Tag Archives: primal

Distance Nutritional Therapy now available at Grokette’s Primal Musings

After offering my services to locals, I would like to extend a special offer to distance clients. Nutritional Therapy can work for you, even if you can’t see me in person.

For a FREE 20 minute consultation simply call (503)877-5110. During this consultation we’ll find out if Nutritional Therapy is something you’d like to try.

I look forward to talking to you.


Nutritional Therapy and Reiki now offered by Grokette

UteMitchellRemember your last big accomplishment? That thrill of finishing something that is so huge and important to you, that you know it will change your life forever? It is the most amazing feeling in the world, and I am so happy to announce my big new step into the right direction. After years of researching, studying, discovering healthy nutrition, I have turned my passion into my career. As of today, I proudly carry the title Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.

With this new title and the skills I have learned in the past year, I will offer my services to you.

Call for a FREE 20 minute phone consultation to find out if Nutritional Therapy is something you could benefit from. (503)877-5110.

Looking for an hour of complete peace and relaxation? Are you looking to leave your worries behind? I am a certified Reiki practitioner, and I look forward to offering this beautiful treatment to you.

Reach me at 503-877-5110 or send an e-mail to grokettesmusings@gmail.com.

I look forward to serving you.

Why you really want to keep that gallbladder!

gallbladder1At lunch yesterday I forgot to take my bile salts. I had a delicious meal of ahi tuna, bok choy, broccoli, and glass noodles (made of peas, beans, water), cooked in plenty of coconut oil. Twenty minutes later I rushed to the bathroom with stomach cramps and diarrhea. I forgot to take my bile salts just once, and this was my reward. The sad truth about the removal of most of my liver, and with it, my gallbladder, remains, that I have to take this stuff with each meal… indefinitely. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes down to it, I am glad to be alive and well, and that I do have the option to do something about this.

However, since I first reported about my issues with the missing gallbladder, I have talked to about two dozen people, who came out of the wood works to tell me that they, too, are experiencing problems with their digestion. Not, that any of them have been informed by their surgeons beforehand, what the consequences of a gallbladder removal might be. According to most surgeons, “the gallbladder is a useless organ”.

I beg to differ! The gallbladder, as any other organ in your body, is there for a reason. It serves a purpose, that only the gallbladder can. Your liver produces bile, and your gallbladder absorbs the water in it through its walls and stores the concentrated bile until it is needed to break down fats. When chyme (partially digested food) enters the duodenum, cells in there release cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK enters the bloodstream and signals to the gallbladder to contract and release bile to break down the fats in your food.

NONE OF THIS CAN HAPPEN, if you do not have a gallbladder. A logical step may seem to eat a low fat diet, which is what lots and lots of medical professionals recommend to their patients. This is not the solution to the problem. (See my disclaimer below post, please.) If you eat a diet low in fat, you deprive your body of essential fatty acids. Also, as you cut out your fat intake, you are more than likely increasing your carb intake, and in a Standard American Diet, sadly these carbs come as bread, rice, and other “healthy grains”. Carbs are digested in the mouth. They give quick energy, but this energy won’t last long, and since you digest them in your mouth mostly, you’ll be hungry again soon. More food is needed. More carbs… You see where I’m going with this, right?

My very non-professional (but common sense) recommendation is to try to keep your gallbladder if you can. Of course, a severe attack, big gallstones, or acute pain may warrant surgical removal of your gallbladder. And I won’t argue with that fact. But, if you are not in severe pain, then it may be helpful if you just sat down and did your homework on how to make sure you can keep your gallbladder. I highly recommend The Liver Doctor as a source for your research, or google Dr. Jack Kruse.

If your gallbladder is gone, and you are experiencing symptoms like pain in the upper right quadrant, diarrhea after meals, stomach cramps, even a feeling of acid reflux (yes, I experienced all of these), pain between your shoulder blades, then it is up to YOU to help your gallbladder!

1. Take those bile salts. Religiously. With every meal!

2. Eat dark leafy greens!

3. Include things like milk thistle, dandelion, artichoke in your diet, or take them as a supplement.

4. Drink plenty of water.

5. Most important, don’t fear eating fat. With the right bile salts product, you will be able to get rid of these symptoms and enjoy the great paleo/primal foods you love.

6. Never stop doing your homework. No matter, what anybody tells you, always seek a second opinion. Read up. Read the pros and cons. Do yourself a favor and take care of your own health. Nobody else will do it for you!

Having said all that, I am of course NOT a medical professional. I am merely a patient, a student of nutritional therapy, a seeker of truth. My opinions here are just that… opinions based on the research that I have done, and on my own experience with the subject matter, and the conversations I have had with other people who are sitting in the same boat. I am not prescribing any drugs, nor am I making any recommendations for anyone in particular. You are responsible for your own health, and by reading this you understand, that I am not diagnosing or treating you or anybody else reading this post.

Also, I hate legal talk. But I suppose it’s important. 🙂

Marble cake revisited

Picture courtesy of my daughter

My daughter’s birthday party was yesterday, and she requested marble cake. So, I went back to my recipe and found that it needed some tweaking. It turned out absolutely delicious! Yum!




3 cups almond flour
9 eggs
3 tbsp tapioca flour
2 tsp baking powder
5 tbsp honey
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup melted coconut oil


Preheat oven to 285F.
Add 4 eggs into a bowl, separate 5 eggs, and add egg yolks to the 4 eggs. Mix with an electric handmixer. Add in almond flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, honey, vanilla extract, and melted coconut oil and mix well until you have a nice batter.
Beat egg whites until peaks form.
Pour half the batter into separate bowl, and fold in half of the egg whites gently.
Add the unsweetened cocoa powder to the other half of the batter, mix it well.
Fold other half of egg whites into the chocolate batter.
Pour the chocolate batter into a greased bundt cake form. Pour the white batter on top. Use a fork to create a marbling effect. (For this birthday cake, I actually put layers of chocolate and white on top of each other.)
Bake for one hour, remove from the oven and turn over within a few minutes.

Sugar experiment update

Day 9 and 10 and Happy Birthday to me :)It has been two weeks, since my new understanding of what “sugar” does or does not do to your body. Read my blog post to catch upLet me clarify that I ate only very small amounts of white granulated sugar, and I only ever ate it when I couldn’t avoid it (speak, I was eating out). What I have done is to increase my natural sweetener intake. By natural sweeteners I mean maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, honey, and of course fruits.

What exactly did I do?

Sometimes, after lunch or dinner I crave something sweet. Instead of going against this craving, I gave in to it. I’d have a couple of pieces of dark chocolate, or the Trader Joe’s three ingredients chocolate mints (dark chocolate, honey, mint oil), or a homemade cookie. I found this to be extremely satisfying. I also chose not to feel guilty about eating two pieces of paleo chocolate cake at my son’s birthday party, and when I experienced a craving for something sweet one afternoon, I dug in and had some chocolate.

How did that work out?

Suprisingly well. My sugar cravings actually went down, believe it or not. It’s almost like my body is saying thank you for finally listening to what it has been trying to tell me for… well… forever!

But, is the weight coming off?

First off, yes, I appear to be losing weight. But there is much more to say here. I am 6 feet tall. At this height my so called ideal weight according to an old German chart is 155lbs. This is going by normal standards, not Hollywood actress standards. 🙂 Almost two years ago (June 2011), after almost 6 months of living and breathing paleo, I weighed in at exactly 155lbs. I started CrossFit in January of 2012. When I started my sugar experiment, I weighed myself and the scale read 171lbs.

Assuming that I gained some muscle in the past year, my new “goal weight” is approximately 160lbs, although I will say that this number is not set in stone. The real goal is to comfortably fit into my “skinny” jeans. If this means that I’ll way 162 or even 164, then so be it. So, what I can say for now is, my clothes are fitting better, and yesterday a couple of people noticed a difference in my appearance. My best friend said “You look great.” And the truth is that I feel great.

Will it work for you?

The short answer is I just don’t know! I am not a doctor or a scientist, and I can only speak for myself. Also, I’m still somewhat in disbelief and I tend to not trust myself, even after two weeks without any binge eating. My recommendation to anyone who wants to experiment with this is to read up on the subject. Antonio Valladares and Sean Flanagan are definitely a good resource if you’re looking into adding more “sugar” into your diet. And then, be very aware of what is happening in your body. What is it telling you? Be honest, be real. Obviously things are not working out for you if you eat an entire bar of chocolate, and you may want to reconsider your decision to add more sugar. Don’t keep this experiment going for weeks on end if you just can’t control your cravings. You’ll end up gaining weight, and you’ll be beating yourself up over it.

Also, as Antonio told me in his note, there really may be something wrong metabolically, with your hormones or otherwise. It may be worth your while to check into this, and see if it is true for you!

Well, Grokette, that was nice but not terribly helpful… 

Maybe not… but maybe it was. I’m not giving medical advice. I’m not throwing around scientific data or studies. I’m simply telling you about MY experiences… about works for me and what doesn’t. And in the process I hope to encourage YOU to never stop discovering yourself, and to continue to find your path to great health.

(NOTE: I also had some milk chocolate… because it is just sooo good! But guess what, I was done after a couple of small pieces. And the chocolate is now still sitting in my pantry!!)

Physical health – emotional health – and how sugar relates to it

UteChristmasIf you’ve followed my blog and Facebook page for even just a little while, you’ll know, that about a week ago I would have told anyone, that sugar addiction is real, and that it was absolutely vital for me to avoid the stuff. Have you ever been in a situation, where your entire belief system about something got shattered, and you had to re-evaluate your position? Sometimes this is a painful process, as you let go of what accompanied you for a very long time, and you thought of it as true and real. And now you have to let go, and embrace a new reality. My realization was not painful per se. It was an eye-opener though.

A few days ago, Sean Flanagan posted something about sugar, and how he actually added more sugar to his diet (though he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth to begin with) and he feels much better now. He craves a little bit of sugar post-meal, he eats it, and then he’s done. I made a comment about my own sugar addiction, and that there is no way I could do this, because, if I started eating anything with processed sugar in it, I wouldn’t be able to stop myself, and I’d just keep eating, until the whole chocolate bar was gone.

Then, Antonio Valladares chimed in… and nonchalantly declared that there is no such thing as sugar addiction.

Science Facts for Suckers: Sugar is therapeutic. It supports thyroid function, liver function, reduces stress, supports metabolism and increases pleasure with eating. Sugar is NOT addictive.

Arrogant dude, I thought to myself. Who does he think he is, making such a bold statement to “suckers” like me. Sheesh! I pointed out that honey and fruit don’t cause the same kind of addictive behavior in me as refined sugar does. He said something about false claims, and that it was possible that something was metabolically wrong with people who can’t control their sugar cravings. I decided to be done with the conversation… for the moment. As I was mulling over his statements, I kept wondering, what the hell was wrong with either him or me. And then I decided to contact him directly and ask him about what he had said earlier… because maybe, just maybe this Antonio dude was on to something. Not that I was convinced or anything… but just for the heck of it, ask.

His response was this:

There are usually *several* things going on metabolically – the stress response (cortisol, adrenaline) is going haywire and there may be signalling or other hormonal issues at hand (dopamine, leptin, grehlin, etc) – these hormones may be out of balance and it may have NOTHING to do with our choices or desires, it can be epigenetic – meaning we were born with some of these metabolic disturbances…

so it is true that sugar itself is not addictive, even tho many ppl believe it to be true, but there are other underlying issues. There are also strong cultural and personal belief issues involved in these scenarios …

There are also various degrees of eating disorders. They are not only anorexia or bulimia, there is a spectrum of disorders and many of us can have ED tendencies along this spectrum … Many of us do not know we have these issues, but they are real psychological issues, not ‘made up’ stuff…

I have worked w addicts and yes it is difficult to discuss as emotions are strong, but at this point, what we know is that sugar is not addictive – there is no difference between white sugar and fruit (as it is digested down to fructose or glucose and utilized by the body.

Beliefs – Once we believe something is true it is very difficult fo the mind to get around that, even when presented with evidence to the contrary…

Most likely, your stress response is out of control and this is affecting your appetite, satiety levels and what not

If what Antonio told me was true, then this meant I was wrong. I’m 38 years old and I’m wrong about sugar? Inconceivable! I mean, I literally had decades of experience in this department. Weight gain and weight loss were usually directly related to how much sugar I consumed.

A couple of days after this short exchange, I participated in a discussion group with some homeschooling moms, and we just so happened to talk about food, and our relationship with it. One of my friends talked about something that I have no recollection of now, but it triggered something in me… it brought back a memory that I had buried long ago. One of my all time favorite sweets was nutella (the hazelnutty chocolate bread spread). Because candy was very limited at our house, and because I craved sweets, I would secretly sneak spoonfuls of nutella to the point where I finished off half the jar in one sitting. One day I actually was too embarrassed to return the leftover jar. So I finished it off completely, and because I could hardly throw it in the trash where it would be seen, I hid it in a secret place in my room. Of course my parents were on to me. They discovered the nutella, and I was in more trouble than I am willing to share.

Eating candy became a shameful business. I spent my entire allowance on candy, which I then hid in all kinds of secret places, only to devour it all alone during a quiet moment. I loved my candy. I loved how it made me feel. Remember the quote from Antonio above. Sugar is therapeutic. It was! And it is! To this day I find no food quite as pleasant as a sugar treat, with milk chocolate being my absolute favorite.

I spent many years living like this, eating sugar and hiding the evidence. This did lead to an addictive behavior after a while, and I will not make any excuses or will accept any arguments to the contrary on this fact. I acted like an addict. After years and years and years of being ashamed, of hiding, of wanting to feel better about myself, my relationship with sugar became warped. Add in the various diets I subjected my body to, and you have a recipe for disaster. When fat is the enemy, then sugar is the enemy, then meat is, then carbs are, what are you supposed to believe anymore?

My days consisted of sweet breakfasts, lunch, dinner… and snack time when the afternoon crash hit me. What makes a great snack? Chocolate! Cake! Cookies! Just don’t tell anyone…

Is it any surprise that all of this led me to believe that I was a sugar addict? So, how does the science fit in with all of this? Well, the fact is, that sugar is absolutely vital for the human body (hence our cravings for it!). Am I saying that refined sugar, soda, and Snickers bars are the way to consume sugar? Certainly not! But natural sugars like honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup (Grade B), and of course fruits all are converted to glucose in your body and used for energy, thyroid function, liver function (see quote above), among others… Take away that sugar, and you may experience increased stress (because your body suddenly has to run on adrenaline and cortisol), increased fatigue, and overall blahs.

As a result of this depletion you will start craving sugar… and this is where the addictive behavior comes in. You deprive yourself of sugar, then you crave it, binge on it, then feel guilty, and deprive yourself again… It’s a vicious cycle, one that I was stuck in for most of my life!

Recently, after my “falling off the bandwagon” episode (remember?), I decided to do a Whole30. I also increased my CrossFit workouts. I started going 5 days a week, ate mostly meats and vegetables, some fruits, and NO other sugar. Well, I was not entirely honest with you about the results back then. I had lost 2lbs! TWO! After 30 days of working my butt off and eating completely “clean” I had nothing to show for. Well, I had something to show for… My husband made it clear that he was so happy that I was done with this challenge, because I was “so miserable all the time”. I didn’t know what to say in response to this. He was right. I had been miserable. And within two days of finishing my Whole30, I had eaten about a week’s worth of sugar.

I was pissed off at myself! How was it possible that I could not lose this weight? I’d wanted to lose 12lbs. I lost 2lbs. Within a week I gained back 5lbs. I reprimanded myself, I played the guilt game, had a nervous breakdown, because I was a sugar addict. My jeans felt tight, my fitted workout tops showed a roll of fat underneath.

Since starting my paleo/primal journey I lost 35lbs and gained back 17, and I had no idea why… until that fateful day a week ago.

Here is another quote I came across, although I have no idea who is the author of it. Let me know if you know, because I’ll be happy to credit the source:

(UPDATE: the author of this quote is Melkor!)

Paleo and Crossfit, a marriage made in hell. Because nothing predisposes you to injury quite like high-intensity, high-skill exercise performed at high speed in a carbohydrate-depleted brain fog that impedes concentration and thus correct performance of high-skill exercise.

I love CrossFit and I am passionate about Paleo/Primal. I want the best of both worlds. I want to eat clean, and I want to train hard. What I don’t want is to keep tricking myself into thinking that what I have been doing is right. Because it is not!

After last week’s conversation with Antonio, I decided to do an experiment. First of all, I made the conscious decision not to hide it when I ate sweets. This destructive behavior would eventually be discovered by someone, and then I’d feel ashamed. No more hiding the wrapper under a pile of trash.

I increased my carb intake, especially before my CrossFit workouts. Also, I tend to crave a little sugar after a meal. So, instead of going against this craving, I gave in to it. I’d have some chocolate or a small cup of ice cream. Interestingly, I found that I did not crave more after eating just a little something after lunch or dinner. As a matter of fact, after a couple of days I was able to have a mid-afternoon brownie (for everyone to see) and not crave more.

A week later I still do have to remind myself that it’s okay to eat sweet things, and that I don’t mind when people see me doing it. This is a huge deal to me, as I’m changing a behavior that is almost as old as I am. Having to let go of it, proves to be a challenge, but it is one that I don’t mind taking on. I haven’t lost or gained any weight during this week, and ideally I’ll drop at least 15 of the 17lbs I’d like to get rid of. But it’s not my primary focus at the moment. The fact that I’m maintaining my weight with this increased sugar is thrilling.

And finally, I absolutely love how I perform at CrossFit. I am working out better, and I don’t feel as exhausted as I did before.

My plan is to keep track, once a week, of my progress, and I’ll share with you. I’m still scared. I’m still not sure I can trust myself. After all I’m undoing damage that has been done decades ago. But I will cautiously announce that maybe sugar in the form of maple syrup, coconut sugar, rapadura, honey etc… may in fact NOT be my enemy. I’m not going to declare it my friend quite yet, but I’m willing to call it a friendly acquaintance.

When Paleo suddenly gets confusing

ImageIt is a jungle out there! Remember when you just started your paleo journey? First you thought, “Oh my gosh, I’ll never be able to pull this off!” Then after doing some research you reached a point when you thought, “Hey, this is sooo easy! I just limit my food to meat, vegetables, and fruit.” You knew to stay away from the center aisles of the grocery store. You knew that in produce there was a Dirty Dozen (produce you should buy organic) and a Clean 15 (produce you don’t have to buy organic). Dairy was the mother’s milk of another species and therefore a no no for you. After a few months of living and eating and breathing paleo, you lost a lot of weight, your skin glowed, your slept better… and you were a total pro, who could not stop talking about how awesome this paleo thing is. You told your family and friends and you ignored the fact that they felt maybe a tad annoyed by you, because some of them actually were curious enough to come and ask you questions. You educated them on all the wonderful benefits of paleo, and thought life couldn’t possibly get any better. 

You’re with me, yes? You’re at a place in life where you are SURE you’re doing everything right, because every paleo guru, every book you’ve read agrees. Paleo is awesome! It’s healthy, it is a millions of years old “fad diet” (as some of the nay-sayers like to call it), and it works! One day you browse the web for all of your usual stuff… Facebook, Twitter, Sisson, Wolf, Balanced Bites… and you stumble on an article on dairy. You find there’s this thing call primal rather than paleo, and on this primal diet you CAN eat dairy, because research suggests that high quality dairy (raw milk, butter etc) can be beneficial to some people. You read a little more, and you jump for joy. Welcome back, cheese!! Primal is awesome!!

You’re at a place in life where you are SURE you’re doing everything right… because… wait, what was that? Green beans are okay to eat, despite the fact that they’re a legume? Let’s google that. Cool! Mr. Google agrees. Green beans are a rehabilitated legume. 

You’re at a place in life where you are SURE you’re doing everything right… WOW! You can bake muffins, and brownies, and cake on the paleo/primal/one legume diet? Sure enough, you find all of these great recipes online for almond flour this, and almond flour that, and you’re thrilled. You bake bread, and cakes, and brownies, and all kinds of other great things. Primal most definitely is awesome!!

You’re at a place in life where you are SURE… What is it this chick on the interwebs says? Avoid almond flour, because it is high in this and low in that, and really not that great for you? Okay, fine, you’ll bake less. Because you will most definitely NOT quit baking all together. 

You’re at a place in life… about a year or two into this journey, where you’re just not sure what is right anymore! What is going on? Why are people telling you that you can eat something, only to change their minds about it later? Why was rice not allowed, and now white rice IS allowed as an occasional treat? And what’s the story on sugar anyway? Is it good or is it bad? Do you drink that milk or leave it? How much almond flour is too much? Why is everything so difficult? Didn’t it start out easily?

You find yourself being bombarded with new information ALL THE TIME! 

And you know what I say to this? AWESOME! Please, remember, as you walk down this path, that we (all of us) are a work in progress. We don’t have all the answers for everything. We live in the 21st century with great technology and science, and as long as there are scientists hard at work, you WILL find that something you’re eating is not so good, or that something you’re not eating really is great. Thanks to our modern science we have the ability to constantly improve. Reaching the decision to eat paleo doesn’t mean that you’re done learning. And why would you want to be done? You’ve just embarked on an amazing new journey!

Our understanding of what exactly makes our bodies respond in certain ways is still so very limited. Could we cure cancer by perfecting our diet? There are scientists out there right now, trying to answer this question. Personally, I’m grateful for every new piece of information. I choose not to let it drive me crazy. I choose to take it as a learning opportunity. You should, too.

Don’t get discouraged, when you find out something new. Instead, embrace it, learn from it, and move on. 

And finally, use your brain! Don’t blindly follow someone else’s lead. Do your own homework. Research. Study. And then do what works best for you. If dairy for instance is something you love, it doesn’t make you sick, and you feel fantastic, then have at it. You are in charge of you. And when you choose to eat or not eat certain foods, only you will benefit from your decisions! My paleo may be different from your paleo, but it works for me, and so this is how I’ll do it… until I learn something new and make an adjustment… or not. 🙂