Friday, February 10, 2012

# 2 Update from Tom.

"Overall I'm glad we're doing this. I needed to be jolted out of my growing and unhealthy affinity for sweets. I'm glad I now understand the truth about the "low-fat" craze. And I know I am taking better care of myself now that I'm not eating a lot of the stuff I used to eat.
But I can't bring myself to agree with people who think this is a breeze, that over time I won't miss my old favorite foods, etc. Maybe. I doubt it. Steak and salad can be great, but I don't want to eat meat all the time, and I don't want my only non-meat alternative to be salad.
Frankly, I still very much want pizza, pasta, an occasional Coke, orange juice with my breakfast, a bagel with cream cheese, a stack of real pancakes, and a cookie once in a while.
I envision myself moving forward as follows. I want to stay faithful to this at least 70-80% of the time, which means that the food I eat at home will conform to it. But when I travel, and occasionally when I'm just out for dinner, I do still intend to indulge in things that make me happy. On net I am still enjoying a vast improvement in my old habits, and I think that's about as far as I can make myself go."
I keep telling Tom that he doesn't have to give up his favorite things forever.  
He still feels guilty about it though... mainly, I think, because I don't cheat.  (Well, I did twice in the last 33 days.... one was HERE, and the other was I had a slice of cheese cake (which was awesome!) when we went out for Dinner Theater. Other than that, I've stayed Primal.) But he forgets that I have a lot of weight to lose, and therefore I can't afford to cheat often. Plus, I really don't like the way I feel when I do eat non-primally.
I've told Tom we are not going to police each other. If I want to cheat, I don't want eagle eyes on me. And if he wants to eat something that will totally have him out of commission for that day... well, that's his call. ;)  Seriously though, I don't care what he does as long as it doesn't kill him, and he makes a real attempt at staying Primal.

He's really done very well for the last month, so I'm really proud of us all that we have been able to make it work as well as we have.


  1. I'm afraid I have bad news for Tom... Of course one can take a break from primal and have a pizza if one feels like it, or a brownie or a cookie or whatever. I do that once in a while. But you probably don't want to. Here's the reason why:

    Headache, palpitations, drowsiness.

    That's what I get if I "indulge" in such things. Mark Sisson has said somewhere on his site that (paraphrasing) it is okay to cheat or indulge, but with primal living you learn that it comes at a cost. I think he's right. Eating pizza for dinner (I don't dare having a HFCS-coke with it) makes me drowsy afterward, I get a slight headache, and I get several hours of palpitations. Not how I want to spend my evening.

    I sometimes have a slice along with a huge stack of veggies and perhaps a big glass of milk. Then it is awesome, very enjoyable, and I don't get the side effects. But pizza as the lion's share of my meal? I do miss the *thought* of it, but no thanks. It's not worth it.

  2. I have to agree.
    I made meringues yesterday (for a friend's party) and of course had to sample them. I wish I hadn't. All that sugar really affected me_ I spent the afternoon feeling lethargic and wanting to sleep.I had a headache and even resorted to taking pain-killers. This morning I've woken with a sinus headache. Perhaps it isn't related, but I doubt it. I feel so silly for deviating off course, because I have been feeling so good lately!

    I think that the benefits of eating primal/paleo are so good, that having a "treat" once in a while will lose it's attraction.

  3. I find that the treats just aren't that wonderful as well. I had some pie when I went out with friends last night...and I was in a bad mood the rest of the night. I felt horrible. Anyway, glad that we are on a path to feeling better...and hopefully, looking better soon.

  4. Of course Tom feels guilty. That is Catholic training. I remember standing at a copier one time where I worked, making copies of something. A woman came up and said "I caught you!" I was startled. She then said "You must be Catholic. Only a Catholic would act that guilty over nothing." Of course, he can have things not on the primal diet. That is what confession is for.

    Another time I went through the grocery store checkout with a six pack of beer. A young woman wearing a headscarf was the cashier. She ask for ID even though I was in my late 40's at the time. I went to reach for my wallet to produce the ID when she said she was just giving me a hard time. Her religion, she said, didn't allow drinking alcohol. I asked her if her religion believed in forgiveness. She said that it did. I told her to go have a drink and ask for forgiveness afterward. Not using the forgiveness feature of a religion is like having a car heater and air conditioner, but never turning them on. It is there. Use it.
    I once asked my uncle why he smoked. Didn't he know it would shorten his life? He replied, "What is the use of living a long time if you can't enjoy yourself?"
    It is all a matter of priorities, isn't it?

  5. I can eat a treat and feel fine. Pastries were my nemesis but I did not want the craving to control me. So, when I WANT to, not because I feel I have to, I take a break and get a strong cup of coffee and a [real butter!!] pastry. It's delicious, and then I remind myself of how I weighed 80 lbs more and couldn't run because my knee hurt, so this is something I eat rarely and not (ahem) daily.

    Then I'm fine for months on end. Don't let food control you. It is critical that all those other times I get coffee and decline the pastry I do NOT think 'damn I wish I "could" eat that'. No, I think to myself how impressive it is that I am choosing not to eat that and have chosen not to eat that in the past and just how awesome I am to stick to what I want to do. And, at some point in the future I'll probably have one. Just because life is short.


  6. That is why I recommend something from or - you can pretend to cheat. In the bread there are some grains, but very low carbs, mostly protein and fiber. Shiritake noodle seem to have nothing, so you can use them as rice or pasta.

    I can take the cinnamon raisin Low Carb #2, drench it in butter (pan fried bread), turn that into french toast or put eggs on top. One will be filling and better than a stack of pancakes.

    Cheese, Pepperoni, veggies over LC#1 is a good pizza bread.

    LC#3 is gluten free and tastes like corn bread when heated.

    I tried hard doing completely without bread when I started until I found this. You may not like it - no one knows until they try - but try a few loaves - they last 3 Mo. in the freezer, don't cause the carb addiction or the other symptoms.

    I can do without rice and pasta (and had a surprisingly bad reaction when I had a serving of rice earlier this week - thought I'd try and I used to enjoy it). So the miraclenoodle stuff mostly sits, but "rice" with salt (or soy sauce or something) or buttered fettuccine can be a treat.

  7. Tom, I think you haven’t had long enough to fully explore the diverse methods of preparing meat, fish, and fowl, and all the wonderful vegetables and greens you probably seldom if ever ate before. I know Heather has made some wonderful dishes, and that you are not literally eating just “steak and salad.” You will continue to find receipe favorites that you enjoy. There’s pot roast, roast beef, pork loin, fish, shrimp and scallops, turkey, duck, chicken etc. and a thousand ways to cook them with a world full of interesting herbs and spices. You need more time to immerse yourself in new healthier favorites.

    Heather, order the book Wheat Bellies if you have not already done so. It is the most fascinating book that tells about the changes in wheat over the last 50+ years, and why it is so bad for us. It also explains in more detail about the health damage caused by wheat aside from glucose spikes and weight gain. It changes the PH in your body and causes inflammation and damage in all parts of the body including the brain. Seriously, you and Tom read this book and you’ll be pushing the cookies and cake away!!! It was written by a cardiologist. He has a website at

    On the Wheat Belly website a reader submitted a great receipe you should make with your girls. They will have so much fun making their own breakfast! It’s called : Muffin in a Minute. We had it for breakfast and got a big kick out of it, and it was very filling. We each made one then made a third and split it. We were stuffed. This could be made with bits of fruit and so many variations. I plan to try it again next week.

     1/4 cup ground flax
     1/2 teaspoon baking powder
     1 teaspoon cinnamon
     1 teaspoon sweetener
     1 egg
     1 teaspoon butter (or less)

     Directions
     Stir it all up in a coffee mug, pop it in the microwave for 1 minute (a bit longer if adding berries etc.) Delicious! I slice it and spread on butter or cream cheese.

  8. Wow, all great comments and food for thought (haha)! I will definitely make sure Tom takes a look at these. TZ, many thanks, sounds like Tom may benefit from those links.

    Thanks, Polly, I will try this recipe this week!

  9. I decided to go vegetarian last week just to try how will paleo fit into that. I have found respite in two things - first cooking vegetables the indian way i.e. with spices like cardomom, cinnamon, turmeric and dried bay leaves. The flavor and smell is unbelievable. The second is ricing cauliflower and cabbage. I put them in microwave for 2-5 minutes then put them in a blender with water. If you have a food processor you dont need water because it can rice properly. I am a blender person and even if you use a food processor you have to cook it in water in any case afterwards.

    So after ricing it put the cauliflower in a pan with water. Put one medium or big cinnamon stick, 2 dried bay leafs, a couple of cloves and a couple of open cardamom pods.Remember the numbers you will have to fish for them later :) Also put some salt not much. When almost all the water has evaporated,take out the spices you put earlier, fluff it with a teaspoon of ghee. The smell and taste is unbelievable. I do this with both green and red cabbage as well.

  10. Here's from the FAQ. Seems to answer the question about indulgence quite well (from

    Q: If I go wheat-free, is there any harm in having an occasional bagel or cupcake?

    A: It depends. It depends on your individual susceptibility to the effects of wheat.

    If you have celiac disease or any of the long list of inflammatory or autoimmune diseases associated with wheat (rheumatoid arthritis, cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, dermatitis herpetiformis, etc.), then wheat and gluten avoidance should be complete and meticulous.

    If you have an addictive relationship with wheat, e.g. one pretzel makes you want to eat the whole bag, then complete avoidance is also advisable. Because wheat consumption in the 30% of people with this problem cannot stop themselves once it starts, it is best to avoid wheat-containing foods altogether.

    Yet another odd observation: Many, though not all, people who have removed wheat from their diet for at least several months have what I call “wheat re-exposure reactions” usually experienced as abdominal cramps, gas, and diarrhea (just like food poisoning); asthma attacks in the susceptible; joint swelling and pain; and emotional effects such as anxiety in women and rage in men. I’ve witnessed many people go wheat-free, feel great, lose 30 pounds, then have an emotional blowup at a birthday party after indulging in just a small piece of birthday cake, then spending the next 24 hours on the toilet with diarrhea.

    There are indeed a percentage (20-30%?) of people who can get away with occasional indulgences. Sometimes it’s a matter of running a little test yourself to gauge your reaction. Anyone with a history of autoimmune or inflammatory diseases, or having had celiac markers like an anti-gliadin antibody test positive, however, should not even try this.

  11. I am male, 35. Weighed 250 lbs. 18 months ago, I went strictly primal and lost 35 lbs in 3 months. I never felt hungry, but being a traveling salesperson (on the road 25-30%) made it very hard to be 100% primal. I felt great.

    Here's the kicker: I decided after 3 months to "stay faithful to this at least 70-80% of the time". Within 3 months, I was back up to 250 lbs, firstly because it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to give in to sugar "just a little bit". Your body and mind will just take over, and in no time you'll be eating whole bags of cookies. You will always promise yourself that today is one of my "cheater days", and the rest of the week I'll be primal again.

    It'll never happen. It's all or nothing. Yes, this is just my experience, but I think Tom should really stick with it 100%. He'll never look back and regret sticking with it, but I am almost certain he'll regret a decision to "stay faithful to this at least 70-80% of the time".

    I stared 100% paleo again January 1st, and I'm down 15 lbs. I have not had one sinusitus issue, and could list a HOST of other past health issues that are getting so much better.

    Stick with it, TOM!!!

    1. Reminds me of the saying, "just a little pregnant". Either your are or you aren't. Food hangovers are no joke.

  12. If you are not visiting Chris Kresser's site, I highly suggest it. (I prefer his podcasts- to which there are transcripts). Anyways, recently Kresser spoke of "masked" cravings. Craving sweets might be the signal to eat something really fatty. Give it a whirl, it just may scratch that itch.