of soy and/or sugar in my beloved Asian condiments are about the only additions that I can really see being added back in at this point. And butter is likely to be a once in a while thing. Cheese will no longer be a daily protein snack, but rather saved for only the very best (read expensive, flavourful, likely European-type) cheeses, and only as a treat food, like at a party. I can see coconut milk becoming a regular fixture in my diet, which is entirely new.

                      Not weighing daily has been liberating too. I'm thinking that I will weigh on May 1, then put the scale away again and only pull it out every 2 weeks or so. I have been using pants to determine my body changes. My old favourite black dress pants are a wee bit looser each Monday when I pull them on. I was not wearing them at all at the beginning of this challenge. I have "thigh room" now in pants that used to fit snugly over my thighs. That is a huge change, which I have to wonder is caused by the no dairy restriction of the Whole 30. Maybe those dairy hormones (I have never made any effort to buy organic dairy before, but our dairy in Canada is more highly regulated re drugs and hormones than the American stuff, I think) are partly responsible. I have gone out and bought organic butter this weekend, just in case that is the case. It's a ripoff price - $4.49 for a half lb vs $3.79 for a full lb of regular butter.

                      I ran my two mile loop last night in about 21 minutes without any significant knee pain. That is another big accomplishment of the Whole 30, maybe due to less inflammation? That knee/Achilles has been a problem for almost a year now.


                      • #12
                        Go Martha! 5 more days!


                        • #13
                          Day 27 of Whole 30 completed. The eating has become routine, so I'm concentrating on exercise for the next couple of weeks. Time frame is now until the long Victoria Day weekend ~22-25 May, or so. In the past 4 days, I have been out for a 2 mile (slow) run one evening, done my individualized workout (as set out above), and tonight, for the first time in forever, I went to the Y to use the machines. I did a Power of 10 type workout, working one set to failure of 5 major exercises. Sort of a Body by Science approach. I did leg press, shoulder press, chest press, rows and plank. Each to failure, which didn't take long or much weight this first time. Now my body feels well worked, kind of heavy but invigorated. I have a plan to do either a run or my little home workout on alternate days every day, and a trip to the Y for lift-to-failure weight lifting once per week. This is like a 3 week boot camp idea. The big reward at the end is feeling fit and fabulous for my Spa weekend with the girlfriends. And all on 10-20 minutes of exercise per day. I can't wait to see what I can accomplish with this commitment to exercise, especially after being successful at the commitment to Whole 30. I finish up and check my weight/measurements on Sunday.


                          • #14
                            Copied from the April Whole 30 challenge thread for my own records:

                            I weighed and measured this morning, Day 30, as I have a meal out this evening and didn't want fluid retention to skew the results. I have noticed a real difference in how my pants were feeling, so I was excited to step on the scale.

                            Shock!! I lost a grand total of....wait for it....3.5 lbs! WTF?? And my % BF on my Tanita scale is identical to April 1 - 33%. I went from 147.5 to 144.0 - big hairy deal!! BUT - I checked my measurements and that's where the big changes were. My upper body measurements were identical - arms, bust, under-bust. But my waist has lost 2", my hips are down 1/2", and the most exciting, each thigh is down 3/4". Even my calf is down 5/8".

                            I had perfect compliance with the restrictions on dairy, all grains, and legumes . I had near perfect compliance regarding sugar and soy (3 instances of a tiny bit of soy sauce). One glass of organic red wine. So why no more weight loss? Despite being within an optimal weight range, I obviously have lots of fat to lose (I'm 5'6", but very fine-boned). I ate one ounce of macademias most days, but sometimes it was my breakfast meal. I ate 3-5 pieces of fruit a week, small organic bananas, apple, kiwi, watermelon once. I go through a can of coconut milk every 3-4 days or so. Mainly in coffee.

                            I'm hypothesizing that the inches loss below the belt, in that hormonally-controlled, oh-so-hard-to-move area, may be due to the removal of dairy products. Maybe hormones in the dairy supply? Maybe inflammation?

                            So what else? My knee pain is gone, since about the end of the first week. And my Achilles tendon, sore for the last year(!!), is no longer sore. In fact I was aware of it actually "healing" one day - a very localized burning sensation, as though Dr Spock was using his gizmo to seal up an incision. Is that related to going dairy-free?? I have discovered a new love of coconut milk and expect to continue with that long-term. Maybe it was the addition of coconut products rather than the removal of dairy that had the above effects? Interesting to ponder.

                            So onwards from here.... I plan to continue with my diet pretty much as it has been this month, but without the total strictness around tiny bits of sugar and soy, and with only a bit of dairy added back. Really good cheeses for special treats, and a bit of butter, maybe heavy cream, though I can see coconut milk filling that niche in most instances. I like Farfalla's idea of aiming for 95/5. I plan to continue with my exercise regime as I've set it up in the last week and a half. My scale is buried back in my closet - I"m not going to play games with my mind while I do a more intensive exercise regime. I still hope to get my weight into the 130's and my %BF to 25% - those are longer range goals.

                            What an interesting month it has been! I'm so glad that I did this.


                            • #15
                              Well done Martha. Good to hear that you found it beneficial.
                              I have slipped a little from aiming to eat 100% primally lately, though not by much. Maybe doing a whole 30 would sort that out.
                              If you're interested in my (very) occasional updates on how I'm working out and what I'm eating click here.

                              Originally posted by tfarny
                              If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least