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  1. #1
    PumpkinHead's Avatar
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    Starting Up Hesitancy & Is anyone here still on minimal grains?

    Hi everyone,

    I've dappled with the Primal Lifestyle before (about a little over a month of it last year) and am very inspired by the idea, both nutritionally and culturally. It just makes sense to be eating primal, in my opinion, and I'm dealing with some health issues that I'd like to see if the Primal Diet could resolve (they seem to be hormone/endocrine related). But I didn't stick with it for a number of reasons, mainly the ones listed below.

    I really appreciate any feedback, but I'll warn you that this thread may just be me trying to convince myself to do it (and maybe a desire for a little kick in the butt to get going).

    My issues:

    First, I love cooking, baking and experimenting with food, and I'm afraid the primal diet kind of limits the baking aspect. But I can get over that in the end, or just bake for other people if need be .

    Second, I live with my family and often cook for them, and they also prepare meals for me. It's kind of a trade-off, and I know they will not be interested in joining this crusade (they are heavily Italian & very much into pasta & bread, though they do dig meat). I know that they will be offended if I choose not to eat the meals they prepare. Plus, they just aren't well-informed as to what is or isn't a grain (if anyone's ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it's like where they tell the aunt the guy doesn't eat meat, and the aunt replies with "that's ok, I'll make lamb"... if I told them I wasn't eating grains, they'd probably try to make me chicken parm with breaded chicken). Has anyone dealt with this kind of a situation & how did you make adjustments?

    Third, I love me some legumes and oats. I'm pretty much on a medium carb diet right now. Very, very rare refined sugars or flours, little to no grains (except for an occasional bowl of oats or a rice cake), and limited legumes. My main sources of carbs come from squash, sweet potatoes, and about one serving of fruit a day. I hover between 100-150g carbs per day, including legumes and grains. My question about this is if I choose to keep eating occasional oats or legumes, and keep my carb count where it is, but choose to add more meat to my diet (both lean and fattier), will I be sabotaging my health both nutrition and weight-wise? Is there anyone here who eats occasional legumes and grains, but still does primal and doesn't gain weight or develop heart problems or something? I'm afraid the combo of high fat/some grains might spell disaster, but at the same time, I know a lot of people on these boards still eat 100-150g carbs per day, just without the grains... if part of my carb source is grains, can that be all that destructive as long as I keep the count where it is?

    Lastly, let's talk TMI and constipation. I'm dairy free because it causes bloating and other stuff for me. Last year I tried the Primal diet for a little over a month while house-sitting and I noticed that I wasn't pooping as much - I felt very bloated and constipated the whole time, and it got progressively worse. I think I was getting enough fiber from veggies and fruits, but I was just uncomfortable. Has anyone experienced this on the Primal lifestyle? Is it possible I just need something from grains or legumes to "move things along" in my gut?

    Sorry for the long post. Thanks so much for any advice, words of wisdom, or encouragement

  2. #2
    it1958's Avatar
    it1958 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumpkinHead View Post
    Hi everyone,
    Hello and Welcome!

    and I'm dealing with some health issues that I'd like to see if the Primal Diet could resolve (they seem to be hormone/endocrine related).
    I wanted to save my 'big guns' for last but since this was the first issue you brought up, I'll deal with it first, also.

    It sounds like you're concerned about weight loss and healthy heart; of course, not sure what your hormone/endocrine related issues are...

    To me, that was the main reason to get serious about this way of eating: for optimal health.

    I highly recommend you sit back and take some time to read a few articles on this website and see if any of it rings true for you:

    Foods That Damage, Foods That Heal: <http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/heal13.php>

    It is possible that if you choose to follow the above program, you might gain weight but it should regulate itself as your body heals (but it will take time).

    First, I love cooking, baking and experimenting with food, and I'm afraid the primal diet kind of limits the baking aspect. But I can get over that in the end, or just bake for other people if need be .
    I, too, was a big baker; taught my 14-yo DD the same love, but over the past year, we have had to adjust our thoughts of what "showing love through baking" looks like. If I don't think eating grains is good for me, it is hard for me to gift someone something made of grains; it can't be good for them, either!

    Second, I live with my family and often cook for them, and they also prepare meals for me. It's kind of a trade-off, and I know they will not be interested in joining this crusade (they are heavily Italian & very much into pasta & bread, though they do dig meat). ...
    A very touchy situation, as well. Hopefully others here can address this and give you ideas. For me, it came down to my health was more important. My mom seems to be finally getting it (tho i no longer live at home...).

    Third, I love me some legumes and oats. I
    I will leave you to read the above article to see how you think about continuing to consume legumes and oats.

    Lastly, let's talk TMI and constipation. ...
    Not TMI at all; certainly a very real issue to some people and something that needs to be addressed. On the forum for Bee Wilder's program (link above), we discuss constipation often and this is something she just stated recently:

    "1) When you've been consuming high carbs/fibres they make your bowels move faster which: a) does not allow time for your body to absorb nutrients needed for cellular health, and b) does require intestinals muscles to move as usual and which also stretches them out. See this by Dr. Jan Kwasniewski, M.D. the Polish Doctor who created The Optimal Diet:

    <http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/foods17.php>

    Also in Life Without Bread Dr. Lutz describes how intestinal muscles stop working when you consume high carbs/fibres, particularly raw carbs. [great book!]

    This is how it works: You eat food and the waste is moved along the bowel by circular muscles in rather the same way as a worm moves (it's called peristalsis). If you eat a high-fibre diet, the fibre itself forces waste through and that peristaltic action is made redundant, i.e. not needed. After a while it stops working. Now you change to a low-fibre, more natural diet, and your bowel muscles don't work as they should, so you get constipated.

    But the muscles will recover if you keep eating properly, which is what my [Bee's] program is all about.

    [it1958's note: I promise you, I consume less than 10g/fiber/day and I have ZERO bowel issues; they are VERY happy.]

    2) When a person is unhealthy their cell membranes are not constructed as Nature intended, which includes cells in the digestive tract, liver, gall ladder, red blood cells, white blood cells, etc.

    <http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/heal13.php#a26>

    3) Also toxins make all cell membranes rigid/stiff as explained here:

    <http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/cabout1.php>"

    she also wrote:

    "Since our bodies cannot digest fiber your large intestine is forced to change into a fermentation pot by creating bacteria and yeasts in order to break it down (like herbivores do), so that's why fiber is so damaging to the body, and why I [Bee Wilder] don't recommend nuts, seeds, grains, or raw plant foods of any kind, including vegetables -see Raw Versus Cooks Carbs to understand:

    <http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/veg3.ph>

    Doctors mislead us in many ways since they always work at reversing natural body processes with treatments to stop the symptoms, but they do not treat the cause of symptoms, which are always the same:

    1. Lack of the correct combination of nutrients that all humans need in order to be healthy.

    2. Lack of oxygen at a cellular level.

    3. Accumulation of toxins, poisons, and waste because of an inability of the body to detoxify like it should.

    4. Lowered vitality (energy) due to stress, shock, injury, emotional upsets, losses, relationship or financial worries, being unhealthy, etc.

    5. Poor "Nutritional Status" acquired from parents upon conception.

    The better way to help your constipation is by taking megadoses of vitamin C - see my constipation article:

    <http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/dig1.ph>

    If you got constipated after starting on this program it is mainly because you changed over to it too quickly.

    If you were constipated in the past your body will retrace each and every episode while it is healing itself, and direct treatments aren't as able to change or correct that natural process:

    <http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/heal10.php>"

    <http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/>

  3. #3
    Twibble's Avatar
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    I was the person who brought home-made cookies to work every Friday just for fun before I went gluten-free.

    If we went to a restaurant that had bread, Mom and Dad would move the basket away from me so they would be able to get some.

    I've been to restaurants where they told me they had white bread when I said I couldn't eat wheat (I stuck to the scrambled eggs and bacon).

    I wouldn't go back. I don't get recurring sinus infections and bronchitis now. My joints don't hurt. I even have a little bit of muscle.

    Does your family understand food allergies at all? Can you tell them it's something your doctor suggested you try to see if you react to wheat?
    Most people don't realize how much energy it takes for me to pretend to be normal.

    If I wanted to listen to an asshole, I'd fart.

    Twibble's Twibbly Wibbly

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    Wow, thank you so much for the wonderful responses!

    it1958 - thanks so much for that link! You nailed my sentiment- I am in this for optimal health. I don't really care about gaining or losing weight, but more about being healthy in general. That's why I was so afraid of combining the fats with the grains - I just don't want to mess myself up without realizing the damage I'm doing. I haven't had the time to read all the articles on that site, but I did go through a lot of them, and it totally meshes with my goals and such. I am suffering from certain symptoms that correlate with hypothyroidism, but I haven't been able to get to a doctor yet for diagnosis (lack of health insurance & funds ). I figured if I try a diet like this, it could really help things, but at the worse I figure out it's not for me, so no big deal.

    And I really appreciate you taking the time to address the constipation issue in such depth. I think I do need to give myself more time on the diet to see how it resolves itself. Perhaps the bloating was my gut healing itself, and once that resolves itself (which I understand now can take a looooong time),perhaps going to the bathroom less often will feel more "normal". All these years we've been taught one thing, like you should poop once a day, etc, etc, and who knows how it was for our ancestors. It's quite possible it just isn't necessary! And one month is not always a long enough time to really rid your body of toxins and get your gut healthy again. I am going to go through all of these articles - once again I really appreciate the time you took to address the issues!

    And also, thanks for the support re: baking. It is sooo hard to convince myself that I don't need to show love through baking, haha. But you are totally right- I am doing this for my health, so why would I bestow a gift that could do such potential harm?! Thank you!


    Twibble - You just described my life in terms of bread, baking and sweets! I'm so glad to hear that you were able to overcome those obstacles. It gives me hope . I laughed out loud reading about the restaurants that offered white bread when you said you can't have wheat - this is exactly the type of thing I was talking about! It's funny you mention the food allergy thing... I actually brought up the possibility of going gluten-free to my family last night. I thought it was easier than saying I'm eliminating ALL grains/flours, which may happen in the future. My mom immediately told me she thinks I have an eating disorder. My dad and brother were much more accepting... perhaps they have just heard of the gluten-free stuff more than my mom. It will be a struggle, but I am hoping I can convince them I am doing this for my health, not to try some "crazy fad diet".

    Out of curiosity, are you now grain-free or just gluten free, and how does that incorporate with the rest of what you eat?



    Thanks again, guys- I'm starting to feel much better about all this!

  5. #5
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    I can't address all of your concerns, but I can make a few comments!

    First of all, primal lends itself to cooking. I've dabbled in primal here and there and during the times when I'm doing it, I'm always learning new recipes. So, even if you're not going to keep baking for yourself, you can certainly have some fun cooking for yourself and others.

    Second, the family pressure...you've just go to decide that you're going to do this for yourself and your own health. I don't have a big family around, but when I decided to clean up my eating, my boyfriend decided that he wanted to start eating better, too. When I told my daughter, she decided she wanted more fruits and vegetables in her diet. You might be surprised at what you inspire other people to do.

    BTW, Telling your family that you are going gluten-free may help...but beware....they may also want to go to the store and buy you gluten-free bread, gluten-free flour, and gluten-free pasta. I've gone down that road and gained weight because of it. Remember, gluten free does not equal healthy (and try explaining that to people who love you and want you to have a gluten free cupcake!)

    Don't really have a good answer on the legumes. I still eat them every once in a while, especially in homemade chili.

    And, on the TMI, I don't have a problem on PB unless I eat too much cheese. As long as I'm eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, fats, etc., it seems like everything is fine for me.

    Lastly, I am still keeping rice and potatoes in my diet, although I'm limiting them to my evening meal.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
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    I have been semi-primal for about eight months. I eat some white rice, corn tortillas and beans every week. For the beans, I buy Eden traditionally soaked ones. I do lots of dairy and eat lots of potatoes and other nightshades. I don't eat offal but do eat pork rinds and use Knox gelatin. Otherwise, I am fairly 100%. I rarely cheat. It is my conscious choice to eat this way. My most frequent cheat is too much ultra-dark chocolate.

    My progress has been good. Would it have been better and faster if I was more strict? Probably. Could I eliminate rice, corn, beans, nightshades, dairy, etc. Yes. I could. But probably not for long. Would I change my approach? No.
    Ancestral Health Info

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    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.

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    Hey guys!

    RachelZoe, thanks for the comments! And for teaching me how to spell dabbled, haha. Seriously, though - I'm glad to hear that you can still have fun cooking while primal. I think I just freaked myself out by telling myself I'd be limiting my diet, when I really have to think about all the stuff I can try that I never have tried before. The family pressure is big, but hopefully if I see success on the lifestyle, they'll embrace it a little more. It would be nice to inspire them to eat a little better themselves, but even if they don't, as you said- this is for me. And I'm not really sure I'd just do the gluten-free thing, but I thought it might be the easiest way to address the issue with them! I have seen many people go "gluten-free" automatically assuming they'd be healthier, but they're still pigging out on gluten-free cookies, pizza, etc... haha. Whatever floats your boat, but it's funny how people can convince themselves they are eating better!

    To both RachelZoe and Hedonist - I'm glad to hear that you are both still keeping in limited grains and legumes! It makes me feel a bit better about it all. Question, though - do you still go full fat with everything, like the meats and cooking with butter, etc, etc? Or do you choose leaner meats to compensate for the grains?

    I am fairly sure I can adequately cut out flours and sugars, but I do like the idea of keeping a few beans and oats/rice in my diet. I know I might not see as drastic results in terms of gut-healing, but like you, Hedonist, I will hopefully see some good progress!

  8. #8
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    I am completely gluten-free, and mostly grain free. The tortilla chips and tamales are very tasty!

    If you're aiming for gluten-free and decide to keep any oats in your diet, make sure they're labelled GF. Otherwise, they're processed on the same equipment as wheat and not GF.
    Most people don't realize how much energy it takes for me to pretend to be normal.

    If I wanted to listen to an asshole, I'd fart.

    Twibble's Twibbly Wibbly

  9. #9
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    Because I cook for a housemate who is non-primal, I use fairly lean meat and mostly olive oil. But I eat and drink full fat dairy. Remember, Mark says if you do 80% primal, you will be fine (unless you have serious health issues such as clinical obesity.)
    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.

  10. #10
    it1958's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumpkinHead View Post
    ...I haven't had the time to read all the articles on that site...
    Oh my heavens! I've been following her pgm for 14 months and STILL haven't read all her articles AND she keeps updating as she finds new supporting data!! :-)

    I am suffering from certain symptoms that correlate with hypothyroidism, but I haven't been able to get to a doctor yet for diagnosis (lack of health insurance & funds ). I figured if I try a diet like this, it could really help things, but at the worse I figure out it's not for me, so no big deal.
    I want to encourage you with the information that Bee Wilder is very in tune with the importance of the health of our adrenals and thyroid. Her thyroid was blown in the mid-80s by medical treatment and is now on meds for the rest of her life. So she will not do anything that would damage the thyroid or adrenals.

    ...Out of curiosity, are you now grain-free or just gluten free, and how does that incorporate with the rest of what you eat?
    I don't think you were asking me but I am grain-free.

    This is what I eat:
    eggs, meat, bone broth, coconut oil, butter, veggies

    I eat two meals/day (with the addition of a single egg 1.5 hrs before bed to take the final cal/mag supps) and am not hungry.

    Following Bee's pgm, I do not work out like probably many here on Mark's forum would; our bodies need to heal and not have to try to build muscle during this time of repair (think about a wrecked car in the mechanic's or a broken bone in a cast...). I do a little work out twice/wk and then a long walk once/wk. My total caloric intake is between 1800-2000. My fat intake is probably 80% of calories. Protein about 18% with carbs being 2%, generally.

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