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30+ year veg-head going paleo

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  • 30+ year veg-head going paleo

    Hi all,

    I jumped right in last night after I joined and many of you were very kind and helpful with my weight gaining issue, giving me lots of tips, advice, and encouragement to help pinpoint what I'm doing wrong. Thank you for that! Oh, I was directed here by Modern Paleo website.

    I was asked why I decided, after 31 years, to begin eating meat again. I apologize if this is long and rambling--I'm afraid I'm just that kinda girl!
    First, let me say that I am not an idealogue; I was never a vegetarian for ethical reasons, but for health. Not that I'm for animal cruelty, but it was not my main motivation.

    I'm 45 yrs old, with 3 sons, two in their 20s and a teen.

    I rarely remember eating any meat that I enjoyed during most of my childhood. I did enjoy rabbit and lamb---hardest things to give up were real greek gyros!

    The meat my mom bought was the cheapest she could find; super greasy, had weird unchewable chunks in it, and sat like a stone in my stomach....I felt awful when I ate it. So I didn't, and we had many memorable fights about my cleaning my plate. I stopped eating desserts around 9yo, so she didn't have that string to pull. ;o)

    She bought only processed cheese products (Velveeta) 'cause it was cheap. With 7 kids in the house, cheap was the name of the grocery game. Plenty of milk though; she was convinced that all children needed milk or they would have no teeth. ;o)

    Anyway, at 14, she told me she was tired of fighting with me and she wouldn't force the issue anymore, but if I got sick, she'd hold me down and shove it down my throat. Well, she would have, so
    I immediately ran to the library and got the only book there... "Diet for a Small Planet".
    I faithfully combined beans and grains, and still enjoyed eggs...not cheese though....I didn't really know of anything except Kraft products, and those are nasty! I stayed healthy, if skinny...really skinny. I was young, VERY active and really did (and do), like lots of vegetables.

    (BTW...I'm famous in our extended family for being the only person to out-stubborn my grandma and aunts all wanted to know how I did it!)

    I ate that way all my life. I would occasionally eat a token piece of turkey at Thanksgiving, and every year or so, I went vegan for a few months to "clean out my system".
    When my sons were born, they turned out to be all lactose intolerant to varying degrees, as is my husband. So, out went cows milk, and in came rice and almond milk. When Silk came on the market, we liked it and switched over...and went back when they took the Non-GMO label off their soymilk; I figure if they won't say it, it's because they're using GMO soybeans.

    I became concerned over food additives maybe 10-12 years ago, and began baking whole grain bread from scratch. I made my own pasta, started a garden, canned my own pickles, tomatoes and beans, switched to wild rice and quinoa, made yummy hearty soups with all organic veggies, etc. I refused to buy anything that had sugar, corn syrup, fructose, etc in the top 5 ingredients, unless it was jam.
    My middle son's first self-read word was "sugar" on a cereal box. ;o)

    No preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, no hydrogenated oils. (No yellow #5...I don't care if you use wire hangers, but no yellow #5!!!!)

    3 years ago, my youngest son was diagnosed with gluten intolerance, through an elimination diet, which we undertook due to constant alternating diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches, nausea, etc.

    We found that he can eat a little, once or twice a week, but any more often, or any real quantities, and he has some real stomach problems. So, out went my bread baking and the pasta making, and I began with the (even more) extreme label reading.

    About the same time, we went off HFCS, too. No more prepackaged fruit leather...I bought a dehydrator and began to make my own dried fruit snacks for the kids. Mmm..and dried cherry tomatoes, with a bit of basil and sea salt...divine!

    Other than OJ and cranberry juice, (and beer!) the only thing to drink in our home is water. Oh, and my husband drinks yerba mate, or coffee.
    I bought a Berkey filter to run our tap water through, so it was as clean and healthy as I could make it.
    (see a pattern here?)

    When my son was diagnosed GI, a friend recommended a book called Nourishing Traditions. I popped it open, saw that it was all meat recipes, and put it back on the shelf...I never even read the preface.
    Another friend recommended the same book...and I smiled politely, and demurred. I found that book on another friend's cookbook shelf....but of course, it wasn't for me.

    A couple of years ago, I read a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and found it made tons of sense that how an animal is raised, fed, and cared for would affect the meat, milk and/or eggs it produced. (and who doesn't love Barbara Kingsolver?)

    Then some friends from our homeschooling group started talking about "that" book again, and I finally borrowed a friend's copy and skimmed through it. After reading AVM, I was a bit more open minded.

    Then I read about the difference in pastured eggs and commercial eggs in Mother Earth News.

    My girl friend in N Georgia started selling her eggs, chickens and beef from her organic farm, and everyone raves about how yummy it is, and how easily digestible. I had my doubts, but I was intrigued.

    Finally I bought Nourishing Traditions for myself, and also read Real Food: What to Eat and Why, then moved onto the WAPF site, and learned about the differences between raw dairy and processed dairy.

    Then onto Gary Taube's Good Calories, Bad Calories, The Paleo Diet and various websites. I also have spoken to two friends who are has been for a few years, the other recently transitioned.

    I personally am going through peri-menopause, and was told by my doctor that the hot flashes, sluggishness, weight gain, increase in migraines, dry skin and hair, and mental fog were all part of the aging process and menopause. Nothing to do but accept it, and maybe take hormones. Damn! And 'no" to both.

    My sister talked me into a 30 day raw challenge this past January; it was supposed to help with the lack of energy. HA! I was hopeful, but ended up ALWAYS hungry, eating constantly, and feeling exhausted; the only energy I had was spent finding food. I didn't finish out the 30 days...neither did she.

    So my friend, a nutritionist....the one who first recommended N. T. to me, is about 5 years older, and looks fabulous, has tons of energy, and a very positive frame of mind. I emailed her and we talked. She assured me that I didn't need to experience all that " fun" aging nonsense, and if I was willing to open my mind and my diet, I would feel better.

    So. Here I am. I'm told that I am nowhere close to a Paleo diet, but from my perspective I'm a freaking carnivore!

    I figured that with pretty much no meat for 30 years, I'd be better off easing into it...I started raw milk, pastured eggs, raw cheese (I make my own mozzarella!) and raw butter, about 6 weeks ago. Two weeks ago, I added in chicken and turkey, about 3 x a week, each.
    Yesterday I ate a piece of bacon. Greasy!

    I started off a year ago, about 131, 132 lbs. I'm 5'7. When I noticed I was gaining a lb a month, I visited the doctor (at 138 lbs) and she told me it was normal. I cut way back on snacks and alcohol. My weight stabilized at 134-135, with a 3 lb gain just before periods.

    Since I've been adding in the eggs, milk products and meat, I've gone up to 146, as of yesterday.
    I'm due for my period, so if I subtract my traditional 3 lbs of water weight, I'm at 143. And it's all in my belly...I look and feel bloated. 9 lbs in 5-6 weeks---at this rate, I'll be clinically obese by the end of a year!

    Now, since ya'll were so helpful on that other thread, I understand much of what I'm doing wrong...still eating a tortilla 4-5 times a week. Not cutting back on alcohol, and eating handfuls of raw nuts daily. Almonds, pecans, walnuts...everyday. I go through 3 lbs of almonds, 2.5 lbs of walnuts and 1 lb of pecans every two weeks. Yeah, I like nuts!

    Fruit juice, even organic, is no good...check! Same for agave nectar. Hopefully this will sort itself out.

    I also can't say I feel energetic at all...but I still get out and garden daily, and walk a lot, with and without my dog. Sitting around for more than an hour makes me antsy, and makes my back ache...I gotta get up and move!

    As of today, I have put away the nuts, juice (except for that slip up this am) beer and agave nectar. I just got back from Whole Foods with a Beef Shank...I spent 30 minutes talking to the butcher, who suggested I start off with a nice broth, (he even gave me a recipe) maybe add some vegetables, and try small amounts of the meat.
    It's grass fed, local, organic, produced on a 5th generation farm, certified humane, and won a taste award. Am I on the right track?

    I hope I've answered questions, been mildly entertaining, and spelled everything right! If you've made it this far, I thank you for your patience and persistence.
    Last edited by reddhedd; 06-27-2010, 06:47 PM. Reason: added age

  • #2
    Hi Reddhedd and welcome to the board. I'm new here too, but I just wanted to encourage you to be strict with the diet if you can. I'm in my mid-40s and perimenopause was completely kicking my butt. I was basically incapacitated with heavy migraines and very heavy bleeding several days a month. Plus there was the brain fog, the fatigue and all the rest of it to deal with. Since I started paleo my migraines have gone away, and the bleeding is back to what I consider to be normal. Have a lot more energy, and have lost 15 pounds. Got rid of that middle age spread. I'm a former vegetarian too and would suggest getting back into meat gradually so as not to freak out your digestion. Eggs are great, as are sardines. I've also discovered I love lamb. The bone broths are very nourishing too and easy to make. Good luck!


    • #3
      First, you have to UNLEARN all you learned about fat in the last 31 years. I'm very surprised that you continued your veg diet for so long without the symptoms you mentioned above.... mainly lack of energy. You pretty much been a veg all your life, it's gonna be a bit PITA to convert now, assuming you are closing up being 45-50 yo.

      My advice is this: go cold turkey and see the difference... easing in wont make your body feel the differences! you might even feel bad, sick etc for days before the good signs appear. But those bad days are 99% to discourage even the most stubborn one. If you really want to do this!

      As I told you on other thread, key is Low Carb, High Fat.

      - I suggest you get Coconut Oil to increase the fat intake. From wholefoods, in the cooking section, get the ultra virgin 360 brand. Straight out of the jar, 2 tablespoons (25 grams) first thing before eating anything. 2-3 times a day.
      - Create and follow a Fitday / nutritiondata / whatever other web application that let's you track your intakes and try to have Low Carbs and High Fats.
      - Forget the LowFat Bandwagon BS (that's the Unlearning thing). Will be VERY DIFFICULT trust me!!!!!!!!

      Forget about Soups and broth. Get into STEAKS! Make yourself a favor and go and get Ribeye steaks as marbled as you can, make them on the bbq and butter them with as much Kerrygold (Unsalted) butter you can. Makes it way better taste and your fat intake will skyrocket (which is what you want)

      - Forget the Diary things, at least for a while... You can add them later, in the form of Low Carb form... Goodbye any form of Milk.
      - Don't combine veg diet with Paleo! It's not working....

      Stay out of grains! Any form of grains! No matter what the Marketing propaganda says, grains are NOT food for humans. Yeas, some people can eat them, some tolerate them very well, hundreds of years of culture cuisine might be built onto them... Yes, it's all BS! Grains are food for herbivore animals, equipped to digest cellulose (fiber). WE DONT NEED FIBER! AT ALL! It's just marketing BS from companies that sells food based on grains. They market these stuff for almost a hundred years, very hard to get rid of.

      Yes, you will poop less. Is that really a problem?

      One more thing. Based on facts not impressions. (Yes, I do have a biochemistry background and I went through medical school)

      Think the human body as a device. This device needs several things to function.

      As substances intake, needs nitrogen and oxygen, water, alpha-linolenic acid, linoleic acid and another 11 amino acids (I wont give you the list now because that's somewhat irrelevant at this point). There are also substances that are considered as essential, mainly some Vitamins and obviously minerals, but I dont want to get into to much details now.

      Out of this substances, a proper functioning human (healthy) can synthesize any other substances that he needs, including the few grams of carbs that are necessary daily. So, where do you get these from?

      Atmosphere and Animal fat, Vegetable fat and Animal Proteins (some veg proteins to be considered eventually). Period. That's what you need and ALL you need! Why waste your time with all the BS?

      Try it for 2 weeks and see if it's for you!
      Last edited by MichaelA; 06-27-2010, 06:50 PM.


      • #4
        rucker_z..thanks! I don't have heavy bleeding, just way unpredictable periods...21 days, 35 days...I just never know when I'm gonna start up again.
        But the, I used to get 3-4 a it's every 5-6 weeks. and brain fog..oh hell yeah! I've been considering caffeine just to be able to focus...I don't like the jitters, but mentallly I feel like a dim bulb.

        I'm encouraged by what I've been reading, and I definitely see that I need to be tougher on myself here!


        • #5

          Wow! That's a lot of info. I'm gonna copy paste this intro my desktop so I can see it and re-read it over and over.

          Just jump in, eh? You don't think I'll get stomach aches?

          I'll try the coconut oil ASAP.

          Thank you

          You're right...the "fats are bad" line is definitely something I need to replace. I'm trying, but as you say, 30 years is a PITA to erase quickly.


          • #6
            You are welcome! Hope it helps! Somewhat I'm sorry I couldn't give you this advice 30 years ago, not that I think you had followed ith thou But at that level you may had access to way more clean food sources than now. More difficult today but totally doable.

            You might get stomach aches... but you have to continue until you get to normal. Yes, normal is the paleo diet. You were fed abnormal on a starvation diet for to long. I'm sure you will have some sort of symptoms. Try to use food as clean as you can... Organic meat, etc

            I tend to believe that a cold turkey approach will be better because you have more chances to experience the advantages faster than easing in slowly. I don't think a 3 months period will be very convincing for you, and after that to get a very subjective 10% increase.... That's not what you need.

            I'm sure you are still healthy and your body will appreciate the new fuel way better. Might have some hiccups while transitioning, but you'll do it somehow! I repeat, I dont think will be easy... Better expect something!

            It's easy to replace Fats with Carbs in that line. Carbs are bad, carbs are bad... say that enough times and you'll go with it.

            One more thing. Don't share your new "experiment" with others until you start having results and are 100% convinced yourself. Why? They will try (and maybe succeed) to sabotage your experiment with millions of reasons... some of them might even feel right. Be stubborn, do this for two weeks and I can Guarantee you will have results!
            Last edited by MichaelA; 06-27-2010, 07:08 PM.


            • #7
              2 weeks eh? So, no dairy, carbs, sugar, juice, alcohol, and eat red meat, coconut oil, and other animal flesh for 14 days.

              For guaranteed results, I can stick it out.

              and you're right....30 yrs ago, I had direct (negative) experience with my mother's cooking, and I wouldn't have listened to you at all!


              • #8
                To be warned. If you will go Very low Carb, first few days will be bad... You will have less energy than you have now. It's a well known symptom, takes a few days, depending on the person. It's called the "Carb Flue" and you will be tired... and feel sick... Keep it up and will soon pass... Eat coconut oil, that will soon boost your energy levels!


                • #9
                  oh goodie.....


                  • #10
                    Does your friend in N Ga have a website for her farm? I'm looking for good local options.
           - preparing for life's worst while living for the best


                    • #11
                      The name of the farm is Riverview...the website is

                      Tell Julia that Kate from CHE says " HEY".


                      • #12
                        I'll take a look, thanks!
               - preparing for life's worst while living for the best


                        • #13
                          Arrg the carb flue is the worst stuff but once you get through its such a relief. Getting used to the lowcarb life style will take more then 2 weeks though more like 3-4 month.

                          Stay strong cause its worth it so worth it.


                          • #14
                            Yerba Mate

                            eat healthy food dail, include it in your daily routine to have a better life.


                            • #15
                              A couple of points on weight gain on a Paleo type protocol. I lost 35-40 excess pounds of body fat when I went Paleo and I've maintained my ideal weight since then on the Paleo lifestyle. But you can gain weight initially.

                              First, non-paleo foods, especially wheat and legume lectins, can damage the intestinal tract and promote malabsorption. So on a Paleo type regimen you may find that you are absorbing nutrients much better and as you adjust, you may naturally only crave a smaller volume of food once nutritional deficiencies are restored.

                              Second, it is common on a Paleo regimen to gain muscle first and lose fat last. In other words, you might gain more muscle than you lose fat initially, and hence actually gain net pounds. So it may be helpful to focus on your body composition rather than what is happening in terms of mere pounds. If you really want to keep track of this, you can get an Omron body composition monitor/scale for about $70, and it will tell you not only your weight to the 1/10 of a pound, but also your percentage of body fat, skeletal muscle, and your level of visceral fat.

                              Nobody minds gaining muscle and needed bone density, which Paleo promotes. And once you have gained additional muscle, the extra muscle mass will help in burning fat.

                              I stay completely away from dairy for quite a variety of reasons, one of which is the high insulinemic response notwithstanding a low glycemic index, which might tend to inhibit glucagon and prevent stored fat metabolism.

                              Great detective work in discovering your son's gluten intolerance. Although pretty much everybody is affected adversely by gluten and wheat germ agglutinin in some degree, some such as me are particularly intolerant and such severe intolerance tends to be highly heritable. Could your son have inherited it from you?