Getting started on Paleo/primal

So I’ve started doing a little bit more of a Paleo/primal diet and already seeing some positive results. Lost 1/2 lb after being stalled a couple weeks and my sinuses seem to be clearer. My digestion has improved even more. (Update: 2.4 lbs lost! Finally broke my plateau!)

So far I cut out peanuts & beans and sweeteners (but I did get some stevia to have with my echinacea tea). I found a nearby farm, Primal Pastures, that sells pastured meat & eggs that I plan to visit soon. I’m already eating organic so that would be the next level. I tossed out most processed food but still hanging onto my frozen Trader Joe’s Palaak Paneer & yellow curry sauce. Also keeping the mayo. Baby steps. Got a better quality olive oil.

Looking more at labels now, like salad dressing. I found a good fresh salad dressing brand made with extra virgin olive oil, although lately I just make my own. Looks like I’ll need to do a lot more home food prep on this meal plan. My favorite roasted sunflower seeds turned out to have wheat additives !! It’s good to read the label.

Trying to add more veggies also. I’ve been listening to some paleo podcasts and if you go low carb but don’t get enough veggies, that can create too much acidity & stall
weight loss. I’m already pretty acid & I wasn’t really getting enough veg lately so that should help.

Also added very moderate exercise daily and cut about 300 calories from my daily intake. Also trying to go to sleep earlier. I’m still struggling with giving up my daily Quest bars which are fairly healthy but should be saved for more occasional snacks.

So I’m not doing perfect Paleo yet, but definitely made some good changes, and encouraged to already see some results!

I haven’t explained too well yet what the Paleo diet is. There are a few versions – the version I am doing is called Primal. More details are available on the Mark ‘s Daily Apple site in my blog roll.

Basically, it’s very similar to Atkins Diet Phase 3, but cutting out most packaged, processed, fast food, artificial sweeteners, legumes, lowfat dairy, and starches (except for small amounts of potato, quinoa & rice). Certain oils are recommended & trans fats excluded. Grass-fed meat is preferred and organic produce & dairy. They recommend unpasteurized dairy from local farms, but I’m not ready for that yet. It’s a restrictive diet, but increasingly popular because it works. Not only for weight loss but with allergies, digestive, mental & autoimmune ailments. I have inflammatory issues so I think it will be helpful for me. The diet allows a 20% cheat margin so you can have restaurant meals or other cheats occasionally. They also emphasize life/work balance like managing stress, getting enough sleep, finding exercise you enjoy & spending time outdoors. More of a healthy lifestyle than a “diet.”

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Movin’ to Primal

Well……my thyroid was NOT doing well at all recently. I realized I took that blood test where they said my thyroid was down 25% BEFORE I cut down to really low carbs, on induction for 2 weeks. So it’s probably even lower.

My hair got SUPER dry and looked like I stuck my finger in a socket, even after applying tons of conditioner. It’s normally oily. My digestive system shut down & I got so weak I could hardly stand. Also having memory issues and weirdly, the back of my neck got sore. Plus, totally stopped losing weight.

I did some online googling and for a very small percentage of people, going under 50 carbs can negatively affect the thyroid and result in these symptoms. For these people, low carb is eventually OK, but the thyroid needs sugar, so if you aren’t properly “fat adapted” a rapid decrease in carbs is not good.

So I increased back to 50+ net carbs (where I lost most of my weight anyway) and my symptoms are resolving. And I didn’t get my new meds yet. So there you go.

I am looking more closely at the Primal diet (a low sugar version of Paleo) which is similar to moderate Atkins (50-100 carbs daily) but also cuts out processed food, fast food & artificial sweeteners.

I love my Splenda & sugar- free jello but I read several reviews where people said this Primal diet got them to the next level of weight loss & health. Maybe if I make gradual changes this could be a good option. Will let you know how it goes!

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Wow – Great Checkup at Doctor!

Had a GREAT doctor checkup today!!! She described my cholesterol numbers as “amazing, almost optimal”. And my A1C is all the way down to 5.8 (really good). She says pretty soon I won’t even be in the pre-diabetic range! Wow.

Weirdly, my thyroid function was deficient by 25 percent but we checked and the pharmacist had switched me to a generic med that’s not working for me. So I lost 31 lbs even with my thyroid down 25%!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a doctor so happy – she said I made her day! Those were my best labs in 21 years after only 6 months of a high fat, low carb diet!

This is a new doc for me at the same office – I told her about my diet changes and she was really supportive – especially after my lab results!

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Induction Complete!

Well, I did it – I completed Atkins induction finally! 14 days at 18-22 net carbs.

I think the multivitamin I took was what got me through it this time . When I forgot to take it I had a tougher time.

Glad I am able to say I completed it but for me personally, this is too low carb. I was actually home sick from work on day 13. I’m supposed to increase to 25 carbs this week now but instead I’m going to add a few carbs a day and get up to 30 carbs for the rest of the week.

Since I did induction at a later stage I lost 4.5 lbs, rather than the usual 10 or so that includes water weight.

I’ll continue to keep my carbs low as I can comfortably to continue to lose weight. I just bought Mark Sisson ‘s book The Primal Blueprint, as I really like his primal diet website. If I get tired of logging food and counting carbs, I’ll give his version a try.

I did notice more of my medical symptoms have improved. Noticed my teeth, hair and nails are better. A decalcified spot on one tooth just disappeared. Sleeping better also – less sleep apnea. Still having some circulation /edema issues in my legs – I don’t know if I can do the 5K this weekend after all. Right now I can only walk 1/4 mile. But the bone spur in my knee is improving after YEARS of pain & swelling. I think it’s the Vitamin K2. So my results aren’t quite as good as I’d hoped, but still moving forward in a good direction. I gained a few pounds back from splurging at parties right before I started induction, so I have now lost 31.5 lbs since Christmas 2013. I need to lose 80 total (would like to lose 100). So I’ve made a good dent in my goal in 6 months so far.

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Atkins In Reverse Still Works!

Started the Atkins diet earlier this year, but my health was not very good so I couldn’t tolerate super low carbs. I started in Phase 3 around 50-60 net carbs and “backed into” Phase 2, around 25-45 carbs. Even so, I’ve lost 30 lbs and am down 2 sizes since Christmas 2013.

I’ve tried to do full Phase 1 induction 4 times before (18-22 carbs) but couldn’t get past Day 3. Finally now I am doing proper induction Phase 1 and feel great. I just started Mark Sisson’s Damage Control Master Formula supplement, so maybe the difference is that I was so severely malnourished before (from my previous years of poor diet). Anyway I feel great now – tiny bit less energy and mild headache the morning of Day 3, but on previous attempts at induction I couldn’t get out of bed on Day 3, so this is a huge improvement.

I plan to stay on Phase 1 Induction now at 22 net carbs for 2 weeks total and then step up to Phase 2, adding 5 net carbs/ week and adding the proper new foods per the “carb ladder” each week, according to the Atkins program. Then I’ll stay at probably 45 carbs again until I’ve lost another 20 lbs.

I know the fact I feel better now during induction is a sign that my extreme insulin resistance is finally healing. Several years ago my endocrinologist expressed astonishment that 1) I wasn’t already injecting insulin, that my pancreas could continue to produce such huge amounts of insulin, and 2) that the amount of insulin in my bloodstream wasn’t toxic to me. However, with weight gain, circulatory and other digestive, dental etc issues it’s pretty clear that damage was being done. I’m thankful to be on the right path now and not on the low fat (high sugar) diet my doctor recommended – sorry Doc, you’re gonna have to find another cash cow. It’s not gonna be me anymore.

My doctor’s recommended Type 2 Diabetes diet:

Breakfast: half a bagel
Snack: the other bagel half
Lunch: frozen diet meal, low fat
Snack: 1/2 banana
Dinner: frozen diet meal, low fat

I will NOT be following his advice…..

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Back to the Treadmill

Sigh. I downloaded a basic Pilates video and was full of enthusiasm & determination at the beginning when I started my first workout.

Didn’t make it 5 minutes… My neck hurt so maybe I was just doing it wrong. But I think the truth is, I am pathetically out of shape. My 95-lb ballerina days are far behind me.

Ah well. Gotta start somewhere, I can only go up from here, I guess. I’m not working out to lose weight so much as to tone up. I’m doing a 5K early next month so I need to be a bit more consistent. Just been doing 15-20 minutes daily on the treadmill and clearly, my core is not getting a workout based on my Pilates debut.

My neighbor is encouraging me to do a 1/2 triathlon but I told her maybe next year! LOL. My co- worker also mentioned a local “paint run” where spectators throw paint at you, Jackson Pollack style as you run past. You look like a spin painting at the end. Sounds fun also for next year maybe. I want to be sure I can really run for that one!

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Sample Day on Atkins – Meal Plan

I had a few people ask me to provide a sample day on my diet so here it is.

The SHORT version:

2 scrambled eggs
Splash of cream
1 green onion (white only)
Optional veggies
2 slices bacon or 1/2 cup fruit
Coffee with coconut oil & iodine drops

Green salad with meat or shellfish
Regular fat dressing
Mineral water

3 oz protein
1-2 cups veggies
Cooked in butter, olive oil or bacon fat

1/2 cup fruit with cream, Splenda
Or sugar free jello, pudding

Snacks: coffee with half & half, Atkins shake, 1 oz cheese or nuts, mint tea

Sometimes I have a Quest Bar instead of a meal, sometimes with an Atkins shake. Sometimes I buy a sandwich & remove the bread.

Note: I mainly eat organic produce, dairy, eggs and grass fed beef/organic chicken. Some goat cheese as well. Usually the bacon is nitrate free.

The LONG version – how to adapt this for your own use :

Keep in mind I’ve been dieting for 5 months already, so this is fairly moderate for about 1 lb/week weight loss. I’m doing Phase 2, not the more restrictive Phase 1 that most people usually associate with Atkins. I also have blood sugar issues, so I need to eat less fruit & starch than most people. If you ‘re vegetarian you’d swap soy products or legumes for the meat/fish. You can have Greek yogurt instead of eggs.


2 Scrambled eggs (with veggies optional)
1/2 to 1 cup berries (cantaloupe, peaches, plums, honeydew, apples also ok)
Coffee – with 1 tbsp coconut oil or heavy cream – Splenda ok
Optional: 2 slices bacon or turkey bacon
(I add a splash of cream to the eggs too while beating)

Snack: 1 oz nuts or cheese
Coffee with half & half


Green salad with veggies & meat or fish/shrimp (like Cobb, Chef, chicken Caesar, Nicoise)
Cheese/nuts optional toppings
Ok to use full fat dressing
Diet soda or iced tea, mineral water or seltzer with sugar free syrup

Snack: 1 oz nuts or cheese


3-6 oz meat or fish
1-3 cups salad or vegetables
(Ok to cook in butter or olive oil, ok to put cheese or sour cream on top)
You’ll lose weight faster if you cut out ALL starch, but you can add 1 slice bread or 1/2 pita, 1/2 cup potato OR 1/2 cup (cooked) rice daily if you like

Optional Dessert:
Sugar free jello or pudding with a optional squirt of real (not cool whip) whipped cream
Or 1/2 cup sliced fruit with whipped cream
You can chop up 1/2 apple, add Splenda and cinnamon on top & heat in microwave – tastes like apple pie.

Optional drinks: 4 oz wine per day, or 1 shot hard alcohol with diet tonic or seltzer.
Ok to add lemons or limes/juice.

Note: Avocados are very healthy if you can try to add to your meals – up to 1/2 per day.

On vacation instead of eggs I had an Atkins shake & an Atkins bar for breakfast – I also really like Quest bars which taste better. But I lose faster with the eggs.

You may be thirsty at first – drink extra water the first few days. I love flavored mineral waters like La Croix – especially lime and peach.

Icky but important: if you get constipated from cutting carbs, a tsp to TBSP of coconut oil in coffee daily will fix that. Sounds gross but it’s good – just stir well.

You shouldn’t need special supplements as this is moderate carb not “induction,” but a good multivitamin I take is Vitacost Synergy Nutrislim Low Carb Dieter’s multivitamin. Got it at Amazon. Great for Potassium, Magnesium, Selenium etc. A regular multivitamin daily should be fine too.

As far as portions just eat until you are satisfied. After a few days you’ll not have much appetite. I have hypoglycemia so I still eat snacks, but you may not need them.

You’ll lose MUCH faster if you cut out dairy, nuts, aspartame, starch, fruit & alcohol and eat no more than 3 cups of veggies per day. But that can make it tough to stay on the diet. So do the best you can, but use the options if you need to. I think 1-2 lbs lost per week is better anyway. After 3 days you should have less hunger & cravings.

Honestly this diet is a little tough if you’re 100% vegan, but I really recommend Dr. Joel Furman’s book “Eat To Live” for a great vegan option. I lost 9 lbs in a week on that diet, but I had to add a couple extra tablespoons of olive oil to keep my blood sugar stable.

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