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Primal Journal for Eric in Portland : very recently ex-vegan adventure

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  • Primal Journal for Eric in Portland : very recently ex-vegan adventure

    Hi. I'm Eric. I've been vegan for almost 15 years. In the last six months, I've started to develop a pretty nasty reaction to soy and wheat, and my overall energy levels (normally excellent) have reduced. Also, despite my diet and generally good activity level, I've had an extra 15 pounds of fat on my body for a decade that I just cannot seem to shake. I've also been generally feeling like a diet change could be a good idea.

    I'm a healthcare practitioner (Chinese medicine) with many Naturopathic friends. At the school I went to, everyone is into the Paleo thing, to the degree that it's annoying. You know when EVERYBODY is into the new hip thing? That makes me suspect it has problems, actually, and that's how I felt about Paleo. However, because I love vegetables and don't tolerate grains very well, the more I looked into it, the more I realized that Paleo is a good choice for me.

    Here's the deal - I'm not going to be eating mammals or birds at this point. Also, no dairy - my guts don't tolerate it, and never have. So aside from avoiding the things that Paleo says to avoid, I'm going to be eating eggs, fish & seafood for my protein sources. Seems doable, even though I know most (all?) paleo folks eat all kinds of meat. We'll see how it goes.

    I only just decided to do this a couple of days ago, and had my first animal product in almost 15 years just about a week ago. It's all very new, and strange, but I'm excited to see how it goes.

  • #2
    If I remember correctly Mark's wife is a pescatarian primal. She does fine. I'm sure you can too. Good luck to you.


    • #3
      Yes, Canio is right. Mark's wife is a piscatarian and his son is vegetarian. Grok spent eons living by the sea, lakes and streams. You'll do fine. More
      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.


      • #4
        Thanks everyone - so far, so good.


        • #5
          So, I've tried salmon & halibut, and keep going strong on the eggs. I've not touched any grains, sweeteners or legumes to my knowledge - and I frankly feel just fine. Not GREAT, not BAD. No headaches, no obvious carb withdrawls, no cravings of any kind. I guess I'm about 3 days in with no grains at all.

          My digestion hasn't been so happy about the change, to be honest. I'm figuring that things will level out eventually - it seems that any type of dietary change has a temporary deleterious effect on that part of my system. I'll keep going strong.


          • #6
            Given that you're a healthcare practitioner, you've probably already considered digestive enzymes, but I still thought I'd throw it out there...


            • #7


              First of all, congratulations, and I hope you feel better soon!
              My digestion improved almost immediately, but I was a very heavy (mostly UNfermented, oy...) soy & grain vegan, both of which tear up the digestive system. I had issues with dairy especially as a young child (but it was processed junk dairy and processed "cheese", and in the teen years, it could've just as well been from the loads of sugar I was always taking in with the ultra-pasteurized commercial dairy in my Frappuccinos) but I found that taking in organic, grass-fed dairy from A2 beta casein types (like Brown Swiss and Jersey cow's milk) and many more types of cheese have been fine.

              I know everyone's different, though, and if you're from Portland, you've probably had better access to good dairy to try and fail with than I have here in Georgia.

              I'm moving back to California soon (!!!!!!!!) and I can't wait to have access to more (and better) healthy options.

              I understand not wanting to eat mammals or their products.
              I had a tough time with it because I was quite the sympathetic Vegan. I recall using the dog/cow argument (You won't eat a dog, why is a cow any different?). A friend studying agriculture pointed out to me how many mammals are killed in grain and bean harvesting (though I know you said you avoided grains), and his point was, you won't eat a cow, why are several mice/rats/raccoons any different?

              I may try a pescatarian or pesca-based primal diet when I return to California, but here it is not so feasible, and there are many good local farms that are humane from the feed and care all the way to the slaughter; I feel better about that than the questionable fish I currently have access to (how many dolphins were killed in the harvesting of this Tuna? haha).

              Have you had any joint issues? I don't know if it's a coincidence, but I am also vegan to primal, and while my GI system loves it, my joints haven't been too happy. Maybe dialing back on my mammals and adding more safe fish somehow (ideas?) will balance it out.

              All the best,


              • #8
                Hey Clover,

                Thanks for writing! I am definitely open to looking for some good places to insert grass-fed dairy, especially butter (or ghee?), but I feel like I'm already doing a lot for having been vegan for so long. I'm definitely feeling some intense effects tonight (thus up at midnight) so one step at a time? I'm not so good at that, but I'll try.

                Yeah, I've heard the grain/veggie harvesting argument. I personally never thought I could have a zero killing / zero cruelty diet, I just wanted to do my best to minimize suffering. Now, I figured out I can minimize suffering AND eat a diet that treats my body a little better. The two aren't mutually exclusive. Honestly, at some point, being vegan became a habit just like anything else. That's not usually good, imho.

                Yeah, the fish thing is only feasible for me because of the amazing access I have to fresh seafood of all kinds. It's remarkable. On the environmental side of things - if you have an iPhone (may also be an Android option) the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a great app for locating sustainable seafood in your area. It helps you identify the least horrible choices, at least.

                As far as joints are concerned - I have some long standing joint issues, and gout in my family, so I'm really hoping things don't get worse. I'm a Chinese medicine practitioner, so most of my herbal and acupuncture issues keep things at bay and seem to be improving things slowly, hopefully I strike a balance. I'm not sure what to say about your joint issues - I'd say do some experimentation (maybe with the fish) and see how it goes? Such a silly, simple answer, but maybe the only appropriate one.

                Anyway - thanks for writing!


                • #9
                  Today was a little crazy. I thought I was going to be able to get through this transition with no issues - oh well.

                  Two complicating factors

                  #1 - I had major dental work today. I hate dental work and always respond really weirdly to anesthesia (even local, as this was)
                  #2 - I'm still recentering after planning and executing the wedding of myself and my wife as well as our 10 day bender of a honeymoon (where I opened up to fish, but where I also opened up to a whole fucking lot of tequila)

                  So - who knows what the hell is going on with my body. I do know that today was my first sub-100 carb day. The prior two days there were things I ate that skewed it - fruit, mostly, but once there was a sugar-containing product that I drank before I even thought about it. Anyway, the super low carbs might be part of the issue - but again, who knows.


                  1. Insomnia (like now) - which is a chronic issue that has been mostly under control over the last few years
                  2. Weird sensations in my chest - anxiety most likely, but feels really heavy and almost painful, which is always scary
                  3. Very, very slow moving bowels - highly unusual for me, probably a symptom of my gut reacting to no more allergens
                  4. Massive energy crash midday and inability to do anything of substance for most of the day

                  We'll see how tomorrow goes, but days after bad sleep are rarely awesome. I'm sticking with it, though.


                  • #10
                    Hi Eric,

                    Sorry you had a bad day, but congrats on your marriage. I'm a Spanish teacher so I'm all about Tequila ; )

                    I'm up too. My body said it was hungry. So, I'm eating almonds and playing on the MDA. I'm sure I'll be sorry tomorrow.
                    Primal since 9/24/2010
                    "Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Miguel de Cervantes

                    Created by - Free Weight Loss Tools
                    MFP username: MDAPebbles67


                    • #11
                      Well, "bad day" maybe not - let's just say FAR FROM OPTIMAL. Sorry you're up, too. Hope the almonds help - I'm doing some Chinese herbs, some calcium/magnesium and some deep breathing.