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    My Primal Journal (Webturtle)

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    I need to get started with this journaling business and keep putting it off. I need the accountability so to kick it off, I'll repaste my intro from the other thread and write a bit more later!

    Hello everyone -

    I have been reading MDA for a while, absorbing the information and adapting various aspects of my life gradually to primal concepts. I've found it is the next logical step in what has been an arduous plod from extreme bad health to relative wellness. I have a long way to go but in perspective, I've accomplished a lot.

    Since there seems to be a format, I'll stick to it - and then tell a little bit about how I got here, if anyone wants that too.

    Your location: Upstate NY

    Age (If you want): 44, I think. I stopped counting when it stopped seeming possible.

    How Primal are you: Pretty much a newbie

    Do you consume dairy: I'm weaning myself off it mostly but still eat some periodically.

    Do you drink coffee or tea: Mostly coffee, occasional tea

    Motivator for switching to Primal: Health and weight loss.

    Favorite exercise: Dancing

    Favorite Primal food: Sashimi...I could live on raw fish

    Best part about being Primal: No mid afternoon energy crashes

    Worst part about being Primal: Fighting sugar addiction, finding fresh produce

    So... here goes. I have been ill most of my life - weight issues, asthma, inflammation of my joints (particularly knees), skin ailments and horrible digestion and allergies. I was in my thirties before I started getting enough of the rest of my life together to have time/energy to start investigating WHY this was - its so easy to start thinking "that is just how it is" and adapt. Long story short, at 35, I was unable to climb more than a few stairs without stopping to catch my breath, and I had a mostly sedentary life in a desk with a computer (geek-designer). I kept hearing my doctor say "you're obese, you need to lose weight" check up after check up and I finally exploded at her one day "Lady, I can't BREATHE. If I could BREATHE, I'd exercise, believe me! What are you going to do about that besides put me on DRUGS" She was useless. I was already on an allergy medicine, an asthma medicine, and she had put me on high blood pressure meds because of a family history of heart attack and stroke. I was angry enough to start researching nutrition and health and diet and knowing that carbs made me crash badly (need to sleep? Eat potatoes!), I decided that might be a clue. I investigated South Beach and began doing that in earnest. And what do you know... all of a sudden my head opened up and I could breath. I was actually light headed from all the sudden oxygen for the first time in my life!

    So I went back to the doc and said "EXPLAIN THAT" and she said I needed to be tested for celiac - the obvious thing I had cut out was bread and pasta and whatnot - and it might mean something. Sure enough, the tests came back positive for celiac. But she wouldn't diagnose me for that because digestive ailments and asthma weren't "recognized" for celiac. She put me down as gluten intolerant. Whatever... just knowing how sick gluten makes me was enough for me.

    I have been (cheating here and there) GF for about 5 years now. As a result, I can breathe like a normal person, and without going into long boring details, today I can easily walk 4-5 miles without fatigue, climb minor mountains, bike, swim and dance like a fiend (I do a lot of aerobic dancing like contra and swing and balkan folk dance stuff). All the skin ailments vanished, and so did much of the joint inflammation. I still need a maintenance inhaler for the asthma (Advair) which I'd love to kick some day but I rarely have an asthma attack any more. I gradually dropped about 50 pounds along the way and with regular weight training, became quite muscular. But I'm still carrying way more weight than I should over top of that "strong like bull" eastern European frame. And past experience tells me if I eat mostly meat, fish and vegetables, nuts and seeds and some fruit, I drop weight like mad. What has been lacking in my life is a support system, to keep me from falling off the wagon

    The most recent discovery came when I mentioned to the doctor that I still had digestion issues and she suggested 1) drugs and 2) blood work. I was so peeved, I put myself on a strict elimination diet and what do you know... it was soy! I was eating soy products left and right - and when I kicked the soy out, all the GERD and bad tummy problems vanished.

    So, I come to the primal place with this background ... feeling mostly good (for me!) and able to live life to the fullest, loving to cook and grow food and almost entirely having jettisoned breads, pastas, etc. I've long suspected other carbs were an issue for me - like corn and rice - but was eating a lot of it. For the last week, I've ditched those, and sugar and I feel absolutely fantastic. I feel like I'm on to something here and want to keep learning about it. It feels a lifestyle that is natural to me - and I look forward to tuning into all of you as a support system.

    PS. I've been thinking I need to jettison the idiot drug pushing doctor and find one who supports holistic, nutritional and naturopathic ideas but after 20 years with the same medical practice, kept stalling. Then yesterday, I got a letter from her that her practice is closing. A sign?

  2. #2
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    I've been gradually exposed to primal for about a year but only decided to commit to it about six days ago. I won't lie and say the weight is melting off but I do feel fantastic. I work in a cubicle job and without anyone knowing it, have had to go off and take power naps in the afternoon most days to survive without keeling over on my desk. This week - no crashes of energy around 2 pm - in fact, I've forgotten to drink coffee a few times already. That in itself is a small miracle for me! I have always known carbs were my drug - its what I'm addicted to and what makes me go off to la-la land - but I had no idea I could be so peppy all afternoon if I gave them up.

    The other big event this week was that I finally started watching Food Inc, which has been recommended by a lot of friends. I was so flipped out by it that I turned it off with a 45 mins to go. I will finish it after digest the facts I learned. I'm not sure I can afford eating clean meat but it sure made me stop and think hard about what I was putting in my mouth. The business of corn was pretty wacky too - good grief! I have often wondered why WHY SOY was in everything but I hadn't realized how many things were corn. Ack.

    I also returned from Portland and Eugene OR recently and am finding myself seriously disillusioned about the state of the produce market here in Upstate New York. After having options like Market of Choice to shop and a half dozen huge food co-ops and other amazing supermarkets to shop from (oh, and then there is the Saturday Market... swoon) I look at our local stores produce and think "blech." Short of moving to the west coast, I'm not sure what I'll do about that... it was just an observation.

    Anyway, time to get to work... late as usual.

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    I just had an epiphany! I was eating dinner - a 6 oz steak and heap of carrots - really simple stuff. And I realized that the difference between eating primal and not was in where it felt good.

    I've always been an overeater - and an emotional overeater at that - and the food I'd eat felt good while I was eating it, it tasted GREAT and felt great to eat it, but then I'd feel like crap afterwards. The act of getting food and eating it was so easy, all I had to do was open a package and inhale.

    Now the opposite is happening - the food I'm eating is often harder to prepare (takes time to cook from scratch) and often harder to eat (crunch, rip, tear) and I'm much more involved in the process from start to finish. And then... I feel GREAT afterwards. No pain or bloat or discomfort. My brain feels clear, I feel light and airy, and I can go on with whatever I was doing.

    How about that? I'm not sure there is a point but I certainly had an ah-ha moment

    So, I'm starting to get the hang of this. I have figured out a good range of fat, carb, protein and calories for me, and feel like I'm still eating all day without any problems, and staying within range. I will say this - the idea of our ancestors foraging and hunting, and having long periods without food, hasn't sunk in with me yet. I learned a long time ago after bouts with what my doctor called "low blood sugar" that I now know was simply sugar crash, that I did best with small meals throughout the day. Maybe once i get it through my head - and habits - that I can actually eat without the crash - I will try fewer meals. But for now, this works for me.

    Breakfast: 6 oz of non fat greek yogurt with a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, almonds, dried cranberries and coconut. Just enough to add some lumps

    Lunch: about 6 oz of baked salmon and some collard greens cooked with a slice of bacon.

    Dinner: 6 oz steak, a cup of steamed carrots, and some sautéed mushrooms and onions.

    Snacks included a plum, 5 slices of hard salami (which I just hate to let go to waste ), a tbsp of almond butter and a heap of celery. Then my pregnant coworker had a craving she insisted on sharing - and left a small pumpkin latte with non fat milk and without whipped cream on my desk.

    End results? Calories: 1494 Carb 100g Fat 65g Protein 128g


    The toughest part for me has been finding enough protein and not too many carbs. I've kept it below 150 for the carbs every day so far, so I guess that's good. I also don't think I've lost an ounce but that tends to happen when I'm not looking. What matters is that I feel fantastic.

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    I skipped writing yesterday since my BF was here. Our dinner was one of my favorite concoctions - something I've enjoyed in the year prior to really committing to this way of eating. Here is the recipe

    Cajun Shrimp Salad
    1 bag of large frozen shrimp
    a great mountain of mixed salad greens with shredded carrots
    red onion sliced thin
    can of black olives
    one ripe avocado, chunked
    cajun seasoning
    lime juice
    oil

    Peel the shrimp and sautee with a little oil and seasoning. Toss the greens with lime juice and oil, and layer the olives, onion, avocado, and shrimp on top. Devour.


    I have mostly stuck with it, though I'm definitely improvising madly and I haven't given up coffee (with Stevia), red wine or chocolate yet. And I probably won't, life is too short and I'm not feeling addicted to any of them. I've had a few more revelations along the past two days.

    * I'm not having any cravings, and I'm not feeling the sickly hunger of a low blood sugar crash any more. Gone. And for the first time today, I didn't eat snacks. I tried coconut pancakes this morning and after being horrified that the measly three that I ate were 640 calories, I relaxed and what do you know, I wasn't hungry for an insanely long time. Lesson learned? This works. Keep doing it. Just don't eat too many pancakes.

    * I did have a craving today: I was madly thinking about indian food. So I made a deal with myself. I have never gone to an "all you can eat buffet" because I want to overeat. I'm actually a pretty light eater there, comparatively. What I go for is variety - choices. There is one asian one near my job that is full of crazy things I'd have wanted to scarf down before, but I can make a nice plate of shrimp, salad, fruit, spinach, garlic green beans, fish, whatever, and not fall off the trail. So, I figured I could attempt indian that way. I skipped all the rice and lentil dishes, and filled up on tandoori chicken, a few pieces of a chicken in a cream sauce (I'm doing dairy, periodically), and a spoonful of vegetable korma, with peas and cauliflower. My indulgence, besides that bit of cream, was three little onion pakoras (using chickpea flour) and a mound of onion chutney. I didn't feel full at all, didn't overeat, and scratched the itch. Best of all, I never got hungry the rest of the day and a few vegetables later in the day was enough for me. Lesson learned? I need to continue my attempts at indian cooking and start converting recipes to paleo now.

    * I ate steak yesterday. I haven't eat a hunk of red meat in I don't know how long and it was just an idea...it was a nice day to grill and I wanted something that was all protein to go with the carrots I had steamed. The surprise was that I was content with very little and have two more chunks in the fridge for other days gnawing. And I realized something else. That water pic that has been sitting on my bathroom counter forever? My new best friend. I haven't ever had so many things stuck between my teeth before this past week... celery, salmon, nuts, steak... good grief! I have often been told I'm worse than that princess in the fairytale "The Princess and the Pea" and that obviously extends to my mouth. I knew I bought that water pic for a reason!

  5. #5
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    It just occurred to me that I've been at this about 10 ten days now. So I weighed myself out of curiosity. In the past, when I've eaten this low carb, high protein, less than 2000 calorie way, I've dropped visible pounds on the scale for a few weeks. Then it settles down to about 1-2 pounds per week, sometimes less. So, naturally I expected that.

    Um, no. Thinking back to the last time I weighed myself, the number is 1 pound less but that is a fluctuation I'd see from any day to day normal that didn't see me eating right. I wonder if I should be concerned? It was not that I expected much but a nice change would have been motivating. Oh well.

    I know from experience that I CAN'T eat this way for an extended period and not lose weight (exhibit A: 30 pounds with South Beach). So, I'll keep at it for sure. I guess I'm just a little disappointed.

    Oh, and so tonight is a vegetarian potluck with my community of friends, and tomorrow is a backyard house party in the neighborhood, also vegetarian. How did I get so many vegetarian friends, I wonder? I'm going to need to shore up before I go to either, with some big bit of meat, that's for sure. There is also the temptation of beer at one of these. I still drink gluten free beer periodically, but prefer wine. Maybe I'll take a bottle of wine or that bottle of pear hard cider. I like to drink on social occasions so I don't see myself giving that up permanently and not feeling deprived. But, I'm also intending - if I am not partied out - to dance Saturday night and/or have a really good long steady swim/walk workout this weekend.

    Oh, its time to return to my cubicle.

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    Tonight was the first night that I ate a potluck meal with friends since I started doing this. The communities I belong to are big on potlucks and this one tonight was mostly vegan or vegetarian, celiac etcetera. I brought my infamous mango dal figuring that lentils were something that I could probably tolerate in small amounts. Not surprisingly I ate many things tonight that I have been successfully avoiding in the grain and legumes department. I also drank a gluten free beer which believe was made with sorghum. The result was that was in about a half hour I had the most awful stomach ache, a hard distended tumultuous belly so that didn't go very well. Now I guess I need to think about potluck as social events that I don't eat at, and bring my own meal. And that sucks! But clearly my tummy does not like geting crammed full of gf oats, rice pasta, lentils and sorghum after a week gone primal.

  7. #7
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    The past few days have been mostly good news for eating primal-ly. I wanted to serve sausage and eggs for my bf's birthday breakfast yesterday and found a recipe online for making pork sausage that was nothing more than herbs from the garden and ground pork - it was so good he ate a second of the little patties, and I have a nice stash for breakfasts this week. I also made beef jerky for the first time, since I can't eat that stuff in packages that is full of soy and wheat and other junk. I find a few slices of jerky are perfect for getting me out to the gym and fired up on fuel so I had to figure this out. Well, the result was absolutely delicious. I used cubed steak, as learned on this board for tender meat, and soaked it for 24 hours in a mixture of Worcestershire and a little extra molasses, some seasonings... squeezed the moisture out and put on a pan on 200 in the oven for about 2.5 hours. Perfect tender little morsels. I have pain in my jaw sometimes (old injury) so I didn't mind having tender jerky, I prefer it... it still has a lot of chew and does the trick.

    The really happy news is that I did finally see a bit of weight loss. Not a lot but enough to remind me that this surely does work and I need to keep at it and make it a permanent change. I went shopping for food this weekend and loaded up on enough raw and primal edibles to get me clear through a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And then I went and did something not so good. It was pizza. We wanted to make a big dinner at home for the birthday celebration but time constraints got us out at dinner time, and we ate at a place that has super veggie gluten free pizza. I so rarely eat the stuff that I made a conscious choice to eat it, rather than grumble and feel deprived. Have to work on that. I just made sure I was clear that this was not a set back or falling off the wagon - it was a special occasion and today was back to normal. And, man, it was good, I have to say. But, I felt more full than I like to now that I know what right eating feels like and I'm glad to be back to primal.

    Off to work we go... sure was nice having a Monday off though!

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