Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Tidbit on Sticking to It

I came upon this article during my Google adventure for goal- and committment-related reads:

It's a short article that suggests that one's focus is a key factor in achieving goals.  Specifically, the article illustrates focusing on previous achievements is more motivating than focusing on future ones.   I guess it makes sense to qualify or quantify successes to make your future goals more realistic and achievable. 

Just and interesting tidbit that I wanted to share.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Consistently Inconsistent

Last night after a long day at work, I came home to Grok who had made me a nice primal meal for dinner.  We then got comfortable on the couch to watch some downloaded shows, while browsing through our freshly-delivered Oxygen and Men’s Health magazines.  I eventually got up to change and have a little workout.

I had a good workout.  I felt good and not exhausted like some of the older workouts I used to put myself through.  But it definitely got me thinking: If I worked so hard in the past at eating clean and working out, then does my body look virtually the same that it did?  (Granted, I’m sure that internally I’m much healthier).

Last week, I went to the doctor for my annual physical.  It had been a year and a half since my last one, which would have put me at the time I started eating clean.  The doctor was enthusiastic at my weight loss, as most of her clients tend to have a weight gain year after year.  The loss: 3 pounds.  I wasn’t so enthusiastic.

A year and a half of eating clean, loads of cardio workouts, softball, volleyball, dodgeball, and lots of walks, equated to 3 pounds.  What I’m not including in the list are the long bouts of falling off the wagon - bingeing on dirty foods, drinking loads of alcohol and making excuses to not workout.

In my case, success isn’t measured by cumulative effort.  If it were, I’d be an Oxygen model.  Success is measured by consistency, and my consistency has been lacking.  This is not a grand realization on my part, I semi-knew that this was my problem.  Heck, I even quit all of my winter sports to accommodate a more routine workout schedule and balanced lifestyle (like not having to do groceries at after all my sports were done).

It sucks.  It’s hard to move beyond that feeling of defeat when you recognize that you’ve failed.  However, I’m sure I would be worse off should I not be able to reflect on the experience, and do something about it.  Every effort gets you one step closer [enter fluffy uplifting music].

My efforts weren't a complete waste - I'll admit that I learned a LOT.  I've learned about what my body needs in terms of nutrition and exercise.  I've learned many new recipe favourites, and what workouts make me come back for more.  I know that health and happiness is a lifetime journey and not a quick-fix.

Now that I know I’ve had a hard time committing to commitment in the past, I’m going to change my approach.  I can commit to finding new commitment strategies… Google is such a nice thing to help me start my search.

I look forward to reporting back on this.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Going to Primal Rehab

Grokette spoke too soon.  Her routine went through the spin cycle.

For the past month, life has been fun but full of unhealthy habits.  With the new house came parties.  With parties come booze and non-primal eating.  Throw in Hallowe'en and extra hours of work, and you end up with a grumpy Grokette who charges to the wine bottle when she walks in the door.  Grok hasn't been any better -- as I type this, I'm surrounded by his empty beer bottles and wine glasses (that I refuse to clean up... because I'm nice like that!).

No one makes a change unless they see that change is needed.  I need a change.

I've missed making primal a priority.  I was happy in my routine and the changes I was seeing, and I want that again.  I haven't been working out; having been eating very cleanly; haven't been getting enough sleep; and I haven't been playing enough (by this I mean doing anything active beyond binge-drinking!).  But that's okay!  I would be in a far worse state if I didn't recognize my rut.  The dreary month of November seems like a good time to try to get back into that happy place... The quiet before the holiday storm.

I'm going to pen-in an after-work trip to the grocery store tomorrow to stock up on the basics: fish, meat, eggs, loads of veggies and fruit, and some nuts.  I've both ate well and worked out for the past two days, and it feels nice.  I also commit to drinking more water in lieu of the copious amounts of coffee and wine I have been consuming.

Here's to another go at it!

Oh, and just for the record -- I never got sick (see my last post).  I felt off, but it didn't turn into a full flu or cold, but I know that my body was fighting something.  I still haven't been sick since starting primal.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting sick?

Grokette is getting sick.  So she thinks...

I woke up this morning with what felt like a softball in my stomach.  Once I arrived at my work cave, I was suffering from a bad headache.  Later, I become feverish and my throat a little hoarse.  Call me Ms. Grokette Grumpersons.

I had a fun weekend, full of relaxation and a little partying.  I attended a wedding and therefore had more than my limit of alcohol, but I kept to eating primally until Sunday night when I was served a piece of homemade strawberry apple pie.  But that's it - I wouldn't call this a recipe for getting sick... But 'tis the season for the ill as there is less sunlight (need some D's!), and the weather is becoming more extreme (...cold and damp).

At present, I'm not sure how my ailment will progress.  Most people do their best to take care of themselves when their sick and not necessarily when their healthy.    Hopefully being primal might fight it off better than I otherwise would have.  I'll count this as my first cold/flu as a primal girl.  I just hope it's a short one.

Take care!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Keeping things going

As mentioned in my last post, I'm moving.  Grok, Schmooks and I have moved out of the city into a new shiny development.  I'm happy to report that I think I'll enjoy my new routine.

Realization #1 - Need for sleep
I now have quite the commute to work, which means that I have to be on the ball in the morning to get to my work cave on time.  This means that I need to get to bed by 10:30pm to keep tiredness at bay.  If I'm forced to be in bed on time as I no longer have a sleep-in option, I'm happy to comply if it ensures a restful me.

Realization #2 - Primal Space
I have a big walk-in pantry off of my kitchen - perfect for stalking up on everything primal, and fun gadgets to make a variety of meals.  I also have a bedroom as a dedicated gym so all my equipment is organized and ready-to-use (8.5' ceilings make it easy for squat jumps!).  I have greenspace in my area for primal playtime with Grok and Schmooks.  I have a big cozy bedroom which makes it easy to settle in for the evening.  Perfect.  I'm trying dedicate space to supporting a primal lifestyle…but it could just be in my head... 

Realization #3 - Transition can be Primal
I had assumed that I was going to have a hard time committing to a primal lifestyle while my routine and schedule were thrown off.  I've had to eat out a lot (which I love to do anyways) but I selected places where I would be able to find a relatively clean primal meal.  At Moxie's, I had a glass of wine with a salad covered in feta cheese and dried cranberries, and then a crab avocado dish but stayed away from the bread.  I had shawarma plates and omitted the rice, potatoes, pita and hummus.  I had big breakfasts of bacon, eggs and tomatoes which kept me satisfied all day.  I even ate McDonalds -- I ordered two grilled southwestern chicken sandwiches, but only ate the innerds (lettuce, mayo, tomatoes and seasoned chicken).  Not all of this was 100% clean of course, but that's why Mark promotes eating primal 80% of the time - it's as realistic as this Grokette is going to get.  Especially when she's moving into a new cave.

On another happy note, I've noticed that my body is changing.  I can see a bit more muscle definition in my arms and some of my pants are becoming a little saggy below the bum.  My skin also feels different - as though the fat it a little less dense than it was before.  I can't quantify my results since both my scale and my measurements are packed in some unknown box.  I hope in time I'll be able to share my results with you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lifting Heavy Things

Grokette and her little primal family are in the process of moving to a much bigger cave... One which has yet to get Internet access so posting will be limited. 

Both Grok and I are committed to keeping up the primal lifestyle during the transition, which includes lifting many, many awkward and heavy objects.  Fun!  I'll be back!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The word is getting out?

How popular is primal becoming? Can I rank it among the many diets that are people adopt?  Or maybe this one is different since it seems to be about a certain lifestyle? (We mimic the consumption and physical activity of our paleolithic ancestors)... I'll have to do some research before I discuss this further.

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos
One popular website that I've been consulting for years - no matter what my diet style was, is  This site lets you search countless food options to obtain the food's nutritional value and breakdown.  And not matter what your food beliefs are, if you want to achieve health and fitness goals you'll need to know what is in your food.

Grok was recently perusing the site and noticed an article posted on the front page entitled, Are we getting the whole story on grains? We were happy to see an article on a popular site that was encouraging grain awareness.

The article is a quick read and gets right to the point: We see many studies about the heart-healthy benefits of eating whole grains.  But do we ever see studies about removing grains from our diet completely?

Good point.  I think you have something there!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An indulgent day; an indulgent workout

There is nothing that starts Grokette's day off better than getting out of the shower, and being presented with a cup of fresh coffee (FYI - Starbucks' Anniversary blend that they are promoting right now is REALLY good), and a plate of perfectly prepared bacon and eggs.  Grok, I adore you.

However, I starved the rest of the day.  That's okay since the occasional short fast is physiologically acceptable.  I'm sure that the real Grokette didn't always have a victorious hunt.

I left work at lunch to accommodate a very long afternoon appointment.  By 3:30, I was on my way home and all I could think about was my next meal.  I dashed into the neighbourhood grocery store and grabbed a roasted chicken (not the cleanest, but you know...) and a few other things, and dashed out.  When I got home, I dove into that chicken.  No fork, no knife - I just ripped those wings and legs apart. 

It wasn't very graceful and I certainly wouldn't do this in front of company, but it surely was satisfying!  I then followed-up with a piece of 86% chocolate.

I've had family in town for the past couple weeks, so this evening included a farewell dinner at Red Lobster.  My order?  Half a pound of Canadian snow crab legs and some broiled scallops, with a garden salad with blue cheese dressing.  Oh, and I had a glass of red wine too (Fetzer's red zinfandel...I highly recommend!).

Do I feel guilty?  Not at all.  Aside from the fact that I didn't prepare this food myself (and therefore can't confirm that my food was prepared cleanly) this meal is as close to primal as I will get when eating out at a restaurant.  I'm stuffed, and will admit that I ate too much but that just means that I'll do an intermittent fast for the next 12 to 15 hours. 

I do feel guilty for not moving too much today.  As soon as I publish this post, I'm going to hit the weights, which I'm learning to love.  Chalene Extreme is an exercise program focused on building muscle by lifting weights at a VERY slow pace.  You're not doing set after set of exercises - you're focused on lifting a heavy amout of weight for up to a max of twelve reps, and that's it.  In the past, I did another program affiliated with the Beachbody company but the workouts were too intense and long to fit into my lifestyle long-term (and this definitely wasn't primal as it encouraged chronic cardio).  I find that Chalene Extreme is great for me because I don't have to follow the plan -- but I can use one of the program's many workouts for whatever I'm in the mood for... This makes it pretty easy to want to workout.

Everyone has a preferred workout regimen.  I'm curious: What's yours?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Primal Tip #1: Buy your meat first

I tend to get lost when I go to the grocery store.  I become over stimulated with everything going on around me.  So much to see, so many new things to try, so many labels to read... It drives Grok nuts. 

Going primal has helped quite a bit with this little fault.  Before I even enter the store, I already have my path laid out for me as I shop the perimeter, with a few exceptions (like my 86% chocolate, coconut milk and greek yogurt).  I no longer spend any time looking for grains or legumes like I did when I was eating clean (and I don't get the sugar shock that goes with them, either!).

What I have found helpful is to decide in advance how many meals I'm going shop for.  This translates into the number of packages of fresh meat that I buy.  One big package is enough for dinner and lunch the following day for Grok and I.  Once this is done, I fill the cart with veggies, fruit and nuts.  These are easy to grab and go and are versatile enough to make something more elaborate.  But without the meat, you don't really have a meal. 

And I love meals!  Much better than having to pack 5-6 small meals/snacks to eat every 2-3 hours like I used to.

Primal: +1
Clean Eating: 0

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A primal pooch

There are three happy members in Grokette's primal family.

Grok is the typical alpha male.  He is strong and tall, which is often helpful for Grokette since she's 5'2, and often needs help to lift heavy things and reach top shelves.  He has also adopted a primal lifestyle and has seen great results.  Grok will talk about his experience in a future guest post!

There is, however, another member of the family who was the first to go primal.  Her name is Shmooks, and she is a mutt.

Blessed with the brain of a border collie (her dad) and the curious and loyal nature of a schnoodle (schnauzer + poodle = her mum), she is a happy atom bomb of energy all wrapped up in fluffy suckyness.  Doesn't everyone talk this way about their pets?

If Grokers go the distance to live a primal lifestyle, why shouldn't their pets also follow the same habits?  They deserve every bit of health and happiness that we want for ourselves, and so we should take a close look at what we impose upon them.  For example, have you read the ingredients in the pet food that you buy, or does pooch get enough variety of exercise?    When Shmooks first went to the veteranarian, I was told that many people who feed their dogs Kibbles 'n' Bits are poisoning their animal with the equivalent of McDonald's to humans.

Fast forward two years, and friends explained how they decided to look into independent food makers for their precious pooch.  We did some research and decided that a dog had no reason to consume large quantities of rice, corn and wheat.  Since dogs are domesticated wolves,  their physiology should be nourished with a diet rich in meat (wolves eat moose, elk and game)… not grains.  This also means that your dog's ancestors were hunters, and so your dog should be encourages to walk, chase and play.

A bonus to having Shmooks: You.  You'll get to go on a lot of walks, and you can go to the park and run around like you did when you were a kid.  Why not?  Not only is it good for pooch, but it's atop the list of things you do when you're primal.  Move frequently at a slow pace, sprint once in a while, and play (see Challenge #3, 5 and 7 of the Primal Blueprint).

I first wrote the above and then a comment made suggested I read up on the raw canine diet.  I'm intrigued!  I don't want to lose it, so I'm adding it to my post.  Thanks anonymous!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Grokette's Easy Creamy Chicken

Grokette is most hungry after work.  That gap of time between leaving your desk and having something on the table always feels like an eternity.  Today, however, Grokette rocked a quick recipe, and is eager to share! 

Photo: My Blackberry
Grokette's Easy Creamy Chicken
Grok approved... and he pouted at not getting seconds!

Prep time: 10min
Cook time: 35min
Total: 45min

  • Skinless, boneless chicken thighs (the number is up to you)
  • Phillidelphia cream cheese
  • Onion, sliced
  • Bacon slices
  • Pepper to taste
  • Pre-heat oven to 400*C
  • Unroll the chicken thighs (clean them to your liking)
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of cream cheese on the inside of the thigh
  • Take half of an onion slice and place in the middle of the thigh (spread the onion layers)
  • Season with a little pepper
  • Roll up the thigh, and wrap in one piece of bacon (no need to use toothpicks)
  • Place the thighs separated on a foil-lined cookie sheet and cover with foil by pressing the foil around the outer thighs.
  • Place in the oven for 35 minutes, and serve!
Fantastic for leftovers... Just not in Grok's case.  Sorry babe!

2 thighs per serving
464 cal; 4g carbs; 32g fat; 40g protein

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Shake it up, Grokette!

Photo: Gluten Free Blog
Before I give you my favourite shake recipe,  I want to tell you about my favourite appliance.  I truly love the Magic Bullet -- my kitchen wouldn't be the same without it.   This thing has such versatility.  Grate some fresh parmesan, make a soup, prep your scrambled eggs or make your favourite shake.  It makes for great frozen drinks too!

Grokette's Chocolate Banana Shake
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 1 scoop of whey protein powder (unflavoured)
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed (ground in the Bullet)
  • a few ice cubes
Put it in the Bullet, or in a blender and enjoy!

244 calories; 4.9g fat; 21.5g carbohydrates; 31.6g protein

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Day of Vices

Sometimes, you just need your fix.

Grokette has got her cravings and they have nothing to do with deficiencies in her diet.  I mean the stuff that you'd swear you could consume everyday for a lifetime.

Dark chocolate, red wine, cheese, artichoke hearts, strawberries, smoked salmon, shellfish, sparkling water.

I'm not sure what this list says about me, but I know that without this list I would be a very, very lost soul.  Everything on this list makes me feel so good. 

A few years ago when I looked to a croissant with nutella as being a favourite indulgence, I blamed the fat for making me feel terrible in the minutes that followed my eating it.  It wasn't until I started eating like Grokette that I realized that going primal didn't feel as restrictive as clean eating -- and I was blaming the wrong guy.  Sorry, Mr. Fat, please forgive me.  So long as I was eating grains, I was going to get a craving for more shortly after.  But with primal eating, I'm so much more satisfied after my meal and I don't have to watch the clock for my next snack -- I just eat when I'm hungry.  Not every 2-3 hours like clean eating recommends.

Today, Grokette indulged.
  • She slept in;
  • she ordered a big salad covered in smoked salmon, onions, capers and a serving of grapefruit vinagrette for lunch from a neighbouring restaurant;
  • she had some 86% chocolate; and,
  • she enjoyed a glass of wine after a softball game.

When I look at this list, I'm so pumped!  Measured against the Primal Blueprint, you should get lots of sleep (Grokette napped all the time and slept in when her body needed some extra rest), salmon is atop the list of fish full of good omega fats, and dark chocolate and red wine is totally game for your health as they're full of antioxidants. 

I wish that Grok had encouraged me to go primal sooner.  I've never been so happy making my body a little stronger and healthier.  I get my fix all day long.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Cookie

Today, Grokette faced humpday with primal success... But not without sabotaging Grok's efforts...

In my work cave (a.k.a. my high-baffled cubicle covered in org charts and approval process maps) I plug away 40 hours of my week taking care of my boss and I supervise three worker bees.

I love my job mostly as I never know what is going to be thrown at me.  Much like Grokette who never knew what physical or mental challenge she would face.  I certainly couldn't escape a cheetah, nor weave a basket with leaves, but then again I don't think that Grokette could write a detailed memo.

Back to my work cave. 

I'm jumpy.  When people pop into my work cave unnoticed I have a tendency to jump 2 feet in the air.  Grok and I work in caves two floors from each other, and so this gives him the enjoyment of scaring me whenever he wishes.  Today was such a day.

Focused on my work, Grok snuck up behind me and loudly yelled in my ear, "WHAT'CHA DOIN'?"  I screamed, and promptly slapped Grok on the arm and called him a jackass.

I then looked at a wrapped cookie which was forced upon me by a colleague, and dangled it in Grok's face.  I told him that I had been a good little Grokette today and wanted to keep it that way, so I wanted Grok to be my knight-in-shining-armour and take the cookie away from me.

And so, I not only avoided poisoning myself with that cookie, but I got back at Grok's antics by giving him a sugar crash.

Sorry Grok, but you can say no to a cookie, too.

The lesson:  Grains make you crave sugar, so don't eat grains and you won't want a cookie. 

The second lesson:  If you don't like someone, give them a cookie.  They'll think you're making peace, and you'll know better.

(And no, I'm not really vindictive... This just made for a fun blog post!)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Breakfast Groks!

I'm about to go out for a working breakfast with my coworkers.

I'm going to order a latté, and a big fluffy omelette full of bacon and veggies. 

YES PLEASE!  Breakfast at a restaurant is a primal cinch.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Grokette's Start in a Modern World

This morning, I woke up next to Grok as the sun rose.  I stood under a waterfall to bathe, and I got myself ready for a typical day of tidying up my home, gathering food, and having fun with my favourite Groksters.

In reality, I pressed the snooze button until I could no longer hide from the sun peering through my curtains, while being practically steamrolled by my grumpy fiance.  I had a shower, and I got ready for a day at the office.

I know Grokette didn't have it easy all the time.  I'm sure coming face-to-face with a saber-toothed tiger was probably the equivalent of my getting stuck in an hour-long meeting with kooks who talk in circles.  But I'm envious of Grokette.

Grokette's life was tens of thousands of years in the making.  She was part of her environment.  She needed food, water and shelter, and her environment was there for her.  She was balanced and her lifestyle kept her happy and healthy.

Fast-forward to 2010, and you'll find that unhappiness and unhealthiness is widespread.  Obesity, heart disease and depression are common, and the future doesn't look very shiny.  The world is not Grokette-approved.

About two months ago, my fiance, Pat, introduced me to the Primal Blueprint.  He explained that my body is that of Grokette's, and is not fit for an industrialized society (think polluted air, over processed unnatural foods, and far too much stress).  I was skeptical.  Up until that point, I was convinced that my lifestyle as a clean-eater was unparallelled.  And so, I dabbled in living primally, and I did my homework to decide if this would work for me.  I've decided in favour of Grokette, and I will be primal.

This blog is about my life through Grokette's eyes, and my experience as I try to lead a primal life by following the rules to the Primal Blueprint.

I hope you'll join me!

Kristina (a.k.a. Grokette)

P.S.  Mark Sisson, Grok on!