getting primal – with the family

I truly believe that we are brainwashed into thinking that our bodies “need” starchy, processed carbohydrates. Seriously.
How many sports teams do you know that have the big pasta dinner the night before the big game?

My chiropractor, Dr G, piqued my interest when she mentioned a “primal” diet.
Hubby had been reading about this diet for a little while – the science of it – and he was really interested, so when Dr G mentioned it and the fact that she and her family eat this way, I thought what the heck… nothing to lose, right?

Honestly, what harm can possibly come from removing starchy, insulin-stimulating carbs and encouraging the intake of more natural whole foods?

I promise I’m not going all whole milk, granola, Birkenstock, earth Mother on you… (although I DO love my Birks 😉 )

The best part about this diet? I can include my boys. No more making 3 meals. (I was following one diet, Hubby another, and the kids ate whatever they liked)

A healthy diet is important to a growing body, and brain development, so why would I allow my children to eat “junky” food? Granted, at our house, our “junk” night consists of a homemade pizza, not a drive-thru, but what they eat elsewhere is outside of our control. We are planning on making our house as healthy and wholesome as possible. The boys never ask for take-out, garbage restaurants, so why would I feed it to them?

So why is it, then, that it’s hard to make a meal and not feel like it’s “missing something” when there’s no starchy side dish? Why do I feel that a steak dinner just isn’t complete without a baked potato, and honestly, what would bacon and eggs be without toast?

It’s taken some getting used to, and I’m still learning as I go, but I’ve discovered a few recipes along the way for some treats, and some staples and am working hard to re-program myself to remember that breakfast doesn’t have to consist of what we deem to be “breakfast” foods. If all I can find is soup, then have soup. If I want to wrap a chunk of old cheddar in a slice of ham and dip it in dijon mustard, so be it. It’s been rather liberating, really. I’ve almost been trying to find odd things to eat for breakfast. If I can get my co-workers to look at me funny as I’m eating breakfast, I have succeeded.

The best part of this lifestyle change? I’ve lost some weight. But I’m not going by the numbers on the scale, I’m seeing how my clothes fit, and how I’m feeling. My mental clarity is at an all-time high – surprisingly, this has caused a bit of a problem, as it has made my mind work overtime, but I’m working on getting myself organized “up there”.

The point? I’m feeling really good about this decision. And even though I have fallen off the wagon a couple of times, I always feel good about climbing right back on it, where normally I would have to talk myself back into a diet for a good 2 weeks before I would resume it.

If only primal eating would make this head cold disappear…. life would be perfect.

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Something warm and soothing…


I’ve been dragged out with a cold recently… a cold that turned into a viral infection.

It’s taken a lot out of me. I have no energy and I just want someone to take care of me… basically – I turn into a whining baby.
Many years ago, when I was living with my parents, my mom would make leek and potato soup when we were sick. I loved that soup.

Given that my mother worked full time in a very busy job at a bank, and had a very long commute, which included catching a ferry, homemade soup was an extra-special treat.
As you drifted in and out of consciousness, the smell of vegetables simmering in broth could instantly help sooth the chill that had settled deep into your bones.
One bowl of Mom’s soup would have you on the mend in no time.

Since I started this primal journey, I have cut high-starch white potatoes from my diet. No more fluffy mashed potatoes, french fries, or baking dishes filled with scalloped masterpieces.
As a “treat”, though, I allowed myself sweet potato to help (hopefully) rebuild my energy after a week of feeling dragged out and sorry for myself.

This soup is really easy to make – it freezes well, reheats beautifully and can be adjusted for half batches!

In my first batch, I got a bit liberal with the cayenne pepper and it kind of got away from me…. while I enjoy hot foods, this soup got hotter every time I reheated it – so the little bit of cayenne is definitely enough. (This can be left out if you have little ones to feed – but my boys enjoyed the extra little kick) 🙂

Sweet Potato Leek Soup

1 tbsp butter
4 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 leeks, washed and chopped
1 onion, diced
10 white mushrooms, washed and quartered
1 glass white wine
4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp butter
cashews (about 1/2 cup – I used salted, but plain would work just as well!)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter, then saute the garlic, onion, sweet potato and mushrooms for 2 or 3 minutes, then add the glass of wine. Pour in the chicken stock, add the cayenne pepper and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, until sweet potato is soft when poked with a fork.

Remove half the vegetables and puree in a food processor (if you don’t have a food processor, but have a hand blender, you can remove half the vegetables, then blend the remaining vegetables in the broth)

Mix everything back together, cover and let simmer until ready to be served.

In a small frying pan, melt 1 tsp of butter. Add the cashews, tossing until lightly browned and warm. Add to the soup and enjoy!

Please forgive me for the BAD pictures this week… these were taken with my phone…

Stay tuned… after a little bit of trial and error, I have a phenomenal Primal maki roll recipe coming.

migraines, chiropractors and skepticism

I was at my wit’s end.

About 20 years of debilitating headaches had taken it’s toll on me.
I’ve always had a fear of chiropractics. I blame this on the media. The over-exaggeration of techniques used to adjust people had instilled a deep-rooted fear of any number of horrible side-effects…
I had heard the arguments from some physiotherapists saying that chiropractics were a “band-aid” solution to a deeper-rooted problem. They wouldn’t help you get better, just feel better for now.

But my wonderful Hubby being the natural health advocate that he is, urged me to visit with a local chiropractor… just visit, he said, no obligation to do anything – just see what she says.

Hey – it’s just a consultation right?

So just before Christmas I made an appointment to visit with Dr G – a young, energetic woman with 3 young children and a busy practise.
She and her husband, who is a friend of Hubby (and also his chiropractor) opened a centre which is dedicated to not only healing people, but educating them in living well.

As I sat in Dr G’s office, wrapped in a hospital gown, modesty out the window, I decided to put all of my faith in her. I mean, if this was a “band-aid” solution, why did they have kinesiologists, experts in posture, naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, not to mention exercise classes and wellness challenges – seems like an awful lot of people on staff.

I knew as soon as she walked in the room that I would like her. She had energy. She seemed enthusiastic about her job – I wasn’t just another patient, I was an individual. I answered a LOT of questions – traumatic incidents, stress levels, pregnancies, deliveries… by the time the interview process was over, she was practically drooling at the opportunity to help me. She did a scan of my spine and sent me for x-rays of my back and neck. I liked that she wanted the full picture before she started anything.

When I headed back for my follow-up, I was ready for the bad news… sorry, your headaches are stress-related / hormone related / life related – and you’re just going to have to deal with them.

Not so.

She was excited. This was caused by some trauma I had incurred as a child falling off a horse. The vertebrae in my neck were compressed/damaged/messed up (I don’t remember the actual term) and once she got them back in line and working properly, not only would I have proper movement in my neck – yay for being able to check my blind spot properly – but my headaches would be virtually non-existant.

She was sure of it.

That excited me.

“I can help you!”

She didn’t say “I think I can help you”… it was definite. I like that. So much, in fact, that I almost cried. She was absolutely positive that she would be able to help me. Not only that – she was positive that the effects would be almost immediate.

The adjustments? Heaven.

After the first adjustment, I had increased range of motion in my neck. My muscle tension seemed to be decreased. My lower back, which we discovered is arthritic, felt better…

I’ve been going to see Dr G 3 times a week for the last 4 weeks – she did a rescan of my spine and the results are amazing – less tension, more alignment, better posture. Now? I go twice a week, and am learning exercises to help my body stay aligned properly, without having to go back so often. Band-aid solution? I don’t think so. She’s helping me learn to take care of my own body so that I’m not dependant on her to make it feel better.

The best part?

Not a migraine to be had since about the 3rd adjustment. Dr G is my new best friend, and a superhero as far as I’m concerned.

Next?

Well – since I put my faith completely in her, I listened when Dr G suggested that Hubby and I start on a Primal diet. More to come on this… the next chapter in our journey to take better care of our bodies, and souls.

We deserve it.