Saturday, March 31, 2012

What is 'Primal' Anyway?

Since I've been mentioning 'Primal' and 'Paleo' on here recently, I figured I should do a better job of explaining what this means.  Luke and I started eating a gluten-free diet about a month ago, but a week later, we decided to take it a step further and try cutting out all grains entirely. I use the terms Paleo and Primal interchangeably, although I feel that Primal more accurately describes how we eat.  You can read more about Primal living at this awesome website (which introduced me to the idea), or by reading 'The Primal Blueprint'.

Primal living can entail much more than just changing what you eat, but the dietary changes are what I will be focusing on in this post.  Here is a simple breakdown of how we eat the Primal way.

Eating the Primal Way
Basics - Eat a diet of quality, unprocessed foods that the human body can digest easily. Strive to eat Primal as much as possible, but allow yourself some guilt-free 'cheats.' Therefore, your diet can reflect a ratio of 80% primal and 20% non-primal.

Primal Foods - Meat (grassfed and local if possible), Fish (fresh and wild caught if possible), Vegetables and fruit (local and organic is even better), butter, coconut and olive oils, raw or aged cheeses, wine or 85% dark chocolate in moderation.

Non-Primal Foods - Grains, legumes, vegetable oils, soy, sugar, processed foods with additives and preservatives, anything that upsets your individual digestive system (for some people this means dairy, luckily for me I can handle cheese)

Benefits I've noticed so far:
-My energy level throughout the day is more constant, and I seem to have more of it
-I don't get 'hangry' any more when I don't eat 'on time.' I used to eat on a schedule everyday and if I was late making and eating dinner than watch out! I would become ravenous, irritated and emotional if I didn't eat right away, it was not fun
-I don't crave carbs or sugar in the evenings any more
-My sleeping has improved markedly, I get better quality sleep, and if I do awaken, I fall back into slumber with ease
-My stomach doesn't hurt and I rarely ever feel bloated
-My digestive system is more 'regular'
-Luke and I spend more time cooking and eating meals together.
-I am learning to slow-down and enjoy the process of making food.
-I have become a master at meal planning and creating grocery lists
-We have been exposed to many new food choices and interesting recipes
-I don't fear fat any more, this is HUGE for me!!!
-Eating and guilt are no-longer associated with each other

If I have peaked your interest, I encourage you to visit some other websites and blogs that are entirely focused on Primal or Paleo lifestyles.

Here are my favourites:
Mark's Daily Apple - This website was the first source of inspiration in my journey to living a Primal lifestyle. It is still my favourite resource by far.  Mark has a huge following, and for good reason, he is intelligent, writes extremely well, posts everyday, and has a very active forum

Nom Nom Paleo - If eating Paleo sounds like deprivation to you, please check out this awesome blog.  Her recipes are amazing and the photos will make you instantly hungry.

Paleo Parents - This is a family friendly site that covers most everything paleo, and more!

So far, we are absolutely loving our experience with going Primal, and we just can't help but want to share it!

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