Diving deeper into the primal way of life
So once again, I've gone for over a month without posting, but, unlike last time, it wasn't because I fell off the wagon. It's true I was teetering on the edge around the time of my last post. My energy was low. Japanese bed therapy and chocolate consumption both high, and getting higher. I was still sticking mostly to primal food choices, at least technically, but had lost touch with the spirit of the primal WOE. By the end of that week (so Oct 19), I was up to 100g of dark chocolate per day (probably a week's ration for Mark). Didn't hit home how out of control I was until I found myself eating my daily 100 grams melted and combined with a whole jar of almond butter...a small jar, but still, when that's your idea of dinner, time to put down the spoon and back away.
When I'm feeling stressed or depressed, my instinct has always been to ease up, cut myself some slack. Not always a bad strategy, but in this case...I was heading down the road to chocoholism and the farther I got from truly primal eating, the less energy I had and the more depressed I felt. So after eating that entire jar of chocolate-almond butter and then feeling very bad indeed, I decided time for a new strategy: dive deeper. I quit chocolate cold turkey. But I didn't stop there. I also switched dairy from a daily indulgence to a special treat. This meant giving up my morning goat's milk latte, which I wasn't sure I could survive without, but I told myself it was just for one week - just to see if I felt better. Guess what, I felt better, so much so that I'm still drinking black coffee over a month later. I also set myself other weekly challenges - like eating more fish or more organ meat or trying new vegetables. And it worked - my energy started increasing, the cravings went away, and I started to feel pretty darn good again.
[B][I]Best new healthy routine[/I][/B] - going to the organic farmer's market on Saturday morning and stocking up for the week. They have a stand where you can slurp oysters out of the shell after watching them being shucked before your very eyes. "10€ for four oysters?" my miserly friend said. "You mean 10€ for happiness on the halfshell" I said. (He made a face, but succumbed to the lure of oystery goodness.)
[B][I]Favorite cheat that's not really a cheat[/I][/B] - after several weeks of no chocolate what-so-ever I felt in-control enough to allow myself a weekly treat. Among the delights of the farmers' market there's also a raw food stand where they sell raw chocolate gluten-free fudge squares. I thought these were a cheat, but turns out they're 100% primal. The creamy sweetness comes from coconut oil and dates! Still, probably a good thing that they're only available once a week.
[I][B]Favorite new recipes[/B][/I]
[LIST][*][URL="http://www.marksdailyapple.com/spiced-pork-and-butternut-squash-with-sage/#axzz29vxmwBOg"]Spiced pork with pumpkin and sage[/URL] (a la Mark). So good![*][URL="http://lowcarbdudecom.blogspot.nl/2008/01/recipe-low-carb-almond-meal-pancakes.html"]Primal almond meal pancakes[/URL] - I've been making a half batch for myself every Sunday topped off with some berry puree.[*][URL="http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-breakfast-muffins/#axzz2DAIQYnRj"]Primal breakfast muffins[/URL] - for an on-the-go meal, these are great. I can heat up a couple while I'm getting dressed and then breakfast while walking my dog. No more self-consciously nibbling cold boiled eggs on the train! For my eat-more-fish week, tried using canned salmon, spinach and dill instead of ground beef and kale...not bad, but a little too fishy first thing in the morning for my taste. [/LIST]
[LIST][*]Deadlifting 95kg (~210lbs)[*]Fitting back into my favorite sexy black dress (still too scared to try on my old jeans)[*]Eating every meal out for five days (yet another business trip) and staying ~90% primal[/LIST]
On business trip mentioned above, was doing so well. Was teaching a course in Spain with a friend. Eggs, peppers, and chorizo for breakfast. Big ass salad for lunch - 100% primal ingredients, right down to the dressing. Was staying away from the breadbasket and desert at dinner, at least for the most part. Even found awesome primal street food - roasted sweet potatoes and chestnuts - to snack on instead of resorting to Starbucks as my friend suggested. Then one evening after my friend and I had had a great free day traipsing around museums, I came back to the hotel and, while he went off to meet some friends of friends for a drink, I cleaned out the mini-bar - not the booze but the sweets (oreos, kit kat, M&Ms). Why did I do that?! And after passing up much more tempting things. I liked [URL="https://www.marksdailyapple.com/akrasia-or-why-you-act-against-your-own-better-judgment/"]Mark's post on akrasia[/URL] - acting against one's own best interest - particularly the part about willpower being limited: "the more we resist temptation in a given day, the weaker our will gets as the day goes on." That resonated! Since I got back, had a couple of similar binge incidents, when the compulsion to consume things that I know are bad for me took over. Firmly back on the straight and narrow now. What doesn't help curtail a binge: thinking about resulting weight gain. What does help: thinking about how what I eat affects my energy and mood and even immune system.
The dire consequences of diving headfirst into the breadbasket
So I just reread through all my old posts; wish I'd done it a couple of months ago - contained some pretty sound lessons for my sad self. After my last post in late November I actually did pretty well for another month - very busy, so not posting, but enjoying the fruits of my primal life-style (plus actual fruit of course). Then came the Christmas holidays - lots of eating out, lots of stressful family dynamics, lots of drinking by all concerned to deal with (or rather to not deal with) stressful family dynamics.
I held the course for a few days and then plunged headfirst into the nearest breadbasket. I'll take half a dozen dinner rolls with a bottle of your finest chianti thank you very much! I told myself that in this stressful situation that I would give myself a break from my fairly strict primal way of eating and reboot after the holidays. Sound familiar? After the holidays I did not reboot. I had more excuses: work stress, travel, my colleague was mean to me so I need cookies. And it was a replay of [URL="http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/post972640.html#post972640"]the last time I fell off the wagon[/URL]. [I]Somehow I managed to forget (AGAIN!) what an important part diet plays in managing my depression[/I]. I am just now crawling out of the hole that I've been occupying for the last three months - and believe you me, it was nothing like a comfy, warm Grok cave (at least in my imagination; in reality living in a cave probably kind of sucked).
[B]Addition and subtraction[/B]
The first week I convinced myself to give up alcohol. The second week I convinced myself to give up sugar and grains. I did not feel like doing it. I wasn't sure I had the willpower or the energy to do it. Making a salad at a certain point seemed like a Herculean task. But I reminded myself (AGAIN!) how I felt better and had more energy within three days of starting to eat primally. And indeed, I'm now on day five of life post-cookies and I feel much better.
It hasn't only been about subtracting things - I've also added back in (roughly in order): my bi-weekly sessions with Mr. Clean (my personal trainer/cheerful torturer), literature, daily visits to MDA, and now posting!
Each day I get a bit more energy. I'm being disciplined about the things I've committed to (no booze, grains or sugar), but trying not to push myself too hard to fix everything - I get a bit of energy and suddenly I start thinking well I should be doing that and that and oh yes, definitely that. And then I start feeling tired again.
B goat's milk latte (maybe I'll give up or at least cut down on dairy next week or maybe not)
L (or the second half of breakfast) 3 eggs scrambled in ghee (consumed hurriedly between conference calls alas)
S ~100grams nitrate-free dried sausage (pork, salt, spices)
D hamburger sans bun w/ avocado, tomato and a slice of organic goat cheese + spice tea (if I'm still hungry later I might have some blueberries and cream)
A bit short on veggies I know (salad mix is languishing in the crisper), but baby steps. It will come.