March 11, 2012

Day #55 or something?

I started on January 15th, so it’s almost been two months.

For the most part, I have been eating Primally. I have had a few slip-ups that snowballed into two or three days of mostly non-primal eating. How difficult it was to stop and go back to Primal was a testament, for me, of how addictive the properties of grains and sugars can be. I also got some Girl Scout Cookies. I got too many. :-/ They were still good, but Samoas (or the more PC Caramel deLites, as they’re now called) didn’t taste quite as good as before – mostly just really sweet, with undertones of chocolate, caramel, and coconut. The same goes for foods like pizza – mostly just salty, with cheese undertones. Kind of bland, TBH. It’s a little heartbreaking, given how much I loved pizza before. I would say, on the whole, the degree to which I enjoy ‘junk’ foods such as cookies, pizza, nachos, et cetera, has lessened dramatically.

Luckily, Primal foods are so full of fat and spices that it’s all quite flavorful. The only ‘junk’ foods that usually taste just as good to me are sodas (interestingly, less Mountain Dew now, more Dr. Pepper – Mountain Dew is just a little too sweet for me now) and movie popcorn, popped in canola oil. I know canola is a terrible oil, but popcorn popped in coconut oil is just gross. So, since I only have it at the movies, I’m going to keep it around for now. I feel that overall, soda and popcorn (corn products) have fewer adverse effects on me than wheat products.

However, the soda slope is slippery for me; once I have one, the sweet cravings come back very strong. It’s very much like an addiction in that I’ll get a false sense of security because the cravings are gone (because I haven’t had any), I’ll think, ‘I can enjoy just one,’ and then the cravings are back and so difficult to beat. So, for now, NO SODA! I’m really not sure I will ever be able to have one and be satisfied and not experience cravings the next day (or even later the same day). Movie going is such a major part of my life, though, that the ritual of popcorn and a soda seems integral. I realize this is just disgustingly effective marketing and I have been somewhat brainwashed to feel that it’s hard to enjoy one’s movie-going experience without snacks, but nevertheless, I now feel that way. I did find a recipe called ‘Low Carb “Popcorn,”‘ made from eggs, cream cheese, and cream of tartar, so I might try making those some time, even though I don’t really do cheese. I realize there is a certain hypocrisy in not trying them because they have dairy, given that real popcorn is not at all Primal. I guess, in my mind, popcorn is less processed than cream cheese, although I must admit I have no idea how cream cheese is made.

So, to date, I have lost 7+ pounds, in nearly two months. I attribute this slow weight loss to my cheat days, and those damn girl scout cookies, which are all gone now. This has been a learning experience, and I’m optimistic that I will be less likely to have these relapses, and if I do, it would be for one meal, not two or three days. I plan on taking pictures on the 15th, and hopefully I’ll be able to see a difference; last time I couldn’t see much of a difference, I think.

February 2, 2012

Day #19

Well, I don’t know if it’s because I may not have gotten enough sleep, or if it’s from LL yesterday, but I have been super tired all day long. And craving a soda! I didn’t go to jiu jitsu, partially because I was tired, but mostly because I felt pretty beat up from Monday and Tuesday night classes.

I made these bacon meatballs over the course of last night and tonight, and despite using this weird bacon (different brand than I usually get), these were really good. I don’t know if I overworked the meat or left them in the oven a little too long, but they were just a touch dry. But still awesome. I also made the sauce mentioned at the end…when I was letting it simmer for the first hour, the tomatoes nearest the bottom of the pot burned, badly. Like, blackened. I think it added a little burnt flavor to the rest of the sauce, but it was still good.

I have not even been up twelve hours and I’m almost falling asleep sitting here on the couch! Good heavens. In other news, the people I went to high school with are largely complete idiots.

February 2, 2012

Day #18

In keeping with my decision to allow the occasional indulgence (for now, it’s weekly, we’ll see how that works), I went to Lunchbox Laboratory yesterday with a friend. LL is home to the BEST burgers I have ever had, hands down. They bypass previous favorites – Clover  “EGGS EGGS” Grill in NOLA, Croissant Cafe in Anchorage – without so much as a backward glance. They use excellent, very high quality ingredients (particularly the beef). They moved last year to a new, bigger location, and I would say they are at 90% of their former awesomeness. In my opinion, the victims are the tators tots (and potentially other fried things I haven’t tried) and the toasted buns. They’re using the same buns, but it seems that they are now coating them with oil to do the toasting – you can taste it on the bun, and it doesn’t taste good. The tator tots, which used to be irresistible, are now kind of boring. But the most important thing – the burgers and their toppings – remain largely excellent. Phew.

But, the point of this post is to gauge my reaction immediately after and now, over 24 hours later. Immediately afterward, I felt terrible. I ate way too much, so I had that gross feeling, and I think the fried vegetable oil made me feel nauseous. That eventually went away, after a few hours, and today I think I feel fine. I suppose I feel a little more tired than I should, and I am craving soda, but no inexplicable aches and pains (just the usual aches and pains from BJJ!). I’ll continue to monitor how I feel post-indulgence.

Speaking of soda. I had one last Tuesday, and one yesterday. I’m trying to gauge my cravings for soda in relation to my indulgences. For a few days before yesterday, I had basically no cravings for soda. After BJJ last night, I had a huge craving. When I woke up today I craved some hard core. I am excellent at talking myself into things, so it’s important to keep a close eye on whether I’m talking myself into giving into a craving, or whether I’m being honest with myself about thinking an indulgence would just be a pleasant experience.

So now that I’ve been Primal for two and a half weeks, I’ve lost at least 5 pounds so far – I suspect more but so far it is not reflected on the scale, which I am attributing mostly to exercise and, well, digestive contents.

January 26, 2012

Day #11 – movie night follow up

Today, approximately 24 hours after seeing the movie and eating some crap, I had some stomach upset, and have had a headache this evening. I also feel more congested than I think I did yesterday. I don’t know if I should necessarily attribute all of those things to eating a bunch of corn products, but I’ll be sure to make a note of the next time I have these types of maladies.

So far, for food today:

My version of alambres
1/3 of a banana – I was peeling it and the other 2/3rds  just broke off and fell on the carpet. I can’t put that in my mouth.

Scallops and Leeks in Champagne Sauce (French Women Don’t Get Fat has a lot of good recipes that are basically primal or easily converted, by the way, and I’ve liked all the recipes I’ve tried.) And god damn those scallops were expensive as shit. I should not have asked for eight (I only used four tonight). Oh, I also used only ghee, no olive oil. The scallops in ghee where amaaazing.

I’m about to have something else because I’m hella hungry. Maybe reheat the rest of my alambres and take care of the raspberries and blueberries in the fridge. Or maybe I’ll make a coconut milk smoothie…who can know? That sounds good.

January 25, 2012

Day #10

Despite only going to jiu jitsu twice over the past ten days, and being basically 100% sedentary the rest of the time with a terrible sinus infection, I’ve lost 3.4 pounds. It was the sickest I’ve been in a long time, a disease graciously donated by my roommate. Perhaps all of a sudden being no carbs, no sugar, no dairy made things worse, I don’t know. But I’m feeling better now.

On Saturday, I went to a dual birthday party thrown by my former roommate and her boyfriend. She is an incredible baker and cook, so I decided, as it was a super special occasion and I rarely have access to her concoctions, I would have one of the chocolate merlot cupcakes she made. It was very, very good – dense, not crumbly, and not super big. Even better, it didn’t have frosting, more of a little bit of glaze – I hate frosting. Surprisingly, I found it a little too sweet – good thing it wasn’t very big. I also had two corn chips, one with spinach artichoke dip (she made that) and one with queso (I just love liquid cheese). That was the extent of my cheating. Afterward, my roommate and I went out and I had a bunch of Primal food at a restaurant here in Seattle called Peso’s, where they apparently feel comfortable charging $6 for two large sea scallops.

So, after we got home, my stomach was rumbly, and I had heartburn. The next evening, my left hip and leg were sore, and I realized I hadn’t felt that at all the entire week prior. That’s something I attributed to having short legs that sometimes cause my feet to not touch the ground when I sit on couches, putting more stress on my hip and knee (why it would only be the left side, I don’t know). It was bothering enough that I took some ibuprofen, and have felt fine since.

Today, I went to jiu jitsu. I have been thinking a lot about whether I should really be going 100% on the diet 100% of the time. I decided it probably wasn’t necessary to ensure success, and I felt that I wasn’t likely to use one indulgence as a gateway consumption to backslide. So, since I have been missing popcorn so, so much, AND wanting to see a movie, that I decided I’d go to one of the Landmark theatres around town, get both, and also get a soda. They have some of the best popcorn, IMO. On the way there, I realized their nachos sounded really, really good too. Salty, crispy, and liquid cheese. I got all of these things – nachos, a small soda, and a kid size popcorn (maybe 3-4 cups?). For both the nachos and the popcorn, they didn’t taste as good as I remembered. Did they always taste that way? Did the nachos just not have enough salt? Did I just get a dull batch of popcorn? I don’t know. I will have to test this next at Majestic Bay, where they have my favorite popcorn in the city. As for the soda – I’ve been craving Coke in particular, despite Mountain Dew being my poison of choice, so that’s what I got (not that they had Mountain Dew anyway – although Majestic Bay does!). It was quite sweet. Obviously, soda being sweet is nothing new, but I think maybe I did find it a bit excessively sweet.

I debated ‘cheating.’ I was worried I might be using it to give into cravings, but that’s not how I felt – I didn’t have a super strong, crazy craving for any of those things (despite missing them), and would’ve been okay not having them, too – that’s what really made me think it would be okay to indulge. Now it’s been one minor cheat, followed by a considerable cheat three days later. That’s got to be enough cheating for a while.

Within ten minutes of starting to eat the popcorn and drink the soda, I felt a little headache, specifically on the right side near the front of my head. I haven’t had any headaches since the caffeine reduction headaches back at the beginning (and sometimes I wake up with one, if it’s been ~24 hours since my half a caffeine pill), and my stomach got rumbly. Now, after the movie, I feel a little bloated, but otherwise okay. We’ll see how I feel over the next couple days. Maybe I am ruined for movie concessions completely!

Besides that, today I’ve had a banana, a kiwi, and my own alambres concoction. Senor Moose, one of my faaaavorite restaurants in Seattle, and my favorite Mexican restaurant ever, offers this Oaxacan dish. It is listed on the menu as “Shredded beef, chorizo, bacon, green bell pepper, and poblano chile grilled together and topped with cheese. Served with refried beans.” I made mine with pulled pork that I made yesterday (it was lackluster, unfortunately), bacon, chorizo, and onion. I threw in some other spices but didn’t have any peppers or chiles. Oh, and obviously, no cheese, and no refried beans. It was not the same as Senor Moose’s dish, but it was good, and I wanted to use up my lackluster pork. This is a good way to do that. I just fried the bacon until it was partially cooked, threw in the chorizo and onions, and then when that was cooked, added the pulled pork and let that all fry together for a while.

Another difference I have noticed since starting is that when I get hungry, I’m not gripped by a need to eat IMMEDIATELY. Not only that, but I don’t have really strong cravings for anything, including carb stuff. That is a really lovely change. I am naturally not overeating, because I’m not hungry. This is awesome!

January 25, 2012

Day #3 (1/18/12)

2.5 eggs & 2/3 louisiana hotlink scramble, prepared in a little bit of bacon grease
1 apple
1 pear
water with lemon

ah, I forget what else I had this day! oh well, that’s bound to get boring.

January 18, 2012

Day #2

3 slices uncured bacon, pan fried – ~3 oz, 1/4 of $6.50 package = $1.63
2 eggs, fried in the bacon fat (I love using one pan!) – unsure of original cost, I’ll round up and say $.50/ea = $1.00
1 kiwi – $.78
1 banana – 4 oz @ $.98/lb = $.25

Total cost for breakfast: $3.66. What a deal! I’d spend more on that per day to meet my fountain Mountain Dew fix.

~7 oz fresh rock fish, sauteed in bacon grease, with the remaining sauce from yesterday
A couple handfuls of baby spinach, golden raisins, and almonds prepared with bacon grease
Raw broccoli – I don’t know if it’s my tastebuds or what but after the first few limbs it started tasting really bitter. It’s been ages since I’ve had raw broccoli, does it always taste like that?

Snack: Walnuts

I strained the bacon fat at breakfast through a mesh strainer but there’s still bits of stuff in it. Do I need an even finer mesh strainer? I guess I’ll just use it up really fast. Hopefully. There was a considerable amount of fat from just those three slices; I’m excited to start using animal fat regularly! I like ghee a lot so far, but maybe it won’t even be necessary, which would be nice since a small jar (unsure of size, 8 or 12 ounces?) was almost $6.

I went to a jiu jitsu class tonight, where we did escapes from back mount. Whether you’re attempting to escape or attempting to restrain your partner, it requires a fair amount of exertion. At least, for me it does! Typically, after a class, I would go get a Mountain Dew. This was my first class since going primal, and I certainly had a sweet craving afterward. However, I wasn’t hungry at all, and in fact think I ate too close to class because afterward I was tempted to vom (this feeling has happened before, it’s my own fault), so I’m going to ignore the beast.

I started getting a headache last night, and have had one ever since. It got painful last night, and then when I got up today I popped half a caffeine pill and it’s still there, but not as bad. That’s 100mg of caffeine; I’m not sure how much I’d been getting before but that’s the equivalent of a little less than 24 ounces of Mountain Dew. I’m sure I was drinking twice that per day when I was not restricting myself to one fountain soda. So, perhaps it is just caffeine withdrawal. Hopefully, at some point, I can cut my caffeine pills down even further and eventually stop them. But given the terrible headaches I’ve gotten in the past when trying to drop caffeine, I’m not going to take that on just yet.

Oh, I also had a dream that I was eating a cheeseburger. This wasn’t a craving dream; in it, I was like, ‘Wait, what am I doing? Why did I decide to eat this? It’s on a bun!’. I was really confused what rationale led me to be eating a cheeseburger. Incidentally, it was from Lunchbox Laboratory, which makes the best burgers I have ever, ever had, and they do use really good buns. But I don’t go there for the buns, so they don’t have to be completely off the table! I will really, really miss their mini corn dogs. Also the best corn dog of any size I have ever had. I’m not huge into corn dogs, but I think they put heroin in that amazing sweet white corn batter. I better stop thinking about them.

January 16, 2012

Day #1

Here I go. Time to get primal. Very intimidating. I have dedicated myself to 100% for 30 days!

3/4 louisiana hot link sausage from local company, uncured, fried in some butter (hadn’t gotten the ghee yet)
1-1/3  free range eggs, prepared in the remaining butter and fat from the sausage (oh my god, they were amazing)
1 kiwi
1 banana

Coconut Dream beverage (unsweetened)

Buttery Catfish in Creamy Shallot Sauce: ~7 oz. catfish prepared in shallots sauteed in olive oil and ghee, with pan debris, coconut milk, and lemon juice sauce. I even managed to burn most of the shallots (what am I doing wrong? I halved the recipe and used a small pan but they still burned), and it still tasted awesome. I inadvertently used the entire 1/2 cup of coconut milk the recipe called for, instead of 1/4th cup, meaning the lemon juice in it was half of what was called for – I recommend this change, as it was plenty lemony. The sauce was amaaaaazing. I highly recommend this recipe.
Kale, prepared with garlic sauteed in olive oil, but I managed to burn it so I didn’t eat much.


2 eggs fried in ghee
1 navel orange

The Primal Blueprint suggests consuming certain fruits in moderation due to the sugar content, but as I train Brazilian jiu jitsu 4-5 times a week, I will, initially, consume fruit indiscriminately. As long as it’s accompanied with plentiful vegetables. Okay, so far, not doing great on that front, but I haven’t strayed so far from being Primal.

Besides having a headache and being kind of tired, I feel fine. No huge carb cravings…yet. Anyone who knows me knows three things: 1) I am addicted to caffeine, 2) I don’t drink coffee or tea, and 3) I love Mountain Dew. I’m going to hold off on confronting the caffeine addiction, but obviously the Mountain Dew part had to go. I have been attempting to answer the craving for sweetness with fat – part of telling your brain, “look, buddy, we’re going to use FAT as fuel from now on, not glucose, so get used to it,” and have so far managed to do that and have the craving satisfied. Brain and body, I have faith in you! You have treated me very well despite the crap I have fed you, so I have no doubt that you’re going to pick up what I’m laying down ASAP now that I’m giving you awesome stuff.

Wish me luck!