Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughts on Being Primal for 11 Weeks

I could be wrong, but I think next Monday will mark week 12 of GP. I thought I'd just give a summary of our journey this far. 

The first week of going Primal was r-o-u-g-h. Not only the detoxing (carb flu), but the emotional ups and downs, the anger from the children, and the pressure of making good, tasty food, so that everyone (including myself) would want to stay Primal.  We pressed on. 

The next several weeks were spent trying to get a new routine down; shopping, cooking, clean up, feeding children, all while living life. It was quite a challenge, and, to be honest, there were times I wasn't sure I could do it.  Yet, we trudged along. 

After we became more comfortable with the lifestyle change, and didn't panic every time it was time to make a new meal, and we were able to spit out the rules for GP without thinking... we decided it was time to look for new recipes, so Tom ordered the Paleo Comfort Foods from Amazon, so we are hoping to go through it in the next week or two and find a few dishes we can add to our weekly menu. 

Now I think we are finally settling into our new routine. (I suppose it is true what they say: it takes three months for a new behavior to become a habit.) And we're really happy we switched to the Primal lifestyle. 

In addition to these benefits, I've also seen: 
  • My complexion has cleared up tremendously 
  • My skin is much more hydrated. I don't even have to use my moisturizer anymore! 
  • Slowly, but surely, my PMS symptoms have lessened considerably. Always a plus. 
  • I no longer suffer from headaches. (two chiropractors helped a lot in this area, but I still would have headaches 2-3 times a month). I haven't had a head in six-seven weeks, at least. 
  • My hydration level is slowly climbing. I'm at 40%! 
  • I still hate mornings, but I no longer feel like I need a nap in the afternoon. Well, rarely. 
  • My hair used to fall out in handfuls-handfuls!-everyday. And I'd shed on everything.. my clothes, the kids, the floor, you name it, it had hair. It is now dramatically lessened. It's probably down by 75%. I've suffered with this for eight years. I'm glad it's going away. 
  • I've lost about 20 pounds, 6% body fat, and gone down 3 points!! off my BMI.
  • I don't know how many inches yet. I'm waiting another week to do measurements. But I can say I bought a size smaller, and even that is on the verge of being too big. 
  • I've gained muscle, which has helped me hold my chiropractic adjustments better and longer. And I can now punch out any bad guys. How could this be bad?
  • We've learned so many new things about life and health. And have found many new Paleo/Primal friends.
  • You start out learning about Primal eating, and it spreads to other new healthy habits.
I'm sure there are many more, but it's getting late here and my brain starts to shut down. 

Anyway, we're very happy we've gone through the process. I highly recommend this for families, especially if you suffer from allergies or chronic health issues. 

I want to get in to the doctor soonish so I can have a blood draw. I'm really excited to see what changes have occurred inside me.  Also, because my brother (who thinks he knows everything ;P ) is doing a vegetable/fruit fast, and then adding in some nuts and fish later on. Sounds pretty sad to me, but he's convinced it will lower his cholesterol and such.  So being good siblings, we're in a contest (even if he doesn't know about it) to see how scores better on blood work. 

I'll win.


  1. tell your brother too keep up with the juice fast for up to 10 days to completely cleanse his system and then go primal. that way he can determine if he's intolerant to some foods since he's starting from a blank slate.

  2. Just a word of warning on when you get a blood lipid panel. While it is true that a great majority of people see improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels, there are some people (outliers) that do in fact see increased total cholesterol and/or triglycerides. Also, there are a tiny minority of people who actually see worse numbers. It's rare, but it has happened.

    There are many reasons why such a thing could or would happen, but the most logical are that not everyone's body is exactly the same and that we cannot be entirely certain as to what "going primal" really entailed for them (i.e. they lived on nothing but bacon and cheddar for the past year). On the first point, it is pretty simple. Some people are more adapted to carbs or certain grains or starches, while others do better with very restricted carbohydrates. It is all about feeling your way through it by experimenting and seeing what works for you. I personally do very well maintaining my energy and weight eating about 150-250 grams of carbs per day. You don't have to count carbs, but definitely pay attention to how foods make you feel, and what categories of foods cause these reactions, then adjust accordingly. The primal blueprint is only a guideline, it is not a hard rule. Once you've gotten the hang of things, then you are pretty free to experiment to see what works and what doesn't (only you will know the answer to this).

    On the second point, well, some people SAY that they are going primal, but really they are deluding themselves (it happens). From what I have seen, you guys have been eating very clean, with lots of veggies, good fats and good meats. Yes, you have gone astray a few times, but nothing like an uncontrollable binge or anything that is going to ruin your progress. Also, straying a little here and there is only natural; you're human and aren't perfect, and being social animals often calls for compromise. Being extremely strict and restrictive can actually cause far more problems than it helps (esp. psychologically and socially) and can often border on orthorexic behavior-- the 80/20 principle is there for a reason.

    Probably the only real thing that I can add that I think applies to almost all paleo/primal/ancestral eaters out there is to use as much variety as possible. Go ahead and add animal organs to your standard foods, save those bones for stock, eat those plants and veggies that you've never tried before, don't be afraid to experiment. Other than that, I think that you guys have done pretty well and should see improvements going into the future.