Friday, January 15, 2010

going primal?

For a couple of years now, "clean" eating for me has involved cutting most grains from my diet. No pasta, rice, bread, tortillas, breakfast cereals, or crackers. (None of the sweet stuff -- pastries, cake, cookies, quick breads, etc -- either, but that almost goes without saying.) I also don't eat a lot of beans and legumes, but that's mostly because I didn't eat a lot of them before.

I honestly and truly don't miss grains or products made from them. Well, except Triscuits. I miss Triscuits. I get plenty of fiber from fruits and vegetables, and plenty of carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

For me, the choice to give up grains was primarily calorie driven. I looked at where I was getting the least nutritional bang for the caloric buck, and breads and pasta were, hands down, the biggest losers. Out they went.

It turns out that I stumbled onto what is essentially a primal diet. It isn't low-carb, except in comparison to the usual crap American diet. Or, worse still, the usual crap American dieter's diet: low fat, low protein, high carbs from highly processed "low-fat" and "diet" foods. A true low-carb diet would allow somewhere between 0-50g of carbs per day; without making a big fuss about carbs, I eat 100-150g per day.

Do I feel 10 bazillion times better when I don't eat grains than when I do, assuming the same caloric intake? No, but I feel good, and have plenty of energy throughout the day.

Has a lite version of the primal diet cured me of diabetes, alzheimers, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, arthritis, IBS, and every other disease or discomfort known to mankind? No, but I didn't have these to begin with.

Does it work for my goal of losing fat? YES. For me, it's a painless way to cut calories, get as much protein as I'd like, and still eat real food. (Including bacon: how cool is that?) When I cut calories by cutting fat and protein, I was constantly hungry, and although I eventually lost weight, a distressing proportion of it was muscle mass.

Yeah, eschewing grains can be socially awkward. I can't help but feel self-conscious when, at the end of a working lunch with the provost and a bunch of other mucky-mucks, my plate is mounded with the detritus of three deconstructed sandwiches. But, I'm getting over it.

primal good. grunt.

be strong//


  1. I feel SO much better on the low-carb South Beach diet, so I can relate. Good job keeping at it!

  2. The problem with going primal for me, at least as written, is no dairy. Giving up grains was relatively easy. Just let Grok try to pry my cottage cheese out of my (strong) clutches!

  3. GymDiva: did I mention that I'm doing primal lite? That's the lite part: I still eat dairy. Cottage cheese is pretty much my weekday breakfast.

    My reading is that dairy is a gray area in the primal diet -- some do, some don't. I prefer "do!"