Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's Primal Time

So I'm about two and a half weeks into my love affair with the Primal Blueprint. Technically, though, the first week was an 'easing in' phase which really went more like this:

Days 1 to 3: Ate very Primal, felt pretty good physically and very satiated in general
Day 4: Ran out of vegetables, basically subsisted on fatty meats. Felt very carnivorous
Day 5: Went to town, stocked up on everything Primal at Tara's Natural Foods, Old Farm Fine Foods and (eck) Food Basics, then opted to eat take-away from the Wok-In and enjoyed Pad Thai, which is not v. Primal at all, but delicious nonetheless
Days 6 - 8: Hosted Australian visitor, ate copious amounts of carbohydrates in the form of homemade pancakes, candy/chocolate, sweet potato fries, Beavertail etc. Redeemed myself by celebrating Robbie Burns day with the traditional Scottish delicacy, haggis, which is, well, you know....all parts of the sheep that the English refuse to eat. (On a totally unrelated note, if you need a good laugh go here - Visitor's Guide to Scotland, by Danny Bhoy.)

And then I decided to smarten up and this is how the second week's panned out:

Day 9: Vowed to go 'cold turkey' on Primal....
Day 10 -Day 18: Have been following Primal Eating Blueprint very closely

So far, eating Primal has been a surprisingly enjoyable gastronomic experience, and a relatively painless transition from my pre-Primal diet. Here are a few of notable highlights of my tryst with all things pre-grain era:

Discovery #1 - I like fat. I really, really like fat. Who knew? I certainly didn't. And you know why I was so unaware of my affection for gristle and bacon droppings? Because, like the vast majority of health-conscious people in this country, I'd been led to believe that anything with saturated fat was not good for me. It had reached the point where I wasn't even aware that my food choices were, without exception, of the low-fat variety. Except, of course, Omega 3 Fatty acids, the 'good' fats found namely in fish (and oh how I indulged in those fatty Atlantic salmon steaks whenever I was on PEI!). But, yes, until my Locav-or-ganic Challenge in Vermont, the thought of eating red meat, especially things like sausage and bacon, did not even register on my mind as an option. So I subsisted on white chicken meat, salmon loaf, tofu, veggie burgers and the occassional indulgence in pork tenderloin. Even in Vermont, I considered myself a glutton for eating delicious bacon (especially when I incorporated it into dessert - a dobule whammy of sinfulness!!)

Now, however, as I delve deeper into the literature regarding fats and sugars, proteins and carbohydrates, I find myself questioning much of that conventional nutritional wisdom that's been directing my food choices for the past several years.

So I'm eating fat without feeling guilty or gluttonous about it for, perhaps, the first time in my adult life. And you know what I've noticed? I'm way less interested in eating between meals, and I can go longer between meals without feeling hungry. Fat contributes to feelings of satiety. And I think that might be a good thing.

I should probably qualify this whole note about fat by saying that I am enjoying fat that comes from animals, specifically animals that have been raised naturally and organically and who have ended up on my menu as nitrite-free bacon and eggs, or sweet Italian sausages, or lamb meatballs, as well as nuts, avocados, olive oil and small amounts of artisan cheese.. I've not been eating any trans-fats (found in lots of baked and processed foods), nor am I eating animals that have been raised in industrial systems (another reason I didn't eat much red meat in the past), nor have I been using vegetable fats for cooking..speaking of which...

Discovery #2 - Going Primal is a culinary adventure! So you'd think eliminating grains from one's pantry, would make for much less opportunity to be a creative cook, given how many fewer ingredients you have to work with. Ah, but this is not so, quite the contrary in fact. I can no longer rely on my quinoa salad and oven-baked sweet potatoe fries to tickle my tastebuds anymore. Rather, I have found myself dabbling with recipes I've never tried before and adapting familiar ones to fit in with my new low-carb eating.

In the last week, while working ridiculous hours on my local food research, I've managed to prepare a few brand-new dishes, including lamb meatballs with a tahini sauce. Yes, I've made lamb meatballs Vermont, but these ones had roasted eggplant in them, and I'd never made tahini sauce before. It was a delicious meal!! I also worked out a recipe for homemade salmon cakes, which are gluten free, delicious and quite handy as leftovers for three or four days afterwards. Admittedly, I am using canned wild pacific salmon, so it's not local or organic, but I am bound and determined to eat lots of salmon. Last night I roasted a spaghetti squash and topped it with sausages from a local farm and a bit of spaghetti sauce, which meant the dish had some carbs, but nothing compared to the equivalent with a wheat pasta. Oh and on the weekend, because I needed cheering up and was running out of eggs, ergo could not continue with the 3-egg omelet every day, decided to make Almond Banana Pancakes - three simple ingredients, one divine breakfast (ingredients = 1TBSP butter, 2 mashed ripe bananas, and 1 egg...mixed together and then cooked in a pan with melted butter).

Discovery #3 - It's Easier to 'Go Local' when you're 'Going Primal' - Not only does the PBP encourage eating naturally raised/grown foods (e.g. grass-fed cow, organic vegetables, free-range eggs), but also emphasizes meats and eggs, which are much easier for me to source locally than wheat, oats or quinoa. Admittedly, getting local, organic vegetables and fruits is a bigger challenge here, but one that I'd be dealing with regardless of what kind of eating I was following. So I've been enthusiastically buying up all sorts of lovely meats at the farmer's market and have a quarter of a lamb landing in my freezer later this week. I hope there's still room left for the third of a cow that I've also got dibs! Oh, I'm getting giddy just thinking about it all - eating locally is sooo much more exciting than going to the grocery store and buying meat from who knows where.

There are other things that I've enjoyed about Primal, but I'll hold off until another post. For now, I'm just going to paste some photos of yummy dishes I've been enjoying as of late.

(Salmon Cakes with Big Salad, Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Free-range eggs and Nitrite Bacon, Lamb Meatballs with Tahini sauce)


Rob said...

ooh!!!! Looks great

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