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An Dreoilín's Maiden Voyage

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  • An Dreoilín's Maiden Voyage

    I've decided to keep a journal on here as I keep finding myself wanting to talk about and keep track of my primal endeavors, but don't want to be constantly buggering people on my normal blog or in daily life who can't be bothered with such things. I figured folks here would understand.

    So here's a proper introductory post that may be long winded, my apologies.

    Henceforth known as An Dreoilín, I'm a 25-year-old artist / construction worker / horse rider / girl trying to find balance, wellbeing, happiness, and adventure. For the beginning of my life I was raised on a pretty healthy diet, even by primal standards. Until I was 10, I lived in Ireland where my family (extended, not just household) kept a relatively traditional standard of living; beautiful gardens, cattle, sheep, chickens. With all of our powers, and those of our neighbours and friends, combined we had a consistent supply of fresh homegrown veg and meat, raw dairy products, and ample wild seafoods (mackerel, monkfish, trout, limpets, brown crab, dillisk, etc.) I grew up eating all manner of things: pigs' trotters, sweetbreads, tripe, chicken livers, few things put me off. That's not to say that other things didn't find their way in, we certainly had our fair share of taytos and cadbury, sodas, scones, brown bread, pasta, and plenty of lazy beans on toast dinners.

    When I was 10 we moved to America, where mam's family is from, and everything changed. My parents have always been pretty well-rounded eaters and very keen on keeping fresh foods in the kitchen, but it wasn't coming from the ground to the table anymore, nor straight from the animal out in the field. Everything was bought at the supermarket, the fridge was bigger, the attitude towards food, eating, consumption in general, was significantly different. Combine that with new jobs, a new way and pace of life, and it now seems like the first ten years of my life were entirely a dream. Cue the introduction of the SAD into our lives.

    Fast forward a gazillion years to where I am now. Not too long ago, for one reason or another, I started thinking about things relating to family. Dad's family, living in Ireland, and Mam's, who live here, and realised a striking difference between the two. Dad's family survives mainly on the diet I mentioned in the beginning of this ramble, they have consistent low-level physical activity (loads of walking, climbing up the 'mountain', maintaining walls, cattle, gardens, houses, cycling or walking into town, rowing out into the bay). Nothing stresses these people out, their treatment and understanding of "time" is vastly different from what I've become used to. Very few are overweight, the older generation is notorious for living quite long (my great grandmother, for example, passed away at 102!), and none have suffered from heart disease, dementia, or cancer. Most died from complications from injuries or infections (pneumonia has killed a few.) Just yesterday, in fact, my grandfather passed at the ripe age of 92, from complications caused by mesothelioma due to his work as an insulator working with asbestos. His quality of health and life aside from that was absolutely phenomenal (we often called him the energizer bunny), and had it not been for the mesothelioma, there isn't a doubt in my mind that he could very well have outdone great mamó.

    Contrast that against mam's family: most are significantly overweight (my mam, of everyone on her side of the family, is the only one who is NOT overweight), suffer from all manner of medical problems, primarily heart issues and diabetes, almost all of the older generation had dementia, and most have died relatively young in contrast with dad's side. My grandmother and her sister are two left of 13, my grandmother is second-oldest of that 13, and the rest have all passed from heart and liver problems. Mam's dad died when she was only 13, from a heart attack. Unfortunately, we aren't terribly close with mam's family so I don't know as many details about their diets or habits, other than a handful which follow your typical SAD standards (and worse), and work sedentary jobs followed by sedentary, and stress-filled, lifestyles.

    But that contrast always surprised me, and I often wondered why there was such a big difference. I always assumed it was genetics - or that there was something weird in the water where mam's family is from - until I discovered paleo. It suddenly seemed to make sense.

    So here I am now, armed with this knowledge, and the knowledge supplied by mark in the primal blueprint, and ready to problem solve and tackle the road ahead.

    My diet is by no means pristine; it needs some polishing up. That part's most likely the easiest. I understand what I need to do, and how to do it. I don't eat grains or legumes or 98% of things that come out of a box or bag already, the rest is really just getting rid of sugars and the binges it induces (oh lord I have a terrible ice cream love) and refining my intake of things like nuts, which can be a bit out of control at times. I'm not terribly worried about my weight or body composition (I'm 5'2", 110 lbs, roughly 17% body fat) (I certainly wouldn't mind toning up though!), I'm more concerned with sustaining my health for the long run, as well as feeling and functioning at my optimal.

    The other part of this endeavour is to change my perspective, and thus my stress levels. I'm 25 and I still live with my parents, and as much as I positively adore them I find myself growing increasingly anxious to get out. I have student loans farther than the eye can see and those create the brunt of my burdens. I don't drink, don't do drugs, and am planning on quitting smoking before the year is over. I spend my spare money on once-a-week horse riding lessons (otherwise known as my weekly therapy) and do my best to save the rest (then, naturally, come the car breakdowns, repairs, vet bills, dog food...) I have a wonderful boyfriend who unfortunately lives three thousand miles away. We're trying to sort out what comes next; we want to find a way to be together, whether he moves here or I move there, but it's like a big fiasco of money and jobs and uncertainties. Love prevails despite those things though.

    I have an awful awful lot to be thankful for, and I am, yet I feel so strung out and uncertain and stressed, mostly because of those loans.

    Changing my perspective, and stress levels, beginning to problem solve these things and start moving forward, seems to me to be equally as fundamental to a primal way of life as changing my diet.

    So this is the beginning of my journey. My goal is to find balance and a sustainable, healthy way of life, both in the kitchen and outside of it. I read a quote recently that struck a deep chord with me, something along the lines of "what you consume is either feeding disease or fighting it."

    I'm currently under the influence of a dreadful cold and the pains and stresses of the loss of my grandfather, so this weekend is particularly difficult, but I feel more motivated than ever to get this ball rolling. I'm looking forward to updating on here, and haunting the forum.

  • #2
    This now four-day-long nasty cold and the heavy atmosphere of this weekend are kicking my rear big time. I cannot wait for this bug to leave, it feels like its making everything twenty times more difficult to deal with. I'm so anxious to get out and have fresh air and feel like a human again instead of a blob of exhausted, stuffy, goopy, heavy-headed heavy-hearted blahness. The next few days are likely to be just as dreary with the coming of the wake and funeral, despite whether or not my body is feeling better.

    For breakfast today I had pancakes made with pumpkin, two eggs, and spices. Topped them with a small bit of chopped cashews and kerrygold.

    Lunch was a cup of leftover pumpkin chili (I'm working my way through leftover pumpkin from this) which consisted of the aforementioned squash, grassfed mince, red peppers and tomatoes from the garden, garlic, shallots, onions, and spices and herbs.

    Dinner, I'm not sure yet. I have a mahoosive salad made up that I could top with whatever. There's also leftover chicken paprikash, and I have tomatoes that I could make a small bit of soup with. Plenty of options. Right now I have no appetite whatsoever so it's possible dinner might be skipped.

    For the time being, it's lemon ginger tea, a blanket, a book, and fingers crossed that this bugger gets the heck out of my system soon.


    • #3
      Hi andreaoilin, your name drew me in. I'm living in Ireland, (native) and so recognised the inference. I wish we were all living the idealised Irish lifestyle that your extended family are living, but alas, it's not the case. Otherwise I'd be out there dry stone walling in my bikini. (With a mac on over for the rain). Anyway just wanted to say hello and welcome!
      I'm not saying lets kill all the stupid people in the world, I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem take care of itself.


      • #4
        Hi kikiperpie, thanks! It's pretty amazing that they've managed to keep it going for so long, I know it's certainly not the standard. Unfortunately I don't see it lasting much longer, my cousins have mostly emigrated as well or have little desire to keep things moving that way. It's becoming expensive and more difficult. But I feel very fortunate for having had that sort of upbringing at a young age.


        • #5
          Day five of this ridiculous cold. I woke up feeling stuffy and gross but not as inhuman as I felt yesterday. It can be tricky though; while I woke up feeling bad yesterday, it wasn't half as bad as I felt by the evening, which was fairly miserable and frustrating. Hoping that isn't the case today.

          For dinner I had scant appetite and decided to make use of leftover tomato paste from the pumpkin chili. I sweated a load of garlic and fresh basil in coconut oil, added in the paste, some water, pastured cream, more basil and oregano, and viola. It was pretty garlicky but I did that on purpose, and it came out well. Mam, who's also battling this cold, enjoyed it too.

          I'm off for the next three days. Tomorrow is wake day, Wednesday is funeral day. Depending on how I feel in a little bit I might go to the market - it's the only chance I will get to go during the quiet of the week for a long time (I typically work 7a-3p mon-fri) and on Saturday mornings it tends to be absurdly crowded. Primarily I mean to stock up on some quality meats, organs, and bones, and I'm on the hunt for figs. I've never seen them sold anywhere here and if they can't be found there then I'm convinced this poor city is fig-less entirely. I certainly don't need them, but their seasonal novelty makes them a real treat, and I suppose hunting them down is part of the fun too. I was lucky enough to be back home for a few months this time last year and managed to get a few of them there to enjoy.

          Anyway, not sure what I'm doing for food today. Stay tuned, I'm whingin' it. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of this coldplague.


          • #6
            Ooooh I'm am so jealous of your dad's family. I really wish I could live like that. I'm a farmer's girl who moved to the city for work oppertunities but I promised myself that one day I would have a self-sufficient little farm...

            I hope your cold clears away quickly and that you feel better soon... My grandma always makes heavy chicken soup to clear away colds. it might help...
            My story, My thought....

            It's all about trying to stay healthy!!!!


            • #7
              MarielleGO, we were really lucky growing up, and I certainly hope that I can get back to living even half of that way again someday.

              This is the most tenacious cold I've ever had. I can't remember a time when I had a cold that lasted more than three days. The flu, sure, but not a cold. It's not just me though, mam came down with it at the same time and she's still not feeling well either. Dad's the one who started it a week ago and he's just now starting to feel like his old self.

              Chicken soup sounds fantastic but we have soooo many leftovers in the fridge (chili, chicken paprikash, a huge salad, roasted vegetables) that I would hate to waste. On top of that we will hardly be home today and tomorrow as we have the wake and funeral.

              Needless to say I will be wholly thankful when this week is gone, and hoping to god it takes this cold with it. I'm so beyond frustrated with it at this point.

              Going to the market yesterday was successful; 2 beef marrow bones, 2 neck bones, bison filet, 2 lamb shanks, chicken hearts, white sweet potatoes, apples, leeks, and...figs! I typically just get things there that I can't get at the local supermarket. I froze all the meat for soups and stews later. That time of year is fast approaching.

              So onward into the day. Armed with echinacea tea and lots of tissues.


              • #8
                Well needless to say I think the worst is over. This coldplagueofdeath feels like it is finally quickly letting up (I feel like I can breathe, and my head is no longer in a fish bowl! Buíochas le dia!), and the wake and funeral have come and gone.

                While being with the entire family was absolutely wonderful, my diet over the last two days has seriously suffered and I'm not even going to list the things that were consumed (see also; sugar dragon to the extreme) (Why oh why does nobody believe in salads or vegetables beyond potatoes and corn?!). It was a very special circumstance, and while I feel internally ickyickyicky, I'm doing my best not to waste too much time fretting. Now that my feet are back on the ground regarding this cold, and the worst of things is behind me, I will simply move forward, and tackle what comes next.

                Tomorrow it's back to work. I'm actually pretty happy about this after a week of physical and emotional rollercoasters, and I have done nothing, not a thing, significantly physical since Friday, so I'm really looking forward to a good day working hard and getting back on track.

                Not sure what's on the menu for tomorrow. A good kale spinach romaine dandelion salad is in there somewhere for sure, and I am so so so looking forward to it.


                • #9
                  Morning of official primal day one;

                  Woke up feeling very groggy and sluggish and bloated. No surprise there.

                  Breakfast: 6am, pumpkin purée, full fat greek yoghurt made by a friend, coconut cream, topped with spices and shredded coconut. It's a bit warm, I was shooting for eggs but I really wanted something cold and light this morning.

                  At work now on coffee break. Feeling sluggish and I'm getting cramps in my leg which never ever happens so that's a little strange. I'll be sure that I'm drinking enough water this afternoon. I feel a little hungry. Usually after coffee break my energy levels go up a bit so we'll see. I have riding tonigh but I might cancel, I don't want to overdo it as I'm still feeling a bit coldish.


                  • #10
                    I'm on lunch break now and feeling a good bit more awake after having coffee and water, albeit stuffy nosed. And the leg cramps disappeared. My stomach, after a few days humiliating eating, wasn't sure what was going on; it felt hungry and empty, then bloated and full, and by the time I sat down here I didn't feel hungry but ate lunch nonetheless.

                    Lunch was a salad; romaine, spinach, kale, and dandelion. Topped with chopped red pepper, some grilled chicken, raw diced garlic, a slice of lemon, olive oil and red wine vinegar with fresh chopped rosemary and thyme.

                    Also, I can tell I'm retaining water, courtesy of my fingers looking puffy, and it's driving me mental! Aaahhhhhh I just feel like a whingey aul woman today. I suppose that's what a week of stress, a cold, and poor eating will do to you. That said, I feel okay mentally, optimistic and motivated. So so so looking forward to feeling myself again.


                    • #11
                      Came home around 3 and felt really terribly tired. Called my riding instructor and told her I wasn't going to make it later. An orange and half a cup of coffee and a shower tied me over for a little bit. Mam said she was goin to cook for dinner so I held off. Around 5:30 I started getting very hungry and tired again but she wasn't yet cooking. I ended up falling asleep on the sofa around 6. Woke up at 7:15 feeling even worse; back is sore (was crawling on the floor and hunching over holes in it at work the entire eight hours), grumpy, very hungry, chest is sore and coughing still (note to self; call the doctor tomorrow. I'm so. So. So. Tired of this bug.)

                      This is always an issue in this house. Mam cooks. She's a fantastic cook. She's versatile and likes trying new things and is happy to adapt. But she and dad come home, crack open beers, drink away into the evening and don't eat until 8 or 9 at night. When I come home and ask if she's cooking - the answer I get is the answer I take and I ask no more questions. It will be done whenever she's done with it and that's that. If I ask "can you do dinner earlier?" or even "are you still planning on cooking?" I will get a proper angry earful.

                      Well, as happens 50% of the time, she decided not to cook after all and is content to just continue with her beers and likely eat some crisps or who knows what later. Dad will just have a salad and leftover corn and pasta from the funeral.

                      Aye. All I can do, unless I want to keep eating at their schedule, is disregard her cooking plans and cook my own dinners. Problem is, when I do this, we end up with an abundance of food crowding the fridge and so much goes to waste. She also, when I start cooking consistently, gets motivated to start cooking more and then it becomes this just mad disorganized too-much-food chaos.

                      So raaaaaaaaawr I'm grumpy and feeling icky and hungry and bloated and unhappy and it's likely a combo of carb flu and this cold and everything else and I'm neigh a happy camper and will not just settle for another salad because my body clearly needs more than yoghurt and pumpkin and salads. Aye! It's into the kitchen to forage. Wish me luck.


                      • #12
                        So this has swiftly gone from a primal maiden voyage to me whingeing about this endless cold.

                        I still have a nagging cough and chest congestion issues that are making it really hard to get up and do anything really aerobic and I CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE. I am so beyond high doe with this.

                        I went to my GP yesterday and got a nice wee acute bronchitis diagnosis complete with a round of antibiotics to help clear things up and should start feeling better soon. My energy levels are back to normal, with the help of eating better and decompressing from stress no doubt, it's just this cough now.

                        Cough aside, I woke up feeling really good, well rested, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and bushy tailed this morning. Breakfast was greek yoghurt with half a peach, cinnamon, coconut cream, and a couple of cashews. I'll have to do some digging for suggestions about what to eat while on antibiotics, In the past I've always made sure to eat a serving of yoghurt with them each day as that seems to help. My sugar cravings have been tame and easy to quell the last two days which is a great relief. It's lovely autumnal cool soft rain today and I'm revelling in it.

                        Headed to get coffee or tea with a friend in a bit, then I plan on spending the day doing some cleaning, working on a painting commission, fiddle playing, yoga, and body weight stuff. If the rain lets up a bit I may do a walk on the trails with my dog - it's been a week since we've done any hiking and I'm going mental missing it. Can't wait for this cough to go!


                        • #13
                          For the first day in at least two weeks; a good day! Not perfect, but I feel loads better than I have in what seems like a long time, and it's all steps in the right direction.

                          I wasn't hungry for lunch, nor feeling totally empty for dinner, but these antibiotics go down better with food, and I'm trying to employ some whole30 concepts (essentially everything except allowing I'm allowing myself greek yoghurt, cream, and dark chocolate here and there), into play in order to create better eating habits / rituals and balance (hormonally), as well as general healthfulness.

                          salad (romaine, spinach, chard, dandelion) topped with half a tin of tuna, half an avocado, lemon juice, pepper, rosemary, and garlic. I didn't finish all of it, I just wasn't hungry enough, but I managed about 3/4.

                          grilled flank steak marinated in balsamic vinegar, steamed broccoli (including peeled and diced stems), wilted spinach, kerrygold, pepper, a small bit of sea salt.

                          I had a handful of nuts and an admittedly too generous piece of chocolate in the evening while having a sugar craving. But considering that that's my biggest slipup, I think I'm on the right track.

                          Exercise included helping dad haul firewood, walking around for an hour with a friend while having coffee, and a much much much needed and enjoyed hour-and-a-half-long hike with the dog.

                          Overall I felt really good today. I still have a cough but it's manageable. It was truly the first really good day I've had in weeks and it helps to feel like I'm finally on the right track and recovering from this relentless cold. My only complaint is that I've had an off and on headache, which, as of an hour ago, has decided to firmly be "on" and is keeping me wide awake. I'm assuming it could be from a considerable drop in sugar and carbohydrate consumption, but who knows. I have tea and am bunkering down for the night and looking forward to tomorrow.


                          • #14
                            Primal problem one; working around a crazy work schedule that changes last minute.

                            Breakfast, 4am; Greek yoghurt, coconut cream, blueberries, a smidgen of almond butter, coffee.

                            Lunch, 12pm; salad (romaine, kale, dandelion, red cabbage) with red peppers, banana peppers, raw garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, herbs.

                            Post-work snack, 4:45pm; half an orange, a handful of cashews and a feckin' snickers bar.

                            Dinner (ETA 7pm): baked cod breaded with coconut flakes and almonds. Steamed green beans and spinach.

                            I ended up getting called out to a job two hours away from home today. This is the nature of my job and makes planning things pretty tough. I felt like I was off to such a strong start; I felt really good this morning, good through lunch. Around 2:30 we got a call asking us to work late. Alright. Cue 4:30 dinner" break and I had no food bar some cashews, and was equipped with a ferocious hunger. My diebetic foreman on this job offered me half his orange and one of his (many many many!) snickers bars. I was expecting to be there late (7pm was the projected time), no money or time to go out and forage for real food, and my brain said "you need to eat, you have two more hours of work on top of a two hour drive home" so I scarfed them down. Twenty minutes later our supervisor showed up and said to cancel the overtime and call it a day.

                            Now I'm home, exhausted, and have fish marinating that I half don't even want because I'm feeling guilty and still full from my sugar indulgence.

                            Lesson learned; perhaps keeping "emergency" foods on hand is a good idea. But what? I have learned to avoid keeping nuts and dried fruit around - my sugar demons are still not slain and its way too easy for me to lose control with those things at this point.

                            Anyway, I'm trying to muster up the energy to at least do some yoga or lifting tonight. Yesterday was apprenticeship class day (eight hours of work - one hour to get home, eat, and get to class - five hours of class - home at ten - pretty much straight to bed as I had to be up at three this morning) and is useless for getting any exercise. I might try sprints tonight instead - I've never done them before.

                            Overall; feeling tired and a little derailed.


                            • #15
                              Try keeping some protein bars or look at my journal for some primal nut ball snacks. They are good, the recipe is just a page or two from the end of journal at mo. it sucks when life gets in the ways.
                              I'm not saying lets kill all the stupid people in the world, I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem take care of itself.