May 19, 2011

Primal beginnings…

Posted in Healthy Living tagged , at 8:18 pm by primalissa

Have you ever felt so strongly about something that you just want to shout it from the rooftops and hope that everyone that can hear you will listen, and take you seriously?  This is one of those times.

 I don’t usually get too personal and talk about myself due to self-esteem issues stemming from my weight, but it seems that I just can’t help myself.  I see my loved ones around me, and am saddened by how unhappy we are in our lives.  Because of this concern for my family and friends, and our constant desire to always try to be better at different things in life in general, I need to share the beginning of my story.  It is only the beginning, because I am still living it…

 Let me just start by saying, I love food.  No, really.  I. LOVE. FOOD.  Pizza, bread dipped in olive oil, fettuccine alfredo, French fries, mashed potatoes, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, a bowl of rice or noodles bathing in butter, traditional family foods, you get the idea.  But, unfortunately for me, not all of that food loved me back.  Before I could finish my meal, I would get an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach. You know the kind; cramping, sloshing, gurgling noises that no stomach should make…and then (sorry for the visual) whoosh!  In a quick run to the bathroom, it would seem as if the entire meal I just ate was being flushed back to the earth from whence it came.

 What started as a quest to fix my digestion issues has become something entirely different, and wholly unexpected.  While doing some research into what I self-diagnosed as IBS, I stumbled upon a website claiming that you needed to eliminate any “white” foods from your diet. Things like white bread, white rice, refined sugar, etc.  They also suggested finding your body’s “metabolic type”.  So, that led to further research about different body types. 

 I tend to look at everything I can and analyze it to death before actually doing anything about it, and that is usually my downfall.  Not this time.  I happened to be researching one afternoon, and found a website called “Mark’s Daily Apple”.  A reader had submitted a question, and I was intrigued by the answer and the comments from the community that followed afterward.  I decided to take it a step further and use Mark Sisson’s website for further research. 

At Mark’s site I found a wealth of information about how sugar is converted by your body for energy.  He stated, and backed it up with research, that grains such as wheat, barley, rye, oats and also legumes (beans) were treated like invaders inside your body.  Another startling fact I found out about grains is the effect they have on your intestinal tract.  That led to reading about the biggest contributing factor (in my opinion) to fat production in the body, insulin.  He explains in easy to understand terms how insulin works and tells your body whether to convert your food into energy or into stored fat.  I could not even begin to cover all the reasons why grains are unhealthy, so here’s the link .  Within the article itself are links to even more information.

 He emphasizes the importance of getting your nutrition from animals and plants.  He calls it “Primal”; his own tweaking of a Paleo (as in Paleolithic) eating style; based loosely on the possible eating style that our ancestors followed for hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, before industrial farming brought us into the Neolithic era.  He claims that by eliminating the processed foods that we have come to rely so heavily on, you can rehabilitate your body.  I also couldn’t be happier with his attitude towards exercise and fitness.  Less is more.  No need to go to a gym for hours on end.  No need for a gym at all!  He shows the cycle of chronic exercise and food intake as something that needs to be fixed, not something that needs to be attained.  From that point forward, I made it my personal mission to learn as much as I could from as many different sources as possible, to find out how our bodies use the food we eat. 

 There is no shortage of information available out there.  For every person you find touting the benefits of whole grains, you will find an equal number destroying its merits.  I found the studies, and found the people that studied the studies.  I learned how to read between the lines and find out where the funding for the study came from.  Most studies have information that is incomplete, or cherry picked for the results they were already looking for.  It surprised naïve little ole’ me to see that the studies the government are using for the health of the general public are paid for by the very same companies that make the food they are trying to sell us.  So now, it comes as no surprise to me that the Corn Refiners Association tells us that, of course High Fructose Corn Syrup is okay for us, as long as we use it in moderation.  Let me tell you, it’s not.  It is equal to refined sugar in all ways.  It’s not better, it’s not worse. It’s just as bad.  And that’s not good either.  And changing the name to “corn sugar” won’t make it better either.  Or that the National Association of Wheat Growers has a study showing that Americans don’t get enough “whole grains”.  Of course they want us to eat more whole grains, that’s how they make their money!

 I’ve read about cholesterol, and saturated fat, and how it became linked (incorrectly) to heart disease, (unless you’re a rabbit or a chicken).  I’ve read about inflammation and arthritis, and how the things we eat (ie. “low-fat!” & “lower your cholesterol!”) can affect our brain development including bi-polar disorder and depression.  Diseases like Crohn’s, Alzheimer’s, and Autism can all be affected by our food choices.

 So, I stopped eating bread, pasta and excess sugar.  No more oatmeal for breakfast.  No more English muffins as a mid-day snack.  At first it was hard.  I kept trying to think of ways to re-create things like rice, and pizza crust, and noodles.  You know, some foods just need to be eaten with those things, am I right?  So, we make cauliflower rice.  Different taste, different texture.  Not a true substitute, but a great dish all its own.  We now make our own pizza crust from, guess what, ground beef!  We love our new “meatza” creations, and our girls do too!  We have hamburgers with all the toppings, wrapped in a leaf or two of lettuce.  We still have yet to try spaghetti squash or zucchini as a substitute for noodles, but they are on our list of new things to try.  We eat eggs, bacon, sausage, lots of vegetables, beef, chicken, salmon, tuna, turkey, shrimp, lamb, butter and cheese, nuts, fruits, many different herbs and spices, and good fats like olive and coconut oil.  We don’t miss the bread at all.  What are bread and pasta really, but just a vehicle for all the tasty toppings?  So, we forgo the vehicle, and just dig in to the goodness that makes the bread and pasta taste good anyways.

 We don’t measure portions or count calories or keep track of “points”.  We just eat real food when we’re hungry, and eat until we’re full.  Believe me, we are never hungry after our meals! (or for many hours afterward)  This is not a “diet”.  It has become a part of my life, and will continue to be forever.  Can you say that about your “diet”?  Are you willing to count points, calories, etc. for the rest of your life?  Will your body go back to its previous condition if you stop?

 The best things about this so far have been all the new foods we have tried, all of the recipe failures we have learned from, and of course now we realize that what we are eating is nourishing our bodies, and not slowly destroying it from the inside out.  What you can’t see or even feel, can still hurt you.  A hard lesson learned. 

 So, what happened with my body once I started eating this way?  Well, there were no more issues with my digestion, for one.  I could actually enjoy an entire meal without having to rush to the bathroom.  A few extra added bonuses, I have more energy, I started sleeping better, I was less irritable (ask my husband), my fingernails became stronger, my skin started to glow, I go to the park and play on the playground with my children, and I’m less hungry because I eat food that fills me up for longer periods of time.  Oh, and the best part of all?  My pants started falling off.  Yeah, I started dropping pounds like crazy, and after nearly six months going strong, I still am. 

 While I still have a long way to go, I feel that this is the way we were meant to eat; from the earth, not processed beyond recognition.  I want to look at my food and recognize it. I’m tired of eating things I can’t pronounce. What is it anyway?  Does it really need to be in there?  Does it really need to be in my body?  Don’t get me wrong, I still sometimes want to savor the taste of pizza and a hearty slice of bread.  And when I do decide to eat those things it’s a conscious decision knowing full well the effect it will have in my body.  I make every bite count, so it better be good.

 So, what have you got to lose?  A few pounds?  A bad attitude?  Crappy sleep?  Lack of energy somewhere between lunch and dinner?  Quality bathroom time?  It’s important to understand that we are all different, and that no one solution will affect everyone the same way.  I understand that.  I also understand that until you try something, you never know where it could have taken you.  I’m glad to be taking this journey, and I hope we can take it together…

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4 Comments »

  1. Karen said,

    Can you share your meat pizza recipe…it sounds intriguing!

    • primalissa said,

      I sure will. I’m just getting started, but will definately be sharing some articles that I think are helpful, as well as recipes we’ve tried.

  2. Trisha said,

    Yeah, right! When my daughter told me about this I thought another DIET, but the more I listened and learned the more sense it made. Many years ago my chiropractor told me to cut out flour and sugar from our diet and I would start to feel better. Did I listen? NO! Well I listened to her and in just three weeks I’m feeling better, moving around more. Yes you can have bread, pasta, rice, and legumes in your life style once in a while, but when ever I did I felt dizzy and nausea. Not the two feelings I want in my life. I started losing the weight and couldn’t believe it. Eating butter, bacon, and evo(extra virgin olive oil) putting fat into my diet, one of the NO NOs of low fat no fat dieting. Too put that flavor which I love into my body was awesome. I’m still losing and can’t wait until I have the body I’m suppose to have. Thanks for the wake up.

  3. primaltim said,

    Melissa, this looks a lot like my own story!! 🙂 As you’ve seen I started on Mark’s Daily Apple too, and what a life changing event!! Your first paragraph is almost word for word what I’ve said hundreds of times already!! I am proud of you for recognizing it and starting this amazing lifestyle, we are not that far apart from our beginnings in this and I am happy to follow your journey!! 🙂

    Tim
    http://facebook.com/bigtimsprimaljourney


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