Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why Primal?

The question begs to be asked...Why Primal? Why Paleo?

I asked myself the same questions; After all, I was a veghead for over 5 years.  My stance on animals foods was very firmly set in my mind as something that "wasn't food", I didn't even want to eat it!  Sure, I did miss a few of my old favorites, but I was convinced that if I were to eat them, they wouldn't have tasted the same.  This rang true for the cooked foods I went back to after I had been a raw vegan for awhile, so I was fairly certain the same would be for meats.

So what opened the door for me?  Honestly, I went through bouts of orthorexia ( I was in denial of course), thinking that if one crumb of gluten was on my meal, and I accidentally ingested it, it would go through my system like shards of glass. I was terrified! Same with meats and dairy; just one bite and I was certainly bound for pain.  I hadn't even thought about "opening my door" to meats, why would I? I was perfectly happy and healthy as a vegetarian.  Except...I wasn't.  Every day I had terrible heartburn, indigestion, incredible fatigue, horrible menstrual pain(well, monthly!), insomnia bouts, even morning nausea (not pregnancy related, it lasted for months, almost an entire year!). I was miserable! I was depressed! I had a blood test taken, I was very low in my iron stores as well as vitamin D. My B12 was through the roof though, as I was regularly getting B12 injections at the clinic I worked for.  I had gotten a test before, though, a few years prior (the height of my veg*nism), and my B12 was very low.

Anyway, one of my favorite bloggers, a devout raw vegan (also, many other raw vegans were posting about this), was returning to animal and cooked foods.  I thought she was crazy.  I was the type who hates to be wrong, especially since I'd been drilling it into my head(and everyone else's...) that cooked food is poison, especially animal foods, and that I could be fine without them.  I read more and more of her updates, and found she was discovering true health.  She had had a bunch of symptoms similar to mine, and I was curious as to HOW animal products could POSSIBLY be healthy??

Then, one day, a light bulb went off in my head.  Some background: As a teenager, I was obese.  At 5'4'', I clocked in at about 175 at any given day.  I ballooned up to 189.5 at age 18 (I remember being SO relieved I wasn't 190!) before going on a very strict diet that allowed me to drop 30+ pounds and kick-start my massive weight loss. It was on THAT diet that I was eating meat and vegetables. Limited carbs, specific foods, and some kind of meat with every meal.  I thought, well, if it worked for me back then, it just might work for me now!  So, I began my journey.

I don't quite remember exactly how I stumbled upon Paleo/Primal eating; it must've been from the veg boards I was on, funnily enough.  I went to the bookstore and scoured the shelves for something on the Paleo diet. I found The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and read it with great interest. I'd always suspected grains were the subject of my discomforts, but I was in denial. Afterall, what's a veghead supposed to eat if not grains??  I never wanted to give them up! I loved my brown rice, whole wheat breads, and various other grains (did I mention the fears I had about white rice! oy vey, Jenna, get over it!).  Funnily enough, it turns out I was better off eating white rice than brown.  Oh, the irony!!!

The first meaty meal I had to eat was not Primal or Paleo in any sense.  I had a hamburger from The Counter :) with a bun on it.  I haven't been a fan of cheese since I was a vegan in 2005, so I had it without and got grilled onions (my favorite!).  There may or may not have been crispy onions on it :)...  Anyway, I wanted my first meal to be "special" since it had been so long.  Then, I began to eat more Paleo meals.  The next time I got a burger, it was a 2/3 pounder, on top of salad greens, with tomato, onion, grilled onions, bacon, avocado, pickles, with some garlic aioli. I had gotten it to-go, and my hunny and I were on our couch eating at the coffee table, watching South Park or something and I took a big bite of burger with a bit of everything on it and dipped it in the aioli and it was like a taste explosion. I sunk back into the couch and just reveled in the taste.  I thought, "How did I EVER give this up??" It had been so long and I had forgotten how good bacon is, how delicious beef is, and how well they go together. Now I know why people acted so weird when I told them I didn't eat meat! Faux substitutes had always sufficed, but now I can't imagine ever going back, and glad I don't have to!

People have been eating animal products for a long time.  It also turns out that eating saturated fat, even from animals, does not cause heart disease as once thought. Those tests in the 50's were skewed so that cheaper oils like soybean and corn could be used instead.  In fact, heart disease sky-rocketed once those oils started getting used! Bet you can't convince your doctor otherwise, though ;) Watch the documentary 'Fat Head' and check it out!

Anyway, my entire life I suffered with compulsive and binge eating.  Eating until you're over-stuffed doesn't feel good for your body, even if the mouth loves it.  I hated how I felt after over-eating, yet I always wanted more.  When I eat Primal/Paleo meals, I feel satisfied and I know when to stop! In fact, I couldn't keep eating if I tried.  I feel amazing! I get amazing bouts of energy and I bounce all over the place.  It's a great change from wanting to nap after a meal! Or feeling so full I can barely roll around.

Bottom line: I feel amazing eating this way.  And it makes sense to me! I usually do a ton of research before embarking anything new, and eating this way was no different.  More importantly, I use myself as a guinea pig as to how I should eat, and so far, I feel amazing! I'll be using this blog to document my process and see if I can't reach near-perfect health :)  I have a few pounds to lose, so I'll be tracking my weight loss as well. I'm getting married next fall, so I want to look amazing in my dress ;)


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