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    Primal Food Diary: one day at a time

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    Hey all,

    I'm starting this thread with the goal of keeping myself accountable for what I eat in a given day and am going to try to record for 30 days. Taking it one day at a time will sort of be a new concept for me, as I tend to jump in with both feet and fall off the wagon just as quick when I derail myself with a "bad" meal. Suggestions are welcomed, as are "You should consider"s if I'm missing a lot of a particular vitamin or mineral or starting to get too monochromatic with my diet

    Thanks to everyone on the forum for being a source of inspiration and encouragement.

    Breakfast: lemon water. A few bites of an asparagus omelette, which had been sautéed in Kerrygold butter. Coffee (still drinking about 16 oz of this per day). Vitamins (multi, calcium + magnesium, fish oil, vitamin c).

    Lunch: BAS. Bibb lettuce, rare, spice-encrusted ahi tuna, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and a vinaigrette made with olive oil, anchovy paste, herbs, and sherry vinegar.

    Dinner: egg salad, I think, maybe over mustard greens. I am awash in greens and herbs, since visiting a nursery yesterday - am literally surrounding myself with healthy, growing food.

    Generally feeling not great, after dinner at a crappy Mexican place with family. Overate and drank margaritas compulsively, I suspect as a coping mechanism to deal with new family dynamics (i.e. supportive and functional, versus the opposite). Passed out around 8:30 last night and woke up at 2:30. Prepped and cooked nutritious meals til 4:15, then slept til 7:30 and headed off to the day job. Feeling like I need to treat food like a mild addiction, and eliminate trigger foods/situations in which I habitually overeat (booze/going out to restaurants).
    Last edited by vintageeats; 06-03-2013 at 10:48 AM.

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    Update, day 2: feeling good, albeit full from finishing eating just now.. Last night I made egg salad for dinner, sprinkled with smoked paprika. The mayo I used I couldn't bring myself to throw away, but I think it caused some digestive issues. It was organic, made with olive oil.. then I turned it around and saw the first ingredient was canola/soybean oil. Ugh. Hate when a label gets past me like that. In addition to the egg salad, I had another BAS with the same dressing as listed above. Slept VERY WELL. That's one of the first things I notice when I eat clean - my body doesn't struggle all night to digest carbs and junk food. I wake up feeling leaner.

    Breakfast and lunch were the same as yesterday; I am finding that it's easier to eat well when I make more of something and just pack it away for lunch. I swung by the farmers marker after work today, in response to a beef farmer calling me to let me know she had tongue for me! I can never help myself around grass/pasturing farmers. I want to literally hand them my wallet so they can keep doing what they do. So, in addition to the tongue, I got two kinds of hearts - beef and chicken - and ground beef. On Thursday some friends are coming over for a barbecue. I am thinking burgers, some grilled tongue, grilled veggies... had a crazy thought that I should provide them with a grain side for meal completeness-sake. Scrapped that and decided to make anticuchos instead (Brazilian marinated meat - I'll use the heart and cook it rare). Oh, and my lady farmer gave me a three pound tub of lard. Ahh.. why do I ever fall off the wagon again?

    The aforementioned chicken hearts got marinated in olive oil and harissa for my meal tonight. I tried skewering them on rosemary sticks, but it was too much work. Probably ate a few too many.. tummy is rumbling. A whole bag of Trader Joe's mixed cooking greens sauteed in lard on the side. Half an avocado.

    Overall: feeling solid on day 2, but this is just the beginning. Need to be consistent and forgiving of myself when life gets in the way and I absolutely can't be "perfect". The phrase, "don't let perfect be the enemy of the good" is in my head a lot now.
    Last edited by vintageeats; 06-05-2013 at 05:36 AM.

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    Welcome! Sounds like you are doing well. Good plan ("Need to be consistent and forgiving of myself when life gets in the way and I absolutely can't be "perfect".)
    Ancestral Health Info - My blog about Primal and the general ancestral health movement. Site just remodeled using HTML5/CSS3 instead of Wordpress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hedonist2 View Post
    Welcome! Sounds like you are doing well. Good plan ("Need to be consistent and forgiving of myself when life gets in the way and I absolutely can't be "perfect".)
    Thanks for the welcome

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    Doing very well today on day 3, and have been successful in my attempts to reroute my meetings/social occasions away from a sole food-focus. And, when I do have to go to a restaurant to meet or socialize, I'm scouting out the menu beforehand to make sure there are options for me. I even managed to make it to the gym for a kickboxing class at noon today. Feeling good. Slept well but woke up groggy (detox? Need more than a scant eight per night?).

    For breakfast, I ate the rest of an asparagus omelette (the one I've been eating every day this week so far). Had my vitamins. Before all that, I drank lemon water. Does anybody know what, exactly, drinking lemon/vinegar water is supposed to do for us? I have heard it re-alkalinizes.. but I have to confess, I have no idea what that means.

    I think I have discovered the secret to awesome vinaigrettes. Actually, I think there are two: sherry vinegar and anchovy paste. Am enjoying this mixed with olive oil and fresh herbs. So, for lunch, I dumped the rest of the aforementioned vinaigrette (which I've been keeping on my desk at work) onto blanched asparagus. It was so good. Baked cod with Kerrygold and a few capers and tarragon. Half an avocado.

    For dinner tonight, I will probably eat more salad (because salad's what I got and I have a most excellent vinaigrette recipe up my sleeve). Since I'm having people over tomorrow night for dinner, I need to prep the beef heart (with some acid, olive oil, herbs and spices) and let that marinate. Form the burgers. I'll also poach the beef tongue. Maybe I'll eat that along with my salad Either that, or another piece of cod. Cod is a bland fish, I found, and needed more capers than what I had added.

    Hump day and already looking forward to the weekend. On Saturday, I told my cousin I would take his girls (probably around 9 and 12 years old) around the farmers market and then teach them how to cook. I did say that I would teach them how to make pie crust, so I'll need to give thought on how to do that while sticking with this way of eating. Also have the ingredients for a berry crumble, which should be easier to execute without gluten. Maybe I'll teach them how to whip cream and eat it over berries instead...

    CW: 170.6, GW: 115-135 (will see when I get there)
    Last edited by vintageeats; 06-05-2013 at 01:55 PM.

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    Slept badly last night.. not sure if it was due to the few cups of gunpowder green tea with mint that I drank around 5:30 pm or the fact that I couldn't help myself from eating a good six ounces of beef tongue after it had finished poaching around 9:00 pm. I just kept tossing and turning.

    I'm noticing that I sleep better if I have a light meal before bed - the fish and salad approach seems to be working. Maybe, going forward, I'll experiment with eating my bigger meals for breakfast and lunch, and then having a smaller dinner. What's that old saying? "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, dinner like a pauper." Ugh, digesting into the night is the worst. That's another reason why I'm saying no to big, multi-course dinner meetings. Combined with alcohol, I'm just asking not to sleep for the night.

    So, last night was a salad made of pea shoots (woody), radishes, some cherry tomatoes, and the vinaigrette I'm obsessed with, along with a piece of cod and half an avocado. Which, really, was enough. Then, the tongue. I didn't need to eat it, but ... tongue is tasty. Will remember the evening digestion issues next time, though.

    For lunch, more tongue in tomato-tarragon sauce. Salad with vinaigrette, cherry tomatoes, and romaine. Dinner will be a meat-a-thon, which I will chronicle after it happens

    Today, I had my lemon water, then a mixed berry smoothie made with kefir (going to leave this out next time), two eggs, aloe vera juice, and kale. My stomach is rumbling hard now, and I think that's an indication that cooked eggs and no fruit is the better option for the morning.

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    Ravenously devoured aforementioned tongue and salad. Yep. Need more than just a smoothie for breakfast.

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    Dinner with friends was nice. I'm always struck by how little people actually care about the dietary choices you make (unless they're jerks, and my friends aren't jerks). Most times, if you don't make a big deal about your crazy diet to people, neither do they. Since I made burgers, I included buns for my guests - just didn't eat one myself. I also didn't drink. And nobody said a word.

    I feel like, if you frame it as a very introspective thing - and personal choice that makes YOU feel better and not something you intend to impose on everybody - people accept a new way of eating more readily. Surprised (wow, no cocktails? You go.. you're a better woman than me), but accepting. This idea has been very much in my thoughts lately, and then Mark posted on the same topic ("Worry about yourself" stuck out). It's a good read that talks about how everybody faces different circumstances and obstacles in their health journey - we should try not to judge them because we don't know what they're working with. It's here, if anyone would like to read it: The Stigma of Obesity | Mark's Daily Apple.

    Back to my food journal. On the table last night was: tongue in tomato-tarragon sauce, spicy seared beef heart, grassfed cheddar, grassfed burgers, butter-drenched mushrooms, pickled onions, a big pile of lettuce, asparagus, and grape tomatoes, plus burger buns and wine that I chose not to have. I ate more cheese than I needed to last night, plus a whole lot of raw hamburger (I'm a sucker for tartare, but sometimes, I'll just salt and eat it), before everyone came over. I think this behavior is probably a throwback to my personal cheffing days, when I would eat while cooking for "my" family. Later, when I sit down, I still eat the same amount, though. Maybe I'll try to amend my behavior and make a rule that if I'm eating, I must be sitting down at the table.

    Sitting down at the table is a new thing for me. We only did it on very rare occasions when I was a kid, and it was a production to get my dad to sit down with us. Most times, my parents would come home from work (factory) and throw together something - sometimes tuna casserole, sometimes fried potatoes with ring bologna, mac and cheese, hot dogs and beans.. typical processed family food. We'd eat in front of the t.v.

    I don't know if I can fault them for feeding us this way. I'm sure we didn't have a lot of money, and we certainly didn't have a lot of time (and we didn't MAKE time, either) for food prep. We usually ate around 3:30, which meant that by 7:00, I was raiding the fridge looking for something else to eat. I don't remember our fridge being "full" (probably had components of a meal I could've cooked, but as a kid, who wants to make themselves vegetables and rice? You just want to grab something). I think because of that feeling - of the fridge not looking "full", I developed a sort of hoarder attitude towards food when it *was* full. I remember eating and eating because I didn't know when it would look that way again. I struggled with that feeling through college, when I noticed the same behavioral pattern after I would go shopping. I'd just binge. Slowly, I've managed to train myself to understand that I can always buy more food and that I need to make what I have in the fridge last (and use it up before buying more of the same thing). This binge reaction to abundance is probably linked to my troubles going out to eat, too. I mean, when am I going to have this kind of great food again (the answer is soon, especially in my line of work).

    I think this food journal has been good in a couple of ways already. The blurb I just wrote is evidence of me understanding and starting to release old behaviors associated with food. And the idea that, even if I cheat, I'll have to write what I've eaten is a deterrent in its own right

    What else can I say? Fried eggs in Kerrygold for breakfast. Coffee. First there was the lemon water, and all my vitamins. Strong start to day 5.

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    Tongue and heart in tomato-tarragon sauce, two medium-sized grassfed beef patties, a few lettuce leaves. A couple of butter-drenched mushroom halves, some sautéed onion. Leftovers for lunch today, after a cardio HIIT.

    Having Somalian food for dinner tonight with friends. Thinking the goat stew will be a good choice..*

    *realized that I forgot to update here: we did eat goat. A bite (tried to avoid potato) of chicken curry stew. And two different kinds of greens (collards and spinach), prepared the Somali way - pureed, essentially, and cooked to mush with spices. Loved. I was hungry after this, though, and went back to my boyfriend's and ate an apricot and some cherries with goat cheese before bed.
    Last edited by vintageeats; 06-09-2013 at 12:57 PM.

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    Checking in with a weekend update for days 6 and 7. I'm doing well and haven't really fallen off the wagon in any significant way. Yesterday, despite a communications mishap, my cousin's kids came over. And they were so cool Girls, almost 9 and 12. That morning, I had run to the farmers market to pick up my CSA (got a dozen eggs, kale, cattails - had no idea you could eat these, evidently they taste like cucumber - rhubarb, mixed greens, and radishes. In addition, I bought two whole smoked chickens for two job-related meetings I'll have at my apartment this week and next. I also got a pound of bacon, three pounds of hand-rolled butter, and met a farmer friend yesterday for $100 worth of meat. I am drastically over budget, but at least I know I'm eating healthfully. Makes me not want to sabotage myself that much more.

    Swung by the local co-op for berries (bought some aged goat cheese later on too). Barely made it back in time to unpack them, when my mom showed up with the girls. We chatted for a little bit - I had layed out some cookbooks I no longer use on my dining room table and told them they could take whichever they wanted - and then we got cooking. I decided to teach them how to make a "real" pie crust after all, figuring it was still real food and an essential life cooking skill to have. It was fun. The final product I didn't eat, since it had sugar and flour, was a strawberry rhubarb tart with a little bit of rosewater and lemon verbena for flavoring. I think they were proud of their work Halfway through the process I made some delicious scrambled eggs with chives and ate them with some roasted red papper spread. I think I've discovered the secret to scrambled eggs - you have to cook them on low, very slowly, stirring often, using lots of butter. Pretty sure Julia already covered this, but it was a revelation for me. I ate scrambled eggs this morning that I had made using olive oil and they're totally not the same.

    Those eggs were close to lunchtime and in response to the feeling that I was going to fall over from hunger. I hadn't eaten - just drank coffee til then. Weekends are weird, non-regimented food days as is.. and now that I think about it, I'm IFing during them because I'm always on the go. For dinner, I went to a friend's boyfriend's birthday barbecue (love barbecues, because you don't even have to think, "what am I going to eat?"). There I had a big scoop of guacamole, two small burgers with roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, and arugula. Steered clear of the mayo and cheese, though I was tempted. Ate a drumstick to top things off and remained rather hungry for awhile afterward. A few hours later, I ate some Brazil nuts, then, before bed my boyfriend made the most amazing thing..

    He had bought a musk melon and pureed it with ice. Evidently, in his country, this is a very popular summer drink. It's sweet and refreshing. I felt okay about drinking it before bed, since anything heavier would've been digesting as I slept. In general, I don't know if he knows he's being supportive, but he is. So is everyone close to me. I haven't been hard-pressed to eat anything I "shouldn't", nor have I particularly been presented with an opportunity that has been tempting. I'm finding, though, that socially, it's a little awkward when food and booze are no longer crutches. God, you have to actually be able to converse with people and that's hard.

    I'm off again toward home, to make lunch. It'll probably be the marinated heart I was eating earlier in the week over salad greens. Then, I need to figure out what to make tomorrow. Soft scrambled eggs in the morning, if I can make it up on time, some other protein with vegetables for lunch, then a working dinner out. Have already scoped the menu and am going the salad with protein route.
    Last edited by vintageeats; 06-09-2013 at 12:55 PM.

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