Why Primal for us?

We started on this journey in October 2011 and we are well and truly seeing the benefits.

Though I need to mention right up front that we follow the Primal Blueprint framework as laid out in Mark Sisson’s book but as he and all the other Paleo authors suggest, we use it as a framework and laughingly tell people, ‘it is a lifestyle not a diet’. We are not purists and from time to time indulge in what would be considered non-paleo/non-primal foods and drink.  It’s something we won’t apologise for afterall we are human and that’s just how it is! End of. Anyhoo…

So throughout any of my blog posts I will probably refer to paleo and primal interchangeable.  I will put up a page of links and resources for anyone wanting more definitions.

Most people think we’re mad, lol and on some levels we most definitely are!!  A little bit of crazy only adds to the fun! But a few people are interested, some even so interested that they start on their own primal/paleo journey.  I seem to be emailing people links to my favourite recipes out so frequently that I thought it was about time I put ‘pen to paper’ and put these recipes and links somewhere easily accessible.

Eating this way has had such a huge impact on our lives and I also wanted to share the ups and downs with trying to introduce paleo eating into our family lifestyle with a ten and eight year old, both used to eating in the conventional way: cereal/toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and meat and vege/pasta/rice for tea. And also the great recipes and totally brilliant full-time paleo bloggers that exist out there and provide so much support and resource.

OUR STORY

We started on our journey October 2012 when Mike read an article in the paper about a journalist who had tried the diet for 3 weeks and had lost an astounding amount of weight (and yes that was my initial motivation for my interest in the diet). Plus his boss at work had been doing paleo for years and every week since Mike had worked with him had mentioned over and over again the ‘evilness’ of the food that Mike and his cohorts were eating.

It took us a couple of weeks to do a bit of research and Mike read Mark Sisson’s book, The Primal Blueprint, and much to his boss’s delight asked a thousand questions about the how’s and why’s of eating like a caveman. In particular it was a chapter in Mark’s book that finally convinced me to give it a real go, the chapter where he provides an illustration of the caveman’s day versus the modern man’s day. To be truthful, in this chapter I could see an almost exact reflection of myself in the modern wife, a high dependence on sugar, coffee, stress and very little else and it made me sad. And mad enough to set about trying the caveman diet.

We decided right from the start to include limited dairy products, a bit of butter here and there, a bit of cheese and full fat cream. Not loads but I think I still needed something of what I then considered ‘normal’ to cling onto during what I imagined to be very tough weeks ahead. I am a person that is very much used to emotional eating, particular comfort foods for me were toast, chocolate and biscuits dunked in coffee. I have had years of eating when I have felt bored, down, happy, angry etc… and have yoyo-ed in weight over the years. I have also tried many other diets out there that have done what every diet says every other diet will do – leave you putting on even more weight when you go off the diet!!!

Healthwise we both wanted to get rid of a fast appearing middle age spread, especially me!! Having to buy the next dress size up would always result in tears, well for me anyway lol.  So this was the major motivator to start with…

But after a month or so and having done a lot more reading, it began to make a lot more sense and I realised that I really had a chance at getting control back over my own body having had weight issues, eczema, fatigue, bloating, digestion issues, allergies, and general aches and pains for almost as long as I could remember. And it also dawned on us fairly quickly that eating paleo would be best for the entire family!

UPDATE: 11 Weeks In…

11 weeks into eating paleo and the days are passing as fast as ever. Maybe it is because this time I am changing my eating habits alongside someone else. Mike’s goals were to feel more energetic and lose excess body fat that had progressively been building up around his midriff as we both advance into middle age (ahhh middle age!!). Mine were to lose a couple of stone and drop a couple of dress sizes, lose the thick waist that I have been cultivating and rediscover my curves. And definitely most definitely thin down my thighs!!

What has been really pleasing about the process so far is that it hasn’t been too much hard work. We are both huge foodies and have really enjoyed trying out new recipes using lots of new vegetables and flavours. It has been really great trying out new ‘sweet treat’ recipes, trying to find the one that my kids don’t realise is the ‘paleo’ option.

It did seem to increase out grocery bill but this is evening out now as we are getting the balance right. I guess the hardest thing has been trying to remove the bread and baked items from our girls’ diets, and trying to slowly integrate them into our new way of eating. It’s working slowly, we still do a sandwich for them for school pack-up but in the weekends they’re pretty much bread free. They eat eggs most morning for breakfast as they’re not yet fussed on the nut based granola I’ve been making and they have the occasional bowl of cereal. And we’ve most definitely cut back on their sugar intake, hugely, and I am surprised about how well they have taken this. Like we’ve not had coca cola at home for the weeks, got rid of all the processed cereal and fruit bars, even stopped buying many ‘treats’ and they really haven’t been that bothered at all. So far. They’ve definitely noticed our new eating habits, and pretty much eat what we do and we’ve said when we’re out with other people or at parties then we’ll just go with the flow and so far that has been ok.

It’s hard to tell too much if this has been outwardly beneficial but ALREADY!! our oldest daughter’s ezcema has gone and our youngest has stopped complaining of constant sore tummy. I’ll keep you posted as to any other changes.

The changes for Mike and I so far, I’ve lost a little over half a stone and definitely already dropped a dress size – my waist has reappeared. Mike has already reached his body fat goal and has lost quite a bit of weight (looking very slim at present!). I could happily lose another dress size and be ok with just that and my next goal is to find a way to include some of the paleo exercise routines into my week and tone up a bit. At present I go to pilates and a hooping class once a week and that is about it. Ohhh and the endless running around after my children (lol).

UPDATE: 6 and 1/2 Months in…

Still doing it and loving it!!  Mike has maintained his weight loss and is now at the gym working with a 5×5 muscle building programme and we are both working at Mark’s Primal Movement exercises.  I find it hard to make the exercise a priority so I am working hard to figure out why everything else must come first!  Still the exercise I am doing I really enjoy. I hope to start a new Yoga class this week as I’ve finished the hooping course.

One thing we have been doing is Sprints. Woah!!! It’s totally a full body workout!! Even I have trouble figuring out how 6 20 second sprints up a slight hill feel like I’ve just run a marathon!  Still every time I do it, the first two seem a lot easier.  I hope the next time I update this page that I can manage a few more. Our ultimate goal is to both take part in the Tough Mudder events, ooooohhhhhh such fun! OMG I want to do this.

I am so proud of our girls, we’ve finally removed the last traces of grains from their diets, they take almond/coconut flour based baked treats for school lunch, with bio-yoghurts, fruit and vege.  It hasn’t been easy but they’ve done it and (mostly) willingly.  Still no sore tummy complaints from my youngest and eczema is still gone from my eldest.  They both seem to be more energetic, and I know this sounds completely the opposite but are much calmer at the same time!  Even their teacher has commented on an increased attention span.  The next step is helping them understand how to make the most of eating away from the house, like at parties and at friend’s houses.  It’s just so lucky that we have the most understanding and lovely friends anywhere!!

For me the weight gain has been slow but steady, I had thought perhaps I would have lost more than the 18 lbs that has gone (forever!!). While I am super over the moon about this, I am still feeling sluggish.  I am wondering if this has something to do with having no gallbladder (was removed 5 years ago) and is something I am looking into. I am about to start taking some bile salts so will report back later.  I have been taking Vitamin D3 as well and have just started with some Magnesium and Milk Thistle.  Fingers crossed it all helps.  Plus I have been trying my damnedest to go to bed early WITHOUT reading my phone for emails, updates and tweets right before I try to go to sleep.

Anyhoo, I hope this helps someone else out there going through something similar, it’s not easy at times but it’s worth it.

For more updates on our primal journey, please click here

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I don’t want this to be another 5 minute wonder ‘diet’. I want this to be how we continue into the foreseeable future. I like the fact that we’re eating ‘clean’ about 90-100% of the time, I love that I can have a bad day and not turn to the sweet jar or biscuit packet. I love that I have stopped drinking so much and just drinking because I felt ‘well it’s Friday night so why not!!’. I like feeling more in control of myself and the choices that I’m making about my health. And I love imagining that I will be a super granny one day to my kids’ kids. Particularly as we started our family in our very late 20s. And I especially love that I am finding a huge (and friendly) paleo community out there – loads of great blogs filled with brilliant recipes and advice and honesty.

I am liking, no loving my inner cavelady!