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Thread: The Dialectic of a Primal/LC Diet page

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    Patrick's Avatar
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    The Dialectic of a Primal/LC Diet

    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Perhaps this will just be me ruminating a bit (*cough* okay, a lot *cough*), but I've seen a trend lately where people new to PB hop on the forums and suddenly receive what appears to be very strange feedback to their initial progress posts or "hey, this is what I'm doing -- what do you think?" posts. For instance, advice on eliminating bananas seems really fucking odd after having read the PB, as does elimination of nuts and even berries.

    "But I thought this was about the Primal Blueprint?" the new folks wonder. "Why am I eliminating dairy, nuts and fruit, and what's all this keto-whatever stuff?! Why aren't I getting advice about the Primal Blueprint? Isn't that why we're here, on these forums?"

    Well, I can illuminate (hopefully) what's going on. Quite simply, everyone goes through a dialectical process. For many, they start with either The Primal Blueprint or something by Gary Taubes. That, for those people, becomes the basis and launch point for what we could call "continuous progressive improvement" (the dialectic).

    Here's my own anecdotal dialectic, and hopefully it helps people understand where various members' responses are coming from.

    Stage1, late Aug: I started with the PB Fitness ebook. That was it. I knew from my friend who guided me here what the rough diet was. (Funny enough, I thought I was doing great ordering gluten-free pizza from Pizza Pizza and loading it up with my own toppings. Hahaha! But hey, case in point, as I'll explain.) So there I was, with all the enthusiasm in the world, ready to lose 35 lb, and prepared to do so slowly but consistently and make a lifestyle change, not a diet-only change. Good place to start.

    Stage 2, Sep: Then the PB book finally arrived and I was like "Oh... shit. No grains at all and no sugar. Okay, check." (Not to mention "OOOOH! So that's how my body works. Huh.") So those were gone, and I made vegetables the basis or foundation of my diet, along with some meat (probably close to 1g - 1.3g / lb of lean body mass), and still had fruit and added in nuts. I switched to 3.5% homo milk, cut down cheese greatly, and dumped dressings in favour of olive oil + balsamic vinegar. Initial meals were very simple, with lots of repetition.

    Stage 3, Oct/Nov: Beginning to expand beyond the PB. I kept seeing Leangains this and Leangains that -- standard stuff on here for those looking at IF protocols. So I began to slowly learn about that. Diet remained very Primal -- by the book, literally -- but my exercise was beginning to shift slightly away from the Five Essential Movements, or at least my thinking was expanding to accept different ideas of what Lifting Heavy Things meant. I start using coconut oil. Huge leap in terms of dietary evolution for me.

    Stage 4, Nov/Dec: Checked out Sandbag Fitness and SimpleFit, and started hearing the name Gary Taubes. Checked out some interviews, podcasts and a fantastic 1h40m lecture in Seattle from last April. Understanding of the science behind it all began to form. (Mark started me off on an excellent footing of course, but Gary really nailed it for me.) Slight change in diet in that I began to reincorporate sweet potato, eating about 1/2 cup as part of a post-workout meal once or twice a week at most (inspiration from Leangains). Began to keep bacon fat and use it for cooking in addition to coconut oil, which I was already using. Began to supplement with fish oil and vitamin D3.

    Stage 5, early Jan: Whole30 attempt and experimentation with food "editing" via systematic elimination, mainly of dairy, alcohol and limiting nightshades. (It was a failure for me, as I've written in that post, but the lessons learned are of no less importance). Overall result: elimination of dairy, reduction in alcohol and coffee intake and addition of coconut milk as a staple. Bananas bad understanding reached and accepted... kinda. (Still eat about 1 per week, with a half going into a berry and coconut milk smoothie twice a week.)

    Stage 6, mid Jan: Found (was led to, rather) PaNu and began to shift away from vegetables and any fruit except infrequent uses of blueberries and strawberries. Slight increase in coconut milk usage, ensuring some use of it every day in one form or another. Increase in hard-boiled eggs consumption and eating cooked-ahead-of-time refrigerated bacon strips in favour of fruit or nuts as snacks.

    Stage 7, present: Who knows? Possible reintegration of high-fat cream and continued reduction in vegetables, relegating them to the status of garnish, colour or to be treated like a condiment. I'll definitely be getting Gary Taubes's books from the library soon.

    The whole point is that every journey, especially one involving understanding or new ways of thinking, necessitates a dialectic. The steps in the dialectic do not eliminate previous foundational steps but rather subsume them, absorbing them in and building upon or modifying them through synthesis/antithesis.

    So when you new folks see some odd advice, consider that the members here are not just PB'ers -- they are seriously invested in learning everything they can about how their bodies work and why, and their advice is often coming from way farther up the "dialectical ladder" than you might be prepared to hear or wrap your head around.

    In a sense, it's like a volunteer office floor safety person asking about whether people should bring their coats when the fire alarm goes off... and getting secure facilities evacuation and NBC response preparedness advice from the NSA. It's not bad advice, but new folks have a ways to go in their own learning journey before they can absorb it all.

    All this to say that newbies need to understand where a lot of advice is coming from, and more senior members need to understand that some people are only trying to master the fundamentals before taking any further steps. Explaining how to do a three-storey high-dive is kinda useless to someone who is just learning to swim.

    Grok on, all! (Wow... this was really fucking long. Sorry!)
    Last edited by Patrick; 01-30-2011 at 05:49 AM.
    August 2010: 207 lb, 37" waist, 25+% BF | Currently: 177 lb, 33" waist, ~15% BF

    I have a new site up and will soon be blogging at The Wayward Mind. (My journal is semi-retired at this point)

  2. #2
    gordo's Avatar
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    This ought to be a sticky. Nicely said.

    Gordo

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    I'm curious...why the reduction in vegetables? I understand reducing starchy vegetables, but why vegetables as a broad group?

    (Off to google "dialectic")

    (Back with definition: "any formal system of reasoning that arrives at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments")
    Liz.

    Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
    Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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    Patrick's Avatar
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    Hey, Liz. Yeah, my focus is on starchy vegetable limiting particularly (which I'm already doing in avoiding carrots and broccoli on top of more obvious ones like potatoes and such), but vegetables in general are things I'm looking at reducing. It's a PaNu or VLC thing, I guess. I like dabbling, so I'll likely reduce some vegetable intake (not radically, though, because I do love me some veggies) and up the amount of fats I'm eating. Thinking of just testing a bit with how Dr. Harris eats to just see how it agrees with me and how I feel relative to what I'm doing now, which is a more Primal diet.
    August 2010: 207 lb, 37" waist, 25+% BF | Currently: 177 lb, 33" waist, ~15% BF

    I have a new site up and will soon be blogging at The Wayward Mind. (My journal is semi-retired at this point)

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    I appreciate you laying it out so beautifully, Patrick!

    Although we came to PB from different places (you can read my journey in my journal), I love how we've ended up gravitating around Kurt Harris/PaNu-inspired eating. And I'm sure we will both continue tinkering and learning along the way...

    Cheers!

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    Broccoli is a 'starchy' vegetable??? I don't think so.

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    Nicely stated Patrick. My journey (almost a year now) has been about reading, learning, asking questions, trying new ways of doing things, changing what doesn't work, experimenting. I don't feel like I will ever actually "arrive" anywhere - this is a dynamic process for me that's all about being as healthy as possible. And I've learned that what works for some folks, doesn't work for others. There's no magic single answer. But I enjoy sharing ideas and learnings with others who are on the same journey. It's about keeping an open mind, not judging others for doing what works for them, sharing your ideas/successes/failures. It's all good! Life is good!

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    Quote Originally Posted by emmie View Post
    Broccoli is a 'starchy' vegetable??? I don't think so.
    I was surprised to see that defined as starchy. It would really suck...broccoli was my gateway vegetable
    Liz.

    Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
    Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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    Yeah, that's weird. Broccoli is not a starchy vegetable.
    You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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