So what the heck is “Primal”?
Well, by “Primal” I actually mean the diet currently labeled as “Paleo” or “Primal.” While the textbook definition goes along the lines as “what cavemen used to eat,” I personally like the definition by Primal Toad best:
A style of eating that encompasses eating real foods that nourish your body leading to vibrant, thriving health.
The Paleo diet consists of mainly meat, vegetables, fats and oils and usually excludes grains, legumes and dairy (in addition to all processed foods and sugar, of course.) Different proponents of the diet differ on where fruit falls. PrimalToad advocates the idea that fruits and ancient grains fit in where the individual feels they do – depending upon how those foods affect *your* body and what your goals are. (For a more in depth look at his philosophy check out this post.)
Does a Paleo/Primal diet mean that I want to be a caveman? Um, no. I am not going to gnaw moose meat off the bone or forage for berries and seeds. In fact I’m not even going to eat red meat. I haven’t had read meat in almost 20 years; I’m certainly not about to start now. I already don’t eat dairy. The only thing I have to change to become “Primal” is cut out grains… oh, and those Snickers and Doritos.
Going Primal is about getting back in touch with our food “roots.” It’s about focusing on Real Food /Whole Food, the quintessence of fuel for our bodies. If you are familiar with the GAPS diet or the Maker’s Diet, I guess it is kind of similar. The difference, I think, is that there are a lot less rules (imo) and it excludes dairy.
Does this mean that I plan on only eating what I can grow or raise? I wish, but – alas – No. I wish I could tell you that I grow enough vegetables, raise enough chickens, hunt enough turkeys and fish to feed my family three square meals a day. But I don’t. I want to (sort of.) But I may never be able to. (Plus – to be completely honest with you – I hate birds; not sure how I’m going to get over that one enough to raise chickens.)
The truth is that most Paleo/Primal people don’t raise/forage/hunt their own food. This diet might be based on an ancient pre-agrarian society, but that’s not where we live. Even in remote parts of this country (continent? world?) we are still reliant upon and influenced by other *modern* people. Even the Amish are affected by pollution and global warming!
We use our computers to read blogs for diet and parenting ideas (ahem) and drive our cars to go to the grocery store. (At least I do.) I would love to ride my bike everywhere, but I just ain’t going to put the babies on the back and cross a major interstate to get there.
I still believe GMOs are unsafe and I prefer to buy organic, locally-sourced foods that are in season and cultivate heirloom plants and seeds. But, when the budget just isn’t there, I do shop at Walmart and buy the whole foods that I can readily afford (minus the dirty dozen, of course).
Why go Primal?
I think this decision is different for everyone. After all my research, I have found all sorts of positive reasons including: lowering my risk for diabetes and heart disease, increasing my muscle mass and living my values on whole foods and sustainable resources. But my main reason is very basic and mundane: I want to lose weight. In as healthy a way as possible.
But there is also another reason: I want to obey God. I realize that this might sound a little looney and I’m not about to start up a debate on what things should be considered morally pure to eat. I am so far from being any sort of religious expert whatsoever. From bingeing on junk food to smoking cigarettes I clearly have no room to declare a moral highground on health. All I know is that God wants us to care for our bodies. Something I have done rarely in my short life.
God also decreed humankind the stewards of the Earth. I can’t, in good conscience, continue to eat foods developed in a lab rather than enjoying the full variety of colors and flavored offered by the Earth itself. If I don’t think GMOs are safe then what about all those ingredients I can’t even pronounce? What happens to my poor little brain when I see a bag of Doritos that causes me to zone out and forget all that?
So, what’s the plan?
Over the next few weeks I am going to continue researching and reading. I have provided a resource list for you below in case you are interested in joining me. Over the next two months you will see some of the following posts:
- Cube2Farm Paleo/Primal Challenge Rules – the guidelines I will use on my one month challenge. You can join me, modify the plan for your needs or just follow along!
- Menu Plan – I will share my menu plan and shopping list for the entire month in advance in case you want to join. (Plus all the prep work I did beforehand to get ready for the big day.)
- Exercise Plan – I am seeking help on this one. Maybe an expert to guest post?
- Weekly Recipe Round-up – I plan on sharing the best (and maybe the worst) of the recipes (with photos, God willing) once a week during the challenge.
- Results – How I did. How much I lost. (Maybe some photos…) And a final decision if I am going to continue the plan.
If you are not into the whole Primal/Paleo/dieting thing, don’t worry. I will be posting all sorts of other great content, too, plus some awesome giveaways, guest posts and new sponsors!
Check out from The Mogul Mom that I pinned on for a great visual overview of the Paleo/Primal diet. (There a whole lot of other cool recipes and information pinned to my if you are a visual learner.)
- Primal Toad and his overview of Paleo
- by Rob Wolf (for purchase)
- What is the Paleo Diet? by Robb Wolf (free)
Other Great Resources:
- Seasonal Map of Produce for your geographic area
- Seasonal Map Infographic (Cornerstone Confessions)
- Plan to Eat – meal planning sofware for purchase
- Cave Mom Chronicles (blog)
- Paleo Diet Plan (online tool for purchase)
- Primal Palate (recipes)
- Mogul Mom’s Paleo Overview and Recipes
- Once A Month Mom – Paleo meal planning service