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Tips for being an efficient Primal

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  • Tips for being an efficient Primal

    I find I'm less efficient at doing household chores after becoming Primal, especially cooking. It was easier in the past as I just had to cook a batch of grains and some veggies and I was good for a few days. Now, I find myself cooking almost every day and I have little time to do much else, including exercise. I know I just have to be more efficient in whatever I'm doing ("no time" is not an excuse). Also, I have to go to 2-3 different grocery stores to buy all that I need. It's going to get worse come winter as I won't have access to farmer's market and need to look for another source for grass-fed meat. I usually come back at 6:30 or 7 from work and by the time I cook and eat dinner, it's almost 10. How do you all manage your time? Any tips for improving my efficiency. I know many of you have young kids and still manage to do all this and more and find time to exercise, so any tip will be much appreciated.

  • #2

    I run into the same problem too... married with kids.


    Eggs are breakfast.

    We use leftovers for lunch the next day (cook big dinner)

    We use the crock pot a lot... put it in and walk away.

    Grill in the summer... kids outside, doesn't seem like a chore.

    Trail mix for snacks... almonds, walnuts, dried fruit

    Cheese slices for snacks (sharp cheddar)

    So you realy only have to cook eggs (like 5 min) and dinner...

    We also cook a bunch of chicken on Monday for the week if needed... quick lunch salad, etc.


    I workout at lunch at work (have gym/locker room) here so that's huge.


    I go to wholefoods and farmers markets... it's a pain


    • #3

      Yeah it's tough. I get off work earlier than you though so it gives me more time for exercise and cooking (I get off at 4pm). I do my exercise after work and am usually done with that by 5-5:30pm. I usually will have put some meat to dethaw in the fridge the night before so it's ready to go (tonight will be cornish game hens). And then some kind of vegetable. I don't take that much time to cook- usually just meat and vegetables. Weekends I spend more time with it. I don't have small children either so I've got it pretty easy I think.

      I do go to about 3 different stores for food though too and that gets time consuming. Whole Foods and Trader Joes are by my work so sometimes I pop over there on a lunch break to pick up items and that helps with time.


      • #4

        I usually cook something in the crock pot on the weekend so I have leftovers for a few days. I also eat a lot of omelets and hamburgers, which are both fast and easy. For lunch, I take leftovers or tunafish. Chili is another thing that is quick to make a lot of, even on a week night.

        I work out on Monday and Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 7:30, so I try extra hard to make sure I have leftovers available on those nights.

        Oh, and coconut milk. I like to drink coconut milk with a little added water. It's a great way to bulk up the meal with very little effort.

        I'm single with no kids, which affords me much more free time than some!


        • #5

          I haven't yet gone full grass-fed and such, but one of the things that I do is start the preparation for the next day that night.

          Some of the basic cooking can be done the night before, as you finish the rest of the night's cooking. Some of it can be done in batches and stored.


          • #6

            For what it's worth, I save time by freezing individual steaks in ziplock bags and sucking all the air out of it. This puts the plastic in direct contact with the meat.

            To defrost, I put the steak in a pot full of warm water, and since there is no air between the plastic and the meat, the heat transfer is much more efficient so the steak defrosts completely in around 10 mins.

            “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
            "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
            "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull


            • #7

              I TOTALLY empathize. I work 8 - 5 PM, get home by 6 PM, cook, bake, clean up, do laundry and by the time hubby gets home I'm exhausted. I don't sit down once until 8:30 PM!

              My kitchen is ALWAYS needing to be cleaned now and the dishes are NEVER-ENDING!

              I wish I wasn't a working mother, but this has been my life (out of necessity) for the past 12 years, so I have to adapt.

              I REALLY need to carve time out of my busy weekend to prepare large batches of food for future use. I have a vacuum sealer, which is great for storing food in the freezer while still keeping the taste 'fresh'.

              Large batches of hard-boiled eggs, homemade jerky, extra mayo and 'primal bread' for son's lunches.

              Now that I make everything from scratch, I find I have a lot less time than I did before (which wasn't much to begin with!).


              • #8

                I cook in large batches too, especially the meals that I love to eat leftovers from. For example, we made a 3 pound meatloaf on Sunday for two people It should be about 6 meals between both of us. Another one I did last week was the chili (the recipe here with some modifications), and that made about 6 meals as well. A whole chicken roasted in the oven, then de-boned and cut into chunks can be used for a host of other recipes. It can be eaten on it's own, used for chicken salad (with mayo/spices/whatever else you want to add), your BAS lunches, used in soups or mixed meat dishes...and it only takes about an hour and a half in the oven or 4 in the crock pot. Plus, you get the broth and fat as well, which can be used in even more things!

                Some things don't make as many leftovers, like shrimp and fish for some reason, but whenever I make beef/meatloaf (or meatballs)/lamb/chicken I try to do 2-3 pounds of meat no matter what. We have leftovers every day for lunch, eggs for breakfast (and sometimes dinner dishes), and may even have leftovers for dinner 1 or 2 nights a week because I cook so much at one time. It really makes meal planning easier and more efficient. I get off work much earlier than you (I work 7:30-3:30 usually), but still have to work around hubby's school and work schedule too.

                The hard-boiled eggs and jerky suggestions are great too, and I make the energy bars almost weekly as well (just without protein powder, so they're "coconut bars" instead!).

                I shop at the farmer's market, Whole Foods, and Kroger (regular grocery store) for different things, and stop at Costco sometimes as well, so I'm not much help there

                There were some interesting places in the Strip District in Pittsburgh, do you shop there much? (ha, that sounds really bad in writing, it's just a down-townish strip of stores, not a brothel

                You are what you eat,
                and what you eat eats too - Michael Pollan


                • #9

                  My secret weapon: The slow-cooker. This is an invalueable piece of kitchenware that, if utilized on a regular basis, can save incredible amounts of time.

                  I work from 7-3 most days so I'll throw something in when I get up (usually around 5:00 in the morning) or the night before. If I throw in a large hunk o pork, that'll last us for days.

                  I also pre-cut my veggies for my salad and such...I might even make a salad the night before and put all my toppings in another container (can't have the salad get soggy you know).

                  I'd rather be cooking up yummy goodness than watching a television show anyday! I'll usually throw on some Rodrigo y Gabriella and get cookin' for the majority of the day on the weekends!

                  I find that preparing in advance the key to being successful on any diet plan. Having your protein source on hand saves so much time and energy especially when I throw two kids in the mix! The wife and I work pretty good in tandem in the kitchen when we get the opportunity to do so. Everything else like fat, and some carbs is pretty easy to grab and go no matter how hectic the schedule.

                  I grok, therefore I am.


                  • #10

                    Forgot to mention my other big time saver: I don't eat breakfast. Instead, I spend that time walking my dog, and we consider our morning walks to be sacred.


                    • #11

                      Actually, I think my cooking takes less time, now that I'm not worried about preparing a starch, in addition to my meat and veggies. We always have a quick night (tuna, bratwurst, scrambled eggs, etc), a meatball/meatloaf/hamburger type night, a frittata night, I roast a chicken on Sundays and use that for fajitas and roasted chicken salad (or something similar) during the week, and we have steaks one night. That pretty much covers it. Since eating like this, I tend to make much simpler meals. And, the rare-er you like your steak and burgers, the quicker it is to cook 'em!

                      Shopping- I alternate weekly trips between our big grocery and a co-op that's a bit further away. I was going to the farmer's market every Saturday, but that's done now. I never considered that to be a chore, though. I've also found a source for grass-fed beef that I order from once every two weeks.


                      • #12

                        I'm not working outside the home now, but when I did, I had a 60 - 80 hour per week job so I got good at the quick meal. I used the crock pot a lot (soups, roasts, chicken) and cooked a lot on the weekends. I'd always cook more than we'd eat & freeze the rest in 1 -2 portion sized plastic containers. I still do this so the hub has lunch ready to go for work.

                        I also bought already cut up veg so I didn't have to cut stuff up or bought the veg & cut it up as soon as I got home & put it all in zip-lock bags (still do this with CSA/farmer's market veggies). Thaw meat in the fridge that I wanted to use later in the week.

                        I acutally find eating Primal is easier than cooking some grain that takes an hour to cook (and that I inevitably forgot to prep a la Weston A. Price style so I would have a good serving of guilt to go along with the meal!).


                        • #13

                          Cooking Primal is so much simpler that sometimes I think I should be doing more, what's wrong?

                          Where ya been Deb? I've missed your astute posts.


                          • #14

                            I also find myself cooking a lot on the weekends to make sure I have lots of leftovers for the rest of the week. Even the bacon gets cooked on Sat morning

                            Baked chickens work out great as my hubby and I usually eat both legs the first time we bake it and the rest we cook with on other days. I also found that if you save the bones from the chicken after it's been baked and eaten (no licking bones though), you can make a very nice chicken broth out of it. After about 24 hrs it's just perfect!

                            I really empathize with you ladies who have a full-time job, a husband, and kids. I feel like in this time and age there has been so much more pressure on moms to be able to take a good care of their families, bring the bacon home, and also don't forget to be taking care of themselves.

                            I don't have any kids, but between the job, the hubby, the dog that requires a lot of attention, a part-time business and trying to keep the house looking like it's a home I get very tired without even exercising. I also often cook a separate something for the hubby as he isn’t primal and doesn’t appreciate pork chops drowned in grease every single day I'm usually pooped out before 9:30 and don't feel like doing anything else.

                            Crackpot is a life saver though


                            • #15

                              Have a cooking day on the weekend where you cook lots, divide it into meal sizes, and freeze it. This is what my dad used to do with lasagna, egg rolls, encheladas, ect..., anything that will freeze well. He'd make up huge batches on a Saturday, divide them into aluminum pans and freeze. Basically you're making your own freezer meals.