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Debating whether or not to quit (Newbie)

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  • Debating whether or not to quit (Newbie)

    I'm a bit new to the Primal lifestyle and would appreciate advice. After browsing the forums, I realize these newbie threads are rather common, and I feel slightly guilty for adding another one, but I figured you lovely people would be more capable of helping me than most other sources.

    I have been (ahem) half ass primal for about two and a half months. I haven't eaten any processed foods during this time. I also have not eaten any grains other than very few during a two week vacation when I had someone else preparing meals for me. Sugar I have almost cut out entirely (except for fruit and such). I have been jogging in the mornings for a short circuit for about 10 minutes and lifting weights (nothing too intense). Sleep has been very regular.

    While I was very excited about this starting out, I'm starting to feel sort of blah about the whole thing. I'm not seeing a big difference in my life/health. At the most I feel slightly less depressed and stressed than usually as well as more energetic, but then it is summer and I'm not under a lot of pressure for school and work, etc. Then again, these aren't results I can exactly measure.

    I'm also getting a little bored and annoyed with this lifestyle. At first I loved the food but I'm bored of eating the same menu every week. It's also becoming a chore to cook every day, as I have very little cooking ability. I've looked up more recipes but many have obscure ingredients or are too much work for an average day.

    Another problem I have is that I'm not entirely convinced that grains (and carbs) are that bad, at least for me. I haven't noticed any real changes in cutting them out and on the days my 20% seems a little larger, I don't feel any different. I do somewhat miss pasta, but on the other hand, I haven't had any major cravings.

    I have no idea what carb flu is.

    Here are my major questions:

    What eating methods should I use to keep blood sugar low? (meal times, macro proportions)
    I eat a lot of jogurt. Is this bad?
    I want to gain weight, not lose it. How do I avoid weight loss?
    Should I cut back on fruit?
    What can I drink other than water and tea?

    I'm wondering if I should keep this up or stop with the upcoming school year. Is this right for me?

    Thank for your time, and I apologize for the novella.
    "Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion." ~Jane Ausitn

  • #2
    Hmmm, the thing that stands out to me is "on the days my 20% seems a little larger..." So you're factoring 20% into every single day? I really only feel awesome when I'm close to 100% paleo (I don't do dairy, so I say paleo not primal) and think of my 20% (if I do at all) as for those rare times when there is really no other option, i.e. a friend's birthday party or something.

    Have you tried a whole 30? Go for a stretch at 100% and see how you feel. I wouldn't cut back on fruit if you're trying to gain weight. I don't know how you define "a lot" of yoghurt, but some people do find that cutting out dairy makes a big difference, so it's worth experimenting with. I like 65% fat, 15% carbs, 20% protein for a macro ratio. Sometimes I am lower-carb/higher-fat than that, almost never higher-carb.

    As for boredom - c'mon, get creative! There are plenty of ways to do primal with minimal fuss and a lot of taste. Mix up your spice cabinet. Get Mark's fast meals book. Check out the recipes board here. Rotate your vegetables (both variety and how they're prepared - a roasted carrot tastes a whole lot different to a steamed one.) As for drinks, water and tea do it for me, but coffee isn't frowned upon, fresh/homemade juice (especially green juice) is okay, and adding lemon/lime/etc. to your water can help you mix it up. Are you doing smoothies? Think nut milks, kefir or yoghurt, fresh or frozen fruits, greens (spinach is easy to hide with fruit), protein powder in moderation, tablespoons of coconut oil, etc. Or go simple with an ice, water and fruit crush. Mix up your teas, too - I have a very healthy collection of herbal teas and the variety of flavors is pretty amazing. If you're stuck on black/white/green, you're missing out!


    • #3
      BTW, I'm in the same boat as you - I've always been underweight, so the benefits I see are much less dramatic than those "I lost 100lbs!" folks, and sometimes it's difficult to stay motivated. But they're still there. Less depressed is pretty good! I'm also on the younger side (26) so I don't have decades of damage to undo, like a lot of people here. I just remind myself that my "results" are going to come long-term, when I don't develop those problems. After a few years of this WOE, I already get endless compliments about my skin, so that's encouraging! I get mistaken for a 16-year-old a lot. We lucky skinny ones will just have to settle for slow and steady benefits.


      • #4
        Err... repetitive menu? Lots of time spent cooking? Not my experience. Combine any quick-cooking meat or fish with any vegetables and any herbs/ spices. Belly pork + kale + red pepper. Leftover roast chicken + tomato + pesto with salad. Bag of ready-prepared stir fry vegetables + tin of tuna + soya sauce & toasted sesame oil (yes, I know, bad oil, not every day - but it takes about 5 minutes from start to finish). Minced lamb + broccoli + mushrooms. Burgers + salad. Or it takes me about 30 minutes to get all the ingredients for a stew prepared and into the slow cooker, in sufficient quantities to do 4 helpings. None of this is exactly arduous.


        • #5
          So.... what are you looking for here? If you want to quit, quit. If not, don't. Stop looking for excuses and stop waiting for people to take decisions for you.


          • #6
            Hi Anna.

            What eating methods should I use to keep blood sugar low?
            For most people, reducing the number of times you eat seems to work best. It does for me.

            I eat a lot of jogurt. Is this bad?
            If you mean unsweetened, whole milk yogurt, it is good, especially since you want to gain weight.

            Should I cut back on fruit?
            How much do you eat? Shouldn't be a problem unless you eat lots.

            What can I drink other than water and tea?
            Wine, whole milk, mineral water. What would you like to drink?

            Carbs: I'd try to avoid grains except white rice. But I think you could do potatoes, rice and sweet potatoes. All fairly easy.

            Sounds like you are doing a lot better than half-assed. In contrast to those who say to go stricter, I would say look for ways to enjoy Primal, even if they are marginal. Hang in there.
            Ancestral Health Info

            I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

            Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.


            • #7
              I'd recommend trading some of the fruit and yogurt for starchy root vegetables. It seems like most people who feel "blah" with typical primal recommendations feel better with a higher starch intake. And if you don't have that much weight to lose (or any at all), you will definitely benefit from increased starch. Just avoid the temptation to eat gluten grains.

              Also, exactly how much protein and vegetables are you eating? Sorry, but it seems to me that every time a thread like this pops up, the OP is eating mostly nuts, yogurt, and fruit, with not nearly enough protein. That may be another thing you want to increase.

              edit: didn't notice you said you want to gain weight. Then definitely eat more starch. You could easily eat 400g or more of carbohydrate and be fine, just make sure it's the right kind.

              Starchy tubers and root vegetables > pseudograins > properly prepared pulses > non-gluten grains > fruit
              Last edited by Chaohinon; 08-21-2011, 09:55 PM.
              “The whole concept of a macronutrient, like that of a calorie, is determining our language game in such a way that the conversation is not making sense." - Dr. Kurt Harris


              • #8
                Originally posted by AnnaMoyer View Post
                Another problem I have is that I'm not entirely convinced that grains (and carbs) are that bad, at least for me. I haven't noticed any real changes in cutting them out and on the days my 20% seems a little larger, I don't feel any different. I do somewhat miss pasta, but on the other hand, I haven't had any major cravings.
                Grains should be fermented.

                Originally posted by AnnaMoyer View Post
                I have no idea what carb flu is.
                The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D. » Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low-carb Pt II
                The Science Behind The “Low Carb Flu”, and How To Regain Your Metabolic Flexibility - GNOLLS.ORG

                Originally posted by AnnaMoyer View Post
                What eating methods should I use to keep blood sugar low? (meal times, macro proportions)
                How to Lower Your Blood Sugar

                Originally posted by AnnaMoyer View Post
                I want to gain weight, not lose it. How do I avoid weight loss?
                Gain muscle, not fat.

                Originally posted by AnnaMoyer View Post
                I'm wondering if I should keep this up or stop with the upcoming school year. Is this right for me?
                Everybody makes the best choices they can given the information they're able to comprehend.


                • #9
                  As others have touched on, it doesn't sound like you've actually given up on the grains etc.
                  I had no idea that they caused me any issues until I started eating them again after several months without them.
                  I would feel bloated after pasta etc. whereas before I hadn't realised this was out of the ordinary until experiencing it again after months free of it.

                  Give dropping all grains and legumes a miss for 30 days and see how how you feel. You may experience carb flu a week or so into it, feel crap and wonder why you'd do this. But push through it and you'll feel fine.

                  I would start off sticking to less than 150 grams of carbs a day (from veggies, roots, tubers and fruit) for awhile. If you find your losing weight and don't want to up it a bit, but I wouldn't just launch into 300+ gms/day unless your very active or you may find you put on body fat. As per a previous poster said, you want to put on muscle rather than fat, unless of course you need to for health reasons (infertility, not menstruating etc).
                  If you're interested in my (very) occasional updates on how I'm working out and what I'm eating click here.

                  Originally posted by tfarny
                  If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least


                  • #10
                    If you don't mind me asking, how old are you? I doubt I'd have stuck to this when I was young - if you seem to be doing okay on conventional food, I suspect the changes won't be all that obvious. That's a problem with a lot of our health warnings actually - the effect doesn't happen for years down the track. The thing is, what you do now might save you from arthritis, allergy, diabetes etc later. So it's not all about feeling better right now. It's about having a long and healthy life too.

                    But yeah, you're kinda 'doing it wrong'.

                    I hate cooking too... but eating healthily does involve a bit of cooking. Not a whole lot - keep it simple with salads and meats, a bit of spice. It ain't that different. What would you do otherwise, eat expensive takeaway junk food? It's not that much harder to cook healthy than to cook conventional.
                    If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat? Tom Snyder


                    • #11
                      For me (besides the obvious weight loss) the most important improvement has been the lack of mood and energy swings - regardless of the weight and overall health issues I'd suggest anyone stick to this rather than get into the constant energy roller coaster.

                      As you don't need to lose weight I'd have thought it would have been simple to eat Primally - just eat as much unprocessed meat, fish, eggs, berries and lower starch vegetables as you want. Adding in nuts, more starchy fruits and veg and dairy after a period without them to see how your system reacts to them.

                      As others have said if you are using your 20% to eat non primal stuff every day then you won't be getting the benefit. Most aim for 100% but know that the 20% will cover them on the odd occasion when they have no choice but to go non primal or they want to splurge occasionally.

                      Eating and cooking wise - why are you doing it every day ? If you're single then make stuff in batches and leave in the fridge or freeze. I'd suggest only cooking once every three days personally - but then I am a lazy cook.

                      Day 1 (A Meals) - Roast meat + Roast Veg - make enough for at least three meals and have it on alternate days (freeze 1 for when you're in a rush)
                      Same time as you're prepping roast veg do extra and do a casserole or stew for 3 meals - keep 1 out for day 2 and freeze other 2
                      Also boil 6 eggs and roast chicken.

                      Repeat on Day 4 (B Meals) for the week

                      Day 1 - A - Roast Meat (Fresh)
                      Day 2 - A - Casserole (Fridge)
                      Day 3 - A - Roast Meat (Fridge)
                      Day 4 - B - Casserole (Fresh)
                      Day 5 - B - Roast Meat (Fridge)
                      Day 6 - B - Casserole (Fridge)
                      Day 7 - Previous Frozen Meal

                      Repeat with Different Recipes for 2nd week.

                      3rd Week you could live off frozen meals from week 1 - or even better build up your stock of different recipes and rotate them into following month
                      4th Week you could live off frozen meals from week 2 - or even better build up your stock of different recipes and rotate them into following month

                      Which translates as about 4 hrs prep time in a month cooking wise.

                      Breakfasts and Lunches just keep salad stuff in fridge, eggs already boiled, cooked chicken, prawns and leftovers and tinned fish and grab what you fancy.
                      Deserts - Frozen Berries, (and Organic Yoghurt and Nuts if you can stomach them)

                      Good luck whether you decide to stick with it or not but if you do decide to give up then please don't blame it on needing to cook every day or that its difficult to manage this in a busy life - I've found this the easiest most adaptable eating style ever and takes all the stress and time out of preparing food.
                      1st June 11 to 30st Aug 11 - 36lb removed in 13 weeks
                      Messed about on and off for the rest of the year

                      June 2012 - Had the practice - now time to do it for real


                      • #12
                        Do you have a crock pot? If you don't, you should get one. It's the easiest way there is to cook enough meat to last for 3 or 4 days - perfect for someone who doesn't want to be cooking all the time.

                        Pick up a roast (look for cheaper leaner cuts - beef eye of round, pork loin, etc. Ask a butcher if you're not sure.) Put a couple of chopped carrots, a stick of chopped celery and a diced onion into the crock, put the meat on top (you can sear it in a pan first if you like), season w/ s&p, garlic or whatever) then cook on high for an hour or two and switch to low for another 4-6 hours. Done. Like dinner!

                        If you want, you can eat the veggies, but usually I would strain them out and make a gravy out of the juice in the bottom of the crock. If that's too much work for you, don't do it. Your choice
                        Newcomers: If you haven't read the book, at least read this thread ... and all the links!

                        Jan. 1, 2011: 186.6 lbs PBSW Mar. 1, 2011: 175.8 lbs
                        CW: 146.8 lbs
                        GW 140 lbs
                        A proud member of PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals