Approximately this time two years ago, I decided conduct a little experiment... just to see how I would feel. When it comes to food and health, I am always tweaking something. I like to read and educate myself, then try things that have worked for others to see if they will work for me. It started when I ran across Mark’s Daily Apple. And then I ran across this, which lead to this here and this other really cool thing.
I decided to “go Primal” for one month to see what would happen.
These are some basic guidelines of the Primal Diet:
- Animals: Meat, fish, fowl, & eggs. Strive for local, pasture-raised, or organic.
- Vegetables: Bulk of dietary emphasis, enjoy in abundance. Strive for locally-grown or organic
- Healthy fats: Butter, coconut oil, avocados, coconut products, olive/olive oil, macadamia nuts
- Moderation foods: Local, seasonal fruits. High-fat dairy. Nuts, seeds, & nut butters. Starchy tubers, quinoa, and wild rice for supplemental carbs if you really need them (i.e. you are really active).
- Sensible indulgences: Red wine and dark chocolate
- Beverages: soda, sport drinks, bottled juices
- Conventional meats: Hormones and pesticides, antibiotics, grain-fed, and nitrates
- Dairy: non and low-fat conventional products
- Fast food: chemically treated, deep fried
- Farmed fish and Atlantic salmon
- Grains: cereal, corn, pasta, rice, crackers, chips, muffins, tortillas, bread – including whole grains!
- Legumes: beans, soy, peanuts, peanut butter
- Oils: Trans/partially hydrogenated and vegetable/seed oils
- Processed/Packaged Snack Food, Sweets, and Condiments
Inner voice: “What?? Give up beans and rice, my main subsistence?? What’s wrong with beans anyway??”
Well, the fact was my digestion was not working properly. I felt I had tried everything... all kinds of herbs and natural remedies and cleanses and so on. I was popping digestive enzymes like an 8-year-old with a bag of Halloween candy. But still no permanent cure. Daily upset stomachs were really cramping my style. A digestive protocol will follow in another post, but for now let’s get back to my experiment.
After going primal, only a short time later I experienced the following major results:
- I no longer had to eat continuously. I could suddenly make it through hour-long meetings at work without having a complete mental melt-down. Currently, I can eat 3 meals a day and feel sustained throughout my day. I can feel hunger and still maintain strong mental and physical performance in dealing with “life.” If I’m too busy to get to my next meal, I can survive an extended period between meals.
- Combined with my daily CrossFit practice, I gained a very healthy 10 or 12 pounds of lean body mass. It should be noted that I still fit in my jeans... (well, mostly). The fact is, I was kinda scrawny, so this weight-gain for me was a *good* thing.
Two years later, the experiment is long over, but I have not gone back to my former dietary ways.
I feel I've run the gamut as far as diets go. I've tried vegetarian, vegan, and raw. I spent half my life eating what the typical American family eats (think Cheerios, pizza, and Rice-A-Roni). And now I am basically a conscious omnivore that stays away from the USDA food pyramid recommended guidelines (6 servings of pasta per day? Really?).
Please note that:
I do not think there is a one-size-fits-all diet (This is MY experience).
I do not think that following this kind of diet is harmful to the planet (stay tuned for another post on how this diet is actually more in-line with a healthy vegetarian/vegan diet than it seems.)
Until then, remember this:
....We are all on our own journey here. My truth is not the same as your truth. But we can all borrow a few gems from here, there, or one’s neighbor for the continual betterment of ourselves and thereby the planet.