Let me explain. I started out being primal, back in April 2010. I cut out grains and sugar and processed foods completely and saw major improvements in my health and immunity, and lost weight, gained lean muscle and looked and felt better than I had in my life. I looked and felt younger at 30 than I had at 20.
Like most people who become primal / paleo, I felt smug and proud of my achievements. I felt I knew something about health that others don’t. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, to share (which is why I started Allee G’s health Blog), to help anyone and everyone who was struggling with weight and health issues.
I wanted to tell everyone that we have been lied to. Low fat is dangerous to us. Grains are wreaking havoc on our body. Sugar is sickeningly sweet. All those packaged foods saying ‘healthy’ and ‘baked’ are wrong. Kellogg’s corn flakes and Quaker oats are the worst foods you can have for breakfast.
Running the marathon is unhealthy and may be making you sick. Those hours you spend at the gym are a waste of time. Hiding from the sun or using sunscreen is hurting you in ways that you cannot imagine.
Momentarily I was obsessed with fitness and my food. I got super stringent. I started working out so much that I almost slipped into too much cardio and began to gain weight again! (Chronic cardio is a stressor that builds cortisol that causes weight gain). But of course I corrected my self immediately and backed off.
In the two years that I was primal before I became pregnant I learned about my body and my health through reading, research and self-experimentation. It is this knowledge and awareness of my body that helped me conceive immediately.
I remember it was 11:30 pm and we were on the Bandra-Worli sea link at the checkpoint on 30th Jan 2012. We were driving back from the airport after dropping my mom. I told hubby I have just ovulated, lets make a baby; I don’t think we will have to try again. He of course didn’t take me seriously. But a few hours later was when N was conceived. I didn’t need a pregnancy test to tell me I was pregnant.
So I learnt to trust my body and listen to it.
Then pregnancy struck. It was nightmarish for a person who has always worshipped food. I didn’t find anything appetizing. The very meat – animal fat and protein – that comprised most of my diet was making me want to throw up. I tried sticking to primal as much as possible. But when you can’t keep too much food down, I suppose you can’t be too picky. Anyhow I did good and stuck to nutrients like eggs, veggies, fruits, cheese, and high fat dairy for the most part. And enough and more exercise for a pregnant woman.
Postpartum is another animal altogether. I am a breastfeeding mom nourishing a very fast growing, very hungry, baby boy. I was always hungry for the first 8 months postpartum. I started craving carbs too and eat wild rice in almost every meal now. I started craving sugar and eat ice cream every now and then.
I started out with a bang when it came to exercise. I re-started boot camp and yoga when my son was less than 3 months old. But lately throwing a 10 kg baby in the air, carrying him around, playing and entertaining, and stimulating him is kind off what’s keeping me busy and physically active. Taking him for strolls in his sling and pointing out flowers and birds (and cats and dogs) is more of a priority right now than brisk walks.
Sleep is stop and start and getting uninterrupted sleep is a distant dream. Pushing yourself on irregular sleep is never a good idea.
What being primal all these years however, has taught me that if my body is telling me to lighten up and eat a little more than usual, it’s probably telling the truth. I still eat nutrients, still try and eat mostly primal in all meals. But I do give in to carb cravings and up my quota.
Being primal and breastfeeding is not working too well as I constantly need to snack. Fasting and going for hours between meals is no longer something I can do easily and it does not make me feel good.
But what I have gained is a mindset where I apply evolutionary logic to my parenting decisions. When my son explores with his hands and mouth anywhere and everywhere I look the other way. He is a completely barefoot baby. At his aunt and uncle’s wedding (his father’s sister, and his mother’s brother got married a month apart) he was well turned out but barefoot. The list goes on.
Being primal changed the way I look at the world and I always take advice and scientific research stories with a pinch of salt.
I know I have gained weight (since the birth) momentarily, but I am healthy. A woman who conceives, carries a baby without a single virus, without a single off day, who breastfeeds for an extended period, who raises a healthy offspring who is still being nourished through her, is nothing if not healthy. I love my post pregnancy body and wouldn’t have it any other way. And I know the time will come when I will want my old body back, and it will happen.
Because I know what I need to do, and I know what it takes to get there. I know what I need to cut down on and what I need to do more off. And no I won’t be counting calories.
Thinking of us as animals, and thinking of how far we’ve strayed from what we’re meant to be is I think one of the main achievements of being primal. Understanding the philosophy so to speak of why we’ve become this way as a species, is one of my biggest gains.
Today I still eat nutrients and try and eat real food and avoid processed foods. But where the paleo / primal lot have far more do’s and don’ts I have far less. I eat nourishing whole foods, lots of saturated fat, some carbs, some protein, and don’t live by anyone’s rules but my body’s.
Lets just say, I have evolved as a person. I know now that being Primal is more than eating a certain way. It’s about nourishing your body and mind in all possible ways. I’ve learned to love and trust my body and love me, and that’s what’s more important than anything.
Thanks for reading!