Alright people, here we go!
After three weeks of Going Primal (cutting out processed foods, sugar, grains, and non-vegetable/fruit carbs. And adding a lot of fresh foods!) here are some good points:
- Every single person in this family is sleeping better. We fall asleep faster. And we sleep sounder. The kids say they wake up feeling rested. I still feel groggy and like I could sleep another three hours, but I'm sure this will get better over time. And Tom who has forever had sleeping issues, is now sleeping much better. So this alone warrants the diet change more than worth it.
- Food taste so much better now. I really think Carbs/grains dull your sense of taste, and therefore you need more things added to it to make the taste more pronounced. However, after just about ten days, I noticed none of us really needed to add a lot of salt, lemon, toppings, to anything we ate. We could really start tasting the cinnamon that a month ago you wouldn't have even known was in the recipe. Things like apples are almost too sweet and really can be considered a dessert. At least, the sweetness is a satisfying sweet, not like when you eat cake, and immediately want the whole sheet.
- We have more energy overall. Tom used to say (a lot) "If I could just take a nap during the day, I'd feel so much better." And I would think all day long "I cannot wait to go to bed!". Not much of a way to live. Tom remarked a few days ago that while he hasn't been sleeping as much (a lot of late-night work), he doesn't really drag throughout the day (but still wants to sleep a bit more). And though I still have a hard time waking up, I am not constantly yawning and asking "is it bedtime yet?"
- Moods are much improved. I feel as if I have 1000% more patience, and that my moods don't swing back and forth as often. At least, that's my feeling, I'll have to ask Tom if that's true. hehe! Tom seems a bit more relaxed overall. Each one of the girls has much improved in areas that typically have problems with. Regina is concentrating a bit better. Veronica is not so gloomy (but still sad about no grains). Amy has always struggled with containing her temper, and after three weeks of the diet (before the three week mark) she almost never has an outburst. Elizabeth ... well, I haven't seen a change in her. Darn it.
- No more candida (yeast)! I have battled this dreaded monster for years. All of the girls have been prone to candida since they were born, and I've always done my best to control it. This is the first time they are completely over it. Joy!
- Acne seems to clear up while GP. I never did have a lot crazy breakouts, but I did have a lot of redness, and those weird colorless bumps that always seemed to be just under the skin. The redness has been toned down quiet a bit. And the bumps have gone completely away.
- Life no longer revolves around food. Well, it does, and it doesn't. It used to be that Tom and I would plan our days around what we were having for lunch or dinner. You know, "well, I can't start this project now, because I wanted to go to ______ for lunch and I won't have enough time." Now it's "whatever is in the fridge." Save a lot of time. And money. And hassle.
- We almost never throw out food anymore. We are all guilty of forgetting to use the last of those vegetables, or not getting to the chicken before it soured... well, with Primal, I think I threw out maybe a couple small baggies of items we didn't use much. Not bad! Before GP, I would always feel guilty on Tuesdays, when I'd clean out the fridge, when I would be dumping half the food I bought the week before. Either I forgot we had it, didn't have time to prepare it, or just didn't feel like eating it when the time came. Now, we eat about 95% (if not more) of all items we bought, and we make good use out of it.
- You don't have to stick to meal times (though you certainly can if you wish). We just kind of eat when hungry, that can be every two hours, or twice a day. No big deal. I am a little more on top of things with the kids, since kids can lose weight quickly and without much notice. Though it hasn't been a problem since they're always hungry and reminding me of it.
- My memory seems to be a bit better. Still a long ways to go, but I feel like it is improving instead of getting worse.
- We've discovered more foods and food combonations that we would have never thought of, or tried, before.
- We are shifting the focus from food as rewards (Wow, you got an A on that test you really worked for, you can pick what's for dinner tonight! and switched it with "that is so awesome! You can pick a family game, or a new book!")
- You get a reality check. You may think you're eating healthy now (while NOT on GP) but you become so much more aware of what you are eating and why, when on GP.
- Most of the family would spend so much time in the bathroom everyday with some sort of intestinal issue. I am happy to say this is no longer the case!
- No more furry teeth! You know how sometimes you're driving home and you think you have a caterpillar stuck on your teeth, and you just can't wait to get home and brush? Yeah, on GP, you almost never have that feeling.
- My parents (and several of my siblings) have battled high blood pressure from a really early age (20's). My own blood pressure has been in the 160/98 range for a few years now. Well, I am elated to say that it is now 125/80, which is a miracle! No drugs. No crazy exercise. Just no grains!
- My eye sight has improved. I noticed (around the third week) my depth perception had changed. I thought "well, there is always a negative to something as great as this eating "plan". So I went into the Optometrist, and for the First time EVER, I was able to read four lines of that annoying "E" paper. This was without glasses. I am still in shock over this. Who knew grains/sugar had this much of an effect on eyesight?
- This ties in with sleep... the kids were always complaining of having "bad dreams." I couldn't figure out the source, and finally we just accepted that we'd all have crazy dreams. Since going into week two of GP, I have not heard anyone say anything about dreams. Period. I have noticed that the one time I cheated, I had really crazy, graphic dreams.
Now for some of the Cons:
- It is time-consuming. There is just no way around this. Sure, they are time-saving tips, but really, that just means "somebody else did some of the work for me, so that I wouldn't have to do it all the time." For example "Cut up all vegetables, and precook meats so that they are ready to go!" yes, this is well-worth the effort, but it basically means somebody spends hours per week just chopping and cooking. Doesn't really save time.
- It takes a lot of pots, pans, and dishes. Oh and forks! I may even have to buy more utensils. When you cook more, you use more dishes. Fact. It helps if you have grown a few kids to help with this area, but if not, you'll definitely be spending more time cleaning up.
- Carb Flu is NOT fun. Seriously was at the level of having panic attacks and not wanting to leave the couch. It did pass quickly though, so don't let this scare you off.... Just an FYI.
- If you have kids, this will be more difficult. Kids have such funny tastes anyway. And kids love to rebel. So be ready for a lot of whining and bargaining and pleading.
- It's a bit difficult to travel and stay Primal, but it can be done. It takes some advanced planning and some resolve, but it can be done.
- If you're not big on cooking, reading labels, and knowing how to grocery shop, this can be a little overwhelming. Thankfully, we had a leg up in this area, so we did okay, but I can see how beginners would struggle. Start small, research, and expand!
- Things like school treats, birthdays, and social gatherings can be awkward. You don't want to be the only one who has a thing about eating cake, not having a beer, nope; the peanuts are off limits too.... We had to tell everyone we're on a 3 week plan, so just expect us to be weird. This actually helped. My kids had some rough days when parties were going on at school and they couldn't have one single thing at the party. (which reminds me, does nobody believe in giving kids fresh fruit these days?!)
- It is a little difficult to entertain people, because GP is costly. And the clean up would be crazy.
- It is *not* true that your grocery bill will come out about the same as when you were not primal. Mine has doubled every week. This could be because we didn't buy a lot of junk before and therefore "your junk food is swapped out for the good food, so you break even" might not apply to us, but yikes, double the grocery bill is a lot.
- To make things easier, you will need to buy a few extra kitchen gadgets (such as a dehydrator, a salad spinner, extra cutting boards, super awesome knives, and a good quality blender) which can be pricey, but very worth it! (I love knives, btw. My friend calls me a "knife snob"... I'm not. I just think you should have the right tools for the right job, and a steak knife is NOT for cutting cucumbers and potatoes).
- the kids are still constantly hungry. I've fiddled with the fats, the protein, the (natural) sugars, and the vegetables. I can't seem to get it right. I am hoping in another few weeks we will all level out and the kids will be satisfied with fewer meals. Also, kids tend to confuse hunger with thirst, so maybe that's one thing.
- Kids hate to drink water all the time. I have found it almost effortless, but Tom and the kids have really struggled to just drink water. Even Regina, who is not big on sweet drinks, said the other day "Argh! Couldn't I just have one Sprite?!"
Overall, I'm so happy we did this. I think in a few more weeks we will look back and say that Going Primal is the best thing we could have done for our family. We plan on sticking with it for at least three more weeks. I personally do not think I'll ever go back to eating the way I had been eating before GP. We *may* allow oatmeals and brown rice back in the kids' diet every once in a while. And I'm not sure where Tom stands on everything, hopefully he can get me an update fairly soon.
So for the big weigh-in!
Tom has remained steady at 7 pounds of weight lost! His stomach is much smaller too. I will have to take his "after" photo on Wednesday since he is out of town.
The kids have not really lost weight, but have lost their round tummies. Regina always looked about six months pregnant, and that is slowly, but surely going away.
Given that I am a woman and subject to annoying hormone changes, I couldn't weigh myself today since I wouldn't get a true reading. I'm afraid I'll have to wait until next Monday. Sorry : \
The girls asked if they could have an Oreo for dessert (somebody sent them home from school. UGH) and I asked "do you want to go back to feel the way you did before we started eating the new way?" I fully expected a "we don't care, give me the cookie!" response, but they all said "noooooo!" So for kids to say this, with Oreos staring them in the face, tells me that this "diet" is working, that it makes us all feel pretty darn good, and it's worth the sweat and tears.
So, go forth and take the Three Week Challange!