My Primal Journey
Hello everyone! It's been a while since I posted a recipe, but I thought I'd check in and let you know what's going on in my kitchen. I started eating primal (that's Paleo + dairy) around mid-April, and I thought that I would share with you what that has meant for me and what the journey's been like.
Following this diet means that I'm eating cleaner, more nutrient-rich food. I have eliminated refined sugars, processed food, grains, legumes and refined carbohydrates. I eat more meat, fish, vegetables and fruit. I heave had struggles and slip-ups along the way, but overall I feel much healthier and more energised. My skin is better - one of the reasons I started eating like this was when I noticed that I was starting to get acne. I've never had acne, even as a teenager! As a woman approaching her 30's, acne was disconcerting. I took it as a sign that my body was saying "enough junk". Now, I was never somebody who ate lots of processed food, sugar and junk food. Still, over the past year or so, I have noticed signs that my digestive health isn't as good as it used to be (IBS anyone?), and also my hair and skin were losing some of their luster. Add to that lack of energy, headaches, and moodiness. I'm not saying that changing my diet has magically cured me of all this stuff, but there is a definite and very marked improvement.
One of the biggest challenges of eating primal is what to eat when you're out, or when you're visiting friends/family. I relax my 'rules' when in these situations, and will eat whatever is given to me. When I am out, I will try to order food that sticks as closely as possible to a primal diet, although this has proven difficult! Have you ever noticed how much wheat we eat? I have gone into pubs/restaurants and struggled to find a substantial dish that didn't have wheat in it! I have also noticed that when I do relax my diet, I pay for it -my energy levels go down, I normally notice spots on my face the next day, and my IBS flares up. So the normal 'rules' pay off!
The second challenge of eating primal is that it takes up a lot of time. Now, I love cooking, but this way of eating means you have to make everything from scratch. It takes up a lot of time. I spend a lot more time than I did planning meals, shopping for food and cooking. The upside of this is that I know exactly what's in my food now because I put it there. Learning to cook in this way has meant that I had to discard a lot of my previously-gained knowledge about cooking, especially baking, and learn to cook again. I've made some paleo cakes (mainly as gifts to friends and family) whilst on this diet, and I've learnt that baking with primal ingredients is completely different to normal baking. The methods are different, and the ingredient list will look weird. The texture of the batter will look 'wrong' as well - most of them are too runny or too dry... but so far, all the cakes I've made have turned out well. I mainly have Lea Valle from the Paleo Spirit blog to thank for that. (I thoroughly recommend her avocado chocolate frosting - YUM!!)
The third and final challenge is the cost. There's no way around it: trying to buy as much organic food as you can + eliminating grains/legumes/sugar + buying more meat/fish/eggs = a higher food bill. I know some hardcore Paleo followers will argue against this, but it is true. Our food bill has definitely gone up! But the way I see it, I'm investing in our health, so that makes it worth-it.