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Primal Journal (thorN)

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  • Primal Journal (thorN)

    Hi all,

    I briefly introduced myself in another thread---I've already learned a lot these past couple of weeks! I'm currently in the middle of "Week 2" of my shift to a primal lifestyle.

    My priorities are
    1. Health - fix my 6-year-old chronic sore throat
    2. Happiness - more energy, better mood
    3. Becoming lean
    4. Building muscle (Heavy lifting session at the gym 3x weekly)

    I've cut out "Chronic Cardio" and am taking long walks (which I enjoy much more!). I did my first sprint session on Sunday---I spent 25 minutes on the rowing machine: 5 minute warm-up, 2.5 minute maximum-effort sprints at the highest difficulty setting.

    I finally understand why carbohydrates inhibit fat burning and cause weight gain---understanding the science is a great motivation to adopt the 'diet'.

    I just ordered some boxes of organic meat, veg and fruit. I hope I can afford to eat organic/local all the time (I'm a student I'm going to make it a priority.

    I'm taking a multivitamin daily (which contains 100% RDA of many vitamins), an omega-3 fish-oil capsule and a high-strength cod-liver oil capsule (which contains vit A, D, E, omega-3). I've ordered some 5,000 IU Vitamin D tablets too.

    I'm really starting to enjoy cooking, there's something about getting out the olive oil, chopping veg and seasoning the meat that I like. I love that I can eat all the eggs I want---fried, boiled, scrambled, omelettes. I made a delicious stir-fry the other night and I'm looking forward to learning some more recipes.

    A typical day looks like:
    • Breakfast: 4-egg omelette with peppers, mushroom cooked in olive oil with ground black pepper
    • big-ass-salad with meat and french dressing or balsamic vinegar
    • a large scoop of mixed nuts
    • 2 apples, 2 pears
    • boiled veg and a large portion of meat (e.g. lamb chop, chicken fillet) with seasoning
    • water and herbal tea to drink through the day

    Today, for breakfast, I fried two sausages, one rasher of bacon, chopped courgette, tomato, mushroom, onion, garlic and two fried eggs with a cup of coffee. I didn't eat much lunch after that! (half a portion of carrot and coriander soup). My next meal was a salad (sweetcorn, carrot, lettuce, onion) with pesto chicken and Caesar dressing.


    I'm feeling more energetic already. I feel very satisfied and full after a fatty meal, and the feeling seems to last a while. I notice that I'm sleeping better/more relaxed since I stopped running for 45 minutes every day.
    Last edited by thorN; 02-22-2012, 12:45 PM.
    thorN's Primal journal

  • #2
    Last night I had a snack last night of sautéed mushrooms with bacon fried in olive oil with garlic and onion, seasoned with black pepper.
    Is this primal or is frying everything causing too much fat? I'm using organic extra-virgin olive oil.


    Walking around at uni, climbing stairs. One-hour T'ai Chi class after lab and a 25-minute walk home (due to crappy bus service!) I have a cold, got around six hours sleep and lab is boring; however my energy levels have felt fairly constant today.

    I can't wait to do some heavy squats once my cold has cleared up!

    Today's menu:
    B: All fried: two sausages, fried egg, red and green peppers, onion, garlic, mushroom.
    I finely chopped the garlic and added it to the olive oil and fried everything at medium heat, served with a cup of Rooibos tea.

    L: big-ass chicken-pesto salad. I oven-baked a good-sized chicken fillet covered in olive oil and mixed herbs; I diced it and put it in the salad with pesto and French dressing.

    Snacked on nuts and grapes today, plan to have chicken curry for tea.
    Last edited by thorN; 02-23-2012, 01:05 PM.
    thorN's Primal journal


    • #3

      Just had my first PB-inspired workout. Very enjoyable for a number of reasons.
      • I switched from 3x8 to 5x5---this will allow for more intensity I believe.
      • Viewed videos of form from Rippetoe and Mark---deep, primal squatting is much stronger and feels better!
      • I did my first ever plank! I managed 45 minutes forearm/feet planking so I'll start practicing forearm/knee planks.
      • I did 9 pushups! (This was shortly after a benching 35 kg, however, and I have a cold [excuses, excuses])
      • I prefer doing three intense sets
      • Compound exercises are awsome---isolating hamstrings etc. is just painful


      Last night I made a Chicken/scambled-egg Biryani curry with carrot, parsnip, suede, mushroom, onions etc. Delicious! Added mixed herbs, cumin and coriander.

      I also had a midnight snack of mini-stir-fry: carrots, onions and garlic fried up with a rasher of bacon and seasoned with pepper and ginger.

      Today I fried some sliced sausage and onion+garlic and mixed it in with scrambled egg with ground black pepper on top. Very satisfying, although I don't recommend mixing things in scrambled egg---it looks gross---omelettes are much better!

      I can't wait for my boxes of organic produce to arrive on Tuesday from Riverford Farm (online organics delivery service in the UK).


      I've been staying up very late recently (e.g. for nights out) and sleeping in late so I've not been able to fall asleep early. My alarm stressed me out this morning somewhat.


      I'm in the UK. It's February.

      Don't worry, however---I have ordered some 5,000 IU vitamin D capsules.


      I love my leather boots. Considering getting some flat-soled shoes e.g. converse as an improvement. Would like some Vibram 5-finger shoes but they're prohibitively expensive at the moment, perhaps a good birthday gift.
      Last edited by thorN; 02-24-2012, 05:26 AM.
      thorN's Primal journal


      • #4
        Keep rolling on!!!

        As far as frying goes.. think about the concept of primal. As long as you are using a good fat to fry in, and not overcooking it to a black crisp, you are doing in a pan what people did back then.. cooking with heat.. Try coconut oil as well! It works great with bacon and other breakfast items!


        • #5
          My first real departure from Primal this weekend---lots of vodka and energy drinks! My dancing was definitely not at a slow pace...

          I had a Chinese take-away too: beef with mixed veg, spare ribs and pineapple fritters. Didn't really taste nice compared to home-cooked meat. I also had a take-away lamb curry tonight (I have no food until tomorrow) with salad and no rice.

          It's not all bad, though, I had a delicious chicken-bacon salad today and a beautiful roast chicken dinner with brocoli, green beans and courgette's at my mum's this weekend. Cooking breakfast is a lot of fun these days---sizzling sausages and chopped mushroom.


          I'm noticing that my energy levels are much improved since I started eating paleo and stopped chronic cardio. I feel less fatigued, and I'm able to concentrate better.


          I have the book 'Guns, Germs and Steel' to get a bit more insight into the changes in human civilization since the end of the Palaeolithic era.


          I made a massive jump in my pull-up ability at the gym today: I went from 33 kg assisted to 19 kg.
          thorN's Primal journal


          • #6
            I'm sick with a lingering cold and a chesty cough. I have not rested properly so it's sticking around and I feel awful! It's adversely affecting my emotions so I'm going to rest properly tonight and take it easy tomorrow.


            I could really feel yesterday's gym session today---I could hardly walk up stairs! I did squats, pullups, planks and over-head press. Today's movement involved walking around a lot (including working on the computer in the lab standing up) and yoga class. I also carried my boxes of organic produce home!

            I'm starting to notice, very slightly, the effects of following Ester Gokhale's posture ideas. I have her book '8 steps to a pain-free back' and I'm working through the lessons therein. I think returning to a primal posture will prove important for my health and happiness.


            Really proud of today's fare, except for the tuna salad which wasn't that appetizing (except for the organic baby tomatoes---so tasty)...
            • 4-egg omelette w/ black olive, spinach and bacon
            • Tuna-pesto salad
            • Orange, apple, nuts
            • Sirloin steak w/ leek, carrot, suede and cabbage

            Today I had delivered a couple of boxes of organic produce from Riverford Farms ( It was £50 (roughly $80) for a bag of salad stuff, various vegetables, bananas, oranges and a box of meat (diced chicken, mince, steaks, pork chops, sausages). There's enough, they say, to feed 1-2 people for a week. There's certainly a lot of meat---it should keep me satisfied (except I've had to buy non-organic bacon with additives).
            thorN's Primal journal


            • #7
              nice story and good progress thus far, its fun all the reading and material that is out there.

              don't worry about too much fat, listen to your body, if its happy and energetic..then go with it, if you are hungry try adding more fats to help with satiation.

              try adding butter (grassfed) or coconut oil to cook with for slightly different flavors


              • #8
                Ill... tonsilitis... did plenty of 'move frequently at a slow pace' today (walking to ENT doctor's)... but now feel like resting.

                • Two organic sausages covered in mixed herbs and fried in olive oil and garlic, two fried eggs, sauteed leek and tomato
                • Chicken-bacon salad (with stir-fry thrown in)
                • Banana
                • Latte coffee

                I just calculated my body fat percentage using the US Navy formula: 22.4%. I'm 5'11" and 154 lbs (= 70 kg.)
                My ultimate aim is 10% body fat (i.e. visible abs) with plenty of muscle.
                Last edited by thorN; 03-08-2012, 01:16 PM. Reason: Corrected weight (I weighed myself while wearing heavy clothes)
                thorN's Primal journal


                • #9
                  I've had a week of rest due to tonsillitis (I haven't taken anti-biotics) with some walking as I've begun to feel stronger.

                  Primal omelette with sausage, tomato and coriander (cilantro) cooked in lard

                  Beef stir-fry

                  Beef korma with cauliflour with tomato and onion

                  Steak topped with fried egg with a side of peas and suede.

                  'Nuff said.
                  thorN's Primal journal


                  • #10

                    I am very disappointed that I still have a chronic sore throat [see my thread on the issue]. I am trying to cure my post-nasal drip by opening up the constriction in my nasal cavity (which is swollen and contains mucous) which I thought might subside once I removed grains, sugar and dairy from my diet.

                    Right now, although I am disappointed, I am willing to allow more time---I guess sometimes a body needs time to heal. I am certainly still committed to the primal road.

                    My acne has certainly cleared up a lot. However, I still have some redness on my face, looks like a little bit like inflammation.


                    I am generally in a very bad state of mind currently, with occasional happiness. In December my then-girlfriend dumped me because I was too irritable and unhappy. We had been together for four-and-a-half years and have a two-year-old son. The relationship was the axis of my life, especially since we have a child.

                    I generally find, however, that my mood is much improving. I have been very irritable and depressed in the past with lousy health.

                    I find that I wake up in the mornings feeling quite anxious---shaking and worrying. I miss my ex-girlfriend and son (I see him less often now).

                    I find that I find walking in nature pleasant---or at least close to nature (I live in a big city.)

                    The main thing impairing my mood is my chronic sore throat---which stops me socialising normally so I feel very isolated.

                    I also have back pain, caused by muscle tension (a doctor said this was the probably the case, not disc damage). I am following Esther Gokhale's book '8 simple steps to a pain-free back' which is good but the results are slow. My posture is improving and I have had periods of freedom from back pain.

                    I find that seeing old friends cheers me up. Also going out dancing---my fitness is improving so it's easier to enjoy this. It also improves my confidence and is fun.


                    I have cheated recently: beer, take-out fried chicken and fries, peanut butter (it was organic!!!)
                    • Fried sausage, bacon, eggs, pepper, mushroom
                    • Tuna salad with balsamic dressing
                    • Roasted lamb chop with veg

                    I cook everything in beef dripping.

                    I've cut out fruit from my diet---I'm trying to lose weight by cutting carbs.

                    Weight loss

                    I feel like my weight loss has stalled---I had a couple of weeks of little activity due to tonsillitis and I've been eating a LOT. I'll weight myself this weekend and report. However, I have lost an inch off my waist in the past two or three weeks. My body fat is down from 22.4% to 20.7% in this time.

                    I'm going to start eating smaller portions with plenty of fat.

                    I've definitely lost weight on Primal---I'm not sure how much because I don't have a weighing scale---my family have noticed. I want to lose a lot more weight, however, because although I'm not very heavy I have a gut and a chubby face at the moment. I really want to lose all the excess fat because I've never been lean in my life---it would mean a lot to me.


                    I still notice hunger pangs in my belly. I don't have the same strong urge to eat as a used to (this might just be subjective because I don't fear gaining weight due to not eating like clockwork). I have noticed I sometimes go longer without eating---I feel a little hungry but the feeling comes and goes.

                    I might try skipping a meal some time soon, but I feel like I might crash and feel awful if I do.


                    I stupidly attempted to squat 50 kg = 110 lbs. My previous record was 40 kg = 88 lbs. I did this because I was frustrated at having no muscles---I thought if I went really heavy and just grunted through it I would reach my goals quicker. (My judgement was impaired because I only had 5 hours sleep that night.)

                    I hurt my back muscles, not a lot, but it causes discomfort and it's tender. I squatted with only 20 kg and 25 kg at the gym the other day.

                    Today I did my first purely primal bodyweight workout. I did two cycles with
                    • 50 squats
                    • 90 seconds arm/feet plank
                    • 50 wall pushups + 30 knee pushups

                    I didn't do any pull-ups because I don't have a pull-up bar.

                    I haven't done any sprinting in a long time---I will do this when my back has recovered.
                    Last edited by thorN; 03-20-2012, 02:53 PM.
                    thorN's Primal journal


                    • #11
                      Wow! Sounds like an awful lot of change in a short period of time! A hard break-up, sinus infection/tonsillitis, you're in school and now you've hurt your back. That's some major stress, right there. Slow down a little! Focus on cleaning up your food & walking. And get a LOT of sleep.

                      This isn't a "diet", it's a lifestyle. It will take you a while to figure it out. Everyone is different. One of the side benefits is you will lose weight & gain muscle...maybe not as fast as Joe Primal Guy, but it will happen.

                      If you're suffering from depression or ADHD (both of which, untreated, can make us negative, short-tempered & grouchy) don't be afraid to seek some help around that. "Pills don't teach skills" is very true, but they can certainly help in the short term while you're working on the other stuff. Follow the 10 Primal Laws & you'll be OK.

                      Good luck!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PrimalPotter View Post
                        Wow! Sounds like an awful lot of change in a short period of time! A hard break-up, sinus infection/tonsillitis, you're in school and now you've hurt your back. That's some major stress, right there. Slow down a little! Focus on cleaning up your food & walking. And get a LOT of sleep.
                        Thanks for saying this! I have had a VERY stressful couple of years---having a child, excellent academic achievement, intense political work, chronic illness, study abroad in California (taking ex-girlfriend and baby with me!)

                        If you're suffering from depression...
                        I don't think I'm suffering from depression, I can get through OK without too much suffering. Sometimes I'm in a great mood, sometimes I'm anxious. Things are getting better, my energy levels have probably improved since going Primal.
                        thorN's Primal journal


                        • #13
                          I just realised I'm only just starting my sixth primal week! (Not that I'm fully Primal at the moment). I really want to feel that vigourous energy that people write about in success stories.

                          Very much enjoyed my yoga class today, it feels much easier than it used to. I'm still not very stretchy!

                          I notice that I never really experienced any carb flu, as far as I'm aware. I was feeling fairly awful when I started PB anyway so maybe I just didn't notice! My energy levels didn't feel great today, I woke up and didn't want to get out of bed, not exactly fatigued but just didn't want to move. It's worrying because I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome a few years ago, which I don't think ever truly went away. I feel ridiculous saying this because I lift heavy weights, go out dancing until 3 am etc.----however sometimes I just feel so run-down I wonder if I have it.
                          Last edited by thorN; 03-20-2012, 03:12 PM.
                          thorN's Primal journal


                          • #14
                            I now weight 148 lbs, everyone is noticing how much weight I've lost and I need new clothes! (That's about 21% body fat.)
                            Last edited by thorN; 04-01-2012, 12:49 AM.
                            thorN's Primal journal


                            • #15
                              Am I doing too much physical activity?

                              I think I might be moving too frequently... I feel run-down, achy sometimes (not very achy, but I don't feel like moving---I feel more like resting a lot of the time, although I move a lot anyway).

                              In the past week I had three active days with my toddler---all day walking, playing, in the park etc. and then I had heat-stroke which took me out for a day. I then spent the past few days shopping all day---walking around town, trying clothes on etc. I must have had at 3-5 hours of slow-paced activity per day. I also did a 'lift heavy things' bodyweight session the other night (primal: I did it in the garden as the sun set).

                              My life is normally quite physically active anyway, I am a student and I do tai-chi, yoga, aikido as well as weight-lifting and going out dancing. Even doing the laundry requires carrying my washing down four flights of stairs to another building!


                              I've basically been 100% grain free for the past six weeks. I've had a couple of bites of jam scone and a few bits of bread, that's about it. I have had some dairy---I ate some cheese last weekend (it was special cheese, delicious.)

                              Recent food highlights included the beef curry made with coconut milk, leek, carrot and mushroom light night. This morning I'm having a four-egg omelette with mushroom and a avocado.

                              I heartily recommend beef sausages---they're delicious.
                              thorN's Primal journal