One Month In

It’s been close to a month since I started the Primal journey. I feel like a different person with much more energy and focus day-to-day.  Plus, I’ve been trying to eat items that are organic, cage-free, or grass-fed.  I can’t really tell a difference taste-wise, but I know they’re more nutritious.

It really hasn’t been that difficult choosing to eat Primal foods when I’m on my normal schedule. It’s more challenging, though, once my routine is thrown off. What I’ve realized, though, is that it’s totally okay to splurge every once in a while, as long as the 80%/20% rule still is into play. This really prevents binge sessions that completely derail all progress.

I’m staying consistent with losing about a pound a week, even with our recent vacation. I used to be irritated when my weight loss progress was this slow, but I’m totally okay with it now. I’m focusing on getting healthy first and weight loss second. Plus, my husband and I are training for a triathlon, so that’s motivating, too.

So, if any of you have any questions about how to begin your Primal journey, feel free to ask away! Not that I know everything about it, but I definitely would appreciate the opportunity to pay it forward. 🙂

Fasting Progress

For the first time, I worked out today without eating breakfast beforehand and actually felt pretty good! 

Had to go to have some blood work done this morning, which required me to fast. I knew it was going to be a busy day, so I had two options: go straight to CrossFit or not work out at all today. I chose the first option.

I anticipated a super sluggish effort today, but I was only a bit slow during the warmup. Once I got going, I felt like normal… Maybe even better because food wasn’t digesting in my stomach while I was working out. Sometimes that can put a damper on your workout, especially if you feel the need to puke. 😝

This isn’t going to be a daily thing, but it really was an eye-opener seeing that my blood sugar levels are more stable than previously. The “primal” way encourages occasional/rare fasting to regulate your system, so at least I know that my body can handle fasting through one meal! 

Progress is progress, no matter how small. 😉

80% Primal… with Panera’s Broth Bowls

As we all know, it’s sometimes very difficult to choose “fast food” meals that adhere to our primal lifestyle, other than the normal chicken and vegetables combination (insert yawn here). Luckily, there’a solution that falls in the 80% primal category. My husband and I went to Panera a few days ago and discovered their new broth bowls that are very close to my primal nutrition goals. There are two different types, but only one really sounded appealing to me. I was apprehensive at first because I normally only try new dishes once I’ve seen a picture of them, but my gut told me to go for it. I’m super glad that I did because my dish was delicious!

I’ve always considered Panera to be a restaurant that is moving in the right direction when it relates to food sources. Their chicken is raised without using antibiotics, and they use cage-free eggs. They use a lot of organic products (quinoa, for example), and their food is always fresh. They even have a “Eating Well, Your Way” menu for those who are vegetarian, gluten-intolerant, vegan, etc. Plus, they always post the calories of every food on their menu, supporting their “translucent menu” campaign. Pretty impressive strides for a food chain. That’s probably why they always have a packed house throughout the entire day…and why you can’t ever find a parking spot there.

So, back to the dish… I tried out the Lentil Quinoa Bowl with Chicken. The broth made my taste buds host a dance party, and the flavor of all of the other ingredients was phenomenal. It almost had a vegetable soup taste, but with lots of extra seasonings. The chicken was sliced perfectly, too. I absolutely hate thick-cut chicken in soups or other similar dishes because it makes them becoming an overbearing ingredient, so this was definitely a pleasant surprise. No flavors or items in the soup were overbearing – they all blended flawlessly.

Broth Bowl at Panera

This particular soup is also available with a hard-boiled egg, but that did not sound appetizing to me. Maybe it will to you, though. If you try it, just don’t gag like I did when I recently re-tried beef jerky. Ugh. That stuff is disgusting.

Other than the bowl not being completely primal, there is one major drawback: sodium intake. This bowl has 1370 mg of sodium… wowzas, that’s a lot!  Plus, if you’re trying to tone down the number on the scale, the carb amount in this meal is probably the amount you’d allow for two meals. An exception every once in a while is allowed… don’t forget that.

So, if you’re running errands and can’t get back to a home-cooked meal for lunch or dinner, try this out. You’ll be glad you did!

Disclaimer: This dish would not be something you’d want to enjoy every day due to it not adhering to the primal lifestyle and having such a high sodium content. However, when you’re on the go or in a hurry, it’d definitely be a tasty alternative if you didn’t pack a lunch. It’s much better than all of that processed food thousands of Americans eat every day. Of course, the best foods to enjoy are ones you’ve prepared yourself! Just saying…

Transition Update

I’m now about a week and a half into the Primal transition. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m enjoying the changes I’m seeing!

The first day was so incredibly tiring. I felt like I’d been hit by a Mac truck because I was incredibly lethargic. No energy + low carbs = no workout. The second day, however, was fantastic! I felt more “normal” and was even able to go to CrossFit that day. Now that I’ve had a little while to reflect on how I’m feeling, I’ve noticed three main changes:

Energy: I have WAY more energy than when I was just eating whatever was in front of me. This energy is sustained throughout the day, and I no longer experience the dreaded afternoon drop.

Appetite: I used to feel like I had to eat snacks between each major meal, but my body isn’t signaling that it needs those anymore. I can go longer amounts of time without stuffing my face.

Indigestion: This used to be such an aggravating sleep inhibitor, but I’m haven’t had this since I started this transition. Yay!

On top of these changes, I’ve lost about 3 pounds. Doesn’t sound like much, but in a week and a half, I think it’s pretty darn awesome. Of course, it’s probably water weight, but I’ll take it!

Stay tuned for more updates… 🙂

Primal Peachy Lemon Ice Cream and Topping

Many people believe that going Primal or Paleo requires you to give up all delicious foods. That may be the truth for some things, but ice cream (luckily) is not one of them.

I randomly found the Red, White, and Blue Primal Ice Cream recipe by Cavewoman Cafe and thought it was a great alternative to the “other stuff” you get at the supermarket. After making a few changes to it, I came up with this concoction:

Primal Peachy Lemon Ice Cream and Topping

peachy lemon ice cream

Peachy Lemon Ice Cream
Makes 5-7 servings

3-4 small peaches (can substitute for any fruit)
2 cups of whole milk (can substitute coconut or almond milk for a different taste)
1/2 cup of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
1 lemon’s zest and juice

After you have peeled the peaches, cut them into small pieces and place them into a large mixing bowl. Using a fork, mash the peaches until they are the desired consistency you want for the ice cream. Add the milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and lemon to the mixture and stir. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart ice cream maker and allow it to process until it achieves a soft serve consistency.

Lemon Whipped Topping
Makes 10-15 servings
NOTE: Since this makes such a large bowl of whipped topping, you may want to refrigerate what is left over and use as a topping for a pound cake, tea, or something similar.

1 pint of heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 lemon’s zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Using a handheld mixer, mix the heavy whipping cream, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and lemon extract until you achieve the appropriate consistency. Make sure you gently increase the speed of the mixer to thicken the topping’s consistency. Add the lemon zest afterward and stir together.

Presentation
Scoop two heaping spoonfuls of the peachy lemon ice cream into a serving bowl. Put a small dollop of the whipped topping on top of the ice cream and enjoy!

 Nutritional Information

   
 

The Start of Something New

Tomorrow is the day that I start this year-long experiment that I hope will carry on even past that time. I’m motivated to get this shindig started.

Before we dig into this 365-day journey, I feel like it’s important to understand the basics of the Primal lifestyle. It is similar to the Paleo lifestyle, but Primal is a bit more well-rounded since it applies to all elements of life and not just nutrition. To read about Mark Sisson’s 10 laws of the Primal Blueprint, go to this link: Definitive Guide to the Primal Blueprint. The main gist of it is that I’m giving up grains, sugar, and activities that have a negative impact on my health. Who knows, maybe even this will help my hypothyroidism so that I don’t have to take medicine every day for it.

This whole journey is about choices, some of which will be more difficult than others. I feel pretty confident in my ability to choose to exercise, make time to just play, and get outside to soak up some rays. Where I am going to struggle, however, is with nutrition and getting enough sleep. I’m going to have to be conscious of the decisions I make throughout the day so that I don’t set myself up for failure.

It’s going to be super difficult to make appropriate nutrition choices when food preparation is out of my control. Because of this, I’m allowing myself three “cheats” through the week. I won’t think of these as three cheat meals – they’re just three small things throughout the week that I can add so that I don’t get off track. This could range from some tortilla strips on a salad to a gluten-free pizza from Uncle Maddio’s (my FAV). I could use all three of the cheats in one sitting, space them out, or not use any of them. By November, I’ll take it down to two cheats per week, and then by April, there will only be one.  Maybe by next July, I won’t feel like I need any!

So, my food sources are ready, my mind is right, and I feel like I’m good-to-go. All I need is a cave and a spear. Wait… never mind about that.

So, I had this crazy idea…

I’ve been reading Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint, and I thought to myself, “Why not do a year-long experiment and see if the Primal lifestyle really works?” Since my yearly appointment with my Endocrinologist is coming up at the end of July, I thought that would be a great place to finish. I initially wanted to start this change after my appointment, but hey, why not start now? Monday, June 29, 2015 is the day. I’ll still use my blood work from the appointment as my baseline reading, but I’ll go ahead and measure my weight, body fat percentage, and blood pressure reading on Monday. I’ll compare it to the same readings at my 2016 appointment…which will happen about one month before I turn 30. That’s even more motivation! Now, any scientific-minded person will know that there are too many independent variables (I’m making several changes, not just one) and a much too broad dependent variable to conduct a true experiment, but at least I will be able to determine if the numbers are in the healthy range. I’ll post the 2015 readings as soon as I have the appointment, and I’ll do my best to post an update once a week that will include both quantitative and qualitative observations. I’ll also include some recipes that I use throughout the year and important things I’ve learned along the way. Stay posted (no pun intended) for an update!