Happy almost weekend; I’ll have an update about my year without sugar for you soon.
I’ve been thinking about doing something radical when it comes to added sugar and sugary drinks for a while now. Health issues, healthy living, and all things bad for you have been a hot trend lately; the “it” thing to debate about and have opinions on. I suppose I’m no exception on the latter part. I have strong opinions and ideas about what’s healthy vs not, but I’ll spare you the lecture. Suffice it to say, I think added sugar (the kind your personally add to things & the kind companies put in all the foods we buy packaged) and sugary drinks (like soda, sweet tea, bottled lemonade, etc.) are bad for everyone. You. Me. Our neighbors. The guy at the gas station. Your frenemy in book club. Everyone.
A few of things have brought me to this conclusion. First, the Primal lifestyle doesn’t really condone added sugar. This has been one of the hardest parts of Primal (for me), and one aspect I kind of avoided like the plague. That is, until I stumbled upon this gem: a chart about how much sugar is really in all those drinks we know and love (image to the left). It made me want to drop the glass of Coke I’d just ordered with dinner real fast, and rethink the Lava Fudge cake I plan to scarf down for dessert. (I’m scared to think of what a sugar-to-sweet-treat ratio chart might look like.) But the thing that really did it was this video.
The words “paralyze”, “brain”, and “overeating” should never, ever, be in the same sentence together; but they are. Sugar paralyzes your brain’s ability to feel full. And that’s just ONE of the terrible things it does. That fact terrifies me more than anything else. Why this one thing bothers me more than all the rest, I don’t know. But it’s the catalyst for my year-long experiment.
I will say, before I start my project, that I’ve still consumed sugar in drinks and other foods (mainly desserts) over the past few months, probably more than I’d care to admit, all KNOWING what I’m consuming and still doing it anyway. I just feel guilty about it now too.
My guilt, however, has lead me to try something for the next year: an experiment in willpower with a focus on being much more health conscious and driven to achieve my fitness/health goals.
For the next year, ending on June 16th, 2014, I hereby solemnly swear to abide by these mandatory rules and exceptions:
The Manadtory Rules
NO adding sugar to: drinks (like coffee or tea) or any other food that I purchase or make
NO consuming bottled/canned/fountain sugary drinks including: soda, sweet tea, lemonade, seltzer drinks, energy drinks, etc.
NO consuming store-bought or homemade: candy bars, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, or the like
I am allowed ONLY 1 alcoholic drink per week if desired (or needed haha)
I am allowed ONLY 1 night per month where more than 1 alcoholic drink can be consumed, and it is reserved strictly for social functions
I am allowed ONLY 1 piece of semi sweet chocolate per week if desired (or needed)
I am allowed ONLY 1 store-bought/homemade sweet treat per month, and it is reserved strictly for special events
I’ve thought about these rules and exceptions for a long time, bounced my ideas off of other people to get feedback, and feel they are solid & doable rules. I plan to blog about my adventure, and keep you all up to date about how I’m doing. Expect some sugar-deprived rantings every now and then haha. I’m hopeful this will be a breeze, but am realistic about it’s challenges too (a.k.a. this is going to be hard as hell).
Sooo… Wish me luck on my journey!
I’ll talk to ya soon!
P.S. – Can you live without the sugar for a year? Find out with me!
P.P.S. – For more information about why sugar is bad for you, check out these articles:
I know I’ve hinted here and there about working out the Primal way on the blog, but I’ve never actually explained what it is. So! Here we go: the Primal do’s & don’ts of the workout world.
We aren’t born being able to do amazing feats of physical fitness. We have to teach our bodies, and build them up. Take each workout as it comes, do the best you can each day, and move on with it. It’s always going to be a work-in-progress. You will never be “done” with your body. It’s constantly going to be changing and needing work/maintenance. Accepting the incompleteness will set you free.
***[My disclaimer]:The above workouts are my personal, completely unprofessional, unofficially trained opinion. It is a reflection of what I have learned elsewhere. I am not speaking on Mark Sisson’s behalf. I encourage everyone to do whatever feels right. Do as much or as little as you can of each activity, for as long as you can (or want). I encourage wholeheartedly that you push yourself and give it your all, but not to the point where you could do real damage. Don’t hurt yourself, and don’t risk injury. We are only given one body; don’t abuse the privilege. The point is to become HEALTHY. I will note there’s a difference between being hurt, and hurting. Some pain is normal; strain, stiffness, and soreness are the normal results of a hard workout. But if this pain doesn’t subside after a day or two (or gets worse as the days go on), you need to seek medical attention and take a prolonged set of rest days. Always consult a professional or your physician before starting any serious workout/training plan.
It’s happened again. I missed the 21-day challenge on Mark’s Daily Apple. And by a lot. Months! A whole half of a year! Primal fail. Sigh.
I don’t know why I decided to look up Primal Challenges again. For some odd reason, though, I found myself on Mark’s page looking for a new challenge. A challenge I could commit myself to for a “short” period of time to re-energize myself. I haven’t been following all of the guidelines lately, and I’m feeling more drained when I get up in the morning than I do when I go to bed. It’s been like pulling teeth to get out from underneath the covers when the alarm goes off. I would work from my bed if I could. It’s really bad news bears.
I found the 21-day challenge from September of last year. It’s a deviation from the normal 30-day annual challenge, and he explains why it’s different here. I’ve decided to give to accept the challenge, even if I’m months too late. It’s a challenge I’ve attempted a few times (the old 30-day versions), but I have never made it through (Primal 101 failure, argh).
Despite my past incomplete attempts, I’m jumping back in the ring! I need to re-focus of all my attention back to the right workouts, “playing”, de-stressing after work, eating the way I’m supposed to, and sleeping properly. It isn’t going to be easy, but it’ll definitely be worth it.
Want to give it a shot with me?! I know some of you do! C’mon! It’ll be the best thing you could give yourself! Message me with questions, comments, or for support.
I’ve talked about “how” I live my Primal lifestyle before, what I eat and what I avoid, but I want to take a quick second for a refresher post. I’ve had a couple of friends ask me what I eat and how I started Primal, so here’s my “Primal History” and “how-to” guide.
Bexy’s Primal History
The first thing I did when starting out on Primal was cutting out caffeine completely. It was hard. Oh, so hard. I had a terrible caffeine addiction. So terrible that if I didn’t have at least 2 cups a day I was walloped with a doosey of a headache by bedtime. I was working third shift as a substance abuse clinician at the time, so caffeine was my lifeline during those long stretches of quiet. But despite all the odds against me, I did it. I stopped drinking the 64 ounces (or more) of coffee daily, and instead just slept all the time when I wasn’t working. [I should point out here that quitting caffeine isn’t necessarily required. For me, I was badly dependent on the caffeine and the sugar I put into it. It was necessary for me to break this realllllly bad habit first. For others who only have a cup or two now, go for it. It’s all about what works for you.] After the headaches stopped, I felt so much better, even with that one simple change. More energy (weird, right?) and I felt refreshed after sleep as opposed to the caffeine-withdrawal-stupor I was in most mornings.
Next, I moved on to carbs. Removing processed carbs, grains, and pastas from your diet is the cornerstone of the Primal lifestyle. I was dreading this part the most. Like a lot of Americans, I was highly addicted to processed carbs, anything that came with cheese on it, and all things fried. It took me a loooooong time to really get my head wrapped around the idea of not eating carbs, let alone actually stopping them.
I started slow, backing off the number of carbs I ate in a day, gradually decreasing them to the “weight-loss” level. It was a HUGE adjustment, one that I couldn’t have done without support and guidance. Mark’s Daily Apple was a gigantic help, as was the Boy, who was the person that pushed me to give this a try.
I kept up the strict Primal diet for a solid month, dropping 20lbs in 30 days, before I started “cheating” more. I maintained for about 3 months before I started being strict again. I’ve been volleying back and forth between being strict and maintaining for the last year and half. Doing it this way has a)helped me keep the weigh off b)let me not feel deprived, and c)gave me room to breath. Following any diet or lifestyle plan 100% is really, really hard. It takes a LOT of practice and dedication. I know someday I’ll be 100% completely Primal, but I’m not there yet. It took me 23 years to learn the bad habits I have; it’s going to take me a long time to unlearn them.
The first thing I have to stress is: you’re going to have to get outside your comfort zone to do Primal. You won’t be able to stick to the 3 types of veggies you know, or you literally won’t last a week. If you’re super picky or just hate anything new, this isn’t the lifestyle of you.
Second, you are going to have to COOK. Primal food doesn’t come out of a box with heating instructions on the label. This is real cooking with REAL food. If you don’t know how to cook, don’t worry, you can learn (I did!). If you hate cooking, or can’t fathom stepping foot inside your own kitchen, this isn’t the lifestyle for you.
With that said, when I first started Primal I ate a lot of salads. I put different veggies on them, and tried different meats and dressings. It was interesting for a while, but after a few weeks I was really craving a “warm” meal. So what the heck do you make that’s Primal, actually cooked, but doesn’t include carbs? I’m glad you asked!
A typical Primal meal in my house consists of 2/3 veggies and 1/3 protein. The protein can be whatever you like: chicken, steak, fish, tofu, etc. Buy organic & grass fed if you can, since it’s the best for you, but no worries if you can’t (I don’t). The veggies can also be whatever you personally like, but you’re gonna need a lot of it to have a full meal. Having 2 veggies can ease up on the volume of one type you’d need to feel full. Tonight, for example, we had collard greens and carrots. Another staple for us is pan-fried cabbage.
It is here, when you are craving a warm meal, that being adventurous with your food is going to come in handy. Broccoli, carrots and cauliflower will only get you so far. Asparagus, spaghetti squash (ahhmazing substitute for pasta), eggplant, cabbage, bak choy, rutabaga, and turnips are all things your should try if you’re considering going Primal. Green beans, corn, lima beans, potatoes, and the like are all “allowed” on the diet, but should be limited. Some people can’t lose weight and eat these things; I happen to be one of those people (you can find the science behind it on Mark’s here).
Cooking with real butter and olive-oil helps to make you feel fuller longer as opposed to cooking with canola oil or Pam, both of which are highly processed and full of chemicals.
A fantastic shopping list of things to eat and not eat, is here. I used this like my own personal bible when I first started out. Mark also publishes posts regularly responding to people’s questions, so feel free to ask him anything!
Cookbooks are fantastic; Primal Blueprint has several.
The other thing I do, which also really helps with deprivation, is creating Primal versions of the meals I love. Spaghetti, for example, can easily be made Primal buying using spaghetti squash instead of pasta. I’ve made Primal lasagna, Primal tacos, and Primal steak and cheeses. Next on my “to-try” list is potatoes au gratin but made with spaghetti squash! (I’ll let you know how it goes!)
A few other cornerstones of Primal are playing (it’s not just for 6-year-olds anymore), SLEEPING (our college all-nighter days are over), being active, and working out the Primal way. Mark has plenty of tips and tricks for all of these things on his website. For me personally, the biggest and most important thing to change first was my diet. Working out and being active came second. Everything else has just fallen into place.
If weight has been an issue for you your entire life, you’ve never found anything that worked, and/or want a REAL change, Primal is for you. Nothing worked for me long-term til I tried Primal. I think it’s save my life.
To end this long post, here’s a little inspiration: the picture below is me during college, on my graduation, and today. I started Primal 3 months after my graduation. Look at me today. This could be YOU!
Some of you may be wondering how the idea to have an all Primal blog came about. Ever since I started blogging about my adventures in starting my new lifestyle on my old blog, I thought about branching off and just having a Primal blog. I didn’t think it would be that interesting to anyone so I just let the idea fall by the wayside.
A week or so ago I was surfing around on Pinterest and I noticed some pin sources that had Primal in the title. After looking at them all, I was surprised to find that there were a lot of people on Pinterest talking about the Primal Blueprint. One thing led to another and I thought, “why the heck not start a Primal board?!”.
As I was sitting there trying to figure out what to call the board, I thought of the song “This is How I Do it”. It’s a catchy song and earlier in the day I had heard it so the song was fresh in my mind. Thinking also about how I gave a friend of mine some pointers on how to eat Primally, “This is How I Primal” popped into my head. I instantly loved the title. As I was setting up my board I decided I finally needed to take the plunge and start my Primal blog, readers or no readers.
So here we are! Not a very interesting story, but that’s how “This is How I Primal” was born.
You can check out my Pinterest board here. If I find any interesting recipes that I try and like, I’ll be sure to share them here on my blog.
I’m off to cook dinner for my APD rookie. Today was his second day on the job. I think he’s loving it so far, despite the difficulty learning a lot of things in a short period of time.
Talk soon, peeps!
I know you’ve seen them. Those super weird shoes that have individual toes. You probably thought to yourself, “Why would anyone want to wear those?!” or something like, “Freak!” ( It’s okay, I won’t judge you for it). I mean look at them!! They look so so so strange! It’s only natural to reject things like these. I mean for goodness sake, they make your feet look like frog feet. And the colors these things come in… Yikes!
I thought all these things when I first saw them. I mean logically they look like they would be uncomfortable. I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would want to put their toes through something like that. So I wrote them off in my head as silly and pointless.
Well, much to my surprise I wasn’t done with toe shoes yet. When I started getting involved with the Primal Lifestyle I learned that these crazy 5-finger toe shoes were actually not crazy at all, but were an ingenious design created to make it feel like you were walking barefoot. Though I still think they look weird, I have accepted they are beneficial and am hoping to be able to afford my own pair soon. I mean come on, who doesn’t want to walk barefoot all the time?
So I guess I’m about to join the ranks of the frog feet weirdos. Oh well. I’m gonna rock that shit like there’s no tomorrow haha.
I think one of the shittiest things about stopping eating bread, pasta, potatoes, sugar, pretty much all carbs except the ones you get from veggies naturally, is the nasty HORRIBLE headaches that come from it.
I’m a very avid carb lover. Garlic bread. Garlic bread with cheese. Pasta. Pizza. Mac and cheese (homemade and box). Stuffing (homemade and box). Bagels. French fries. Chips. The list could go on forever. Any processed, terrible food for you, I absolutely adore. I swear I was Italian in a past life with how much I love carbs! It’s kinda of ridiculous. Well, there’s no kinda about it. It’s ridiculous. And I can’t explain the love I have for them. I know, logically understand, that they are not good for you. But it doesn’t stop me from craving them. All. The. Time!
I’m trying to let my willpower win out over my desire to eat all of these things, but it’s a constant battle. It sucks! I think if I didn’t get the headaches then it wouldn’t be as bad. But alas, I’m not that lucky. I’ve got to go through the shitty detox just like everyone else starting the Primal Lifestyle. I guess now I sorta understand what my clients go through with their detox. Theirs are worse though.
Just gotta stick with it. It’s worth it, right?……Right. That’s what I keep telling myself.
I’m going to go eat a carrot stick now.
Weight has always been an issue for me. Yes, I know. How original. A girl with a self image/weight issue. Surprise, surprise. But think what you want, and don’t read it if you don’t wanna hear it. I’m gonna talk about it anyway. Ever since I hit middle school and went through the awkward, “kill me know”, teen years, I’ve had this ongoing, love/hate relationship with food. Food became my friend. When everything else was going wrong in my life (or so I dramatically thought at the time), I knew I could count on food to be there for me. It always tasted the same, it never changed. It was the one constant I had and so desperately needed at the time.
Talking with my mother now, she’s told me when I was younger food was not an issue for me. She tried not to make it an issue. I ate what I wanted and then just played extra hard to work it off later. I didn’t know any different. I was a normal kid. But once I got older, I sought my own comfort from food once I saw how my older relatives did it. It all spiraled out of control for about the past 9ish years. My senior year of college I weighed the most I ever have. 217lbs. (Gross!) At 5’7″, I never really looked too over weight, but I was significantly over what was considered “healthy” for my height.
I’ve tried I can’t tell you how many times to change my eating habits enough to lose the weight. I’ve started work out plans and New Year’s Resolutions to, “do better this year!”, or, “do better now!”. But all to no avail. I always seemed to let myself down. Even now, I still have some trouble sticking to what I set my mind to with food plans and healthy eating after about a month or so. I’m gonna work on that haha. The reason why I’m bringing all of it up though is the new “diet”, I prefer to call it a “lifestyle” (how fancy, right?) even though I sound ridiculous saying it, I’ve tried and loved.
The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson has truly changed my life. In the month and half that I really stuck to the Primal eating habits he talked about, I dropped 23lbs!! I’ve been hovering around a solid 194lbs since the beginning of September when I started being “less strict” with what I ate (I started the lifestyle in August). I’ve just been eating SO much less than what I used to. I feel a ton better and absolutely LOVE LOSING WEIGHT! Finally, for the first time ever I’ve lost a significant amount of weight. Now, it’s time to keep going. I’m excited about the prospect of getting to my goal weight, but with the other stresses in my life I’ve very easily let it fall by the way side. Time to find my motivation again!! *Fingers crossed*
So why did I do this? Who did I hear about it? Well, this wonderful, now, boyfriend of mine. In all his internet research he discovered this about 9 months ago. He instantly fell in love with it but couldn’t follow the diet since he doesn’t buy the groceries in his house. So (haha, I bet you were waiting for this), he turned his attention to me to get me to do it, to see if it works. Seems legit enought, right? Well….about that…
At first, I resisted. I resisted hard. I thought it was stupid and absolutely impossible. I refused to listen and bitched about it whenever he would bring it up. He let it slide for about a month, but then he started talking about it again. How beneficial it thought it would be for me, and how great I would look. Of course he made sure I knew I was “perfect” already (yeah sure haha), but that this would just make me a knock-out. After months of him sending me article after article, and droning on and on about it, I finally gave in.
I looked into it. I read the research Mark Sisson puts in all of his articles and, shockingly, I was convinced. Just like that. In a matter of 3 hours, my whole preception of food and eating completely changed. Sure, I still slip, but I am so much more aware of what I’m putting into my body than I ever used to be. Once my life and the hours I work (see the Follies of Working Overnights for the reason I don’t do it too much now, only when I can) are all back to normal, I’ll get back into the lifestyle. I know my parents will support me and help me in whatever way they can. Hell, I might even get them to join in!
Sometimes I ask myself, “What was I thinking?!” by starting this. I miss the breads and the pasta and oh-so-tempting processed foods, but I enjoy feeling great that much more. And looking like a hottie is always a benefit too. I challenge everyone to look into it. Right now, right this second….No, seriously. Right this second. You’ll thank me later.