I’ve officially completed 30 days of living and eating primal! Over the last month, I’ve concentrated all my meals on high-quality, naturally raised meats when possible, organics veggies, saturated and monosaturated fats (lard, tallow, olive and coconut oil), as well as fruits, unsweetened chocolate and black coffee. No honey, no sugar, no grains, minimal starches, no BEER and only one accidental dairy-slip.
As well, I’ve made it a point to stand when sitting would’ve been easy, to ride to work when weather permitted, to sprint when out in my VFF’s and hike in the great outdoors when possible this month.
I’ve faced some mini-challenges along the way, when eating out or trying to find some paleo-fair while on my break. To remain true to the challenge, I stuck to seafood without the breading or steamed shell-fish. I’ve asked for burritos in a bowl with lettuce in place of the typical rice and beans. I’d go to Whole Foods on break and grab some roasted chicken legs and breasts. Or head off to Trader Joe’s for salted meat or canned fish. I’ve subbed in yams on evening when I felt my energy dip during the day, remembering tough rides home where it felt as if the wind were against me the whole way, when really my muscles just weren’t used to the drop in carbs.
Eventually, I stopped using the helpful FitDay online app, which helps to measure how much protein, fat and carbs I was consuming each day. While it really helped me to realize how much certain foods were impacting my carb-load (bananas and apples were surprisingly high), I’m not the measuring type, so having to fill in this sheet daily was becoming cumbersome and ultimately led me to undereat what I was sometimes craving to satisfy some number on primal webpages. I prefer to listen to my body from now on, judging how much of certain macro-nutrients my body’s had enough of and what it’s still lacking.
Some big challenges of note were when I found myself in situations which beg for junk food to enhance the atmosphere… Sunday Football Games with pizza, fried food, or even Chinese food (dunno why, but that always sounds like a good idea to me), or going to a New England fair and saying no to the mountains of fried dough, candy apples, burgers and hot dogs, cotton candy, ice cream, etc. I stuck to the roasted (smoked) turkey legs, some jerky and a few fresh apples. Not too shabby. When my mom came over for the week, we were able to work out a Primalized Menu for the two of us to follow, as well. She made Baked Fish with summer veggies, I made bacon and eggs or sausages with greens.
Recently, I’ve been dabbling in gourds, dry roasting some buttercup squash or sugar pumpkins, and have made some deep fried fries out of yams and beef tallow. The flavor (compared to veggie “oil”) was amazing. Same goes for unbreaded buffalo wings with paleo-friendly Frank’s Red Hot. My favorite new activity is rendering beef tallow or pig lard from animal fat, and jarring it for daily use. So simple, so tasty and so healthy. Even stashing away all my excess bacon fat for later use with vegetables or eggs.
All-in-all, besides the occasional (fleeting) cravings for a sandwich or a beer.. sometimes some ice cream or milk/yogurt, I’ve really enjoyed the freedom to eat traditional fats almost to excess, savory meats slow roasted in a simple marinade, eggs cooked (almost deep fried) in tallow or butter, while losing weight and feeling more energetic than ever.
To be honest though, the one hurdle I’m still facing and am working to adapt to, is regularity. It’s definately more inconsistent than before when whole grains and more fruit were thrown into the mix. Before giving up though and grabs a bowl of rice, I must admist that in the last few weeks, meat went up and veggies went down. In the weeks ahead, I’m going to make a much more conserted effort to step up the greens and other veggies before diving into meat-nirvana! Also, keep the sauerkraut and pickles acomin’…
The official challenge has come to an end, and I’m 14 lbs lighter than at the start (from 207 to 193lbs in 30 days), but the lifestyle goes on. Refining my knowledge and practices of healthy living is a life long pursuit and my passion. Some things may change, some ideas completely dropped, others adopted or fine-tuned, but I feel that I’m finally on the right track.
Keep a watchful eye on the horizon for… The Primal Pig!