Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More on diet (not to be confused with the 'moron diet')

If you've read more than a couple posts of my blog, it's pretty clear that I love to bake. I'll tell you why: baking is easy. It's cooking that's difficult! Let me tell you: when Brian and I were first married, I was a terrible cook.

(I'm still not a good cook by any means, but now I can put a simple meal together, cook different cuts of meat, and cook vegetables to make them taste good. Basic stuff.)

I still remember (in perfect detail) the train wreck that was my first meal as a new wife. I had some basic knowledge of cooking; one of these 'cornerstones' was that a crock pot supposedly made everything taste wonderful. So rather than following a recipe (pshhh) I decided to wing it! I hauled out my brand-new slow cooker and plugged 'er in. I threw in three frozen chicken breasts and some fresh broccoli and baby carrots and sprinkled lemon pepper on top. I set it to cook all day on low while I began to clean Brian's bachelor pad apartment.

Hours later, I started on phase two of my 'menu' - the cream sauce! I envisioned our dinner plates with juicy, succulent sliced chicken breast and toothsome, perfectly cooked vegetables, all drizzled in an impressive cream sauce. My limited cooking skills included making a roux... but did not include the knowledge of how much flour/butter combination you actually need to thicken a small pot of sauce. (Of course, if I'd known then what I know now, I would have simply boiled down a bunch of heavy cream and scrapped the flour altogether. But I digress.) So I ended up using way too much roux. My 'sauce' became a pot of gluey white paste. Disgusting.

And the results in the crock pot weren't any better. The chicken was pale and gray and the vegetables were mush. By that time, Brian was home, and we ate dry chicken breast and mushy vegetables. Our meal was so different than the one I'd pictured in my head and when Brian said, "You know, with some cuts of meat it's better to cook them fast over high heat," I burst into tears.

The other night, Brian told me, "Yeah, you cried about a LOT of dinners the first year we were married."

Well, I knew that I had a long way to go in the dinner department, but one thing I KNEW I could knock out of the park was baking. Who could follow a recipe to a T? THIS GIRL! Who could portion out perfectly-sized cookies? This girl! Who could mix butter and sugar together and make it taste delicious? This girl!!! (Well, and pretty much everyone else in the world. Butter and sugar are delicious, end of story.)

So, to make up for my lack of cooking skills, I baked. I used an entire tub of Crisco that first winter. Brian gained twenty pounds. (I gained weight too, but let's not go quite there.) Then I realized Crisco was terrible for you, so I switched to butter and oil.

I sent cookies out left and right. I made a lot of people happy that first year.

But at some point, Brian said, "Uh, I need to lose weight... can you stop?" Fortunately (albeit slowly), I had been learning about cooking food, too. It was a slow process, but gradually I learned the right way to cook chicken breasts and the right way to sear fish. The first time Brian showed me how to cook a venison tenderloin in a pan (not a pressure cooker or a crock pot!), I took a bite and swooned. I'd died and gone to a heaven where you could actually enjoy deer meat for its flavor rather than always hiding it in a pot of chili! I perfected my bread-making skills on the weekends, but my desire to see success in a plate of chocolate chunk cookies slowly diminished.

And it's a good thing too, because now, five years later, I'm at a place in life where all I should be eating is meat and vegetables. I'm so glad I've learned how to make them right. Yep, I'm talking again about the primal diet and how thankful I am for the changes I've seen in my health.

I've been eating this way - on and off - for most of the summer now. On the off times, I've been consistently startled by how miserable I feel, how quickly I bloat up, and how insatiable my cravings are for junk, junk, and more junk. When I pare it back down to basics - lots of vegetables (cooked in butter and bacon grease!), lots of meat, some nuts, and a little bit of fruit, I'm an unstoppable force. I get up in the morning rarin' to run. I can give or take my coffee for energy (but I drink some anyway because I love the flavor). My skin clears RIGHT UP and my moods are light and steady.

It is amazing.

At the beginning of this endeavor I approached this eating plan as a diet.... a means to the end of losing weight. I figured I could go without cookies or pasta for a while. But during the next few months, I saw how that junk truly knocked me on my butt every time I ate it, without fail. And the more research I did, the more I realized how crucial it was that I stick to this diet for good.

Truly, folks - the enemy is carbohydrates... not just sugar. It's bread, and pasta, and cookies, and tortillas, and rice, and oatmeal, and so many things I thought were essential to the body and the diet and the dinner table. I spent hours upon hours learning how to make delicious bread, homemade pasta, and desserts... but recently I have come to terms with accepting that even though I know how to make them, I can't keep on eating them.

What it all comes down to is this: should I eat something just because it tastes delicious... even when my body pays for it for hours and even days afterwards? For me, the answer is no.

Kate Moss is credited for saying, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." I used to scoff at that, thinking, enjoying my life (and eating things that taste delicious!) feels WAY better than being skinny (which I interpreted as 'feeling weak all the time'). But if the phrase were a bit different, I would have to agree: "Nothing tastes as good as feeling amazing feels." Would I rather taste a grilled cheese sandwich than a bowl of sauteed cabbage? Maybe (though my vegetables in bacon fat are starting to taste pretty darn fantastic). Would I rather taste a big bowl of sugary cereal or creamy, sugary oatmeal rather than a couple of eggs and a handful of spinach fried in butter in the morning? Maybe, but then I'd find myself feeling hungry in another hour and downing more coffee because my carb rush was ending.Link

We've been taught that we NEED grains (heck, grains were the base of our food pyramid for decades) but the truth is, I don't need them. I don't need them spiking my blood sugar, increasing my insulin resistance, blocking my body's absorption of important nutrients, or making me lethargic any more.

Last week, I had a girl over to my house for an afternoon. We made chocolate chip cookies, ate a bag of chips, and made pizza for dinner. Let me tell you, did I ever pay for that afternoon. That night I felt terrible. The next day I was sick to my stomach and exhausted; in fact, it took about three days or so before my digestive system regulated itself again. I can assure you, without a doubt, that those cookies and homemade pizza were not worth how awful I felt for the next couple of days. Link

So the kicker is this: I'm saying goodbye to bread-making, cookie-baking, and pasta-eating. Those skills have served me well, but I'm movin' on up. I'm moving on to skillet vegetables cooked in fat, bacon-wrapped meat, eggs scrambled in butter, and a general feeling of amazing-ness!

The blogs below have become my reading material lately, and if you check them out you'll find some incredible stories. People have seen diabetes, fibromyalgia, thyroid issues, hormonal imbalances (like PCOS), infertility, and disease eliminated from their lives. You might find the same is true for you. Try it for a month, and see how you feel. Thirty short days of change can't hurt, right?

More resources:

Mark's Daily Apple

Everyday Paleo

Primal Kitchen

The Primal Parent

The Crunchy Pickle

I tell you these things because I'm excited, and because I care. : )



  1. Dude, that sounds like a good plan, but I'm too in love with tacos...

  2. I'm excited for you...BUT, I'm really going to miss all the bread and baking recipes! I guess you can start posting how to cook meat (which I'm still no good at and i'm sure Cale would love it!) and some new ways with veggies! Maybe we can get the veggie was yummy enough that even Cale would dare take a bite?! Oh my!
    On another subject...what was the vacuum that you had told me about for hard wood floors?! I'm desperate!

  3. p.s. just don't clear your recipe index! :)

  4. Sky! I love tacos too. I still make them... a LOT... only I use a romaine lettuce leaf instead (but all the same toppings (sour cream, beans, meat, salsa, etc.) It's not like I can't HAVE a taco shell, but I don't miss it that much. I had a regular taco last Friday after my lettuce tacos and I was like, MEH.

    Kathleen, I will never delete my index! Hahaha! I will absolutely post more meat recipes... and with vegetables, the more FAT the better! Fat helps you metabolize the nutrients AND it keeps you full. Broccoli cooked in butter and garlic is great!

    Onto the most important thing: the VACUUM! It's the Electrolux Unirapido! Here's the post I wrote about it: http://www.thewonderwife.com/2011/01/wonderwife-power-tool-review-of.html and here's the listing for it on Lowes: http://www.lowes.com/pd_76738-73823-EL855A_4294810320_4294937087_?productId=3276125&Ns=p_product_prd_lis_ord_nbr|0||p_product_quantity_sold|1&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl_Vacuums%2BFloor%2BCare_4294810320_4294937087_%3FNs%3Dp_product_prd_lis_ord_nbr|0||p_product_quantity_sold|1.

  5. I'm not a huge meat eater, but I do like where you are going with this! Just last month I decided enough was enough (I basically lived on processed foods) and I'm starting to get healthier. I will do chicken, so I've been eating a lot of chicken breasts these days. It's amazing how much better I feel! Thanks for sharing. :)

  6. Scarly... that is so wonderful! Thank you for the comment! Yes, processed foods are convenient, yummy, and usually cheap... BUT are they good for us? Hmmmmm... that's the real question. I'm so glad you feel excellent. Isn't it wonderful when you realize you can be in control of the way you feel?!