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Primal Mama's Journey...

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  • Primal Mama's Journey...

    I've been around for awhile, and have seen no need to start my own journal (for a variety of reasons... I've been harshly, unnecessarily flamed on the internet enough for 5 lifetimes, I prefer either a journal with no comments or a blog-type format where each post's responses are with the post, I usually don't find this lifestyle difficult, etc...), but as I was scarfing some five-spice pastured pork this morning, I felt an urge to start one of these things for two reasons:
    1. to keep track of awesome things I've cooked (you know, sometimes you forget them a month down the road)
    2. to note what my "20%" was for the day/week - kind of to keep myself accountable.

    I'm not sure how I feel about keeping all this on here as opposed to a blog, but I figure it can't hurt to try.
    So, here goes....

    I'm PrimalMama, I'm in my early 30's, live in NYC with my significant other and furkids.
    I ate fairly healthy food growing up, though there were always non-sugary cereals and desserts - I've always been a meat fiend... I have no idea what I was thinking when I tried to go vegetarian in 7th grade and ended up not eating red meat for about 10 or 12 years. It always irked my parents that I didn't want rice with my chinese food (true story, I always ate the meat off the top and then wondered why there needed to be flavorless stuff at the bottom of my bowl). Sure, I would ask for the processed junk that filled friends' houses, but it was mostly a desire to fit in, not an actual want of frankenfood. The longer I live, the more I realize what JUNK your average American eats... especially living in a fast-paced city in a less affluent (read: cheaper junkier food) neighborhood.

    I came to primal through a journey that included reading just about every diet and nutrition theory out there in the late 90's and trying The Zone (it worked, but I was SO cranky and craving protein), and Atkins (WITHOUT shakes or bars - you know, Dr. A's original plan!), combined with the plan in the Curves book (permanent weight loss without permanent dieting) - I lost 50lbs in 6 months in 2003, which was probably too much, and probably too fast... it was a shock to my body, for sure. I maintained and was generally healthy for several years after that loss - though I'd have periods of waxing and waning, times where I was healthier, and times where I just didn't make eating right a priority. I found MDA while searching for low-carb training advice (I wanted to do a triathlon), and I loved what Mark had to say on many subjects related to diet and exercise. I had already shifted my Atkinsesque way of eating towards fewer and fewer processed foods, it just made sense! I putzed around with primal/paleo aspects for awhile, and had a routine of IF, swimming, and eating going for a long while that made me feel AWESOME!

    A couple years ago, I got pregnant; I didn't follow primal leading up to or throughout my pregnancy - I actually craved (and ate) things like sour gummy worms and bread, which I'd never craved before! I didn't eat tons of junk, but I did gain 25lbs during the pregnancy - about right (especially when you add the 15-20lbs gained pre-pregnancy... maybe it was on the high side?). Unfortunately, we lost the baby during labor to an infection. I don't have a lot of answers and it's not what I'm here to talk about, but it is a significant event in my life, and the reason I'm PrimalMama (I was either preggo or TTC when I picked the username), but don't have any human kids. After the stillbirth, I ate and drank a LOT, I just didn't really care. I ended up about 15lbs over my 9-months-pregnant weight. I'm sure that not breastfeeding didn't help.

    I got REALLY seriously back on the wagon in August; I've lost about 35lbs and have had 3 completely pain-free menstrual periods (that hasn't happened in ~20 years) since then. I'm not in this so much for weight loss (though I do need to lose) as the fact that this is what's right and good for my body.

    SO, anyway, back to why I created this:

    Five Spice Pastured Pork:
    Sautee some Onions (slices or dices), mushrooms (sliced or quartered) & garlic (chopped) in bacon grease, season with sea salt and chinese five spice powder.
    When the onions start looking clear, add pastured ground pork (farm market or wellness rating 4-5 from WF) and more seasoning
    stir all together (breaking meat into crumbles) and cook until meat is no longer pink.

    make sure your SO doesn't notice when you essentially drink the grease from the pan...

    To serve: last night, I threw some baked kale chips on top of the hot steamy meat for a bit of crunch (it was SO GOOD); this morning, I *nommed* a few forkfuls while prepping my bulletproof coffee and lunch; for lunch, I added some pork to a glass to-go bowl of roasted brussels sprouts - ate at room temp, and it was awesome.

    My 20%: nothing so far today, but I had a handful of safflower oil fried sea salt kettle chips yesterday - I think I needed the salt.

  • #2
    My 20% the past few days:
    Thursday: whiskey on the rocks, about 4 corn chips (strictly as a vehicle for the yummy primal-friendly salsa verde)
    Friday: nada
    Yesterday (my birthday): A hashbrown w/brunch (not worried about the potatoes as much as the canola oil - this could be solved by making my own) at dinner: a slice of crusty french bread, a hand-crafted cocktail with coconut rum & fresh pineapple juice, probably the oils & definitely the flour in my chicken milanese, perhaps some thickener in my mushroom & truffle oil soup (but maybe not?), and the regular milk in an after-dinner latte.
    The restaurant owner was going to send over a chocolate souffle (we eat there often and it's definitely something I'll indulge in on occasion - he's sent one over as a nice gesture in the past), but I just wasn't in the mood for dessert.

    Now off to bike to the park and run some stairs.


    • #3
      Ugh... not a good few days eating-wise, but this is rare, so I'm not TOO bothered by it... also, now that I've written it out, it doesn't look as bad as I actually thought it was...

      Sunday: 2 hot dogs + half a hot dog bun (it had soaked up my mustard/kraut juice!), whiskey on the rocks, and whatever oil/flour/unnecessary stuff was in the chicken wings & sweet potato fries I ate.

      Monday: regular (CAFO) half-and-half in a crappy coffee (deli coffee = 20%, it's always bad)
      2 specialty sushi rolls (20% = rice, unagi sauce, panko & soy), whiskey on the rocks, tappas/fondue bread (though I mostly used meat for dipping), a few sips of red wine (tastes of others' glasses), a bit of plum-infused vodka (good news: with real fruit - I know the guy that infuses it)

      honestly, not bad for two nights out on the town at a movie premier and a broadway show, celebrating birthdays at junk-food-heavy places... obviously not perfect, nor was it intended to be (otherwise I would've ordered more meat to dip in my fondue, etc.)...

      Biked a bunch on Sunday, including running stairs CARRYING the bike, also breakdanced in a club... heh.
      Monday I trekked all over the city carrying something like 30lbs of camera equipment for a shoot...

      Today I'm planning on clean eats (Americano/fasting until a late lunch of steak + mesclun mix + sweet potato, some sort of meat + broccoli for dinner...) and hitting a 90min dance class (which always includes conditioning - yay situps and pushups - lol!)


      • #4
        dishes I've loved lately: Onions, Cabbage & Carrots sauteed in bacon grease.
        Grass-Fed Beef Shank Stew
        Braised Brisket

        20% lately:
        chips here and there, a few fried things, oils/flours in restaurant food... perhaps too many potatoes... nothing HORRIBLE except for 1 meal at Arbys on a road trip.


        • #5
          20% lately: eating at people's houses... burgers: CAFO beef w/lipton onion soup (but no bun, thanks!), eating out: cream/milk in coffee/cappucino, probably lightly floured chicken/sauce (but yummy chicken w/ham/cheese/mushrooms in a creamy wine sauce)

          and I'm excited about how good I've been feeling.


          • #6
            Things I've been totally loving:
            homemade pesto! we started with the first recipe google brought up, and just added different things until it tasted/looked right. Rubbed some on a grass-fed skirt steak, seared on the stove (it was pretty darn rare - SO good) served with a kale mix salad (tomatoes, olives, cucumber, evoo & white balsamic over an awesome local kale mix) and gluten-free linguine, also with pesto (totally 20% land on the pasta, but much better than wheat)

            Paleo Rogan Josh (ish)... I've made something similar on the stovetop before, but the crockpot worked much better... grass-fed stew meat seared in coconut oil, with onions, garam masala, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and then cooked in coconut milk low and slow until the meat is tender. Made saffron cumin rice for my sweetie, ate mine like a soup/stew.

            20% eating lately: gluten-free pasta (rice/potato flours - not a huge "bad" thing)
            lightly breaded chicken at a pay-per-pound buffet (the other choice was beef in sugary sauce, I needed energy so a fast didn't sound like a good option to me)
            garbage plate type thing... the bad parts were: mashed potatoes, fries (both not horrible, I tolerate potatoes VERY well), onion ring/chicken breading (not huge pieces of the dish - 3 rings, 1 finger total), and beans in the chilli... the rest was actually pretty primal ( 1/2lb all beef hot dog, 6oz house-ground beef burger that didn't have an awful CAFO taste to it, meat in the chili), the whole thing was tasty in a disgusting kind of way.
            had some bites of delicious house-made mac 'n' cheese and handmade bread (with pate & evoo - I usually just eat the pate with a fork), plus two cocktails, and split a chocolate souffle 3 ways at my favorite local bistro.


            • #7
              Originally posted by PrimalMama View Post
              Things I've been totally loving:

              Paleo Rogan Josh (ish)... I've made something similar on the stovetop before, but the crockpot worked much better... grass-fed stew meat seared in coconut oil, with onions, garam masala, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and then cooked in coconut milk low and slow until the meat is tender. Made saffron cumin rice for my sweetie, ate mine like a soup/stew.

              This sounds very very good. Thanks for sharing, Primal Mama.
              Annie Ups the Ante


              • #8
                Things I've been loving:
                Tappas. Most of it is primal (or at least 80% primal!) - flaming sausages, mushrooms stuffed w/leeks & bacon in a butter sauce, sweetbreads (lightly floured and sauteed to crispy, served with TONS of veggies), jamon, shrimp, arugula salad w/shredded goat cheese (not chevre) and apples...

                my 20%: the non-primal parts of tappas (I had a piece of bread to soak up yummy sauces, + possible flour/oils, and a bit of dessert)


                • #9
                  Loving: homemade buffalo burgers w/grass-fed smoked cheddar, dry cured bacon, heirloom tomato, over a bed of kale. *drool*

                  Baked chicken - soaked some chopped garlic & seranno + thyme, rosemary & sea salt in olive oil and lemon juice... rubbed the mixture all over split chicken breasts, putting the chunks of garlic/pepper under the skin. baked at 350, raised temp to 450 for the last 5-10min... poured the pan juice over the chicken *drool*

                  20%: more than I'd like to admit...
                  gray areas: a potato/brie/jamon bake, fries, red wine, whiskey on the rocks, rice noodles (singapore chow mei fun - at least there was tons of meat/shrimp & veggies), a tablespoon of quinoa, some CAFO meat/dairy (but it tasted fairly clean).
                  definite 20%: a couple handfulls of potato chips (I would not keep these in the house if it were not for my SO), an egg roll, oils from the chinese place (was craving chinese - it SO hit the spot), a handmade chocolate mousse, a homemade brownie, a bite of sugar cookies a friend made (she ate the rest of the cookie), half a banh-mi (bread/mayo - the rest is primal)


                  • #10
                    love love LOVE:
                    wild salmon crusted with celtic sea salt, pepper, dill, garlic and cayenne.

                    20%: some candy (fun size snickers & a PB bar a friend gave me as a gift). and it was worth it; about 1/4C wild rice.


                    • #11
                      Things I've loved? homemade grass-fed burgers, sometimes with a pocket of raw gorgonzola in the center, with grilled onion, tomato, perhaps an egg or some bacon, mustard or non-canola mayo, all wrapped in a big ass cabbage leaf.
                      and the staples - brisket, cabbage, eggs. I got a braising cookbook and an amazon gift card to buy a cooking vessel for xmas, so... *drool*
                      things I want to cook:
                      Breadless Toad-in-the-hole (leave out the last step or two)
                      Cauliflower tots I'm not usually a substitute-potato kinda gal, but someone posted these and they look tasty

                      my 20%:
                      I pretty much ate what I wanted for about 48 hours, with chocolates in my stocking, a planned-off-plan Chinese meal on xmas, beer, homemade chilli/mac 'n' cheese, and minty (spiked) eggnog drinks at a friends' house, (organic, non GMO) popcorn cooked on my stove in coconut oil with kerrygold and yummy seasonings on top, a couple of cookies (yes, literally a couple), some bites of my sweetie's sandwich, fries etc.
                      I'm probably missing a few things in the 20% category, but I'm not sweating it... back on the horse, don't dwell on what wasn't perfect, just move forward.


                      • #12
                        loving: swordfish with sea salt and "nantucket rub", seared in bacon grease. YUM.
                        coconut oil - that popcorn I popped on xmas? yeah, it got me to thinking that the smell/flavor I love about popcorn may very well be the coconut oil it's cooked in, NOT the butter!
                        also made oven sweet potato homefries... not sure I love them, but it was good to use the 3+lb(!) sweet potato that I got months ago!

                        20% - a hand-crafted cocktail and a piece of fresh baked bread (positively SOAKED with evoo/butter - I was so hungry I just wanted to drink the olive oil and garlic butter - I figured this was a more socially acceptable choice.) at my favorite neighborhood bistro.


                        • #13
                          Things I'm loving: fat guacamole devils w/a clove of garlic chopped & mixed into the guac...
                          baked chicken thighs w/garlic, rosemary & thyme
                          Five spice grass fed ground beef
                          Uncured ham - salad, omelettes.. Yum!
                          "real food" place I just discovered near my new office... I can get an awesome salad w/clean (grass fed/wild/pastured) protein & veggies for a good price - yay!

                          I have some grass fed short ribs in the fridge, excited to find a go to recipe for those.

                          20%: brunch drinks (a margarita & a baileys), sliver of cheesecake, and some rice w/ my jerk chicken. I kept about 95% primal this week... And worked out like crazy. :-)