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Vibrant Life

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  • Vibrant Life

    Hi to anyone who is reading this. I've sneaked onto this forum after surreptitious lurking.

    The urge to revisit the primal way of eating is growing stronger despite a strong emotional attachment to a whole food plant based diet, which I have followed to a greater or lesser extent and with greater or lesser results since last summer.

    Truth is, I'm feeling conflicted and hopelessly confused due to the tension between the ideological perfection of plant-based and the reality of health. It's a pretty mixed picture, health wise. No chronic disease, but certain aspects blatantly feel 'wrong'.

    I feel health to be one of life's supreme mysteries to the extent that so many co-factors are involved and what works for person A may not work for person B.

    I just feel that despite certain health gains as a 'vegan'; something is not quite right despite judicious and expensive supplementation and even sneaking small amounts wild sea fish into the diet.

    Yet, I love grains, perhaps too much and the starchy comfort from sweet potatoes, rice oats. Possibly emotional attachment, possibly addiction= who can say?

    I've eaten paleo before and at that time I was able to stay slim, leaner than I am now. I'm maybe five pounds above my ideal weight, so this isnt a weight loss issue for me.

    Though I do feel that these final pounds are hanging around for no good reason; I lead a healthy and active lifestyle of swimming, hiking, biking most days.

    So starting next Tues, which is a softer start than Monday - I'm going back to foods I ate before. Lots and lots of plants as it happens, small portions of fish and eggs too. It will be quite a thing to overcome my fat phobia as I have been ostensibly low fat vegan for several months now.

    Worse fears: that going back to dense animal protein 2/3 times per day will dull consciousness and trigger constipation/IBS which led me to seek the vegan solution back last summer. Mood will worsen and it will be an expensive mistake. Carb cravings will be insane and lead to bingeing.

    Now that's out of the way.... best hopes: that I can cope digestion wise and experience gains in energy and possibly a change in body composition. That it feels right.

    So between now and next Tues I have time to adjust mentally to the switch, to eat up with some sadness those beloved grains and starches, to retrieve pre- low fat vegan fats and nut butters from the larder and check sell by dates, to plan a week's menu, I'll do the 'big shop' at the weekend.

    I might post my menu/groceries list here before Tues as well as any other thoughts that seem relevant.
    Last edited by Neeleh; 03-12-2014, 02:36 PM.
    Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Journal: Vibrant Life

  • #2
    Musing, contemplating 'the big change'; from vegan to paleo. Have been googling that phrase : 'vegan to paleo' over the last few months, since my health which had dramatically improved as a low fat vegan, began a sure, sharp decline.

    Adding in a bit of fish doesnt seem to do the trick, my concern is that the culprit is grains? Its all very amateur self-sleuthing. Observing effects. I find myself reacting to quinoa, glutenous grains, and cooked legumes. I really like grains!!

    ITs a pretty huge volte face to leave grains behind and favour calories from protein and fat, the mind will have to adjust.

    I've learnt a lot from the whole food plant based WFPB paradigm, and there are similarities with paleo it seems to me. All these observations are hardly new/revelatory: we all know the score: cut out processed foods and eat more plants.

    Tentative meal plan will be something like this:

    Breakfast - organic eggs omelette with lots of vegetables (spinach, peppers, mushrooms)
    Lunch - wild ocean fish + salad, vegetable soup
    Evening - sweet potatoes, sweetcorn cob, mixed vegetables

    Yeah the evening meal is not protein based, but go gently with me; I feel that starchy tubers are an ancestral food and the corn while techinically a starch and very sugary - is nonetheless very vegetal in it's essence. And I dont want to go crazy with protein straight away, this already feels to be a huge leap.

    Reminding myself of wished for health gains from this lifestyle/WOE:
    improved satiety,
    stable blood sugar = alertness,
    no headaches or eczema (suspects - gluten/lectins?)
    good physical energy ie stamina/endurance to support fitness goals,
    improved skin complexion and leaner body,
    weight loss would be great but not prime motivator.
    Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Journal: Vibrant Life


    • #3
      Shopped this morn for week one of 'return to paleo'; hmm that would have been a great and pertinent title for this journal, I can't find a way to change it. I got cold feet about this journal and couldnt find a way to delete this account, emailed admin but I'm still here.

      Feeling somewhat like a small fish in a big pond, a bit like the first day at High school: busy, confident others swarming around, in charge of what they are doing. Whereas I feel small and curious and ignorant, but not afraid !!

      So supermarket sweeprganic beef mince, I had wanted lamb but not available. I know that all domesticated animals are messed around with; but I think that sheep have an easier time than cows who have their sexual/reproductive cycle brutalised in dairy production. I guess if this sticks as a way of eating I will have to source outside supermarkets for ethical meat blah blah.

      That was part of the joy of veganism, the clean simplicity and having nothing to do with the meat/dairy/poultry industry and the ignorant and disconnected state of our collective consciousness that that reflects.

      It strikes me as far more complex to have to engage with this difficult ethical quandries, rather than neatly and conveniently side-stepping them.

      So the best I could do was organic eggs (implicitly free range), organic beef mince as mentionned and mackerel fillets (from the ocean- wild).

      I can see that the way forward is smaller producers who can demonstrate and speak to provenance. That wont be a revelation for anyone reading here I guess, but it does reveal to me a benefit from my nine month vegan/plant based foray: that I am returning to animal products with a complete inability to buy cheaply produced produce, my conscience has been uplevelled and my spending choices as a consumer are already reflecting such.

      Just yummed my way through a fave vegan dish: mostly organic too - brown basmati, tofu and water sauted veg. Totally low fat. The hardest aspects for me I predict will be missing grains esp brown rice - which could be indicative of addiction- hands up!! And coming around to the idea of higher protein/higher fat.

      Have been listening to various podcasts to catch up on developments in the community: I am liking Nora Gegaudas for her truly holistic and connected understanding of what it is to be live on the planet and be in conscious connection/relationship to the cycles of life.
      Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air
      Ralph Waldo Emerson

      Journal: Vibrant Life


      • #4
        Yay for your first primal shopping spree, Neeleh. I like your tentative meal plan, it sounds good to me. I hope you enjoy your beef, I'm sure your body will thank you for it Best wishes on your journey to better health.
        Annie Ups the Ante


        • #5
          hi annie
          thanks for the visit
          I appreciate the supportive comments, esp from a seasoned 'primaller' and forum member
          in honesty am nervous about the beef, and stashed that in the freezer, will begin with eggs/fish tomorrow and work my way up to the beef
          though I think my anemia symptoms are re-surfacing despite taking a very good tonic, so the red meat hopefully will give my iron levels a boost as you say, my body will thank me for it
          gonna hop over to your threads for some extra inspiration!
          Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air
          Ralph Waldo Emerson

          Journal: Vibrant Life


          • #6
            Day One - breakfast is over

            Funny how the mind remembers, and the body too? Found myself reaching easily for the frying pan, into the fridge for eggs, a bowl, slicing mushroom and peppers, sprinkling spices, wilting spinach. Remembering to turn the grill on as this breakfast frittata is too heavy to turn in the pan and gets cooked underneath on the hob and finished with heat from above.

            Even more curious: my brain started to tell me I needed to add bacon and coffee. That's how I ate this meal before, regularly, less than one year ago before the great vegan experiment, (henceforth VE).

            Thing is, I'm reluctant to add either of these items. During VE I 'came off' coffee and that was one of the hardest substances I've given up, despite stepping down via decaff and giving myself plenty of time. I know that coffee is venerated in certain circles within this community; but trust me I know I'm doing so much better without it: the cravings from decaff lasted a good two weeks; I had persistent 'cravings'.

            The benefit of abstention? I am a much nicer person - had not expected this but it is so. Thought I would be helping my cortisol/blood sugar levels - I'm not too hot on the science stuff. And accordingly improve sleep and regulate appetite.

            What transpired is that a permanent low level irritability largely directed outwards to my friends and loved ones, was removed. I no longer found myself irked or tried by the noise of the washing machine, or some-one doing/saying something I disagreed with. It makes sense from an Ayurvedic viewpoint - coffee is rajasic - stimulates disturbance of the mind.

            Bacon- well as we know one has to search high and low and pay a pretty penny for good, ethical preservative free meat. And it's the taste, isnt it? Maybe I will capitulate. I dont like pigs. I pass a pig enclosure on a permaculture farm along the lane and I can't relate to their porky faces. They live in such mess!!

            There is a porcine poem I really enjoy, by British poet Ted Hughes, there's no love here either
            "View of a Pig" by Ted Hughes - E-Verse Radio

            I suppose that the point I'm reaching for is how much of what we think we want to eat is conditioned, habitual and how past habits/preferences are so easily reactivated. Mindfulness helps a lot, noticing and saying to oneself 'ah, this!'
            Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air
            Ralph Waldo Emerson

            Journal: Vibrant Life


            • #7
              Hey there, welcome!! How was your first breakfast? Your eggs and vegetables sounded pretty good!! I abstain from coffee, too, which is difficult..but I do so much better without it!


              • #8
                Heya and welcome.

                I have to say you're kind of an intense person aint'cha? Have you considered just doing this for 30 to 60 days as an experiment? you seem to have emotional issues with giving up on the vegetarian myth and it might be easier if you look at this as an experiment and not the cliff you must step off never to fly back up.

                Also something you might ponder is the mindset that this is an all or nothing effort. I know many Veg*ns that are scared of admitting they cant do it and want to go back to meat or go paleo and are emotionally and physically attacked by the veg*n community. That wont happen here generally though there are a few douche weasels that might try. Paleo is as much about support and community as it is about what you eat and how you exercise and sleep. If you cant do it then we will be sad and wish you well, there wont be people trying to destroy you as we have seen happen before. As I have personally seen before. Give us a try do it for a month or two, make it an honest effort and if it does not work you will know and can try something else.

                Speaking of the vegetarian myth, have you read it? the book of the same name by Lierre Kieth? Good read and it may help you make the emotional switch.

                Also as a vegan your body has likely forgotten how to deal with red meat and you may feel some upset, I would suggest you look into a digestive supplement to aid the acid production ramp up. That being said, if you prefer fish and shellfish that is fine. There is no need to go whole hog as it were and you can stick with loads of oily fish as the primary protein in your diet. Eat the skin if you can and make soup with the heads, you waste as little as possible and get the most nutrition per life taken as possible. Also oyster shells make great art projects and crushed up and added to the garden they will help fertilize things.

                There is no need to do this low carb and completely grain free, White rice is a staple of my diet now that I have lost most of the weight (130 lbs) I had to loose and I do feel better in the winter with higher carbs. If you tolerate rice well, use it. If you tolerate potatoes use them etc. It is the gluten containing grains that are most dangerous and to be avoided.

                Good luck and again welcome home.
                Last edited by Warmbear; 03-18-2014, 06:48 AM.
                Primal since April 2012 Male 6' 3" SW 345lbs CW 240lbs GW 220lbs and when I get there I am getting a utlikilt. This one actually.

                Join me at, where all the cavemen hang out.


                • #9
                  Wow that is nice to come here and find a double helping of encouragement and support
                  Thanks Margalott, I hear you - life without coffee is worth the sacrifice!

                  Warm Bear That is a great forum name. I appreciate you taking time to make detailed suggestions. I hear what you are saying about vegans, I was well established on a plant-based forum and 'outed' myself as having wild fish twice a week and kind of thought that would be my 'swan song', but folks were understanding and accepting, that surprised me, in a beautiful way.

                  So this transition, has been some time coming, since December last year when I began to include fish. And yes it is a sort of 'home-coming' as less than a year ago I was paleo-focussed. Doing veganism has cleaned me up a lot and helped me to get clear about my emotional relationship to food, and I am unreservedly grateful for the teachings and support I received.

                  I have already noticed and am enjoying the breadth of experience and the innate tolerance that supports that in this community - I didnt blog/ 'socialise' last time around. I look forward to the ongoing 'experiment', I see the journey to health as an ongoing unfoldment and investigation and the more broad minded one is, the more one can gain.

                  I agree too re toxicity of gluten grains, it seems that all nutritional paradigms share that common understanding. And congrats on the 130lb loss- that is a whole person!! What an awesome achievement, that must surely be life changing.

                  And er, I wouldnt describe myself as intense, its curious that you read me that way. I am happy to be here and look forward to deepening connections and celebrating success.

                  I enjoy posting photos so here are a couple from yesterday: breakfast omelette and mackerel with ecstatic salad, I do love rainbow coloured food!
                  (Hope this works!)

                  paleo om.jpgmack salad.jpg
                  Last edited by Neeleh; 03-19-2014, 07:29 AM.
                  Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air
                  Ralph Waldo Emerson

                  Journal: Vibrant Life


                  • #10
                    Day three - Return to paleo

                    Early days
                    . Too early to draw conclusions, this is a time to follow the eating plan and observe effects.

                    Pleased that my elimination remains regular, a sign of digestive health. To make sure things do ahem 'keep moving' I starting soaking 10g whole flax seeds, for 24 hours. In the morning I whizz them up in a spiffy little blender attachment that is a small jar, to receive dual benefit of soaking and grinding. It forms a frothy mousse and is quite pleasant to eat with a spoon, it could be a light breakfast as is spooned over fruit esp on an exercise rest day.

                    I'm persisting with morning omelettes, using the food processor to finely slice the peppers/mushrooms, it gives a good result but not wholly sure it's a timesaver as I need to sluice the apparatus after use and retrieve/store etc. Likewise with the flax, but I guess these are refinements and not entirely necessary.

                    So far, not missing grains. That's helpful - early days!!!
                    Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air
                    Ralph Waldo Emerson

                    Journal: Vibrant Life


                    • #11
                      Hello there! It's an interesting transition, paleo-vegan-paleo, I must say! But courageous one, I think.
                      I think it's interesting that your IBS led you to eating vegan. On mainly plant food my IBS goes nuts. I'm working on getting my IBS under control as well. I've had all types over the years, and looking back I can see they were largely related to the diet I was following at the time. For me supplementing on magnesium, making sure to get enough fiber (from vegetables and tubers, as my body doesn't cope with any grains really), and especially to not go too low on fat.
                      I think you're doing great, meal wise. If you feel comfortable with eating gluten free grains, go for it! I eat tubers several times a week (sweet potatoes, topinambour, white potatoes) with no ill effects. Especially since you do not need to loose a lot of weight I wouldn't worry about them at all.

                      obligatory introduction


                      • #12
                        Dag, your omlettes have really got me rethinking my policy of sleeping later and eating hard boiled eggs and sliced vegetables on the go! Your food is so colorful and pretty and kitchen sink eggs ( with everything but the kitchen sink) used to be my favorite!

                        Day there, way to be!


                        • #13
                          Welcome "home"
                          Those meals look delicious!!!
                          Barb - Portland, Oregon

                          "Everything is as it should be given what has gone before. This is not an excuse but it is a reason"
                          ~ Dr G & Barb ~


                          • #14
                            Oldglie Yay! For a coffee- free life, thanks for dropping by, thanks for the compliment!

                            Lora thanks for visiting and for the helpful comments. Yes the paleo-vegan-paleo flip/flap is a funny one. Underpinning that is the sincere wish to optimise my diet and having a workable and framework, set of principles to guide me.

                            Looking back over my food journals from this time last year, I was very unfocussed and going 'freestyle', with a real hodge-podge of foods, a lack of nutritional knowledge really. Cheese, nuts, sausages, a lot of very calorie dense food, still prone to bingeing on refined fats/sugars. No wonder my stomach was protesting - IBS- glad you are getting yours under control, that must be a relief!

                            Veganism set me straight on processed foods as I learned the importance of eating whole food. And some essential insight into the self-sabotaging consequences of the 'Pleasure Trap' (deadly addictive combo of sugar+ fat).

                            I've dropped all grains and am retaining sweetcorn and sweet potatoes. Similar to you for fibre and I am also supplementing magnesium, which has massively helped reduce anxiety. Do you feel any benefit? Sweet potatoes are great, aren't they? I use a slow cooker to get them good and soft and concentrate the sweetness! But they are great steamed and mashed with parsnips and carrots too.

                            The fat thing, trusting it, is going to take longer for me, though the fish I favour (wild salmon and mackerel) is oily.

                            For now I am holding off on nuts, but making a home made tahini style dressing, so there's some more fat. Oh and there's the 20g daily dark choc. Which is 50% fat - my fix is Lindt 90% cacao. I like raw choc too, which is very fatty. I love that paleo peeps are into dark choc, makes me feel that I have found my tribe lol. I am a non-contrite chocolate junkie!!

                            Margalott Hello again! Good description - 'kitchen sink eggs', yes I do tend to bung in whatever is available - the more, the better! Boiled eggs - the ultimate travel food - complete with packaging, thanks for the reminder.

                            Barb Hi and thanks for the warm welcome, it really goes a long way, these boards seem so busy and I feel blessed that anyone notices what I am up to and takes time to comment. Hope you are having a great day.
                            Last edited by Neeleh; 03-21-2014, 05:28 AM.
                            Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air
                            Ralph Waldo Emerson

                            Journal: Vibrant Life


                            • #15
                              Return to Paleo - Day Four

                              Firstly, just a *wow* of appreciation to be noticed on this forum, this newbie is very grateful for all support!

                              Yesterday I think that the glycogen from my grain-centric vegan WOE had finally left the building and my metabolism noticed: I found it difficult to get out of bed, following a night of not enough sleep. Then after lunch, my energy, such as it was; crashed hard.

                              I lay on the sofa, flatlined, could scarcely stay awake and drifting in and out of dreaminess. I rummaged around for support from the community: reassuring tales of 'paleo flu' and that was helpful. I also visited some 'before and after' pics to get inspired, which I did. Maybe I will organise a 'before' shot, maybe bravely in a bikini *gulp*.

                              I'd be happy to look a little leaner, but I'm pretty fit and well and lost most of my blubber following WFPB - whole foods plant based.

                              I witnessed my own maturity, as I didnt panic and get reactive about the energy slump; I feel to be spacious and give myself time to adjust and expect some changes and not get all upset about it - to keep calm and carry on!

                              It was a short slump anyway, energy returned by tea-time. I have felt more alert and awake in the evenings as a general theme. And last night, a deep, thorough and solid sleep between 10 pm - 6am. With dreams! It felt like a healing!

                              I'm a regular and committed swimmer and this morning, again feeling somewhat 'flat' energy-wise I conscientiously cyled to the pool, facing into the wind, which really gave my thighs something to do!

                              Swimming feels different sans starch. I was egged up on vegetable omelette. Porridge gives an immediate, usable energy it feels like, whereas this protein meal didnt, so I felt I had to find the energy somewhere else? And it felt harder to swim, as though I really had to drum up some stamina and endurance. After the first dozen lengths it became easier.

                              Feasted on a mini fruit-banquet upon arriving home: orange, apple, black grapes, blueberries - YUM!!

                              I'm curious to know whether I will experience a post-lunch slump again today. If so, its fine, I'll enjoy the rest. If energy remains stable I'll be off on a nature walk - it's all good.
                              Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air
                              Ralph Waldo Emerson

                              Journal: Vibrant Life