Sunday, 11 October 2009

My Primal Benefits

A commenter asked me what I found to be the greatest benefits as a woman doing Primal eating. I started to post a long answer in the comments and then I decided I'd also like to do a post. Not all of these benefits are exclusive to females, of course.

Benefit 1: I keep my curves. The first time I consciously tried to lose weight I went on a no fat whatsoever diet. Yes, I was young and stupid. Moving on. I got skinny, but I also had NO breasts/ass. Not fun. For some reason, eating Primal, I stay lean but I keep my curves=happy Cavewoman :)

Benefit 2: Fabulous hair/nails/skin. Oh yes, I have a nice sleek coat, nails I can open soda cans with, and a healthy glow. I never wear make up. Now granted, that's partly because I don't like make up. But I like having the option instead of feeling like I need to have something on my face to be presentable.

Benefit 3: I get to eat yummy food. No, I really don't miss Snickers, baguettes, and fries. I get to eat cheese, bacon, omelettes, chicken skin, ribs, burgers, etc. I have REAL cream in my coffee. I have dark chocolate for dessert, or strawberries, or a green tea protein smoothie (raw milk, matcha powder, stevia, whey protein, dash of vanilla, ice.)

Benefit 4: I don't stress about food. I was definitely one of those Type A calorie counting wonders. I can still tell you how many calories are in most food items. Now I just eat what is nourishing, eat until I am full, and leave it at that. Sure, I do have the urge to stress eat sometimes (see post below) but the moments are easily controlled because my blood sugar is always nice and level. As many Primal followers have noted, they can fast effortlessly, and I find that I can easily skip dinner or lunch some days no problem.

Benefit 5: Less severe PMS/cramps. Sorry boys, this may be TMI for you. My moods are much more even, I don't break out, and my cramps are much better. Not gone, mind you, but better.

I'm not perfect. I drink a fair bit, and I sometimes make less than optimal choices. I would encourage all of us not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I am very happy just getting right MOST of the time, and I would wager that most other would be too.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Maintaining Primalness When Stressed

Of course as soon as I decide to re up my blog, work goes batshit :) But whatevs, I shall plow through. It's amazing how eating Primal has changed my ability to cope with stress. I really believe food has a huge effect on mood.

I start my day with protein, I have protein at lunch, and more protein at dinner. With fat and non starchy carbs. And I don't ever have those lows anymore before mealtimes. You know, those shakey headachey (and for me, downright bitchy) moments where you desperately need to get something in you or something bad will happen?

Nope. I work placidly until I feel belly hunger. Mostly. I do occasionally get stress cravings, but I've found that tea helps quite nicely with those. Now, for those of you who are rolling your eyes and thinking tea would never do it for you, let me just say, I was in your camp. Really, I was.

Now, I'm not getting paid to endorse this particular brand, but I'm addicted to Good Earth Cocoa Spice Chai and Decaf Vanilla Chai. Honestly, sometimes I just brew it and sniff it, because it smells SO yummy. But I find that the warm liquid, and doing something with my mouth, psychologically soothes me.

And having a crutch like that that won't otherwise fuck up my Primal eating goes a long way in times when work is going like gangbusters or something else stressful comes up in my life. My other crutch is taking a walk, but I know that's not always an option in other parts of the (freezing cold) country :) Tea works everywhere :)

How do you cope with stress while maintaining a Primal lifestyle? Do you have crutches? Mabe crutch isn't the right word, maybe it's "trick."

Monday, 5 October 2009

Sunlight makes me happy

So, off the topic of food, but generally Primal, let's talk a little about the Sun. When I lived in the Northeast, or Midwest, I spent at least three months out of the year miserable and cranky. The cold got to me, but it was really the lack of sunlight.

Since I have moved to California, I've been a much happier person, and I would venture to say, it's the sunlight. I know there are a lot of people who don't buy the whole SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) thing. And frankly, I was one of them. I figured it was more the cold than the lack of sun.

But SF is not all that warm. It's basically coldish cold or warmish cold the vast majority of the time. And yet, I'm so perky my friends back East ask me if I'm on uppers on a regular basis. The thing is, SF may be chilly, but it's sunny.

Even today--perfectly blue skies, but I couldn't go out without a sweater. And yet, here I am, writing about my good mood :) It's not even that I get to go out in the sun very much (again, office drone) but even just walking to work in the sun and seeing it shining outside my window puts me in a happy frame of mind.

It's amazing to me how much my mood affects my appetite, even eating Primal. Now, it's more the kind of Primal food I eat rather than whether I eat Primal or not. But I notice when it's nice and bright and sunny and I'm in a good mood, I do tend to eat less.

And when it's darker and grayer, even if it's the same air temp? I'm definitely more snacky. I think it's just a basic human instinct: what's more primal that perking up in the sun? And as a side note, what could be more necessary to our ancestors when they were looking to get some vitamin D?

So am I crazy? Am I just making up the effects of sunlight? Or do you all experience it too?

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Anecdotal observations

For a patient population of 1. I don't know about you, but I love experimenting with my diet and seeing how changes pan out. Of course, I do it in a totally unscientific way, altering multiple things at a time so that it's hard for me to isolate what single thing was the factor in a particular change, but whatever. I don't have the patience for the whole one thing at a time bit.

So, for example, I take fish oil, D3, and K2 on a daily basis and have for about a month. Why? I am D deficient (office drone) I do sometimes eat non free range meat (hello Omega 6s) and I also don't eat foie gras regularly (oh, how I would love to, but my budget will not tolerate it) and I've noticed a major change in my skin. I have mild acne (usually a few small pimples here and there, annoying but not a big deal) and lately, my skin has been totally calm. Love that. Now, is it the fish oil, the D, or the K? Or some combination thereof?

Or when I drink diet soda, my stomach gets extremely sensitive to anything else. I've been diet soda free for a week (YAY me) but I've also cut out all other artificial sweeteners (used to be a Splenda addict, now use liquid stevia on occasion, but far, far less frequently than I used the evil yellow packet) so I can't tell if the carbonation or the sweeteners (or again, some combination) that set my stomach off.

I just find it fun to play around with how my body reacts...

Friday, 2 October 2009

She returns!

Wow, I seriously doubt anyone is even checking here anymore :). But I was googling something today and a link to my poor little defunct blog popped up and it felt oddly like running into a friend you haven't seen in a long time. Slightly awkward, but nice too.
Besides, I couldn't let that slightly self pitying last post be my final statement. Not my style :)

I've fully settled into San Francisco, and I love the Bay area more than ever. I have gotten back into dairy. I know, not Paleo. But I am of Northern European ancestry, and you know what? I like my dairy. It tastes goooooood. You know what tastes really good? Raw milk. Oh my goodness. The beauty of California and legally permitted marketing of unpasteurized dairy in all its glorious forms to the public.

Oh, by the way, raw cream, raw butter, and raw cheese--also awesome. Almost as good as the look I get when I tell other people I eat raw milk products. You'd think I'd told them I lick it off the sidewalk. Honestly, it's hilarious. Never mind that everyone else in the office has caught the last version of whatever rhinovirus is floating around and I'm totally unstuffed. No, I'm the crazy one :)

Actually, I am the crazy one. But I'm ok with that. And gosh darn it, I'm back to blogging, even if I'm just blogging about what I eat so that I can keep track. And if anyone DOES start reading, hi :)

So let's talk chinese veggies. I grew up in Toronto, which means that even though I'm the whitest white girl you'll ever see, Asian food of all stripes is comfort food to me. Soon I'll discuss how fabulous Japanese flavours are for Paleo/Primal/whatever the hell you want to call my diet now. For now, let me just tell you about chinese broccoli, or gai lan. Gai lan is a delicious leafy green veggie that come in long stalks with long narrow leaves and stems about a centimeter (~.5 inch for you Americans who don't feel like doing the metric thing) in diameter. You will often see small yellow flowers midway up the stalk as well.

Gai lan is delicious steamed or stirfried. The one thing to remember is to cook the stems first, and the leaves at the end. When cooked, gai lan does taste a lot like broccoli, but is harder to overcook and doesn't get the same slightly sulfurous flavour that broccoli can get. I like to steam it in the microwave (3 minutes on medium heat for the stems, throw the leaves in at the last minute) and toss it with roasted garlic and butter. Or, stirfry it with coconut oil and shallots and throw in some hot pepper flakes at the last minute.

In any case, the gai lan is ready when the stalks are bright green (they start out a much duller grayish green) and the leaves are wilted. Gai lan can be found in Asian grocery store and in the Asian veggie section of some larger supermarkets. Oh, and if anyone out there has other gai lan recipes, please post them in the comments!