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Harplady's Primal Journey

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  • Harplady's Primal Journey

    Dunno if anyone will read this, but here it is!
    I started my food journey when I was in my teens. My family had moved from San Diego to the middle of nowhere (wasola, MO), back to the land, to raise all our own food. It was a major culture shock for the little hippy girl that I was, but the food was awesome, until I started getting migraines. I went vegetarian, and the migraines went away. Then I tried eating various things, and it was the pork every time. Years later I understood that it was the nitrates/nitrites in the pork, not the actual meat itself. But this began a years long journey of vegetarianism, only interrupted after each of 4 pregnancies by an incessant craving for beef. I'd eat beef until I no longer liked the taste of it, and then back to my grains, beans, and tofu. After my 4th child I went vegan for 7 years, then had a sudden desire to eat salmon (I'd never liked fish), which I ate regularly for awhile. I'm allergic to all dairy products, and struggled with low blood sugar (and sugar addiction) in my 20s.

    There was a part of me that believed a vegetarian/vegan diet was better for the planet, but in my 30s I started gaining weight and it seemed like no matter what I did, I kept gaining it. There was a macrobiotic phase, more attempts at being vegan, and finally 2 stints as a raw vegan, which allowed me to lose weight, but I was spacey and couldn't maintain that lifestyle. The first lasted 6 months and ended when I cracked a tooth, all of my teeth became sensitive to cold, and I took that as a sign I needed warm foods, so it was back to miso soups and the like. That's when the sensitivity to wheat became obvious, along with leaky gut syndrome. The second raw run lasted about the same time, and ended when I broke out in shingles from too many nuts (high in arginine). Ever since then I can't eat more than a handful of nuts once in awhile. That winter I was constantly sick with lung infections. Looking back on it all, it's kind of humorous. Around that same time I read "The Yoga of Eating", by Charles Eisenstein, a great little book.

    A few years ago I started really listening to my body, and asking how do I feel after meals. I also started reading about Paleo and I started eating meat again, and stopped getting sick. I've been growing my own produce for years, and for the last couple of years I've been getting most of my meat from local people as well. I especially do well with grass fed beef.

    A few months ago I started reminiscing about some of my old vegan meals, and the next thing you know I was eating ezekial bread daily, rice and stir fries, etc. I love that food, but my guts hurt, and very quickly gained back 20#, and in august got another lung infection. It took weeks to heal, partly because I was in denial about my food choices. I got back on track by making a big batch of beef broth from marrow, rib, and knuckle bones, and drinking that stock with my meat & veggie meals.

    Now I'm back to feeling great! I realized that supporting local purveyors of REAL whole food is probably the best thing I can do for the planet, as well as the local economy, and of course, we all know that it just tastes SO much better too. I eat lots of eggs, various meats, and lots of veggies. Occasional nuts, fruit, and once in awhile I allow a cheat. I started at 195 this time around, and maybe I'll weigh in next week.
    Terri the Harp Player

    Wherever you go, there you are!

  • #2
    Welcome! It's encouraging to read about reformed vegans/vegetarians. My sister is vegan and recovering from an eating disorder so I worry a lot about her getting enough of the right foods (she claims to eat enough protein, but in order to actually do that she'd have to eat a large serving of beans at every meal, which she definitely doesn't!). I suppose there's still hope for her yet!
    Depression Lies


    • #3
      Thanks nameless!
      I also had eating disorders in my youth, and actually have thought about my obsessive compulsive food issues with vegetarian/vegan/raw and wondered in retrospect if it wasn't just another manifestation of the same disorders. Anyway, I feel SO MUCH better eating meat and fat, and leaving out grains, especially wheat. For years I worked hard to make sure I was getting protein, I did all the combining, ate tofu & tempe, tried seitan which made me sick (gluten). I always had gas, reflux, and IBS. My hair & nails grew slow, I had bad allergies. When I changed my diet, all that went away, like a miracle. When I make the mistake of trying to go back, all those symptoms return. I'm not perfect, and I don't need to be. I am learning from my mistakes.
      Terri the Harp Player

      Wherever you go, there you are!


      • #4
        Starting weight (this was a couple weeks ago) 195
        B:46.5 W: 44 H: 45

        I'm a musician, so I often sleep in and just eat 2 meals a day, brunch and dinner.
        Today's food:
        B: sweet potato, red onion, chorizo hash with 2 eggs. English breakfast tea with coconut milk and stevia
        D: (took my daughter and grandson to PF Changs) Wok Seared beef with broccoli added.

        Exercise: 30 minutes bellydancing!

        I feel great today!
        Terri the Harp Player

        Wherever you go, there you are!


        • #5
          I started the day by reading some other people's journals, which has been very inspiring! One of the reasons I started my journal here is for accountability. I have a tendency to go into denial,and to minimize risks when it comes to food, so, for myself, and for anyone who might read this, I have a confession to make: yesterday when I had dinner at PF Changes my daughter ordered the calamari, and at first I wasn't going to eat any, but then I had a few, and then a few more, etc. Of course, calamari itself would be fine, but the coating is not, plus it's deep fried in some cheap oil, and the dipping sauce was a little sweet. Of course, it's easy to tell myself that this is a small cheat, (after all, I didn't eat any rice), but I'm here for accountability, and I can't believe that I omitted that appetizer from my journal!

          I got hungry last night after my last post (we were up late) and also had a few slices of turkey lunchmeat (a good brand), rolled up around a little daiya non dairy cheese. It isn't made from soy, but not something I need to eat regularly either.

          Woke with a mild headache and some IBS symptoms. When will I learn?

          But, today is a new day and I've started off good. 2 eggs, chorizo (a good brand), and broccoli. Black tea with coconut milk and stevia.
          Terri the Harp Player

          Wherever you go, there you are!


          • #6
            i'm reading! it's great to hear your story and your roots. did your family raise any of its own meat? i bet it felt wonderful when you finally realized it was nitrates/nitrites causing problems for you and not the meat itself. glad you found paleo/primal. also - <whisper>i'm a belly dancer too</whisper> it's so great one of the best ways to exercise for sure... i might have to turn up some music later...
            -joan's primal journal and blog-


            • #7
              This sunday is my family's annual New Years day brunch, which is usually me cooking big piles of bacon, cranberry walnut scones, and eggs to order. All 4 of my kids, 3 grandkids, my boyfriend and (hopefully) his 2 kids, (both of our kids are grown), and sometimes a few extras come and we hang out laughing, eating, and open a few presents (it's my substitute for xmas). So I've reworked the menu for this week:
              Spiral smoked ham from whole foods (nitrate, preservative, and hormone free)
              Deviled eggs
              asparagus and broccoli
              raw veggie plate: cukes, red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes
              rolls, banana bread, cheese plate (for those who want it)
              I'm also thinking of making some mildly sweet grain free scone or cookie or something, just in case I feel the need...

              I think this buffet will satisfy everyone, and keep me on track too.

              Today I ran around getting all the groceries I'll need for sunday, and while at whole foods I had to eat. I started getting shaky and spaced, which has been a problem for me for years. Once my body needs fuel like that, it's time to eat. I grabbed a couple chicken legs, some kale, and squash off the food bar, and the small cheat of the day, a bottle of peach oolalong ice tea (does have a little sugar in it).

              Dinner was pasta night: Ground sirloin, pasta sauce, broccoli and my 'noodles' were yellow squash sliced into ribbons and sautéed in the beef juices until tender. Yum!

              I didn't get any real exercise today, and for that I'm a little disappointed.
              Terri the Harp Player

              Wherever you go, there you are!


              • #8
                Happy New Year!
                It's been a few days since I posted here, but things have been going good. Last thurs night was my grandson's 10th birthday party, and I knew the food was going to be a bunch of junk, so I made some guac to grok on, and brought some of those crinkle cut carrot slices to use as chips. That's a favorite snack I've been eating for a couple of years, and it satisfies the need for crunchy, creamy, and yummy.

                I ate well all weekend, actually! Lots of eggs, meat, veggies for breakfasts, roasted chicken fri night, steak sat night, and sunday was my annual New Year's brunch with my family here. I was up early to fix the food, so I actually ate breakfast first (otherwise I would have been worthless). I had a bacon and egg scramble with Broccoli. Everyone loved the spread of food, and since my daughter was bringing banana bread I made orange cranberry scones (from, made with almond flour), leaving out the chocolate chips, just in case I really wanted something 'special'. I had a few, and they were tasty! Everyone liked them, actually! I also had deviled eggs, ham, some raw veggies, and asparagus.

                One problem that I have is that my hunger comes on suddenly, and if I don't eat right away I get shaky and dumb. I've been reading the Leptin reset stuff, and have upped my breakfast considerably. Today it was 3 eggs, bacon, leftover ham, onions, and swiss chard, all scrambled together. It was awesome! I thought, "well, this oughta hold me for awhile", but a few hours later I needed more! There was some cajun egg salad left from yesterday, so I filled a couple romaine leaves with it, and that held me for a couple more hours. Then I was out and about, and suddenly my guts are screaming like the plant on little shop of horrors, "FEED ME!". I stopped at Chipotle and got a bowl with beef, extra fajita veggies, pico, guac, and lettuce (no rice, beans, cheese, or crema), and although I'm trying not to eat after 7, I just polished off the last 2 scones, and they were delicious.

                I also finally weighed in, 195.5. That's a loss of 4 lbs in the last 2 weeks, so I feel good about that! It's a start.
                Terri the Harp Player

                Wherever you go, there you are!


                • #9
                  Hi Terri the Harp Lady!

                  Nice to "meet" you! I can so relate to much of your story - I, too, had forays into veganism several times during my 40 years as a vegetarian, and even into raw veganism twice, always I think in search of what would make me feel physically and ethically sound. I have to say that although I have a long way to go weight-wise, I feel so much better eating Primal/Paleo than ever before.

                  What a great little book The Yoga of Eating looks like! I can't wait to read it, thanks for the recommendation!

                  I'm wondering if a spoonful of added fat with your meals might be helpful to you in terms of warding off the "FEED ME!" ravenous hunger? It looks like you are eating fat (guac, egg salad, and perhaps in the meat if it's fatty?) but I'm thinking that maybe you could try a spoonful of coconut butter as well? That really works for me.

                  Glad you're here!
                  50 yo single mom
                  Primal since 12/1/2010. Now Whole30ing until I feel WHOLE again, my goals are no longer scale-related.

                  Aila's Primal Journey

                  "If I cling to circumstances, I could claim to be not responsible. Only she who says she did not choose is the loser in the end." Adrienne Rich


                  • #10
                    Yesterday was the best day ever! I had tons of energy, and I had most of the day off to do as I pleased. (I love being self employed). So I started the day with a scramble of eggs, bacon, ham (still working on that new years day ham!), onions, and chard. I fried the bacon, then cooked everything in the fat. I have to say, I used to hate scrambled eggs, and now that I'm using my bacon grease to make them, they are awesome! And Aila, I totally agree with you. I've been adding more fat during the last week, and not only have I started losing weight again, I feel so much better and can usually get by a little longer between meals. I have coconut butter here, and I like it.

                    I ran errands, and then met a former student (I teach Harp) for lunch (salad with chicken, cranberries, etc) and brought my coconut milk with me, asking them to make me a chai with it. The people working behind the counter were intrigued, and they have coconut milk there, so they each made themselves a chai too, and we all sat around talking about how awesome it is. That was fun.

                    Next I had a series of gift cards from various students, so I ran around spending them. At Vom Fass I got some olive & avocado oils and the best damn balsamic I've ever had, it's thick and amazing. I also got a jar of Tunnino Tuna, which has been hard to find, but it's really awesome and makes canned tuna taste like cat food. At Penzey's I got "Sunny Paris", a tasty herb blend with shallots. I also had cards for Trader Joe's & Whole foods, and then I went by Local Harvest to get my eggs. I didn't get a chance to 'exercise', but I did walk around a lot, making sure to park a good distance from each store entrance.

                    I had half a leftover dijon caper butter roast chicken, so I simmered the bones and skin for a couple hours while I was teaching, then strained that, adding sautéed onions and garlic, 'riced' cauliflower, the chopped up meat, some chard, Sunny Paris, salt & Pepper. I called it Chicken & Rice, stuck it in front of my boys (D=22, L=19) who live here with me, and they wolfed it down. We've been talking about paleo, and they'll eat whatever I put in front of them, but when left to their own devices it's ramen, frozen burritos, sandwiches, etc. I provide breakfast and dinner, which they often help cook, & at lunch time it's 'find it, kill it, cook it, and eat it.'

                    I stayed up a little late, watching Dr Who with D, and started getting hungry, but I decided to go to bed without a snack. I slept like a vampire at dawn, and woke up feeling great. No headache, but definitely hungry!

                    Today is my busy day teaching, with students from 10am - 7pm.
                    Breakfast was the broccoli quiche recipe from the primal blueprint quick and easy meals. I used a spoon of melted duck fat instead of butter. I also reheated the leftover chicken & rice, because I need some meat with my eggs, and that held me for awhile. I also had a cup of Black dragon pearl tea with coconut milk and a little stevia.

                    Lunch was a BAS: romaine, smoked salmon, cukes, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and that yummy balsamic! Also another cup of tea. I can tell it isn't gonna hold me long...maybe I'll snack on the coconut butter then.

                    Tonight for dinner I'm gonna try an interesting experiment. I still have some of that ham, so I'm gonna cut it off the bone and simmer the bone, skin, and fat for awhile. I was trying to think of a sub for beans, so here it is: I'll cut up carrots and parsnips to bean sized chunks and add those to the stock, along with caramelized onions & garlic (cooked in bacon grease), collard greens, the rest of the ham, and maybe some bacon too, why not!

                    So things I'm noticing: I feel VERY alert, very focused, and very energetic. I looked at my journals from my other paleo adventures, and found the same thing there. As a person who has always struggled with depression, lack of motivation, and a tendency to feel overwhelmed, this is great. My lungs are fully clear of the green gunk that plagued them for weeks & I can breath deeply without coughing. I also have been plagued by tendonitis for years. I have a trigger finger (not good for a musician), a knot in my right achilles tendon, and have had to wear arch supports for years due to plantar fascitus (those last 2 probs started after I started wearing 'walking' shoes, BTW). So for years I haven't really been able to get out and walk much, and going barefoot was agony. Guess what! The finger seems to be doing better, and so it the achilles problem. I'm starting to walk around the house barefoot, for a little while at a time. Maybe I'm imagining it, but I don't think so. I think my body being more well lubricated with all this awesome fat is really helping. I've also lost another pound, so today I weighed in at 194.5.

                    For the first couple of weeks I had headaches, kinks, and some other symptoms, like itchy ears. I have a history of sugar addiction and candida issues, and I think all of that is yeast die off, including the shakiness & spaciness between meals. Most of that is starting to fade, and I have to say, I really like waking up hungry. It feels good lying in bed groggily, stretching, breathing, and just being. My hunger feels different now than it did before, it's the kind of hunger that helps my mind focus. And breakfast is awesome!
                    Terri the Harp Player

                    Wherever you go, there you are!


                    • #11
                      I thought I'd sign back in before bed to report that the hambone soup turned out pretty good! I didn't put any carrots in, but the parsnips took on a texture kind of similar to beans, which is what I was hoping for. I ended up with a huge pot of soup, the boys enjoyed it too, and I'll probably freeze some of it in serving size containers. I also made a batch of paleo 'corn' muffins, a recipe I saw on a several websites using coconut flour, and honestly, nobody liked them. It's 11:30 here, and even though I ate plenty tonight, I'm hungry, but not shaky or incoherent, so I'm going to bed, to dream of a big breakfast!
                      Terri the Harp Player

                      Wherever you go, there you are!


                      • #12
                        So yesterday I met a friend for lunch. I ordered the fish and oven roasted veggies, and which was beautiful, but had a big chunk of butter melting on top, probably whipped with cream. All milk problems are bad for me, but in my usual denial, I ate it anyway because I love the taste of butter. (The voice in my head, "it will be ok THIS time, Terri".

                        My last dairy experiment was with Ghee. I cooked with it and was feeling so happy, but after a few days some of the tell tale signs started to return (itchy right hand, congested bladder). On day 5 of that experiment I woke up with a locked up bladder and headache, and having pee'd the bed (A problem I had as a child, how humiliating), I realized that Ghee is not for me.

                        So my guts started hurting last evenings, and my bladder congestion started, and I woke in the middle of the night feeling like crap, with a pinching and itching sensation in my tonsils and soft pallet, and incessant thirst, and a headache. Will I ever learn?

                        After a hot bath, I took a walk in my garden to enjoy the beautiful weather we're having here in st louis. When I finally came in I was feeling better, and toting big piles of multicolored carrots, beets, turnips, leeks, and a variety of Kales:red, purple, blue, lacinato. I also hunted and gathered some potatoes that had been left behind on my last dig. I don't eat a lot of potatoes, but I'll eat a few here and there, when they're from my garden. I'm also still eating sweet potatoes and a variety of winter squash from this year's garden.

                        Winter hasn't really hit missouri yet, and I'm glad I got out there today. It feels so good to touch the earth and stand/squat in the sun!
                        Terri the Harp Player

                        Wherever you go, there you are!


                        • #13
                          So, yesterday's food:
                          Brunch: eggs,fresh picked sateed greens, and some of those taters (just couldn't resist)
                          Dinner: smoked salmon, cukes, and (the best part of my day) I sautéed carrots & leeks in coconut oil, then added a pinch of salt, juice of an orange and coconut butter. YUMMY.
                          snack: pecans
                          Terri the Harp Player

                          Wherever you go, there you are!


                          • #14
                            T = my boy friend of 11 years
                            When we first got together I was a vegetarian. He has always been a confirmed meat eater. We were happily compatible, except in the area of food, where we had to agree to disagree. He has suffered (and laughed...lovingly) through my various phases of cause and effect experiments with foods. The first time he talked me into eating a steak, which had to be from whole foods, he claims that I fell on it like a vulture on roadkill (yes, those were his actual words). The truth is, as soon as I smelled it, I started drooling. Once I took the first bite, I couldn't stop myself. I ate every bite, including all the luscious fat, and I may have even licked the plate.

                            Now that I'm on my 3rd (and hopefully final) attempt at the paleo life, he is tickled pink, and still laughing. This morning I started breakfast with bacon (so that I would have good fat to cook in), sautéed 2 onions and 1 1/2 leftover pork chops cut into cubes, added eggs, scrambled the whole mess with salt, pepper, and garlic granules, stuck it in front of him and crumpled the bacon over the top. It was delicious, and satisfying. In his opinion, I'm am now perfect.

                            So he's taking me to Puerto Vallarta in 2 weeks! I know it's going to be fun, and I am very excited, but I'm also nervous about food (of course, I've been nervous about food for years). I've been feeling really awesome lately, and I don't want to ruin it by eating anything crappy. I also still hate the way I look in my swimming suit.
                            Terri the Harp Player

                            Wherever you go, there you are!


                            • #15
                              For the most part, I feel like I've been doing great on the PB. I'm eating plenty of good protein, animal fats, and veggies. But there is one food fetish I've had trouble letting go of, and that is my French Vanilla soy creamer. I've rationalized it for a long time, feeling that "it's not like I'm using THAT much". I don't usually drink coffee, just an occasional decaf. I'm hypersensitive to everything, and too much caffeine turns me into a tweaker. But I do like my Assam, my english breakfast, and my black dragon pearl teas, and I like them with stevia and French Vanilla Creamer.

                              So, a few weeks ago I was at whole foods, and they didn't have any. Neither did Schnucks, or Dierburgs. I was jones-ing, and nobody had my stuff!! I actually felt a sense of panic, and (being a recovering addict from other substances, 28 years clean and serene), I realized I needed to get honest, open minded and willing, and practice some acceptance. It was a sign, and it was time to move on. For the last couple of weeks I've been making my tea with Coconut milk (from the can, not the carton. If I was gonna use the carton stuff, I might as well use my soy creamer). Here's what I've noticed:
                              1. I don't really like my tea with coconut milk unless I brew it with half water, and half coconut milk. Even then, I only like it sometimes.
                              2. The only tea I really do like with coconut milk is chai, which is awesome, but I have to brew it strong and add equal amounts H2o and coconut milk.
                              3. It seems like when I use coconut milk, I can't taste the stevia, or any other sweetener (Yes....I tried a few experiments...just to see)

                              So I've been sort of losing interest in tea, I miss my creamer, and yesterday I was at whole foods. I was walking towards to refrigerated dairy aisle, and I could see that there still wasn't any french vanilla soy creamer, and as I was looking a hand reached up from behind the shelf and placed 2 cartons in the empty space, as if to say, "Here you go, Terri, we got some just for you!". And of course, I knew it was a sign, and I bought one.

                              This morning for breakfast (a scramble of eggs, bacon, chicken sausages, and greens) I made myself a cup of tea that included my creamer and stevia. It tasted ridiculously syrupy sweet. Then I made another cup and just used the creamer...still too sweet... It tasted gross and made me feel yucky.

                              When I first got clean (from drugs), there were a few relapses and I learned very quickly that you can never really go back. The high is never as good as it was when you first started using. You just end up feeling like crap. It's been the same with my paleo journey. Once I illuminate a food for a week or two, when I try eating it again I really notice is crappy, tired, or bloated it makes me feel.

                              So now my love affair with that creamer is ruined. It will never taste the same, the fetish is over, and actually I'm relieved. I'm not sure where I will go from here. Maybe I'll give up black tea all together (which would probably be better for me anyway). Maybe I'll go back to ice tea, which I like straight up on the rocks, unsweetened, no lemon. Or green tea, which I also drink straight. Or water. I can always drink more water.
                              Terri the Harp Player

                              Wherever you go, there you are!