Saturday, 24 April 2010

Surviving a weekend away


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Staying Primal in any situation

There is just no excuse not to eat a Primal meal any more. Even at other peoples houses, there's usually mainly primal food in the meal, and you just pick around the non-primal stuff. Be polite about it obviously :P

I have recently been tested by having to go out straight after work to meet up with friends or family. Trying to remain primal on occassions such as these is not as difficult as it seems.

When eating out, or grabbing something on the run, look for meat. Usually restaurants and now even fast food joints do side salads or vegetables, so you can order some green to go with your meat. Sorted. 'Hold on though, what if I'm stuck with MacDonald's for my only food option?' Great question! I have been in this situation recently. I avoided the Chicken Salad because they add a bunch of unnecessary non-primal ingredients to the meat. I went with a double beef burger sans sauce and cheese, and the Garden Salad. I then simply discarded the bun from the burger and voila! Primal fast food. The beef burgers are 100% beef so they're OK. If you're stuck with Burger King I'd go with the side salad and an Angus burger, which is much better quality meat.

Recently I had to go to a Mexican restaurant for a work do. I simply avoided the nachos, got sweet potato skins to start, and then followed those up with some pork tacos, I then proceeded to eat my pork tacos without the taco shells or rice. I got some strange looks but I stayed Primal and I was the only person who didn't feel bloated after the meal!

Obviously these may not be the best options for Primal meals if you can go home and make something up yourself, but it just goes to show that there just are no excuses for eating a non-primal meal. Don't cave and go for a regular burger and fries with a Coke like everyone else, do your body a favour and stay Primal :)

What do you do in situations like these? Do you cave and call it a 'cheat' day? Or do you ask the waiter if they can do something different for you? Do you make the best of what there is without eating grains etc.?

Monday, 19 April 2010

Dinner round the In-Laws' and the absolute absurdity of grains

This weekend we had great weather (for once) so I spent a lot of time down at the local apple orchards soaking up my fair share of Vitamin D. We got invited to have dinner at my fiance's parents' place on Saturday night, and as we are trying to save every last penny, we never turn down a free meal. They made Fajitas. Actually not a bad meal considering, the only really non Primal thing about them is the tortilla.

Well, I obliged and wrapped my tasty looking grilled chicken pieces, vegetables, guacamole, sour cream and cheese in a tortilla. I didn't want to get into it with the In-Laws-to-be about why I don't eat grains as a rule. I figured that one tortilla as my total non-Primal foods for 2 weeks was nothing to be sniffed at. Anyway, I realised when I ate this thing that I would much rather eat the filling on it's own. Grains taste horrible now! They're weird and fluffy and gloopy and airy and taste of nothingness! I am so very glad that I have found my way into the Primal light at the end of the very long, dark CW tunnel. It's official people, I hate grains!

I am so happy that I no longer rely on grains for the basis of my diet, and doing so doesn't even make sense to me any more. Why is it that we use real foods as a sort of additional piece in our meals rather than letting it take centre stage? Why would you have a tuna salad sandwich, when you could have a tuna salad? The bread doesn't taste of anything, nor does it offer any real nutritional value. Why have garlic bread and potato wedges for a starter when eating out, when you could have a garden salad, or chicken wings?! It's absolutely nonsensical and I hope that one day the rest of the world will see the light too, as we have, and never look back!

I love Primal life! Hurrah! :)

Friday, 16 April 2010


That's all I can say about this!

No wonder we're all fat and diseased. Check it out and share my disappointment in CW.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Excuses, excuses

I bet you know at least one person who makes excuses for why they can't possibly do any exercise or why they can't possibly eat healthily. I sure do.

Some people moan and complain about how they are fat or tired or bloated or that they don't exercise enough or that they keep getting ill or getting health problems, but every suggestion you give for improving their health is rebutted with 20 reasons why they can't do that. What is that about?!

My Mom is like this, I love her to pieces and I worry about her because she is always so stressed and she is always complaining about her lack of sleep/exercise, and how she wants to lose weight.

The problem is that she will come up with every excuse she can think of for why she can't improve all these things! I know that she is always very busy shuttling people to various places, working full time, doing housework, grocery shopping and whatever else, so I suggested that she fit in 10 minutes of exercise each morning or night to help her get more exercise and lose weight. She had about 10 excuses why she couldn't do this. I then suggested that she try eating less grain/starch and more vegetables with her meals. She told me she couldn't because my Dad insists on having some kind of stodge with his dinner and that she didn't want to cook two meals every night. I told her she didn't have to cook two meals, just cook one healthy meal with protein and veggies, and then do a portion of grain or potato to put on my Dad's plate. I told her this is what I do when my fiance wants something like that with dinner. She then said that she couldn't because... and I stopped listening.

If you're going to complain about the state of your health or really anything about yourself, you need to take action and do something to fix the problem! What is the point of complaining about it, if you refuse to do anything about it? I don't believe that there is anyone in any situation who cannot do anything to improve their health. What's 10 minutes a day of exercise? What's the extra effort in leaving the bad carbs off your plate at a family meal? Zilch. I just don't get it. There is always something you can do to help yourself. And if you really won't change a thing for yourself, well stop b*tchin' people!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

British TV ads strike again!

I was actually trying to find a clip of the new McVities 'Breakfast Biscuits' ad, which I think is ludicrous, but these ones also make me snort my coffee when they come on. I just wish these manufacturers were not allowed to pretend like their food is healthy when it blatantly isn't! These biscuits (I suppose you yanks* would call them all cookies!) are very easy to munch on without thinking, even I could easily get through an entire pack in one sitting if I didn't care about myself too much. Now, I suppose that wouldn't be too bad if the biscuits were relatively healthy or low in calories, but oh no, they're not. Check out the stats:

Calories 86
Protein 1.2
Carbohydrate 11.2
Fat 4.1
Fibre 0.4

That is the content per biscuit. Given that 1 biscuit is about the same size as the palm of a toddler's hand, I'd say that's a pretty unhealthy thing to put in your mouth. Now there are the stats for 100g of these biscuits:

Calories 505

Protein 6.8
Carbohydrate 65.8
Fat 23.9
Fibre 2.3

Pretty ridiculous right? Now say you ate the whole pack (400g) in one go (easily done):

Calories 2020
Protein 27.2
Carbohydrate 263.2
Fat 95.6
Fibre 9.2

And there you have it, barely any nutritional value for about double my own daily calorie intake and over 5 times my carbohydrate consumption. Now check out the ad, which boasts whole-heartedly about containing wholegrain. Big Whoop.

*don't take offense, my mother is American, which makes me half American, and I'm also an official American citizen :)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

I can't BELIEVE they're trying to make these look healthy!

OK so probably only British readers will fully appreciate this, but this TV ad keeps coming on in between parts of 90210 and I am just flabbergasted by it!

Mr. Kipling is a company that makes cakes, such as Fondant Fancies, Battonburgs, Cherry Bakewells, and a load of others, all very tasty as I recall (most probably way too sweet for my newly trained primal tastebuds now) and all very very unhealthy.

In this new TV ad, they make their Oatibakes out to be a healthfood! The sad thing is that I can imagine a lot of people falling for this feeble attempt at claiming cake is good for you. And the people that don't fall for it? They'll probably use it as an excuse not to feel guilty about eating them. Pfftt!

FitDay - know what you're eating

I signed up for FitDay last week, having seen it used by Mark over at MDA to demonstrate what his daily food intake looks like, and I have to say, it really is great.

Now, I'm not one of those people who has to know exactly what they're eating, I don't measure out my portions and I don't obsessively control amounts or types of foods that I eat. I eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm sated, and I'll eat whatever Primal food I fancy at the time. When I cook I sorta just make up recipes as I go along, "hey, some almond flour would be good to thicken up this homemade tomato sauce, and some cumin would bring some awesome flavour..." but at the moment, because I'm being careful not to go over about 50g of carbs per day (admittedly pretty hard with just vegetables anyway), I find that FitDay is very useful to keep track of how many of each block I'm eating (protein, carbs, fat) and I can make sure that I'm getting mostly fat, then protein, then carbs. Of course that doesn't count on IF days, when I'm not eating at all.

Anyway so if you're a Primal newbie, or if you like knowing what you're consuming, or even if you're just kinda interested to know how your daily intake measures up, head on over to FitDay and sign up for free.

Here's one of my days, as a lovely example of a good Primal diet!

Fat (64%) Carbs (11%)

Protein (24%) Alcohol (0%)

Monday, 12 April 2010

Hey, Dairy, I ain't gonna be your b*tch!

This weeks mini-challenge - say Hell No! to dairy. 

It's fine to have a little cheese or full fat Greek yogurt occassionally if you're livin' life the Primal way, but you don't wanna get into the habit of relying on it. I personally have been leaning on cheese a little too heavily when I need to feel sated. So, this week, I'm saying Hell No to dairy.

It is preferable to rely on fresh vegetables and animal fats/protein as your main source of calories and nutrition. I think this is pretty much a no-brainer, but there have been studies (funded by the dairy industry no less) trying to suggest that dairy will help you to lose fat. No it won't. Dairy is very calorific and just not the best choice for us humans. A lot of body builders avoid dairy as they say it softens their physique when they really want to show of that muscle definition. Which just goes to show that it shouldn't really be a main component of your diet if you're looking for fat loss and better muscle tone.

If I can make it through one week, I'll be extending my mini-challenge for another week, and then another. I would ideally like to make dairy an occasional indulgence, rather than letting it make a regular appearance in my everyday diet. But for now, we'll say a week sans dairy.

Try it with me, one week, no dairy (eggs are allowed!) and see if it makes a difference. Will you miss it? Or will the fresh foods you eat instead actually make you feel better?

Weekend survival

A lot of us seem to struggle a lot more with keeping up our good healthy habits when the weekend rolls around. I am definitely one of these people. For the last few months or more, as soon as I'd get home from work on a Friday night, I'd completely forget my healthy eating habits and reach for the pizza and chips. Why is that?

I think it has a lot to do with wanting to relax on the weekend, those precious days away from the office to spend time doing things we want to do. Like eating things that comfort us. Hmmm. I think emotions heavily influence this type of destructive behaviour. I have, as I mentioned in my very first post here, vowed to ditch my bad food ways and become a real Primal girl once and for all. So, I managed my first weekend in a really really long time without non Primal, non healthy food, and I still had a good weekend! Here are my tips for a healthy, on-track weekend:

  1. Listen to your body. Notice when you are really hungry (stomach growling etc.) and only eat when you get to that point. It's not enough to simply eat healthy, Primal foods. If you're eating for the sake of eating, or to try and quell an emotion, such as boredom, you're still engaging in unhealthy habits. Cut it out! Be aware of whether you are actually hungry or not, and eat accordingly.
  2. If you're craving something, reach for a healthy, Primal alternative. Really want a bowl full of sugary-sweet cereal for breakfast? Grab a piece of fruit or a bowl of berries. Need something salty? How about some sauteed spinach. Really want something starchy? If you simply must, go for better healthier options like parsnips or sweet potato - very satisfying. It may be that you've got a hankering for these things because your body is trying to tell you that you're lacking something (nutrients, not sugar and processing!) so try to give what it actually wants.
  3. Get out of the house and have some fun! If it's a nice day out, go for a long walk with your other half or kids, and enjoy the weather. Maybe take a football with you and get in some extra exercise and even more fun. This not only will make you feel more energized, it will also take your mind off the food that you would usually be indulging in.
  4. Indulge in something you don't put in your mouth. Try treating yourself with something that will definitely not do any damage to your waistline, such as a bubble bath, facial, a good book, a new computer game or whatever it is that you're into. You need to reprogram your brain to realise that there is a lot more to life than food, and a lot more things to enjoy and experience.
Have you got anything to add to this list of tips for weekend survival? Slap it in the comments section! If you thought this was helpful and you'd like more similar posts in the future let me know! I'm all about the feedback :)

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Intermittent Fasting

Otherwise known as IF, Intermittent Fasting is great for you! Not only does it give your body a chance to recouperate from the constant processing of food and focus on other jobs that need doing to keep your bod in top shape, but it also gives you the chance to gain a better understanding of what your body is telling you throughout the day, and what it really needs.

When you IF, because you're not focused on food, you can connect much better with your body and what it actually tells you it needs. You can ignore the voice in your head (which may usually sound like it's coming from your stomach) telling you that you really need some food RIGHT NOW or even worse, that you really need some "food" RIGHT NOW. On a fast it becomes clear that that nagging and very persuasive voice is just your mind playing tricks on you, because you can clearly listen to the rest of your body now, since your thoughts are not on food, and in particular you can listen to your stomach and you'll realise what real hunger actually feels like.

I was suprised to find that actually, most of the time, I'm really not hungry. I've also found that my hunger throughout any given day is relative to how much exercise I do, and how intense that exercise is.

Another fantastic realisation due to IFing was that I found that my body certainly does not crave or even want processed foods, grains or sugar (other than in fruit form!). My brain will try to tell me that I want or even need these things sometimes, but I know for sure that it is only my brain that wants me to put those "foods" in my mouth. When I am nearing the end of an IF and am truly getting genuinely hungry, the things that my mind conjures up images of are far from the processed "foods" that I would usually get cravings for. When I am truly hungry, all I can think about is a colourful veggie packed omelette with bacon bits, or a big juicy steak and some sauteed spinach, or even a big-ass tuna salad.*

On top of all this great reconnection with your body, IFing is also a great booster for anyone who's trying to lose fat on their bodies, as your carb intake will be low, so you will be in a state of ketosis, burning that stored fat since there is no new fuel being injested.

I really would recommend giving IF a try. You can ease yourself into it, and you can do it as little or as often as you want/need to. Check out the archives over at Mark's Daily Apple for more info on IF and how to go about it.

*Making your mouth water? You must be primal! :D