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    Primal Journal (Marianne "60 Is the New 40")

    Primal Fuel
    With the start of the 2012 Success in the Making challenge, I have decided to go public with my primal progress. Mark's right -- time to flaunt and shout it from the rooftops!

    I'm 62 years old, have been mostly primal for close to a year, and have had some great results so far. I'm stronger than I've ever been in my entire life and have dropped three sizes. However, the absolute best result is the change in my sense of self, and the energy and joy that have followed. I'm calling this journal "60 Is the New 40" because I really do feel that much younger--or more!

    I definitely see being primal as a way to live rather than just something to do until all the extra pounds disappear. I do feel, however, that I've got more to go, so this journal will be about the next steps. As both a Christmas present and a real challenge (thanks, Santa!) I'm now registered for PrimalCon 2012. Just three months away--yikes. My current goal is to be fit enough to keep up with the "kids" during all the amazing event activities . . . and be in a size smaller bathing suit on that beach!

    I intend to post here as interesting primal-related stuff happens and I look forward to reading other Progress In the Making journals as well. Here's to the future!

    Current stats: 146 pounds/5'4"

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    Welcome Marianne! Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading about your progress.
    I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.

    Oscar Wilde

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    Welcome!!! Outstanding attitude and I too look forward to reading about your progress! Keep it up and Grok on!


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    Hard to believe it's winter today--another clear rainless day in NorCal. Not complaining!

    I went on my bi-weekly, hour-plus trek with dear morning walking buddy, Judy, and her great dog, Coda. You're never sure who's walking whom with a border collie, but all of us always have fun, particularly today when we reached the top of the hill and enjoyed a fabulous view across the San Francisco Bay (me and Judy) and some great smells in the bushes (Coda).

    Now I'm gearing for an epic house-clean. I figure the walk combined with the cleaning will definitely give me points on Primal Rule #2--Move Around a Lot Slowly. May get a bit aerobic in the kitchen with that mop, though!

    The cleaning is in preparation for some dinner guests Friday night. I love to cook and for years was known for elaborate multi-course Italian meals and all sorts of desserts. Since going Primal I've had big fun with such a new way of cooking, and have even wowed my skeptical husband with many delicious Primal meals.

    Friday night's guests will be a challenge because they are all very far from Primal in their eating habits, but I am determined to give them as Primal a meal as possible. I'm just going to prepare & present the food without any explanation and see if they even notice the absence of sugar and carbs! No denying there will be wine with this crowd, however... figure that plus a bit of very dark chocolate with our after-dinner espresso will just be the 20% in Mark's 80/20 rule :-)

    Off to find my dustpan--will report on dinner results post-party!

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    Primal dinner for my non-Primal guests was a HIT! The seven SAD folk at the table all raved about the food, and no one went away hungry or longing for pasta. Here’s the menu. It may not be completely up to perfect Primal purist standards, but all ingredients are as organic/natural/local/primal as possible. I’m lucky to live in San Francisco Bay Area foodie heaven, so that’s not too hard to do. A big help.

    Before dinner:
    --Roasted almonds
    --Fresh crab/mayo salad on cucumber slices (it’s Dungeness crab season here—yum!)
    --Champagne (part of the 20% of the 80/20 rule—we were celebrating a friend’s retirement)

    Dinner:
    --Herb crusted pork roast (lots of fresh rosemary & parsley in olive oil paste)
    --Haricots verts (tiny string beans for us ordinary folk) with garlic/lemon butter
    --Roasted acorn squash slices w/cumin & smoked paprika (I was going to do this with cauliflower but remembered at the last minute that one guest hates cauliflower…so squash. Not quite as primal, but it worked.)
    --Spinach salad with yellow/orange/red pepper “confetti” and balsamic dressing
    --Red wine (more 20%, but hey, it’s a party)

    Dessert:
    Early on in my primal life I realized that after a fancy dinner, no one really needs or has room for a traditional heavy dessert. I sometimes miss the elaborate baking I used to do, but I DON’T miss feeling miserable and bloated at the end of a big meal.
    --Bowl of beautiful Satsuma mandarin oranges (They’re pretty with their fresh green leaves, and it’s cozy and communal with folks peeling away on this simple but delicious fruit as they finish their wine and continue warm conversation.)
    --Dark chocolate/pistachio bark (easy-peasy homemade)
    --Espresso (how else were all those dishes going to get done????)

    Needless to say, the night did not follow Primal Rule #5 “Get Lots of Sleep,” but it was worth it!

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    Thinking more today about the "Get Lots of Sleep" rule. Yes, I unashamedly abused it the night of my recent dinner party, but I've also been slipping on other nights, too, and it's starting to show. Most obvious --to me, at least-- is a reduced level of mental energy and increased feeling of the blahs. Nothing dramatic, but I can sense it and realize it's time to get back on track.

    There are all sorts of reasons why I've had less than stellar sleep recently: a lingering cough that worsens at night, a restless "bunkmate" who's been snoring more, the neighbor's porch light left on, even one night of raccoons loudly foraging in our backyard like a rambling bunch of arguing bandits searching for swag.

    BUT the main reason is that I can't make myself go to bed on time! As the evening draws on, I'm as bad as a little kid wheedling for "Just a few more minutes, Mom, pleeeeeease!" What the heck is that all about? Who knows, but I need to switch roles with myself and become the parent in charge.

    Yup, time for some Tough Love on the sleep front. This week, I intend to shut down all distractions but books well before 9:00 and have lights out by 10:00. I generally get about seven hours/night no matter when I go to bed, so I could turn into a very serious early bird! Much to the dismay of said bunkmate, poor guy. NOT a morning person--since I've gone Primal, he's already requested that I dial down the a.m. perky until at least his first cup of coffee :-)

    I will be interested to see what effect this concerted sleep effort will have. Of course there are some factors out of my control (oh please god, not coughing raccoons who know how to turn on porch lights!), but I need step up and to take care of business where I can. Bedtime, young lady--no excuses!

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    Eat yer vegetables.

    I’ve noticed recently that my vegetable consumption has been slipping, and am hereby reminding myself that they are absolutely just as important as protein and fat. There are a kazillion ways to work them into any meal or snack, so it’s not a question of how. And I’m lucky enough to live in the heart of the NorCal “gourmet ghetto,” so even in the middle of winter it’s not a question of what.

    So, time to get my green on. And yellow, and red, and white, and purple, and…. I re-grouped today with a huge fistful of spinach in an a.m. omlette, then a BAS for lunch with chunks of about every veg I had in the house nearly overflowing the plate. Tonight—roasted cauliflower, plus coleslaw, and red peppers to go with the grilled chicken thighs. All simple to prepare and things I love.

    There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

    Oh, brief update on the sleep thing: I'm getting better but not perfect. I think a more realistic "lights out" time for me is 10:30-11:00, so the associated shutdown of everything but books has been more like 9:30-10:00. And I have been sleeping better. Plus no raccoons this week!

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    Today, inspired by TAWFUNGUY’s recent video about useful kitchen equipment, I made my grandma’s chopped chicken liver spread, and then on top of that some homemade mayo. Yum!

    I had wanted to do the chicken livers with Grandma’s old hand meat grinder that the video had reminded me of. But then realized I didn’t have it around, so just went with the manual chopping blade and cutting board method instead. Hey, it was raining and I needed a workout…after that, since the spread used up the last dab of my mayo, I made another batch with a hand whisk. Definitely an upper body sort of day today!

    Recipe: Grandma’s Chopped Chicken Livers (all ingredients organic/primal/homemade/etc.)
    Makes about two cups.

    Note: my grandmother never followed a recipe in her life. Trying to get her to tell you specifics was always an adventure. “How much tomato sauce, Grandma?” “Enough.” “But really, how much?” “Oh, about a glassful I guess.” “But which glass????” Long silence, no answer in her mind to such a silly question. “So okay then, how long do you cook it?” “Until it looks good.” Arrrgh!

    Therefore, the following amounts and instructions are in honor of Grandma.

    About 1 pound chicken livers
    ¼ to ½ of a yellow onion, chopped (I love onions so went with ½ of one)
    About 2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (I used duck fat because that’s what I had on hand)
    1-2 hardboiled eggs
    Salt & pepper
    1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)
    Saute livers and onions in poultry fat over medium heat until very well browned (“rare” was not a word in Grandma’s cooking vocabulary). Let cool enough so that you can work with them.

    Use a chopping blade or knife and proceed to chop the heck out of the liver and onion mixture until it, uh, looks good—or more specifically, the pieces are about the size of small lentils. This honestly does not take as long as you might suspect/fear—probably about five minutes tops. Chop the hardboiled egg separately and add when you’re done with the livers or otherwise the egg just turns into egg paste.

    I used only one egg, but some folks like more. Whatever suits. Put the chopped liver, onion, and egg into a bowl, add salt & pepper to taste (I go sort of heavy on the pepper), and give it a brief final mix. If it seems a bit dry, you can add a spoonful or two of mayonnaise.

    That’s it – dig in and enjoy! I’m sure they are 1,000s of variations on this and ways to fancy it up, but we love it as is. If Grandma was serving to company, she might get high-falutin’ with some parsley sprigs or radish slices around the bowl, and she always had crackers on the side. Now that I’m primal, I heap it onto romaine lettuce leaves with maybe a dab of spicy mustard. Then I say to heck with the niceties and just scoop it up with a spoon!

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    AAAWWWEEEEESSSOMMMMEE!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing that recipe! I can't wait to try it on this end and gobble it up!


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    I’ve been thinking a lot about commitment these last few weeks—specifically, why it can be such an elusive little devil. Sometimes I stick to Primal like a drowning man loving every little twig and leaf of the log he’s clinging to. Other times, well, let’s just say I float in the doldrums, absentmindedly watching those life-saving branches drift by. Even at the ripe ol’ age of 62, I still haven’t figured out what makes commitment so easy sometimes and so hard at other times.

    But after a spell in the post-holiday doldrums, I am happily starting to feel a return to a stronger primal commitment. It wasn’t that I gave it up (absolutely not, no way, never), but I was certainly getting a little loose around the edges. I had all sorts of excuses and reasons, some valid most no so, but I knew I could NOT beat myself up about not being primally perfect—that way lies disaster, for sure.

    So I just had to wait it out to see what would happen. That was a lesson in itself since patience is soooo not one of my virtues. Maybe it's been this week’s better sleep. Or more exercise or those vegetables or doing some simple but fun primal cooking. Or all of the above. In any case, I do feel a resurge of commitment to taking care of myself by sticking closer to primal practices. Gee, maybe one might influence the other—yah think?

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