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Mark’s Daily Apple recently had a contest; he posted 10 questions and asked readers to send their answers so he could compile everyone’s wisdom and experience in an ebook to help people who are transitioning to a Primal lifestyle. He did this before and apparently had so much successful feedback from it he decided to give it another go. I submitted answers to some of his questions (I’m a sucker for contests) and decided to post my answers to Two Tables. I hope my experiences might help you on your journey, or maybe inspire you to look into a Primal lifestyle.
- How do you keep costs down eating Primal?
As a graduate student, this was my biggest concern when Sean and I decided to go Primal. First we got rid of cable. When some people find out we don’t have cable they look at us like we are crazy and say they “would miss blah-blah-blah too much”. To be honest, I don’t miss it. There is always a better way for me to be spending my time than watching TV. Going without cable gives you extra money each month to spend on some good, local food.
Also, local, in-season veggies aren’t expensive. We bought a CSA share for the summer and during the winter we buy most of our produce from the Farmer’s Market. And sometimes (if we don’t think the taste will be compromised) we substitute fresh veggies with frozen ones. We use frozen fruits and greens for making smoothies and use frozen cauliflower to make cauliflower “rice”.
We are also trying to reduce our meat portions at meals. Before going Primal, I would try to make sure my plate consisted of a meat with a side of veggies. Now I’m trying to make that a little less meat and two sides of veggies. In the same fashion we have instituted “Meat-less Mondays” at our house.
We also buy the cheaper cuts of grass-fed beef at our local farm, they just need a little more love (which a crock-pot is really good at providing). Our farm’s grass-fed beef is cheaper than the grass-fed beef you find at Whole Foods, and for certain things like ground beef our local farm’s grass-fed beef price is actually comparable in price to the grocery store’s grain-fed beef.
- How often do you snack, and what do you snack on?
Before going Primal I used to snack all the time; I would have a snack between breakfast and lunch, and then 1-2 more snacks between lunch and dinner. When I first switched to Primal I would snack on unsalted raw nuts or dried fruit whenever I wanted. And as time went on I snacked less and less. I don’t snack at all anymore. I’m just not hungry. I guess my Paleo-meals are that much more satisfying
- What is the biggest change you’ve seen in your life since going Primal, and how long did it take to notice?
After a few days since going Primal I found that I am much more satisfied from meals, especially lunch. Before going Primal, I used to have a sandwich everyday for lunch, and I was always hungry later and would have to snack one or two more times before dinner. I don’t snack anymore and I’m not always hungry throughout the day.
Then there is of course the physical change I saw in myself. When I first went Primal I was injured so I couldn’t exercise. All I could do was walk (but not long distances) and swim (with limited use of my legs). Despite that, as soon as I went Primal I started consistently losing 2 pounds a week. I’m 5’3″ and was a starting weight of 130, so I was shocked when I lost that much weight and that fast. More importantly though, I felt great; I felt lighter on my feet, like I could conquer the world and nothing could stop me.
Two months later, and 15 pounds lighter, my weight started leveling off and shortly after I was able to start exercising again. I have adopted the Primal lifestyle for 6 months now and am still seeing slight changes to my body. I haven’t lost a significant amount of weight since my first 2 months of going Primal, but now that I am able to exercise again I’m starting to see the benefits of the Primal diet combined with a Primal lifestyle. I’m seeing leg muscles on my body that I never knew existed. And, what is probably my favorite part, I am a faster triathlete. I’m a faster runner, biker and swimmer. I still haven’t fully worked my training back up from my injury but I’m already noticing I’m faster. I feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve waiting for my next triathlon; it will be my first race since recovering from my injury and going Primal, and I’ve never felt more ready for it.
- What do you do for fun/play?
Sean and I sit on the back porch with our dog, Morley, and talk, listen to music, or just sit in silence and listen to the sounds of the outdoors.
On the weekends when we have a bit more time we like to go for hikes or long walks with Morley.
- How do you find time to do lots of walking or other low-level exercise, play, relaxation, etc.?
Honestly, Paleo is time-consuming. By the time I get home from work, exercise, clean up breakfast and lunch dishes, make dinner and clean up dinner dishes it’s usually time for bed. But cooking and dishes at least keeps me up and moving around. And cooking with your loved ones can be so much fun and, I believe, it really strengthens a relationship. On the weeknights, if Sean and I do have some down-time, usually we are so tired we just sit on the back porch and chill.
I think the key is, on the weeknights and weekdays try not to turn on the TV or turn on your computer – that time can be better spent going for a walk or enjoying your time with loved ones.
- What is the most attractive feature of the Primal Blueprint to you?
I appreciate things (particularly, food) more. I’m growing my own vegetables and I know how hard it is; I appreciate that when I get a box full of CSA-fruits and vegetables every week. I go to the farm every weekend and buy local, grass-fed beef from the farmer; I see how dedicated she is and I am grateful she can provide me with my meat every week. I see the cows grazing in the fields and I am grateful the sun is shining, the rain is raining, and they are well-fed and healthy.
Before going Primal I would just go to the grocery store and have my pick on whatever vegetables and meat I wanted, but when I did that, it was just…food… and I wasn’t as grateful for it as I should have been. Now when I eat my food I know that hard work and good fortune is keeping me from going hungry and I am thankful for every bite.
- What does 80/20 mean to you?
It means I am not perfect. It means, when a friend invites me over for dinner and serves lasagna, I am going to eat it, appreciate it, and say “thank you, that was delicious”. It means when I want a beer, I’m just going to have a damn beer.