Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Going Primal

Living in the sticks, spending all day outside, running barefoot through forests.... er.. actually not.  Too many ticks, and even in sandals I end up stabbing my foot with twigs.  The title is just fun to say.  It's actually referencing a diet/lifestyle that I've been researching and giving a shot at for the last few weeks.  While science hasn't given me a solid enough theory with solid enough proof for me to buy that we evolved from proteins, the theories behind the Paleo Diet and the Primal Blueprint just make sense to me.  The basic gist is that human beings are/were meant to be hunter-gatherers, not live on grain, processed meats and sugars, and basically all the crap we've been eating since we became agriculture-based as a society.  Translate that into the modern day where we eat almost nothing but processed foods grown across the planet, covered in pesticides, and packaged with chemicals no one can pronounce.  And we're appalled at and confused by obesity and type II diabetes in children.

So all that about processed foods is something that I've had issue with since I was a kid. My mom's always been good about buying more natural, healthier foods, and when I was out living on my own I did what I could to buy less processed foods as well.  In Japan it was a bit harder because I couldn't always read what was in the packaging, but aside from the occasional chips and pizza (and of course my daily coke), I mostly made my own stir fries with rice because it was cheapest.  My first year in Japan I ate for crap.  Mostly rice, some fried foods, coke every day, and whatever I could get my hands on because I didn't have the money or means to make my own food.  I was 123 when I left in the fall, size 7.   Nine months later I was 123 and easily fit into a size 5 with some room to spare.  The difference?  Well, I walked everywhere, danced a lot, and was insanely active.  Looking back, I also ate next to no bread, my only sugar was in coke, and processed or otherwise, I ate a ton of meats and veggies.  The last year I lived there I peaked at 136 but was still a size 6.  I was less active and ate more pizza (I lived on it for a month after the earthquake).  When I came back last spring I wanted to lose that extra ten pounds, so I actively tried to eat better and somehow gained ten pounds.  In the fall I really started exercising and counting calories... and gained another ten pounds and two sizes over the winter.

I'm about halfway through Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint (book), and looking back on the last year, the biggest difference in my eating, despite trying to eat healthy, was a lack of red meat and a lot of grain in the form of bread, pasta, tortilla shells, and popcorn (my "healthy" snack).  I still generally kept under my "weight loss calorie count," but it, obviously, didn't work.  It may be pseudo-science,  I'm not a scientist and neither is Sisson, but I recognize a good argument with good research, and Sisson's argument that grains are toxic is pretty solid in my eyes.  I'd like to see some counter arguments, but in the mean time, I'm willing to give it a try.  His argument that high-fat meats are better for humans than vegetable oils runs so counter to what I've always learned that, despite being well argued and well researched, I'm having a little more trouble with that one.  Still, I'm willing to give that a try as well.

So, since this is getting long, let me wrap up the last few weeks.  I weighed in at 155 three weeks ago when I cut out grain products, or at least started trying to.  July 4 was the last time I had any grain (hamburger bun at my work barbecue) and it's been four or five days since I've drank anything but water.  I'm eating nuts, fruits, veggies, and lots and lots of red meat.  I'm avoiding chicken as much as possible because the hormone injected jumbo chickens scare me and taste gross.  What refined sugar I'm getting is incidental in a couple of the nuts I've been eating (chocolate roasted almonds which I try to limit and the coconut flakes I mixed in with the protein bars I made on Monday - I couldn't find unsweetened).  My results after a week of seriously doing this and two weeks of kinda doing it?  Yesterday I weighed in at 149, my skin is starting to clear up, my nails are growing again, and my almost-daily headaches are gone.  Six pound loss aside (it still could be muscle loss or water weight in my book), the only time my head hurts is when I don't put my glasses on right away.  That's it.  No migraines, not even a dull throb for at least two weeks.  My head doesn't hurt!!  Sold, right there.

So, I'm not done reading Primal Blueprint, but I'll update again when I finish.  I hope my readers, especially my family, take a minute to think about the ideas here.  For me, not having a constant headache is worth giving up sandwiches and fussing a bit more with food.  My family's pretty long-lived, but we're not very healthy for all that.  I want to be 100+ and healthy, not in a nursing home waiting to die, and I want my family and friends around with me.  So, yeah, just think about it.  I have to go make my lunch/dinner for work now - squash, broccoli, carrots, and ground beef in spaghetti sauce.. don't knock it till you've tried it.  The only better one I've come up with is all that in taco seasoning. ^_~

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