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Primal Journal - Siobhan

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  • Primal Journal - Siobhan

    I went Primal because of my cat. And my neighbor’s goat. Don’t forget the goat.

    Let me introduce myself. I am a 52-year female facing the normal life challenges. I have a very stressful job. I work nights. I have just entered menopause. I have minor, nagging problems – intermittent lower back pain, mild acne that just won’t resolve, acid reflux that can wake me up. For the last few months I have been trying very hard to change things for the better. My weight will not budge on CW eating. I have spent thousands fighting the acne. The doctor gave me pills for the reflux, which I never took. Careful yoga and core work don’t help the back pain.

    The thing is, I used to be really attractive. Until 7 or 8 years ago I was slim and relatively fit. I looked many years younger that my actual age. These were genetic gifts that I did not take for granted. But time marches on, my life changed, and so has my appearance and the way I feel.

    It was Easter Sunday and I was eating dinner with my cat. I have two cats, both rescued. One is a very large black cat with striking tiger markings on his face. He is very slim and powerful looking. He eats only canned cat food and small amounts of grass that I provide. He won’t even look at people food. The other is a much smaller and very chubby black and white house lion. He will eat ANYTHING. Now this is a bit embarrassing. I live alone – which I love – but it is nice to share a meal with another creature sometimes. So I am sitting at my kitchen table with a piece of pizza. Black and white house lion is sitting on the table with a piece of pizza. He will consume an entire piece as long as I tear it into manageable bites. So here I am, eating pizza with my cat. I looked at him and suddenly it occurred to me that I am poisoning my cat. I am feeding him poison.

    I threw the pizza away, to his great dismay. My eyes fell upon a cupcake I had brought home from church that morning. It was a really cute concoction, with a coconut bird’s nest on the top. I grabbed it and went outside, where my neighbor’s goats were grazing near the fence. I normally feed them carrots, celery, and lettuce trimmings, which they adore, so they readily came to me. I pushed the cupcake through the fence and one of the goats took it in his mouth.

    Then he spit it out onto the ground. He looked at me with an expression that could only be described as incredulous. You might not think a goat has different facial expressions, but trust me, they do. If he could talk, he would have said, “Do you expect me to eat that crap?”

    Here I was, having a second epiphany in as many minutes. A GOAT has more sense about proper diet than I do. If that isn’t a sobering thought, nothing is.

    I went back in the house and fired off an email to an internet friend of mine. She has mentioned in passing that she eats no grains, legumes, or beans but I never paid much attention. She happened to be online and got right back to me, directing me to Mark’s Daily Apple. It was like coming home. So many thoughts and ideas I have had brewing around in my head all laid out and validated. Even though a tubby out-of-shape woman doesn’t have much in common with a caveman on the surface, genetically we have lots in common.

    I started right away. I had plenty of meat, fruit, and veg in the house. Instead of pizza I had a large bowl of leafy greens with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some chicken and a pear. I didn’t skimp on the oil, and went to sleep many hours later without a hunger pain.

    I have spent many hours over the last three days reading the website and reading the ebooks. Imagine how much fun I had devising a workout! See, I work the night shift in a small rural hospital. I can run up the stairs and down the halls (non-patient areas of course!) Since I am on the team that responds to emergencies anywhere in the hospital at any time, I love the idea that this will actually help me respond more quickly and in better shape. The last time I had to run up three flights of stairs to rescusitate a baby, let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. (The baby did great, though.) I have plenty of space and privacy to do whatever I want, and since I’m wearing scrubs, it’s not a problem to bang out some squats, pushups, etc. I am embarrassed to admit I can’t even do one pullup. I’m trying.

    So here I am after only three days feeling great. I can’t believe the change already. I am sleeping better – a lot better – and this is really significant because as a night shift worker, day sleeping is always problematic. And my skin – I am astounded at the improvement this quickly. I would have thought any change would take several weeks, but the zits are gone and my skin tone is even. Two people asked me if I have been on vacation lately. (Sadly, no. Maybe now I will have enough energy to plan some fun.)

    I feel a bit foolish posting here as I am so new to this but I think that community support is really important when making changes and you can bet there aren’t any Groks around here. I haven’t been this excited about anything for a long time, and at the same time I feel really positive and motivated to make real and lasting change. Thanks for reading this - Siobhan
    My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread53052.html

    “"Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold

  • #2
    Here I am on Day Four, wondering about a dozen things. I used to laugh at the 'gluten-intolerant' thing but now I think I must be part of that tribe. The dramatic changes I am experienced in just a few days being grain/legume/bean free make me feel like I'm going through puberty again. It's so weird. Back pain gone. Sleep ten times better. Loads of energy. Moved from wall pushups to knee pushups. I feel like a fog has lifted from my brain. I'm not going to weigh myself for a week, but already I feel lighter - definitely less bloated. Weird. Great, but weird. I'm doing the complete opposite of everything I have been told to do.
    My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread53052.html

    “"Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome Siobhan! Wonderful post. I love the part about the cats and goat!
      Ancestral Health Info - My blog about Primal and the general ancestral health movement. Site just remodeled using HTML5/CSS3 instead of Wordpress.

      My MDA Friday success story - Stubborn Senior's Testimonial

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you Hedonist! I hope you will stop by again.

        Got up early this AM. Reflux is gone. Slept like a log all night, no waking up with chest pain. Back pain is gone. Skin is clear as the driven snow.

        Went out at first light and fed the goats some carrots. I still can't believe the goats are smarter than I am.

        For brekkie I had kippers, two eggs, and blueberries. Yep, this eating plan is so horrible, I don't know how I will survive. (Hope the irony is clear.) Shared my food with tubby cat with no guilt feelings at all.

        My LHT workout - well - let's say I have nowhere to go but up. The positive side here is that any progress will be very noticeable and motivating. I'm okay at squats, no surprise there, and not totally embarrassing at planks, probably because of yoga. Pull-ups, now...but the fun part is I can use the trees in my yard. Here in Maine we have LOTS of trees, and those great big pine trees lose their lower bits as they grow tall, leaving lovely straight branches sticking out. There is one tree with virtually parallel nubs about two feet long, terrific for me as I can almost sort of do a pull-up that way.

        I wonder what the squirrels and chipmunks think of me?
        My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread53052.html

        “"Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold

        Comment


        • #5
          Wasn't going to eat until 3 or so (I'm going to eat a relatively large meal because I'm going to a play this evening - no eating involved) but felt a bit peckish, so I roasted up a big pile of kale chips. Love those!

          Fed the kale stems to the goats. They love kale. Tubby cat ate a kale chip or two.
          My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread53052.html

          “"Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold

          Comment


          • #6
            It's great to hear that all is well in your world. I enjoy your writing. I too am a 'vantage-aged' woman, having been primal since last summer. Best health decision I've made; next was quitting smoking many years ago.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for reading my stuff! I am so happy to hear you're doing great primal. I can't tell you how motivating it is to come here and find so many success stories. Although the way I feel is tremendously motivating in itself.

              Tried to sleep a little as I often do on my off days. I work a fairly grueling night shift schedule and I am usually tired in the PM and need an hour or so. Couldn't sleep, wasn't tired at all. Went for a walk in the nature preserve instead, which is virtually next door to me. Am I going to crash hard later on? We'll see. Not hungry either. What's up with this? Not tired and not hungry? Where is my body and what have you done with it?

              I hope my cat loses some weight. I feel horrible about him being so chunky. It is all my fault. He is totally dependent on me for nutrition, and I have failed him miserably. I might add that both of my cats, despite being indoor, are both highly skilled mousers. Here is Maine we have mice in our houses as a matter of course, so they get way too much practice. I called my landlord during a week when they were catching 5 or 6 every single night. He casually mentioned that maybe they were getting in the hole in the side of the house behind the dryer. Duh. He did call the plumber and get it fixed. It was fun, I had a nice gossip with the plumber, he has the scoop on everyone in town. Wonder what he says about me?
              My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread53052.html

              “"Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold

              Comment


              • #8
                Welcome to the journals, Siobhan. I get a lot of inspiration from seeing what other people are doing, and hearing how they overcome their struggles. Hope to hear more form you. I'm glad you are off to such a good start. Just a word of warning: if you start feeling like crap, it is NOT the diet, or rather, it is, it is just you coming off your OLD diet. Don't give up, just keep plugging through it. It passes in a few days, usually.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you, Sabine! This forum seems to be a really great place. I will take your advice and if I have trouble I will here for help. In looking at my food today it seems I am not really consuming too many calories of any kind even though I am eating a comparatively large amount of fat because I was a major consumer of way too many empty carbs before I started this.

                  I came home from seeing a play with my friends feeling mighty hungry and dove into a chicken like a real cavewoman. Not much was left on it, but when I was done with it, it was really done. That chicken did not die in vain! Then I had two scrambled eggs and some spring greens. Whew. Feeling much better.

                  Obviously I haven't read all the information yet and I have a lot to learn, but I haven't seen anything about chewing everything 100 times, or using a smaller plate, or eating really slowly and letting my brain sense the food, etc. I'm really happy about that! I'm just not a chew counter and the smaller plate thing doesn't work with me. I hope I don't have to worry about that.

                  Loads of exercise today, felt so energetic. Walked/hiked for about 2 hours. Still not tired even though no nap and a very full day. I was looking for criticism of Mark's program because I want to be fully informed, and be able to answer critics. I didn't find anything really credible. Everything I saw seemed motivated by jealousy, to be honest. I mean, Mark is totally hot and in awesome shape at 57, making lots of money doing what he loves. I can just hear the potshots being loaded. I suppose there is a more reasoned response out there, but I didn't find it.

                  I saw a play tonight that featured 15 female actors and 3 male actors. All but 2 of the females were overweight - significantly overweight, and the men were also large. Oddly, the only two slim actors were two older women who are probably in their late 60's, very slim and totally elegant and beautiful. Most of them were very young and very obese. Why, why why?

                  I was in the middle of the row and at intermission I wanted to walk about a bit but it would have been really hard to get out. I noticed there was no one in the row behind me, so I jumped over the seats, using the armrest of course. It is funny how when the mind is set, the body follows. I did it quickly without thinking, and managed a graceful exit. I returned the same way, again with no difficulty. This is just a little thing, but it is a change for me. I wouldn't even have considered this before.

                  Well, time to go back to real life - I have lit a fire in the woodstove and have new novel to start -
                  My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread53052.html

                  “"Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I slept straight through for TEN hours! How did I do that? I feel great! My clothes are loose.

                    For breakfast - tea with a splash of raw milk, mushrooms with red peppers and onions (very tasty and good to have ready in the fridge), bacon, and a big bowl of leafy greens with a splash of BV and OO. I'm getting in the habit of eating some greens at every meal, plain or dressed. Just as I used to have bread with every meal, but a little healthier I think. Now for some HIIT and then off to the library to do some volunteer tech support - hope I don't get anything too hard

                    Shared bacon with tubby cat. I feel much better about giving him bacon than I ever did about pizza. I really have to get some good quality bacon if I am going to eat it in the quantities I have so far. It is just such an easy thing to cook up and goes great with every kind of veg.

                    Went over the checklist this AM - skin clear, check. Back pain nonexistent - check. Reflux gone - check. Digestion normal and regular. No headache or pains of any kind anywhere.

                    One of my sisters is a Weight Watchers counselor - she is going to sh*t herself if I tell her about this -
                    Last edited by Siobhan; 04-14-2012, 08:48 AM. Reason: error in grammar
                    My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread53052.html

                    “"Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Is there a way to carve up a roast chicken without eating half of it? I brought home a beautiful roast bird from the local coop - locally raised, natural - ate about a quarter of it while cutting it into more convenient bits. Mmm mmmm mmmm.

                      HIIT went great, although I am not up to full speed yet. Taking it easy to avoid injury. I pushed myself to maybe 85%. Felt really good afterwards, not tired. I'm using my cross-country ski machine, which is maybe the world's most boring exerciser, but I think it is really good for HIIT. Simple to go from easy peasy to all out and has a big old timer right at eye level. I could go all crazy with a HR monitor but who cares? KISS all the way. (I bought the CC machine at a garage sale for $10 about a year ago and have used it intermittently since.) My major goal right now is AVOIDING INJURY - which has derailed my health and exercise repeatedly throughout my life. There is really no reason to get injured on the PBF. I will admit to coveting some really old school looking weights or something like Indian clubs (anyone remember those?)
                      My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread53052.html

                      “"Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wow, I am really blogging a lot! I have tried this before but never really liked it or stuck with it. I think having a real focus is making it more fun. So far I'm leaving out huge parts of my life and just focusing on the eating/exercise part. I can't really imagine the other parts being that interesting. (Like this part is interesting? Hmmm. Maybe to me...)

                        A friend who went veg gave me a package of organic/natural ground turkey. I am very, very grateful to her as I am not a rich person and this is a significant piece of protein. But, let's face it, white meat ground turkey is not flavorful. I sauteed up some onions and garlic in olive oil, crumbled in the turkey, added tomatoes, hot sauce, coriander, cardamon, cinnamon, salt, lots of chopped ginger - and it was still bland. How could that be? All that spice but still blah. So I threw in about 2 Tbsps of wine and Puh-Zow! The alcohol pulled in those flavors like magic. Spooned a nice portion over some leafy greens dressed in BV and OO, sprinkled some fresh mint over the top and tucked in. Will have to remember this one. It's good enough to serve company, although maybe too weird for most people. A ground meat salad is not really on most people's list. And now the house smells so good it is like a second meal.

                        I'm enjoying my usual Saturday night (when I'm not working). A great home-cooked meal, a glass of red wine, and jazz on the radio. Yes, I am very boring, but this is my idea of a great evening. This Saturday is even better because I have been primal for 6 days, feeling better than I would have dreamed possible. And I don't have to feel guilty about what I ate or waste time resolving to fix my diet/exercise routine/life. I am very grateful.
                        My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread53052.html

                        “"Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Siobhan, I am enjoying reading your journal! You will lose the weight, it seems it is already happening. I went from size 22 down to 5/6 or 7/8. I had to keep throwing clothes out, and getting new ones!

                          I love Maine, also. My Dad was living in a Kennebunk assisted-living facility for the last couple of years of his life, and before that he lived in Alfred with his wife and her son, for about 15 years, so I have been up quite a few times. I saw one of the most beautiful beaches ever in Wells.

                          Keep on eating this way, it really works.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thank you! Maine is a great place. It seems like a perfect place for primal types. We certainly have the right kind of food readily available.

                            It would be a dream to get down to size 6. I'm a 12 now, have been for some time. Time will tell!
                            My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread53052.html

                            “"Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thoughts on eating animals:

                              I love animals dearly. The truth be told, I like them more than I like most people. Okay, more than virtually everyone. I like their honesty, lack of ego, lack of game-playing, lack of judgmentalism. And they are usually more attractive and smell better than people. I work in a hospital, I know. Seriously.

                              I love the idea that I could go through this life without harming another living creature. It is just not possible. Everything I do impacts something or someone, usually in a negative though unintentional way. I have a dear friend who is a veg for moral reasons. She is horrified at eating animals - yet her diet is made up of almost entirely processed foods. She doesn't cook, lives on Lean Cuisine, chips, fries, etc. I tried to tell her once, very gently, that processed foods harm the environment and harm animals. Chip factories cause more pollution than she can imagine. Anything that harms the environment harms animals, and in a direct and big way. In all my soul searching and reading research, and in my personal experience with different eating habits, I keep coming back to supporting small family farms that are really trying to change the paradigm, raising their animals humanely and also slaughtering them with as little violence and fear as possible. I buy all my beef from a local farm that I have visited. They are fourth-generation farmers and have forgotten more about cows than most farmers ever know. They avoid things that scare them. They keep them longer than any factory farm - usually two years - and they have short but truly great lives. They are curious and gentle and are always healthy looking and clean, eating grass only, some for all their lives and some fed grain towards the end. The slaugherhouse is an hour away, and prides itself on humane and efficient methods. Now, should I really withdraw my custom from this farm and eat Lean Cuisine? Am I serving myself or society by purchasing processed food, even if it is 'vegetarian?'

                              I have another friend who gave up meat of unknown origin. She and her husband raise poultry and kill and process them themselves right on their property. It is extremely quick and humane. She told that in the beginning it was hard, and she had mixed feelings. These birds (ducks, chicken, and turkey) exist because she ordered them from the hatchery. They have one glorious summer and then go into the freezer. Virtually nothing is wasted. Now who is more humane, my veg friend or my poultry raising friend?

                              So once again, I keep coming back to the informed, logical conclusion that cows and chickens and other farm animals do something really cool - they eat stuff that I can't, and turn it into extremely healthy and nutritious food for me. I should not refuse that gift, nor should I buy into cruelty and torture. Luckily there is an alternative - small local farms that do a great job. They deserve my business. How lucky I am to live in an area where I have this available to me!

                              Yes, it is more expensive. Doctor bills are also expensive. So is medicine. Paying more for my food really motivates me to maximize its use, and to carefully avoid spoilage and waste.

                              I hope this makes some sense - I'm afraid I'm not articulating this very well.
                              My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread53052.html

                              “"Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold

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