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    Primal Journal (leukothea)

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    Greetings from a brand-new cavewoman -- maybe I could be called a neophyte troglodyte? Today is my Day 1.

    Up at 6 AM
    Worked out on an empty stomach: rowing, barbell squats, pushups & pullups on TRX cables, and some interval training on the treadmill
    Bused to work marveling at why I did not feel hungry yet

    B: Once there, dove into a huge bowl of full-fat all-natural yogurt ("billions of active cultures!") with fresh strawberries on top, and two cups of plain but excellent coffee

    S: Roasted salted pistachios

    Brisk walk up and down the stairwell of my building: up 4 flights and then all the way back down to the lobby

    L: Persian butternut squash braise with onions, prunes and walnuts (I made a ton of this last night. Recipe from the cookbook Silk Road Cooking by Najmieh Batmanglij.

    S: Leftover corn on the cob with butter. More fresh strawberries. Hot tea.

    D: I plan to make myself a variant of beef stroganoff using ground beef, since I don't have steak at home right now. I do have sour cream and mushrooms, so... ;-)


    I have three main reasons for going primal.

    1) I see the untold agonies that my father has been suffering due to years of a stereotypical American diet, including a severe addiction to Coca-Cola -- it was his only drink for many years. He would sometimes buy a huge box of animal crackers at the 99 cent store, then eat out of it for a week.

    I've watched him get Type II diabetes and struggle with chronic inflammation of every part of his body. He has high blood pressure, joint pains, congestive heart failure, leaky gut syndrome, and so much more. He's on at least a dozen prescription medications, and is constantly seeing different specialists. Every doctor he sees just prescribes more drugs.

    And he's only 66! By rights, he should have at least 10 or 20 more good years. It makes me angry when I think about what the food and medical industry has done to him. I don't want to be a "good little consumer" and have my life turn out the same way.

    2) I've been lifting weights for about 2 years (deadlift record 230#). Although my regimen has slipped since I stopped paying for personal training, I find that that lifting lots of heavy things made my body crave meat and full-fat dairy. I've been eating more according to Weston-Price / traditional kitchen ideas -- bone broth, fermented vegetables, not feeling guilty about eating the chicken skin. Making that last step to cut out grains and sugars will be a smaller step for me than it would be for many people.

    3) We cat-sat a kitty who was being fed an all-protein diet. Wow, what a beautiful animal! She was sleek, lean, and obviously functioning at the peak of feline perfection. I looked at that cat and thought, "cutting out carbs had a REAL effect on that kitty." Granted, I'm not a cat.... I get to eat vegetables and fruits as well as meat. ;-) So, Waffles the cat, know that you're an inspiration to me, despite your name! ;-)

    To balance out my three reasons for doing it, here are two potential challenges for my path.

    * I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE to cook and bake, and my KitchenAid stand mixer has pride of place in my kitchen. I love experimenting in the kitchen -- sable cookies from France, caramel flans, fruit tarts, cakes, pies, rolls, cookies, and all the rest of it. So never making scones again is a little bit depressing... I have so much knowledge and repertoire and history with baked goods; how can I give that up? But, I'm planning to put that creative energy to good use coming up with new twists on old favorites.

    * I have two small children and a husband who all love their carbs. They have been reluctant to try my weird food (Persian braises? gluten-free rolls? homemade sauerkraut??). I'm the only cook in our household and both my husband and I are happy about that, so I can anticipate that I will still prepare pancakes, waffles, and cookies on demand... I just won't be eating them myself. ;-)


    I'm so happy to have found this community -- via a friend of a friend on Facebook. Funny how sometimes you don't know where your tribe will be... only that it's out there somewhere!
    Last edited by leukothea; 05-16-2013 at 09:42 AM.

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    Day 2, Thursday March 6!

    I am stiff and sore today after yesterday's workout. I guess my muscles have atrophied more than I thought over the past few months of inconsistent or nonexistent training. :-( To keep myself from stiffening up too much I'm going to climb up 5 flights of stairs today and then all the way back down to the lobby. :-)

    Breakfast: More yogurt and strawberries. Coffee, plain, but not excellent.

    Lunch: Huge salad! (lettuce, dark green mix including spinach and frilly unidentifiable green things, tomatoes, 1 hard boiled egg, carrots, steamed broccoli with sesame oil, steamed bok choy, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, shredded Cheddar, black olives from a can, green pepper rings, red pepper rings, celery, cabbage / red onion / red pepper slaw, kimchi, marinated cucmbers & mushrooms, pickled beet strips, bacon, steamed chicken breast strips) I used a $3 off coupon to an Asian buffet in my building with tons of fresh ingredients. $9.44 down to $6.44. Yay!

    Snack: I plan to have roasted pistachios and green tea

    Dinner: I plan to make Herb Chicken Cooked Under a Brick, and save part of it to make a giant Chinese chicken salad for tomorrow's lunch! Tonight I also need to take a pork tenderloin out of the freezer to thaw for Friday.

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    Footnote to Day 2: While preparing dinner, I had another serving of the Beef Stroganoff from Day 1. It was so good. So that meant I had two dinners -- that, and Chicken Under a Brick! -- so I skipped drinks and any dessert or snack the rest of the day. I kept waiting for a carb crash or to get desperately tired around 8 PM, but it never happened!

    Day 3, Thursday March 7!

    That workout from Tuesday morning? Still kicking my butt -- actually, my thigh muscles. :-) Yesterday afternoon and during parts of this morning my legs almost gave out as I was walking around -- as though my knees were going to bend the wrong way! But I can already feel that my legs are recovering, and I'm sure I'll be ready for another workout tomorrow. Despite the thigh pains, I found myself with the energy and desire to climb 7 flights of stairs before lunch -- after having eaten almost nothing during the day that far. Wow, where did that energy come from?

    Breakfast: Hardboiled egg with raspberry-rosemary flavored sea salt (yummmmmm)
    About 3 oz. Beecher's handmade fresh cheese curds, "Market Herb" type (pure, all-natural, additive-free), with ingredients Cheese curds (pasteurized milk, culture, enzymes, salt), canolive oil (canola oil, olive oil), garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary.

    (Note: There was some canola oil in that cheese. Booooo. But the rest was all natural and awesome, so I allowed it.)

    Lunch: Just ate a fairly large portion of homemade Chinese Chicken Salad, only without the cheese, and I used whole almonds that I blanched myself instead of slivered. Also I added a bunch of steamed broccolini heads, and used mostly spinach with just a little lettuce mixed in.
    (Note: I lived in China, and no one there ever used cheese, or ate raw vegetables in any form, so why it's called "Chinese" Chicken Salad is a bit beyond me... there aren't even any orange segments in it!)

    Snack: I have two more hardboiled eggs here and I'm not afraid to use them. I'm also going to take a brisk walk in the afternoon despite the nasty March Seattle weather. Also, green tea!

    Dinner: Am planning to make the Meatloaf with Apples recipe, only form them into meatballs, requested by my younger child. I will put them in red sauce over pasta for the rest of the family, and for me, I'll stick with a mini-meatloaf... maybe making myself another salad. I seem to have bought TONS of vegetables lately. :-)

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    Day 4!

    Last night I had quite a few meatballs with apples, as well as some more leftover Chinese Chicken Salad, and a tiny scraping -- maybe a teaspoon's worth? -- of raw unfiltered honey / beeswax / pollen mixture from a local farm. WOW, did that taste amazing! It was the first sweet thing since the strawberries on day 1 -- and now I'm reading that I probably shouldn't have eaten QUITE so many sweet strawberries, lol. Baby steps!

    I went to bed feeling that I'd eaten a tad too much. I wasn't "stuffed," but was definitely feeling more full than I probably should have been. I'll have to be careful with portion control if I want to take any weight off (and I do!). But again... baby steps! :-)

    This morning I had a three-egg omelette fried in butter -- nothing else in it besides eggs -- a cup of coffee -- and a few tiny shreds of meat from a chicken carcass I'd boiled for stock overnight in the crockpot.

    Lunch just now was a couple cups of Greek Salad made with tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, black olives (real brined ones, not the ones from the can), fresh mint, olive oil, a bit of apple cider vinegar, and lots of mild, crumbly, unsalty Mexican cheese. Classically I should have used feta instead, but the produce stand's lone refrigerated case only had Mexican cheeses. The red onions are pretty intense, so I'm glad the cheese and olive oil are there to cool them down.

    Dinner tonight will be more Meatloaf with Apples, if there's any left when I get home. (I had planned a pork tenderloin in the crockpot, but I forgot to take it out to thaw. D'oh!)

    I made chicken stock overnight in the crockpot from the bones and drippings leftover from Chicken Under a Brick, plus one onion and two bay leaves. This morning I got to freeze three lovely containers full of dark-brownish green, fatty liquid -- smells like heaven! I can't wait to cook with it.

    I'm feeling SO MUCH vim and "pep," even though I'm only on Day 4. I've barely started -- how can I be feeling different already? Then again, why argue with success? :-)

    I've been proselytizing about this life plan to all the men in my life who want to make health changes but who have hit brick walls, including one dear friend with IBS / Crohns who has been on and off prednisone and fears that he may have to get a colonectomy and a J-pouch. :-(

    Now that I've let them know what I'm up to, I'm going to shut up about it. We can all see whether the changes I'm making will yield results for me, and if they do (and I know they will), maybe they will want to try it too. :-)

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    Day 5!

    Last night I had a little more meatloaf with apple, some leftover salad, a baby carrot, a grape... OK, maybe I'm taking this "portion control" thing too far the other way. ;-)

    Breakfast this morning: A few strips of bacon, one fried egg, and coffee.

    Lunch (after a rambling neighborhood walk with one of my kids): Smoked rainbow trout strips atop romaine lettuce hearts that were spread with cream cheese. This was SO GOOD!

    We had an afternoon outing, and by the time it was over, I was seriously *starving,* but it felt a bit different from a carb/sugar crash. Still, it was quite uncomfortable. I went grocery shopping in the midst of it and refused all the samples, and managed not to buy too much extra (although I did pick up a 85% dark chocolate bar and a box of nice Boca red wine. Usually I don't drink red wine -- only white -- in the past red wine has made me dizzy. We'll see if that's different now.

    When I got home I had some more trout / cream cheese / romaine heart roll-ups, some plain full-fat yogurt, and some sparkling water (zero calories, zero sweeteners).

    Dinner will be pork chops in creamy turmeric sauce -- I also picked up some turmeric -- more salad -- and maybe some corn.

    Oh, I heard back from one of the people I've told about going Primal. He's concerned I won't be getting enough carbs. I'm pretty sure that somehow I'll manage to carry on without eating 300+ grams of carbs a day. ;-)

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    Day 6 was Sunday March 10th!

    I didn't have much breakfast, although I cooked pancakes for the rest of the family. I think I contented myself with a cup of coffee and some yogurt & honey left over from a small child's bowl. (plain, full-fat yogurt with honey mixed in)

    I spent most of the day away from home at an event where there were tons of gluten-free baked goods. I snacked on a few bites here and there, but I don't think I ate very much. I was surprised that I wasn't more hungry. For many years I've known that I "can't" go without eating for very long without getting very grumpy and really feeling the effects of low blood sugar. Not true, it turns out.

    For dinner I had a big plate of leftover shredded pork roast that I'd done in the crockpot with a curry-tomato crust... yummm... and I put shredded cheddar over the top, and had a little bit of salad. I had another cup of plain coffee in the evening, which may have been unwise. ;-) Then for dessert I had a glass of red wine and a tiny square of 85% cacao -- the good stuff. Dark and bitter, just like my heart.

    Today, March 11th, is Day 7!

    Breakfast was a little more leftover-from-my-child full-fat plain yogurt with honey on top, and some plain coffee.

    Lunch will be the last of the butternut squash braised with onions and prunes.

    Snack will be a ripe avocado. If only I'd brought my GOOD olive oil to work to put on it! Oh well...

    Dinner will be grilled sirloin steak over salad... assuming my husband doesn't grill and eat it all himself before I get home! ;-)

    Just a note: I was given a lovely container filled with two kinds of homemade scones... I was sorely tempted to have some, but then I thought about my "grain belly" and how I actually want to see my abs again someday, so instead I brought all the scones to work and gave them away to coworkers. I feel good about this decision.

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    Day 8 -- one week! I've decided I'll weigh myself weekly, on Tuesdays. Today I am down to 187.4 pounds, from last week's weight of 190.5 -- a loss of 3.1 pounds. It's making me smile today. ;-)

    Last night I ended up having salad and grilled sirloin, as planned, but also I had a few homemade chicken nuggets that I made for the kids from boneless skinless chicken breasts dredged in flour and seasonings, dipped in egg + milk, then rolled in crushed Ritz crackers and baked. Because of the crackers and the flour, obviously these little nuggets were not GF, but I figured the breading was pretty thin -- it was mostly meat -- and this was my "cheat" for the week. They were pretty good. I did feel a little bit "off" later, but such a small amount can't possibly have caused that -- or can it? ;-)

    Because of the chicken nuggets, I didn't have any dessert, although I did have half a glass of red wine.

    This morning I had coffee, and a breakfast scramble from a place in my office building: eggs, sausage, spinach, onion, cheese. I told them to keep the scone or toast that comes alongside. The scramble was SOOOO good -- just what I was craving -- and I skipped lunch, although my company had a celebration at which I downed a small glass of champagne.

    Snack: Am having an avocado. I've been reading that I don't "need" to snack, and I'm sure that's true, but -- baby steps, baby steps. I don't want to crash and burn on this. :-)

    Dinner will be pasta and grilled peppers and chicken breasts for my family, and for myself I'm going to go the extra mile and make the Nut-and-Herb Crusted Chicken using a mix of pecans and walnuts and several fresh herbs. Sooo excited!

    One of the great things about primal eating, so far, is the steady energy. I don't have peaks and valleys of energy; I can push through pretty much at a steady state no matter when the last time I ate was. It's already helping me keep up with my kids better. Last night I fed them a snack, took them to the grocery store right during dinner hour when it's a madhouse, bought groceries with them while hungry without snapping or being out of humor, came home, cooked them an elaborate meal, and did dishes all without much to eat myself. Then I was able to do some more dishes and play with them until their bedtime, and then stay up a little longer mastering "Bejeweled Blitz" and chatting with my husband who had just come home. Typically I would never have the energy for all that, at least not without lots of effort on my part to FORCE myself to do it. But last night was easy. :-)

    Fat as an energy source. WHO KNEW.

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    Today is Day 9! Yesterday I stopped by my gym and asked them to use the little electrical zapper thingie to measure my body fat. A year or so ago, it was 35.5%. Yesterday I hadn't drunk any water at all -- only coffee and a glass of celebratory champagne at work -- and apparently that has an effect, since it showed my body fat percentage yesterday as 40.5%! Wow, I know I'm overweight, but I don't see how I could have jumped up 5 percentage points in a year. I'm drinking water today and going back to get zapped again this afternoon, and we'll see if that number changes. But even if it's accurate, that's OK -- the point of knowing my body composition right now is to have accurate numbers for my fitness spreadsheet! ;-)

    Last night I had some of the chicken with nut / herb crust, some green salad, and some fruit salad -- not too much. The fruit salad tasted very sweet to me. I also had a half glass of red wine, and no dessert. My adorable kindergartner tried to make me eat some of her sugary cookies, and I had no problem refusing. :-)

    This morning I fasted through breakfast and just had a couple of cups of coffee. (yes, I'll call that "fasting," at least right now)

    For lunch, I'm working my way through a green salad or purplish/green lettuce and snap peas, with more herb/nut-crusted chicken sliced over the top. I also had a largish container of sliced peeled cucumbers, sea salt, and blueberries -- a combination that occurred to me last night as I was packing lunch for today. It was really good -- the sea salt brought out the sweetness of the blueberries, and the watery, crunchy cucumbers were a great base.

    Tonight I'm hoping to make the braised short rib and pumpkin recipe, only using butternut squash instead of pumpkin. It takes hours and hours to make, so I may end up cooking it tonight and only beginning to eat it tomorrow. ;-)

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    Day 10!

    Wow, I feel so energetic and great... it's really, really nice! I have a ton of work to get done after my day job -- cleaning four rooms of the house of years of accumulated clutter so that we can finally have it professionally cleaned tomorrow -- and I'm actually not dreading it. I know I'll be able to get it done. (Especially if the kids help!)

    Last night I had a little leftover Chicken with Herb-Nut Crust (gooooood), a bunch of green salad that my daughter "thoughtfully" chopped up with some fruit (lettuce, cucumber, carrot, scallions, banana!, apple, and tinned pear in water -- eep!), and much later I had a bowl full of braised short ribs with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and red wine. OMG it was soooooooooooooo good. I was sucking the bones to get all the goodness out of it. Once the dish cooled down, I had another little taste, and there was some delicious beef fat all orangey with tomato sauce in it -- pure heaven. Nomnomnom.

    I skipped breakfast except for 2 cups of coffee (IF). For lunch I had leftover green & fruit salad despite the browned banana bits, and more of those amazing ribs.

    I do have to say that I had a little stomach upsettedness for half an hour or so after eating that salad. In fact, it still feels a little "off" down there. Maybe it was the banana? I haven't had any banana in months and months.

    Although last night's dinner was amazingly delicious, I didn't have time to do the butternut squash, and the whole braising process took hours. It was hardly a quick meal! I think tonight I will do an omelet or scrambled eggs of some sort for myself, supplemented with a salad, plus fries for the rest of my family. That sounds a lot quicker!

    I worked out yesterday before going home, and had my body fat retested after drinking lots of water all that morning and afternoon. Guess what. This time, it measured my body fat as...... 40.4%. Wow, a big 1/10th of a percent of a reduction! :-P I guess it's definitely true that I must be about 40% fat. Now, I know that women tend to be about 1/3 fat (like a good sausage), and I can see that I could easily be a few points higher because of my big beautiful curves, but 40% is just TOO MUCH. It's definitely time to take control of this instead of just throwing up my hands and learning to love my fat.

    I do love myself, even the fat parts of myself -- I always have! -- but I'd also love to see that fat in the rear-view mirror, instead of cluttering up the view of my rear! :-)

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    PrimalCon New York
    Friday was Day 11, and I was home with the kids and doing massive amounts of housecleaning.

    In the morning I had some bacon and omega-3 enriched brown eggs scrambled with heavy organic whipping cream from a local farm (100% Guernsey cream, which apparently makes a difference?), and some coffee.

    I had a very late lunch of leftover beef short ribs braised with tomatoes, etc. -- finished the pot and practically licked it clean!

    That even we had people over and they brought ALL sorts of unapproved food, including Irish soda bread, French silk pie, sugary drinks, etc. I contented myself with some roast chicken and cauliflower baked with spices.


    Today is my Day 12! This morning I finally and with much pain transferred my various free primal ebooks to my Kindle. Much cursing was involved, but rebooting the Kindle device finally did the trick. Now I can read the books and see how I should have been doing it this whole time! ;-)

    I skipped breakfast except for some coffee and went grocery shopping with my kids while hungry. I still had so much patience with them; not like when I used to NEED food every few hours otherwise I would become a raging grump-monster! :-P

    Lunch was around 1:30, and consisted of a fairly large Caprese salad, made with fresh mozzarella packed in brine (ovolini shaped which I then diced up), fresh good tomatoes (well, as good as I can get in Seattle in March), fresh basil, good olive oil, cracked pepper, and sea salt. OM NOM NOM

    Dinner was baked salt & pepper salmon, red and yellow peppers and garlic sauteed in butter, and romaine lettuce greens with lime juice / olive oil dressing. The leftover lime juice dressing is so good that I am using the last of it to dress up some blanched almonds I pulled out of the freezer for a late snack. I might indulge with another little square of chocolate and half a glass of wine, or I might not.

    The cool thing about this life plan is how much energy I have. After a full day -- grocery shopping with the kids, hours and hours of childcare with no respite, an outing with them to the Aquarium, and then a party for myself in the early evening -- I still felt the urge to stop by the gym to get some training in! Since I had all my workout stuff in the trunk, I drove there fully intending to hit the weights, but it was closed. Sad face! Believe me, I never would have had this much energy before.

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