Well, everyone is pretty curious about the Primal/Paleo thing and how I seem to be doing with it. Well, I would say “so far so good”. Will I ever go back to the way I ate before? The answer is without a doubt, 100%–“NOOOO! I WILL NEVER GO BACK!” This lifestyle is UNBELIEVEABLE! I cannot explain to you the difference in my mood, my body and my overall attitude towards life. I went Primal people and I’m NEVER going back.
So here are some of the pros for me, personally. They include better sleep, no more tummy troubles, no more lactose intolerance pills (more on this later), fitting into my size 4 jeans (yep, pretty kick ass if you ask me) without worry, skin is clearing up, my workouts are intense and excellent almost every time and a pretty cool feeling of endless energy. I am also learning about how to workout Primally and that has been a huge shift for me. I truly have found no downsides to this life change. It’s excellent on every level.
Some things I continue to struggle with include: temptations of COOKIES and sweets at night, difficulty explaining to others what I can and can’t eat and why, some of the pre-planning I have to do to make it through a day and accessibility and cost of grass-fed meat. Other than that—I love it. I’m not going back and I have recently “Primal-fied” my kitchen…it was sad to throw out my Smart Start and oatmeal, but it’s been worth it in every way.
Now, I know many of you are wondering why it is that I eat this way and what I have referred to in order to make this change. I will do my best to explain in this post.
I started this after trying to learn more about Cross-fit training and stumbled upon a pretty rockin’ blog: Mark’s Daily Apple hosted by Mark Sisson. At about the same time I took a trip to the good ole bookstore and dropped a few bucks on the Paleo Diet Book by Dr. Cordain. Armed with the information in these books, I went to work and I haven’t stopped, only stumbled. Let me just say that stumbles are a part of this process. It’s all a part of learning how to make a lifestyle change. I just get back on track ASAP and chalk it up to “Life”. No stress.
For me, living this lifestyle is entirely stress-free because I know WHY I’m NOT eating certain things. This understanding alleviates that feeling of deprivation that most people feel during a change and it does so ENTIRELY! Sure, if I want a cupcake—I’ll eat one and the same goes for a cookie, because those are the foods that keep me ‘cool’. (I don’t usually feel too well afterwards and tend to avoid them more and more everyday). I would say in the past 3 weeks I’ve had about 5 dessert-y type of things—pretty killer for a cookie-holic.
So back to WHY I’m NOT eating certain things…Well, let me give you some info from one of my favorite Primal gurus, Mark Sisson. In his book, The Primal Blueprint, he compares the Conventional Wisdom (CW) and Primal Blueprint (PB). I want to give him as well as Dr. Cordain all the credit for my understanding of eating Primal/Paleo. Without their books, websites I would be completely lost. They put it in real terms and leave the readers to make the decisions.
P.S.–Mark is amazing—he’s one of those dudes that is NOT a doctor, a scientist or a salesman. He has lived and cultivated this lifestyle for over 20 years and has worked hand in hand with researchers, doctors, evolutionists, geneticists, paleontologists, coaches, trainers and a bunch of talented and knowledgeable individuals to show people the TRUTH about what our bodies need and WHY! And answers the WHY in some pretty awesome ways!
So here goes the Bree-version of Conventional (Neolithic) eating versus primal eating according to the “rules,” (and I use that term loosely) of Primal Blueprint. I will highlight just a few of the ones that really hit home with me. There are so many more if you check out the book.
Rule #1: Step away from the grains! Grains include: wheat, rice, corn, bread, cereal and pasta. According to CW we should eat 6-11 daily servings of this stuff as it provides the energy to feed our muscles, brain, etc. CW also states ‘whole grains’ are somehow the gods and goddesses of the grain world—I call B.S. and so does PB. Whole grains are still PROCESSED and we are not doing our bodies any justice by consuming them.
In reality, grains, even WHOLE GRAINS, promote excess insulin production in EVERYONE! YES, even WHOLE grains! In addition, they promote fat storage and (gasp) heart disease (Booooo). Not to mention the inflammation they cause in the intestines and what they do to suppress our immune systems. If you are sick, take a good look at what is on your plate and there is your answer as to why you feel like crud.
Rule #2: Eat some fat! CW tells us that it causes heart disease and that eating it will make us fat. Uhhh, not so fast! Saturated fat is NOT associated with heart disease risk. Yes, this is true. In fact, it should be a large calorie source for bodies as it has promoted the advancement and development of brain function for millions of years.
It provides us with stable energy and WEIGHT CONTROL! Um, hello—fat is not the culprit here. It’s the combination of fat with grains with sugar with over eating that has brought about the epidemic of heart disease in our civilization. Our ancestors didn’t struggle with heart disease—we pretty much invented it along with the invention of the drive-thru, the automobile and everything else that makes us kinda lazy on occasion. Sure I enjoy these conveniences, but with modern convenience comes modern problems as I’m learning.
Rule #3: Eggs are ok!?
Yep! They are! CW teaches us that they contain artery-clogging cholesterol and we need to minimize them. PB teaches that there is really no correlation between heart disease and cholesterol levels. Yolk is good and should be considered nutritious, not unhealthy.
Rule #4: Eat your fiber!
CW teaches us that we need fiber, mostly from grains, to achieve the best possible gastrointestinal function, to speed up your digestive tract and to lower our calorie intake. Not so true…In PB we learn that you get ALL the fiber you could ever need from healthy fruits and veggies and even the meat we eat. In fact, too much grain-based fiber leaches important nutrients from our bodies! So eat your veggies!
Rule #5: Eat when you are hungry…Eating is optional.
So CW teaches us that eating a few times a day is best for optimal health. It teaches us that skipped meals are bad and promote a slowed metabolism. PB teaches us that we should eat when we are hungry, eat as much as we want of the right things and then fast when you feel like it. Fasting can help to lose weight or just speed up the metabolism. Heck, our ancestors fasted for hours, days, when food was scarce or when on the hunt.
Rule #5: Weight loss is achieved through eating the right things not limiting fat/carbs or calories.
CW states that we need to eat high complex carbs and low fat diets to achieve weight loss and it’s all about “calories in and calories out.” If you watch The Biggest Loser you see this type of methodology. It works for those people to drop the weight. I imagine if you asked the contestants if they were hungry, tired as hell or just plain sick of measuring their food, you would probably get a resounding “HELL YES!” Hunger sucks. I hate being hungry more than I hate the Shane Co. guy’s voice and that’s a lot of hate (or as my mom would say “strong dislike”). When we’re hungry we make poor choices in the food arena and we end up sitting in a drive-thru somewhere buying something because it sounds AMAZING at that particular moment. It’s not amazing and the last thing it is going to be is HEALTHY.
Let me tell you, I’m no longer the ‘hungry’ girl all day long. I eat probably 3 to 4 times a day and I’m totally cool with it. Sometimes I will make an awesome dinner and then sit down and eat only half because I’m simply not hungry—my needs have been met. In addition, I’m almost never tired in the afternoon. If I am, it’s because I’m bored and it’s not really because I feel like I’m in a food coma or an afternoon slump. Also, I don’t have lactose intolerance problems anymore—unless I happen to eat bread or a cookie. If I mix the two—there is trouble. So I’ve pretty much just stopped doing that altogether. Lastly, I am no longer counting a single calorie. I eat what I want when I want and I don’t waste a single second worrying about how it’s going to impact my waist, thighs or butt. I eat healthy so I can take the worry out of it. Who wants to worry about what they put in their body? It sucks. My personal self-talk includes this phrase, “Eat right Bree. You have control over what you put in there.” Corny, I know, but it works for me when I’m struggling.
So anyway, this is my lifestyle now. I know the answers to the WHY questions and I eat Paleo and Primal by choice—everyday. I love it. In fact, I love it so much that I researched Primal eating for dogs. I’m happy to announce that my furry giant, Guinness, is now transitioning to a grain-free, Primal-doggy diet as well. I hope he knows how much his mama loves him…it’s more than I love cookies, that’s for sure!
Cheers to LIFE!–Bree!