Been two weeks now since I started that primal-paleo-neanderthal-caveman-evolutionary diet. (Someone really has to settle on a good name for this thing.) Some folks offered helpful advice and some asked to be kept posted on progress, so this seems a good time for a check-in.
To recap, a primal diet (primal nutrition really, since it’s not something you just do until your waistline shrinks) consists mostly of vegetables, meat, nuts, animal and vegetable fats, and limited amounts of fruit and dairy (depending on which “expert” is talking).
It excludes nearly all grains (a bit of corn and rice allowed, but no gluten grains at all), all sweeteners whether natural or artificial, lentils, and all oils and fats derived from grains or legumes. Technically, it’s high fat, moderate protein, and low carb — though since the idea is that you can eliminate all the darned calorie-counting, carb-counting, etc. once you’re eating the right foods, it’s not usually put in those terms.
I’m “going pure” on it for a month, though I’m sure I’ll modify it after that (some lentils and sweeteners will return, I’m pretty sure).
Anyhow, here’s how it’s going:
- From day one, I’ve felt “lighter” in some way I can’t explain. At first I thought that might just be a psychological effect. But it’s lasted too long to be an illusion.
- My energy level has slightly, though definitely, increased. I find myself wanting to move around more, pushing myself farther and harder on walks through the hills without any sense of drudgery.
- Although neither the scale nor the tape measure are telling any super-dramatic stories (couple of pounds down, half inch off the waist maybe), I’m clearly getting some shape back. The “cottage-cheesy” look is melting out of my middle.
- Virtually every digestive problem I’ve ever had has disappeared. This isn’t entirely due to primal nutrition. The small miracle of discovering lactobacillus acidophilus earlier this year was a bigger factor. But the combo of the two is heaven-sent. No grains seems to mean no bloating, among other things.
- I’m expanding my food horizons and doing more cooking with fresher foods.
- One of my off-grid friends has pointed out that virtually every part of the primal diet can be produced by small homesteaders. No vast fields or specialized equipment needed. Just the right climate, soils, space for animals, etc.
- No comfort food! No crackers, no strawberry shortcake, no fried Cheerios, no quick-grabbing of something out of a box, no sourdough bread, no malted milk balls or Andes mints, no honey or stevia or brown sugar in my tea.
- Similarly, none of the “staples of life.” Like pizza. Or sandwiches. Or Chinese restaurant food with “mystery ingredients” in it. When friends want to get together for a meal, I’ve now become one of those difficult people who can’t eat this or that. (Hopefully this will diminish after my month of being “pure,” but I don’t expect ever to eat many grains again.)
- The first few days, I was light-headed and grouchy from being denied any quick sugar hit. It passed quickly, though.
- Because of having no sweet or cakey things to top off a meal, I often feel hungry after eating, even when I’ve had plenty.
- Many of the snacky things that are allowable — for instance, bacon, beef jerky, or a cupful of straight heavy cream (for the fat more than for the dairy) … well, I just cannot convince myself they’re long-term healthy choices. Others are simply unfulfilling. Blueberries? Fine for breakfast, but not in the league of a big slice of apple pie with ice cream. But what the heck. If you take away my Canelas (Mexican cinnamon crackers), I’ll accept a cup of straight whipping cream as partial compensation — for now.
What ugly? There is no ugly. I’m getting rid of my muffin top. And I feel “en-light-ened.” That’s beautiful.