Salt

So, clearly I am not following my sleep prescription and I really have no excuse.  I’m going to tell you a short story about salt and head to sleep.  I promise.

I have been on this paleo/primal eating spree for about 10 days now.  A few days into this new eating style, I noticed one more that my heart felt like it was pounding and beating faster than usual.  Now, usually I have a slow heart rate (compared to most people) and a very low blood pressure.  So, to have my heart feel like it’s beating hard in my chest and faster than usual is not cool.  This eating style was supposed to make me healthier not give me problems.

The first time it happened, I chalked it up to feeling tired and I felt better after breakfast and a long walk.  When it happened a couple more times, then I was like okay something is up.  I turned to a good friend of mine who is both a scientist and has been doing paleo for a number of years now.  He asked me a few questions about how strictly I had been following the diet and then concluded that I probably needed to add some salt to my diet.

Even before I started this way of eating, I rarely put salt in my food, but I’m sure that I got salt in other ways.  Two ways that I can think of are cheese and canned beans.  Oh, and mac and cheese from Annie’s.  Yum.

While, it was not really surprising that I might be deficient in my salt intake, it just struck me as sort of funny.  I’m glad that I have a friend who is knowledgeable about paleo because otherwise I would have been stuck.  My Google searches and searches of reputable websites regarding paleo/primal eating yielded no helpful knowledge.

After a day or two of increasing my salt intake, things seem to have calmed down, but we’ll see.  I think it will be tricky to figure out how to keep my salt intake high enough to keep my body happy.  I don’t think that eating too much salt will be a problem, but you never know.

Well, so there you have it.  Salt is important.  It may not be very primal or paleo, but your body needs it, so don’t forget to keep enough in your diet to keep your body happy.  A pounding and racing heart is pretty unpleasant.  I don’t recommend going there.

PS Personally, I really like Himalayan salt.  It tastes better than regular or sea salt.  It is way more expensive, but since I’m not eating that much salt, the splurge was worth it for me.  I’ll have to write a post about the Himalayan salt and provide pictures, but for now, that’s my two cents.

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Sleep

Good, solid sleep is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.  Certainly, primal living advocates for at least 8 hours a night.  I am all about good sleep.  However, my problem is that I don’t sleep well.

I don’t sleep well.  I have always been able to hear things while I sleep.  I can remember exactly one day when I was probably still in elementary school when I woke up and I felt fantastic.  The feeling was incredibly magical and I am hoping that I can have that feeling more often as I continue a paleo primal lifestyle.

The other problem is that I cannot seem to get to sleep early enough to get enough sleep before my ideal wake time.  I like to wake up early.  No later that 6 am, but preferably 5 am.  Getting up early, I tend to get more work done and feel more accomplished throughout the day.  The biggest problem is that once I don’t get enough sleep, that pattern keeps perpetuating.  I seem to be both a night owl and an early bird.

So in search of good sleep, I am going to implement the following steps over the next few days and see how it goes.

    1. Finish dinner by 6 PM
    2. Start drinking tea (chamomile or bedtime tea) around 7 – 7:30 PM
    3. Shower with a cool rinse
    4. Spend the last hour journaling or reading in a room with soft lighting
    5. Turn off the lights by 9 PM
    6. Get up at 5 AM
I probably still need to make some adjustments to that, but I think just like babies sleep better with a bedtime routine, I’m going to need one so that my body knows when it’s time to sleep.  I will probably need the routine to get myself to sleep a lot in the coming months of crazy, uncertain work scheduling, so I think it’s a good idea to get it down now.

Eating on the Road

I have been eating paleo/primal for about a week now.  I did all my cooking and eating at home and was really enjoying the whole experience.  There is something so organic about washing, chopping, and cooking.  We started shopping at various farmer’s markets and the fresh vegetables and fruits can’t be beat.

So, for a week, I was in my nice little bubble at home cooking and eating and really enjoying everything.  Then, I went away for a couple of days and did not really think ahead.  I knew that it would be more difficult to eat away from home, but I did not anticipate exactly how hard.  I just figured that I would order salad with chicken breast or something like that and I would be fine.  It wouldn’t be ideal, but I would be fine for a couple of days.

Boy, was I wrong.  I nearly starved.  The first night I didn’t do too badly and ate some fish and vegetables at a restaurant called Bonefish.  I’m sure there was probably too much salt somewhere in there, but overall, filled all my needs more or less.

The next day was a complete disaster.  I was running late so I grabbed a pre-made salad at a local grocery store and a black coffee.  (Every time I have to face something boring, I need coffee…I know it’s a psychological crutch…but so tasty.)  The salad barely had any turkey in it and it was the kind of turkey that probably came from the deli counter (i.e. full of nitrates and nitrites and who knows what else) chopped into cubes.  So, I was in semi-starvation mode after trying to make up for my lack of protein and calories with some iceberg lettuce.

Lunch did not turn out that much better.  I was at a meeting where lunch was served and without enough time to dash out and buy something that would have been more appropriate, I had to make do.  I ended up taking apart two roast beef mini sandwiches and throwing out the bread and cheese and tossing the roast beef onto my leftover salad from breakfast and eating it.  Edible, but barely.

Dinner was at an organic cafe, which was good, but they did not have any good salad options that seemed appealing to me.  I ended up just ordering a chicken wrap and dumping out the contents of the wrap and eating it.  I got a little cheese in the process, but I’m not too upset about that.  I did forget to ask them to hold the chips, so trying to not eat the blue corn tortilla chips was a little bit of a challenge.  (It’s funny because usually I have no problem not eating chips.)

Then, on my drive home, I was once again on the market for some food and had to make do yet again.  I had another salad from the grocery store and for protein, I ended up having to make do with fried chicken from a rest stop.  Talk about yuck.  I had to peel the fried battered outside off before putting the chicken in my salad.  I was not a happy camper.  I tried to make up for it with a cup of coffee, but the coffee was immensely bitter and not very good.  Oh well.

The moment I was home, I ate leftovers from the fridge along with a handful of toasted walnuts.  Never again.

So that’s the story of my little fiasco.

Moral of the story: Do not go anywhere unprepared. Otherwise you’ll  be relegated to a semi-starvation state.

Anybody have good ideas for what to eat or how to plan for being away from home (i.e. a kitchen)?

 

 

Paleo Primal Lunch

*Note: this is a reposting/cross-posting of my original post (with a few modifications) at my food blog Funny Eater*

A Paleo/Primal Lunch:

Some chicken off a rotisserie chicken with chopped sweet vidalia onions, escarole, and colorful bell peppers.  I threw some toasted almonds on top for some crunch and flavor, but it’s good with or without nuts.

Left over bell peppers got chopped up and went into the fridge for later.

Paleo Primal Breakfast

*Note: this is a reposting/cross-posting of my original post (with a few modifications) at my food blog Funny Eater*

Today is about breakfast.  We’re traveling to the land of Paleo breakfasts.

Above, you see a breakfast from a few days ago with a close up shot in the next photo. I scrambled together some eggs, carrots, bell peppers, sweet onion, and chicken.  Serviced it up with sliced avocado and left over chilled sauteed summer spinach with onions.  Summer spinach is a new green for me that we picked up at the Farmer’s Market.  If you haven’t tried any yet, go out and find some.  It’s very tasty.

For today’s breakfast (see below), we added in a sliced kiwi fruit and some fresh baby arugula and toasted walnuts.

I love eggs.  I love them a lot.  Breakfast is pretty easy to do.  Pick out some stuff to put in your eggs, chop it all up, throw it in a pan with some oil, add some eggs, and you’re done!  Sorry, no cheese in this egg concoction.  Add some sides and you’re set!

Breakfast isn’t too far fetched from what I was eating on weekend mornings.  The trickier part will be to figure out what to do once I’m back into a schedule of having 5 minutes for breakfast in the morning.  I think it’ll be more piecemeal and cold.  Something like hard boiled eggs, cold roasted chicken, some berries, some nuts, and some previously made vegetables.

I do like long mornings where I can eat my breakfast and concentrate on it.  We’ve been having breakfast with a glass of water, some vitamins, and black coffee.  I’m trying to not drink coffee in the morning, but when a big long day of boringness is staring you down in the morning, coffee is sort of necessity.  There isn’t really a good way around it.  I tried switching to tea, but it’s not as motivating.  I guess for now, I’ll have to just drink that cup of coffee in the morning.

Anyway, that’s my paleo/primal breakfasts for you.

Clean Up, Clean Out

*Note: this is a reposting/cross-posting of my original post at my food blog Funny Eater*

So, we have been trying to stay true to the whole paleo/primal diet over the last few days.  I think we’re at day 4 or so.  Although, I catch myself thinking about food that involves grain or dairy every so often, I don’t really miss the grains or dairy too much.  It’s more just weird that it’s not there.

Today, we went on a spontaneous clean out spree of our pantry and fridge.  I think that we were avoiding the clean out because it’s painful to think about how much food is no longer useful to us.  We got most of it out and some of it just went back up on a high shelf for the cases in which people come over.

Now, the pantry is so nice and clean.  In fact it’s kind of funny because the fridge is stocked full of fresh produce, while the pantry is almost bare.  The extra space is nice since it means we can give more permanent homes to our more nomadic kitchen items.

There was not too many surprises over in the fridge and our freezer stayed mostly intact.  We did find some good things to make some tasty dishes out of and that was fun.  After all the cooking that I learned to do over the last couple of years, I think I’m going to have to start over again in some ways since I am going to have to learn how to cook meat.  I know there is a stew recipe on here, but that required almost no effort.  Actually cooking meat is going to require some finesse here.  My parents do it well, but I’m going to have to learn so I don’t spend eons of time trying to figure it out for every meal.

I wish I had some fun photos for you, but our clean out was actually very underwhelming.  The highlight for me was scrubbing the pantry shelves clean.

Evolution – Backwards Style

*Note: this is a reposting/cross-posting of my original post (with a few slight modifications) at my food blog Funny Eater*

I’m going back in time to eat paleo or primal or whatever you want to call that grain free, dairy free, and all things processed free diet. Is it really a diet though? I think it’s more about a lifestyle (a discussion for another time).  I’m not really a diet person, but the arguments for better health have intrigued me, so we’re giving it a shot.

For curious minds, head over to Mark’s Daily Apple or Robb Wolf.  Both are excellent websites on paleo/primal eating.  The best part are all the before and after pictures and stories.

So, here on Funny Eater, there have been mostly a focus on whole grains, whole foods, and the like. Paleo is sort of a 180 shift. All those whole grains…in fact all grains…good bye. Good bye grains of all types. Also, good bye soy, good bye dairy, good bye sugar, and good bye potatoes (didn’t eat much of those anyway since my nutrition professor said the high glycemic index was not a good thing).

So, what am I going to miss?  In no particular order.

1. cheese – I love melted cheese.  It makes just about anything taste way better.  Plus, it has a huge comfort factor.

2. soy – I love tofu, especially the soft kind.

3. cereal – I love Kashi cereal because it tastes great and is fast eating in the mornings.  Oh well, time to figure out something else.

4. grains – yeah, I’ll miss them, but not too much.

5. peanut butter – peanuts are on the “no” list.  I’m already eating almond butter anyway, so I guess it’s not a huge loss.

6. yogurt – easy and convenient with lots of healthy bacteria…if all goes well, I might let you back in, but for now, good bye.

What am I going to have trouble with?

1. Eating protein at every meal.  I’m not a huge fan of meat.

2. Remembering not to buy foods that are not on the plan.  I went to the grocery store today and found myself being like that would be good and then quickly thinking, “Whoops!  Not on the plan.”  I’m going to get around this, by shopping at farmer’s markets this summer.  Plus, eating local is better.  🙂

After I catch up with my back logged photos, you won’t be seeing grains or dairy for a while.  You might see eggs every so often, but I’m told that starting out it’s best to keep it to vegetables, meat, and seafood.  I’m interested to see how it all plays out.

Anyone else eating paleo/primal?

Repurposing

Welcome to the new Forks in the Crossroad blog.  I have decided to repurpose this blog into one that focuses on a healthy lifestyle.  In particular, a lifestyle that involves paleo/primal eating.  I just started eating this way and am excited to see what the results are.  This blog will be an evolution of my diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits.

Forks in the Crossroad seemed like a very apt place to blog since a lifestyle is based on choices and those have to be made at every fork and crossroad in life.  Forks is also a bit of a play on words since forks are an eating utensil.

In any case, welcome!  I look forward to reading all your comments and hearing what you have to say.

(As an aside: Please remember to be mindful of your tone if you choose to comment.  This is meant to be a happy and helping website that looks for open and thoughtful discussion.  Anything that is hurtful of others will not be tolerated.)

Cheers!