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    Primal Journal ~ Rhonda the Red~

    Primal Fuel
    After many many months of reading MDA, I've decided to start a journal. This way, when I have a "primal moment" I'll have a place to talk about it!

    About me:
    I'm 46, female, and starting here at about 217 pounds as of today (4-19-13 -- btw, I hate that posts aren't dated on this forum, so I'm dating mine.) Since going primal last May, I've lost 25 pounds, then put it right back on again. I know that isn't supposed to happen, but it did and I blame it on the evil triumvirate of stress, inactivity, and carb feeding. Those three things tend to feed each other and here's how it happened to me.

    I had been doing great! Standing at work about 70% of the time, keeping it primal, destressing my life and the pounds were coming off and I felt wonderful. Then in August, I tripped (in my non-barefoot shoes, which I have ditched) and hurt my foot leading to a very painful bout of plantar fasciitis. My standing was heavily curtailed due to the pain for months. But last month, Hurache Gal pointed me to the sock doc Dr. Gangemi (Natural Injury Treatment & Prevention Education | Sports Injury Prevention & Treatment) who FIXED my heel pain through his video tutorial. So I'm back to standing and the pounds are falling off!

    During the sitting time, I also had some serious personal life stress going on. The stress made me crave carbs (no grains still though) and the inactivity made every bite count against me and made the stress worse. I count it all as good though because I learned some things about my body at the age I am now.

    1. No sugar for me. Of course no grains, but I have a very low tolerance for sugar of any kind and am currently working a detox with help from www.App4Mind.com.

    2. No Splenda for me. The Diet Coke is permanently banished from my diet. I went cold turkey three weeks ago and think that has made a significant difference in reducing my overall sugar cravings.

    3. The food additives are as gone as I can make them, especially MSG. Thank you, Rich Food Poor Food for the practical help in recognizing just how awful these things are. I do believe that some of my cravings for savory foods were spurred by MSG consumption. The cleaner I make it all, the easier a time I have of stopping when I need to.

    4. De-stressing is a significant health priority in my life. That means scaling back, prioritizing, supplementing correctly (I have become a big Primal Calm fan in the past week!), getting bodywork, and spending time outside. I must make this a real priority in my life or I will pay the consequences.

    5. I have to get off my ass or I will surely die on it. I finally talked my boss into letting me order a Wallaby from Adjustable Height Desk - Ergo Desktop | Home Of The Best Ergonomic Stand-Up Desk! I am so stoked!!! I will update when it comes in!!

    So here's to the journey!!!

    My weight: 217 4/19/13
    Husband's: won't tell me but it's over 300
    College Daughter's: 180

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    Glad to see your journal, Rhonda! I look forward to reading about your progress!

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    April 23, 2013

    We had the primalest of primal weekends. My husband and I built and planted three square foot garden 4x4 plots -- two for our house and one for his mother's. She was thrilled. She can't get up and down very well any more and we have crazy dogs, so we built them with 3/4" plywood bottoms and set them on concrete block pillars. I will be updating as to how well our garden grows! For info, check out Square Foot Gardening Store | Raised Bed Planters, Square Foot Gardening Grids, Square Foot Gardening Boxes.

    The workout to make these things was a primal beast too!!! I lifted heavy things like a madwoman and am still marginally sore. Also the whole "tumble the planting mix on a large tarp" is a great idea, but is a serious cardio workout to pull off. I also had to break up a dog fight between the two crazy dogs who decided they both wanted the same choice bit of chicken manure compost out of the mix. Yes, I caught my lovely 12 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel buried inside an empty chicken s**t bag, licking the tasty goodness from the sides. Yuck!

    My mom is a committed row gardener and has openly scoffed that I will grow anything but a handful of veggies from my small plots. She thinks I will do well with my basil, however. So here's hoping that I actually get something to come up!

    Foot still doing well. I can feel it twinging with the extra work, but when I massage the trigger points and it gets better. I am hoping for a full recovery on that very soon. It has not stopped me from standing at work about 80-90% of my day.

    Still waiting on the desktop and my new Unshoes! I ordered the new pink featherlight shoes from them and hope they will come in soon. Will review those as well.

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    4/25/13

    It's an epiphany!!! I have had a breakthrough moment this morning! Welcome to the start of a NEW 21 day N=1 experiment for me. All this discussion of the paleo gut flora had me thinking. When I started taking a probiotic about seven years ago and attempted to clean up my diet to a whole-foods (only sprouted grain), homemade yogurt, organic meats etc. pretty close to primal in many ways diet, I had this sudden feeling in my system after about two weeks that my fat storage systems had turned OFF. It was profound. I was so convinced I was about to lose LOTS of weight that I took pictures and started a weight chart for the first time in my life. Sure enough, I lost 60 pounds and kept it off for a good couple of years. After a lot of excess stress, I put on about twenty again, but still kept myself in a much better place physically.

    Then three years ago I had a serious kidney infection and took a full round of antibiotics, then one day of another that caused me to have an allergic reaction. Within two weeks, I had started gaining weight again. During this time, I faithfully took my probiotic and ate homemade yogurt. Because I didn't have digestive upset, I assumed I had saved my gut. Now, I'm not so sure. Especially since 40 pounds went right back on, despite me really trying my best to eat like I had been.

    When I first went primal last May, twenty-five pounds just fell off me. Then over the course of my sedentary winter, it all creeped back up again. I am beginning to think that maybe the issue lies in my gut. Maybe my system is just super-sensitive to disruption from stress and less than primal foods. I rebound a little with positive changes, but critical mass hasn't been reached, so to speak.

    Also, I have never taken the recommended dose of my probiotic either (which is a very high-quality one, not some off the shelf crap). I think I have not been repopulating as needed. If we need to get 8 billion critters per day to be healthy and I'm only getting 1/3 of that since I am underdosing, maybe I'm not kickstarting my system quite enough to get me over the hump. I was afraid when I started looking into it this morning that maybe the contents of my probiotic were the problem. Now I am convinced it is the dosage.

    So here's to upping my priobiotic intake over the next 21 days and seeing if I can trigger that biochemical/biomechanical/microbial moment where my body says, "Turn loose of the fat! We're saved!"

    my weight this morning: 218.8 -- after a week of doing everything "right"

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    April 26, 2013 Day 2 of the Recolonization N=1

    I learned some seriously disheartening news about my "high quality" probiotic. The line I was using only has a depressingly low 1 billion critters per capsule. OMG. I felt betrayed. Back during my better times, I took the "Ultra" line with 5 billion per capsule and made homemade yogurt daily, a fact which probably had far more to do with my weight control than previously assumed. This morning I doubled my dose of my probiotic and when I got home at lunch I took 8 more. Until my order of Mark's Primal Flora comes in, I will be taking ten at a time to get 10 billion critters until Mark's 30 billion critters per capsule arrives.

    Meanwhile, I am committing to the consumption of sauerkraut, kimchi, homemade yogurt, and keffir. In fact I am going to start making some keffir this weekend if I can land some starter grains frrom somewhere. Dairy has historically not seemed to be a problem for me and the colonizing influence and variety of the critters in keffir sounds like just what the microbiome ordered.

    Since my new Unshoes still haven't arrived -- though I am endeavoring to remain patient -- I also ordered some DIY huaraches from Xeroshoes in black lacing. I am planning to possibly do a little decorating on them with beadwork and learn lots of cool tying techniques. The weather is warming up so that my winter 5 Fingers and Soft Star shoes need augmentation with more sandals. Though I must say my new silver Metro Mary Janes from Soft Star are adorable and super wearable with so many outfits. Nobody even suspects that they are minimalist shoes either! However, they were expensive. I can only have one pair.

    BTW, have I mentioned how much I love my NuWave oven? It cost me about $130 at Kohls but cooks meat like a dream! I can go from frozen to roasted in about half an hour or less depending on what I'm cooking. And the meat turns out so juicy and crispy on top. It has made throwing together a primal supper so much easier in the evenings.

    A bean and an onion have sprouted in my garden. I am thrilled. Week one of the garden shows sincere promise!

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    April 29, 2013 -- Day 5 of Operation Recolonize
    Over the weekend I picked up a replacement bottle of Ultimate Flora 50 billion count per capsule. I also made yogurt and had some at lunch. It was super yummy and reminded me that during the "good old days", my morning breakfast was yogurt from full fat organic milk (the best I can come up with at this time). Hmmm.

    Also my Xeroshoes huaraches came in and I put them together at lunch. I am sporting a bizarre looking rosette tying design at the moment and got one of the shoes backwards, so I'll have to retie this evening. So far I am loving them though! Very barefoot feel and since the weather is warmer, I hope to be wearing them a lot.

    The garden is really coming along nicely. I have a whole bunch of radishes, peas, and beans sprouting as well as some flowers! I am so thrilled! Maybe the rest of it will all come along soon as well.

    Meanwhile, I feel pretty good and am excited to see if this N=1 experiment in boosting my microbiome will help. Can 't hurt!

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    May 1, 2013 -- Day 7 of Operation Recolonize
    Yesterday I went to the health food grocery when I was in town for a work meeting. Oh my goodness. I spent way too much money! But I did get some keffir (still looking for starter grains), some real sauerkraut, a 7 day cleanse, and some organic maple syrup for my husband who needs to get off syrup completely but really likes the real thing at least. Cleansing began this morning. It's been over three years since my last and I hope it will help set the stage for a better microbiome.

    The Xeroshoes are being very fun and I'm getting used to the knot underfoot. I do have to say that I do still feel it, but not as much the more I wear them. They do really feel like I'm barefoot though. +1 to that. Even my minimalist shoes are beginning to feel too shoe-y.

    The garden is growing like CRAZY! I am so excited! Almost everything has sprouted! Go fresh produce!

    And the microbiome seems to be doing well. No stomach upset or crazy bathroom runs. So far I just feel better in general. Slept GREAT last night. Hurray!

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    Hey Rhonda! I have Xero Shoes too (along with Lunas and Unshoes). They're great! I just made a pair of Xero shoes with beads on them for a little dressier look. The knot does take a little getting used to but I sure love the shoes. Glad to hear you're doing well.

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    May 2, 2013 -- Day 8 of Operation Recolonize
    Well, dear readers, the news is mixed. In two weeks I haven't lost a single pound. Sigh. Instead I've come down with some kind of bizarre contact dermatitis issue that's making me itchy and red in places. After thinking for the past week it was bug bites, I'm beginning to lean toward the dermatitis theory since instead of getting better it's getting worse. So I have upped my dosage of my new Omega 3 oil in hopes of fighting the inflammation in my system and am about to search the internet for possible causes and treatments that will not interfere with Operation Recolonize or overset my system any more than necessary. I am also going to continue to cleanse b/c I figure my body needs all the help it can get right now and I might just cleanse out the toxins that are making me break out.

    On the positive side, the square foot garden (Square Foot Gardening) is growing like GANGBUSTERS! Everything but the parsley is up now!! I have tiny carrot sprouts, big old bean and pea sprouts (don't diss me for the legumes here -- I live in Alabama and have to have at least one mess of peas in order to call it a garden) and the watermelon is finally up!!! In two weeks, my body has gone nowhere but my garden is thriving!!!

    Meanwhile, still standing faithfully at work. Any idea from anyone how many steps per day that might translate into for fitness purposes? I know it isn't technically walking, but I do move about and change position a lot just because I'm up.

    Until next time.

    Weight 217 . . . still.

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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    May 3, 2013 -- Day 9 of Operation Recolonize
    Well, I am exhausted. Today has been super-busy at work and the internet is acting a complete fool. Thank goodness I took my Primal Calm today or I might be hurting people.

    On the positive side, my new Ergo Desktop Wallaby came!! I am so stoked about it! It is really beautiful and works wonderfully. It is super easy and fast to raise up and down and I can't believe the ergonomic difference and comfort from having a real standup station at the right height rather than trying to make do with stacked boxes. If you are on the bubble about a sit/stand from Ergo Desktop, my vote says go for it!

    On the negative side, I still itch. Horribly.

    Next on the agenda, a revisit of portion control (which I need badly and now that my hungers are more in control due to the renewed support to my microbiome and properly increased fat consumption I think I can manage it) and Intermittent Fasting. I learned a long time ago that unless I get physically hungry in my stomach at least twice a day, I am not losing weight. But it's so hard to wait on that hunger before eating if every other hunger in my system is screaming for food. Maybe the others have been beaten back to submission for a while.

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