Gone Primal

Last Saturday Ryan came into my office area and said something to the effect of “I want to eat like a caveman”. Huh? So he explained that he’d been reading on different websites about Paleo/Primal/Caveman diets and found the ideas intriguing. He’d placed the books on hold at the library but he wanted to switch to eating that way now.

“Okay, what’s a caveman’s diet like?”

“They ate all sorts of meat, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts.”

“No problem”

“They didn’t eat any grains, sugars, processed foods.”

Red alert, Red alert! All hands to battle stations! (insert Star Trek sound clip)

“No bread, no cinnamon rolls, no macaroni and cheese????!!!! You’re joking right?”

“No joke, I think we should try it.”

Long pause while my brain explodes. Ryan backs away into a safe zone while I start reading different web pages. Later, after I had read some of the pages I said something to the effect of  “okay, but I’m more interested in the Primal Blueprint than the Paleo stuff.” (Paleo cuts out all dairy too.)

So we agree to work on following the Primal Blueprint’s Laws. We both went ahead and ordered the e-book and started reading (the price for the hardcover was just a few cents cheaper than me getting a copy on the Kindle and Ryan getting a copy for his Nook, plus no wait time!).

At first we were just going to ease into it and still use up all the non-primal food in our pantry. But going no grain is hard and the idea of stringing it out with a pasta dish once a week is killing me, so we’re giving all our non-primal pantry items away.

I had been planning to keep buying some of the processed foods that Xander eats– since he eats such few things— but the more I read the more I wanted him off those foods. We’ll keep the Carnation Breakfast mix for his milk but if I can start getting him to eat some real food I’ll start weaning him off it. I already found a grain free cheese cracker recipe so hopefully I can replace his beloved Goldfish!

This whole dietary switcharoo has been hard on my image of me. I see myself as a baker, I bake bread,I bake goodies. I like to do it, I like to eat it. I’ve been wanting to take a cake decorating class. So the idea of stopping eating grains– not just gluten free here, we’re talking ALL GRAINS– well, it really shook my idea of me.

Then I got to thinking, I really believe that the Standard American Diet (SAD) is unhealthy and that the Primal Blueprint (PB– I swear everytime I read this acronym I see peanut butter! Which is ironic because peanuts are on the no no list) is a healthier way of eating. Instead of focusing on being sad and losing my image of  being a “baker” shouldn’t I focus on being happy about eating healthier. And as someone who likes to cook and bake wouldn’t I find the challenge of making yummy meals without the use of grains to be rewarding? Once I started thinking about it that way I started to feel less negative about the things I was giving up (cinnamon rolls!) and more positive about the good meals we would be having. Not just good tasting (hopefully) but now they’ll be good for us too!

So I’m having fun hunting down recipes to try and we’ve had a lot of tasty meat and vegetable filled meals this week.

6 replies on “Gone Primal”

  1. always wondered if a person could be happy skipping grains. so often they seem to be a source for allergies. how’s this primal thing going for you? Found your blog through your comment on Joyful Abode

  2. It’s been going really well. While I have had cravings for certain non-Primal foods it hasn’t been that bad. The first few days I felt hungry all the time– it didn’t matter how much I had to eat, I just felt starving. I had a relapse of that this last week after I had 1 slice of cake on my brother’s birthday. Thankfully the feeling of “hungry, hungry, hungry” only lasted a day this time.

    For the first week Ryan suffered what they call the carb flu, but once his body seemed to get over the carb withdrawal he has felt much better.

    Both of us feel that we have more energy and just in general feel healthier now that we are no longer eating grains, legumes, processed foods, and sugar. (I have had small amounts of honey.)

    What has been harder is not baking. It feels very weird not to have to plan a day for baking our bread and I feel somewhat bereft of treats. Today our order of almond and coconut flours arrives and I can’t wait to bake some grain free crackers and a chocolate treat!

  3. Since you’ve read the book, maybe you can explain to me, what’s the reasoning behind the “no legumes”? That one surprised me, because I’ve read about those hunter-gatherers gathering legumes, like mesquite beans, and I figured they were a staple of their diet.

    And potatoes and sweet potatoes are included?

    You can probably tell I’m curious about the paleo diet (but not ready to buy the book).

    I haven’t gone off grains or gone low-carb, but I did go off refined sugars and flours (eating only unprocessed whole grains) for about three years, and I found the same thing about the withdrawal. Hungry, hungry the first few days. And whenever I did have some refined starch, I would be hungry for a couple of days afterward. I found that eating fruit helped that pass more quickly and got me over the sugar hangover. But after a while, it was just easier to avoid the processed grains altogether. BTW, I lost 90 lbs doing that (but that was then…).

  4. I haven’t read the different Paleo books, just the Primal Blueprint (and I haven’t finished it yet). Legumes aren’t a total “no” in the Primal Blueprint, you just have to prepare them right (soaking them to make them more digestible). This page has the authors thoughts on beans: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/beans-legumes-carbs/ Green beans and pea are both okay to eat. Peanuts (also a legume) are not, mainly because of a mold that grows on them and has been linked to cancer.

    I believe Paleo is very no no on all nightshade plants but Primal is okay with them as long as you don’t have reactions to them. His only thing is that potatoes and sweet potatoes are very carb heavy so you’d want to limit that. He’s the same with dairy, it’s okay as long as you don’t have problems digesting it but it shouldn’t be a major part of your diet.

    I’ve actually found the science behind the dietary things really interesting. Especially about how grains effect your body, and how insulin is used in the process. The Primal Blueprint isn’t just about eating, it also has interesting ideas about exercise too. You can find a lot of the info here: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ though I do think the book is a good read and I’m sure the library has it (though there may be a wait).

    Congrats on the 90 pounds! I’m actually really surprised at how little I really crave the pasta and baked goods. It’s more like I crave the idea of them than the actual food. And after how I reacted to the one slice of birthday cake I’m pretty wary of trying anything. I just wish the nut flours weren’t so damn expensive! It is an easier way of eating for me just because I love meat so much, I think for people who have meat issues it would be really difficult.

  5. I don’t usually comment on blogs but I LOVE what you said about being a “baker” and changing your eating habits affecting your idea of you!!! That is exactly how I felt when I started changing my eating habits! It was a very thought provoking experience for me! I love what you are choosing to focus on and am adopting that too! Thanks so much!!!

  6. I’m glad to have helped you! It’s hard to always keep up the positive view when you’re craving foods on the no longer eat list but for the most part I’m still feeling really happy about our change in eating habits.

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