Monday, January 17, 2011

What are the Rules?

So I've introduced that my family is going to do a February Food Challenge, where we primarily will follow the primal diet.

I'm having some difficulties however in formulating our "rules" for this, especially considering I don't wholesale buy in to the philosophy behind the primal diet. And if I don't completely buy in to it, why on earth are we going to try it at all?? Good question! I first heard about this (admittedly somewhat crazy) primal thing from a fellow blogger. She gave it a try, posted that she found excellent returns for her efforts in health and physique and overall wellness. She's also a great researcher, and has posted compelling evidence that this particular diet can help ward off certain diseases, such as cancer. To me, it's worth giving it a try. Please take the time to read some of her posts. So that's where I heard of it, I am convinced it's worth a try. This blog also points to another, and it sure sounds like the owner of that site may be the "inventor" of the primal diet. Read this article from the which highlights some of the perks of the primal thing - I particularly resonate with reason number 2 - if I don't eat something every 2-3 hours, I get trembly. It would be nice not to have to deal with this.

Now, this is not going to be easy. Overall, we do eat a pretty healthy diet, at least compared to someone who's eating out, drinking their calories (we only drink pop with pizza, which we make at home, 3-4 times per month), or otherwise eating more or less a junk food diet - we really do stick to more wholesome choices, and I prepare in my own kitchen the bulk of it. We even quit buying bread at the store - I bake it myself. But we still eat pretty much a "standard american diet," which, compared to a strictly primal diet means that we have a looooong ways to go! So I'm working out recipes and planning out our meals for February so it truly feels like we're indulging in healthful meals, rather than missing out. But what rules will I come up with for what Primal means to our family?

  1. We will eat primarily vegetables, and a variety of them
  2. We'll also eat fruit, but try not to go overboard, because they're higher in sugar
  3. We'll eat plenty of meat. But I am not afraid of conventionally raised meat....we won't be falling for the "organic" stuff.
  4. Something about healthy fat here.....not real sure I quite comprehend the primal-thinking on this one.
  5. We'll drink a lot of water. And UNsweetened tea. Black coffee?? I already drink it without sugar, but do I really need to get rid of dairy??
  6. If we are invited as guests to dinner - we'll happily eat what we're offered. But we really don't get out much, so this shouldn't impact the experiment too much, I think.

  1. We will cut out sugar - including white and brown sugar, molasses, honey, artificial sweeteners - no sweets in February!
  2. We will cut out grains. In February. Not sure at this point how long that will last - In March we'll likely start again to eat the corn we put up in the freezer, we'll likely try some soaked grains, including oatmeal - maybe we'll try some gluten-free bread recipes? But we'll do it slowly, one at a time, and see the results. And most likely sparingly - probably only when we know we're going to be working hard outside. But we'll stay strictly without for the duration of our food challenge.
  3. We'll cut out legumes. Although I struggle with whether Peanut Butter, peas, and beans are really all that bad for you.
  4. We'll reduce dairy as much as possible.
  5. Continue to focus on keeping toxins out of our environment and off of our skin. (more on this in a future post - not sure it's really a "primal-ism")
  6. We'll focus on the idea that this food challenge is NOT about going without, but about intentionally choosing what we eat.
Obviously, this is a work in progress. The blog I mentioned earlier has some delicious-looking recipes posted which we'll try, and I've been combing the web for more gems. I'll post up our menus when we get them finalized, and keep posted on any results.

The biggest thing that will be a challenge is the "carb flu" I've read about - the primal people say that when you stop feeding your body lots of carbohydrates, and replace it with fat as fuel, it takes a while to get used to. But that once you do, you no longer feel hungry every 3 hours (like I do now...) and will come out of that feeling and looking healthier. Based on the amount of biscuits and breads and cookies and brownies and noodles and pot pies that we are now used to eating, I'm actually wondering whether just one month going without sugar and grains will be enough to get past this so-called carb flu. We'll see - maybe we'll extend it if we have to. Life is a work in progress, and I've learned not to be ashamed if experience says a change of plans needs to be made.