Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All In: Taking Primal to the Next Level

About this time last year, I was beginning to accept that grains and legumes should not be counted among healthful foods. I'd added fish to my flegan diet in order to support an intense workout schedule. And I read a lot.

By August, I understood. Primal/paleo made sense, I'd applied it, and it was working. I'd long since nixed alcohol except for the occasional social event, I hadn't consumed an appreciable quantity of processed food for years, and refined sugars rarely passed my lips. To those auspicious beginnings, I added grain- and legume-free eating, shifted up to 70% of my daily caloric intake to healthful fats, and increased my focus on getting adequate sunlight and sleep.

I've since added in some judiciously researched supplements (magnesium, CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid, Vitamins E and C, and fish oil). I've become more strategic in balancing my formal workouts with the rigors of summertime on the farm, and 14-16 hour intermittent fasts are a near-daily habit.

So, I'm ten months in and pretty well on track. Right? Well, that depends who you ask. Sure, I eat and exercise more effectively than the vast majority of westerners (and I have the lipid profile to prove it), but there's no denying that more that can be done.

So, for at least a month, here's what I'm going to try:

1. Going Grassfed. The only excuse not to is money. Maybe it's a good excuse, and maybe not. I'm determined to find out.

2. Going Organic. See above. Hopefully, I can apply sufficient savvy to make this affordable.

3. Going with Better Fish Oil. Enough with the Costco capsules. My bottles of lemon-flavored Carlson's just arrived from the Vitamin Shoppe, and they aren't half bad. Four teaspoons a day surely beats 20 gelcaps. (Yes, 20. See Robb Wolf's fish oil calculator for details.)

4. Going Pooless. This is a scary one. I have both a professional job and long, somewhat fine hair that's subjected to plenty of sweat and dirt -- facts that seem incompatible with shampoo-free living. But, I hear it can be done, and my early experiments have been (mostly) positive. Stay tuned.

5. Going Shoeless. Well, sort of. The much-lauded Vibram Five Fingers aren't an option for me, thanks to my severe bunions. So, I'm in the market for a pair or two of soft-soled moccasins. I doubt I'll be wearing them with business suits or among the horses, but for indoor wear and dog walking, they'll be a big step closer to barefoot.

So. Some little things, some big things. Some things that will certainly be sustainable, some that might not. All I can do is try it and find out.

Anyone care to join me?


James M said...

I just finished the Primal Blueprint after following numerous Primal blogs for several months. I started to wean myself off of all the pasta/breads/sugars gradually, so that the most I'm eating now is a slice of bread in the morning. Planning on eliminating them completely by next week. I feel better already, and hope I can see some real results by the end of summer.
I've been eating organic veggies/fruits since I moved to the Okanagan Valley in Canada. There's an abundance of organic stores that make it affordable. Grass-fed meats are a different story. Can't afford that luxury weekly, but I do it at least once a month.
Wishing you great success going poo-less, and look forward to reading about your journey.

barb said...

hi - i am pretty much all in with regards to diet and quality of food and supplements already BUT would be very interested in doing grass fed and organic in a more economical way so I will be very interested in any great budgeting tips you may have. Barefoot is out for me - one leg is structurally shorter than the other so i gotta have a lift which doesnt work with soft sole shoes. I am finishing up a year of physical therapy for S1/L5 and shoulder issues so my All In is to get on track with the physical aspects of primal living - I will be referring back to your earlier posts of ideas. Based on your track record - i am guessing you will be ALL IN totally primal with flowing gorgeous hair very soon.

David said...

Good post, Tamara! I've been eating Paleo/PB for 2 1/2 years, seen good results such as lowered cholesteral, lower blood pressure and heart beats per minute, plus haven't been sick at all!
Followed your advice to increase the fats and protein foods. Thanks! But the last of my body fat in the waist line area is very stubborn. Been sleeping more (from 5 1/2 to 8 hours) last two weeks to see if this will solve the BF. Don't want to lose any weight. At 6' and 154 lbs. So, I'll see if sleeping longer makes a difference.Got a pair of Vibrams and liking them!

Good luck in your latest goals! Let us know what you are finding!

David said...

What are your thoughts about raw milk and yogurt?

Anonymous said...

I am very much looking forward to your findings on going pooless! I have been wanting to try it, but basically have been to chicken too : ) I absolutely love my vibrams and wear them just about everywhere I can't be barefoot - even out with the horses. (I know its stupid, but I'll learn eventually) I have already been eating only wild game for a few years now as I have learned that harvesting your own is cheaper than buying meat anyday. I'm definitley lagging in the supplement department as I still only take a daily multivitamin. At any rate, good luck with your new trials - I look forward to reading about the results!

Tamara of In the Night Farm said...

Welcome, James! I'd be very surprised if you don't see results even sooner than the end of summer. I'm jealous of your organic produce -- we have quite a few options here in Idaho, though, so I shouldn't complain.

Hi Barb! Budget is going to be a big factor, all right. Stay tuned... I hear you on the soft soles -- seems to me that yours is an example of a situation in which modern technology is more help than hinderence. Here's hoping you're right about my hair!

Hey David. :) Good call on the extra sleep. I'll be interested to hear if you see results. Isn't it great to NEVER be sick?!

Tamara of In the Night Farm said...

Hmm, raw dairy. While I do think it's better than processed dairy, assuming reasonable sanitary precautions are taken in milking and bottling, it's still dairy.

I tend to think of all dairy as more of a drug than a food -- that is, it can be effectively applied with particular intent (like putting on muscle mass in a bodybuilder), but it comes with side effects (like acne and digestive issues). It can also be harmful if "prescribed" to the wrong person (like someone intent on losing bodyfat).

There's just no getting past the fact that milk is custom-made to turn an 80-lb calf into an 1,800 lb bull...

Tamara of In the Night Farm said...

I should add that I do eat some dairy (not raw, because I use so little that it would go bad before being consumed), either post-workout or occasionally just because it's tasty. Always full-fat (cheese or cream, never milk) and typically 4 oz or less in a week.

Tamara of In the Night Farm said...

Anonymous, stay tuned on the poolessness...thought I hope it's not TOO much of an adventure! :)

As for wearing vibrams/moccasins around the horses, I don't actually think it's that stupid. How much protection does a riding boot offer? Not THAT much, and my horses are unshod...

For me, it's the goatheads (nasty thorny weed seeds) that keep me from wanting to traipse around the farm without thick soles.

David said...

I fasted for 17 hours today. Did crossfit during this fast. Seemed strong following the workout. Do you fast on your heavy workout days? I'm trying to gain strength so I'm wondering if I am hindering strength growth, not changing the strength, or improving the strength with this type of IF? I'll see down the road.

Krys said...

Great post, and I am venturing out right along with you. I've been eating grass-fed, pastured meats for over two years now. At first, it was expensive, because I was only getting steaks. Now I've learned to properly cook some of the less expensive meats and the cost is much more reasonable. I've turned into a meat snob....I won't even think of buying grain-fed, feedlot meats at the grocery store anymore. It actually turns my stomach. As for organic produce, I do my best. Sometimes it's hard to pay twice as much, but I just remind myself, my body will thank me. :) Now with the local Farmer's Markets in full swing, I tend to go local instead. Most are organic, but not certified (which is expensive) and that's ok with me. I know where it's coming from. The poo-less thing is tough. I am currently at the stage where I only have to shampoo every third day. And I think this is probably where I will stay for a bit. I haven't tried the baking soda thing yet, so I'll have to try that. Best of luck with your adventures!