Cows Are Primal But Can I Eat One If I Graze All Day?


I am currently trying out ‘primal’ eating.

Fruits, veggies, nuts, meat, eggs, dairy, fat.

No grains or sugar.

I’ve been doing it for five weeks.

The idea behind this way of eating has been popularized by Mark Sisson in his book, The Primal Blueprint.

He asserts that as man existed for a couple of million years before the development of farming caused the widespread consumption of grains 10,000 years ago, we have not yet evolved to handle them effectively.

That our diet should only consist of food similar to that available to early man – animal products, fruits, nut, seeds and vegetables with some dairy thrown in. That we should eat intuitively, amounts and times to suit our individual needs.

I particularly liked Sissons’ take on conventional wisdom regarding a healthy lifestyle.

He debunks most of it in ways I totally agree with.

He recommends getting adequate sunlight using coverups or shade to protect the skin from the sun rather than the liberal use of sunblock. Insulin should be controlled through the use of a primal diet and avoidance of grains and sugar for weight management.

And he advocates a relaxed lifestyle without excessive exercise and prescription drugs for emergencies and odd occasions only.

The primal way of eating seemed to make sense so I tried it and feel good with it. Better, of course, than the cycles of caffeine and sugar that can make up my day if I’m not careful.

I gave up wheat a while back so a lot of the work to transition was in place. I eat soups, salads, meals, smoothies. I have to turn down the bread basket, the bagels and I’d like a sandwich now and again. But it isn’t too much of a sacrifice.

However, my big problem still exists.

I eat when I’m not hungry.

All the time.

I rarely feel hungry because I’m constantly topping myself up.

I eat when I’m bored, when I’m upset, while I prepare food for others. I eat when I’m enjoying myself, for a treat, when I’m with others.

I even eat before I go out to eat.

I rarely sit down to eat whole meals although I do eat healthily and in a balanced way.

I just eat too much and too often.

I am thinking about food, shopping for food, just a few feet away from food virtually all of my waking hours.

It is too central a part of my life.

I love eating and I really love eating when I’m hungry. I love to look forward to a meal and totally enjoy it. But I hardly ever get that hungry.

Eating has become mechanical, arbitrary and purely functional.

So I’m going to take the advice of my cats.

And eat only when I’m hungry.

I can eat as much as I like and when I like as long as it is when I’m hungry and not because I’m bored or stressed or because it’s there.

It’s not a weight thing. It’s a quality of life thing. I want to sit down with my family at the end of the day and really savor my food and the experience.

Food is a wonderful thing.

Comments please!

Do you eat all the time? Until you’re too full? While your preparing other people’s food? Or do you not? (If you don’t, please leave me some tips!) Let me know in the comments. Thank you!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary E. Ulrich
October 20, 2010 at 3:53 am

Great title and great topic. I’ve never heard about “primal footprints” and didn’t really think about the ancients not having grain. Is that true? Didn’t they have to make some sort of bread?

Your list of eating habits made me laugh and squirm. Definitely something I need to work on.
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Alison Golden October 20, 2010 at 9:09 am

According to the book, they didn’t have grain although it’s possible they would have made bread from nuts or seeds.

Glad I made you laugh And think 🙂


Giulietta Nardone October 20, 2010 at 6:09 am

Hi Alison,

I’m back already! Love this topic. I’ve discovered the secret to not eating when not hungry is to be doing something so engrossing you don’t even think of it. When I toiled in a cubicle, I constantly foraged around the vending machines, even though I didn’t like the stuff and knew it was 98% chemikills. Working at home changed that mainly because I didn’t feel caged.

I used to slather myself with sunscreen, all the time thinking – how can these chemicals be good for me? and how can putting chemikills on my face keep my skin looking young?

Then I started just wearing a hat outside and some of those UV shirts. Sometimes I’ll put it on, so as not to burn when, say, kayaking. But try to avoid it. So many chemikills everwhere! (make lots of money for people.)

Food, I’m with you. Try to eat the veggies and fruit and “clean” meat, although it grosses me out from watching so many food documentaries. That will be an op-ed column soon. I did right one on food a few months.

We are feeding the animals we eat garbage, so even if we think we are eating right we may not be depending on where our food comes from.

Enjoyed this! G.

p.s. I do love sweets. am trying to just do the dark choc thing.
Giulietta Nardone recently posted..It’s okayMy Profile


Alison Golden October 20, 2010 at 9:14 am

‘Chemikills’ Love it. I’m going to steal that word, if you don’t mind Giulietta.

My diet 5 years ago looked different, still better than average, but more protein based with more packaged food or helpers. My pantry is pretty bare now but it has been a process. I feel I’m nearly there, certainly with myself. Now I have to work not so much on *what* I eat as *how*.

Feeding the family this way is harder though. They don’t share my motivation and are more susceptible to peer and marketing pressure. That’s a battle in itself. I just try to keep home ‘clean.’


Lisa D Liguori
October 20, 2010 at 11:00 am

Food is such a powerful entity in our lives, isn’t it? Eat when your hungry is a good rule to live by. I think my challenge is that I wait till I am starved, then I eat ANYTHING I can get my hands on. I have taken to eating little bits at a time to ward off the intense hunger that weakens my good choices!

Thank Alison! You are always up to something! Love to keep up with you.


Alison Golden October 20, 2010 at 11:32 am

It’s interesting how we all have our different ways of eating. If I had my way, I’d eat a huge meal in the morning and then not eat again that day. But that’s not socially acceptable and I’m told that isn’t good for your body. I can’t seem to do the little and often thing because once I start I can’t stop and eat until I’m full (or overfull, in fact.) Plentiful and powerful makes food one awesome force, that’s for sure.


Wendy Shores March 26, 2012 at 8:49 am

I think food is beyond everything most people expect. I too have the same problem of eating when I am not hungry, but I believe my problem is a mental one. After watching my father die from lung cancer and go from 190 pounds to 65 when he finally died, I cant help but associate food with life. To get skinny is to die. Especially now that I have cancer (leukemia) myself. I can totally argue with myself (and others) that I KNOW that way of thinking is wrong but no matter what I do, I dont dare let myself drop below my current weight. Its a struggle every day knowing I am defeating myself but not knowing how to stop or even if I am able. Someone mentioned a saying once to me, food keeps you alive, you dont LIVE for food.. but I think I do. Loved your blogs, have read several of them now and am looking forward to reading more. Thanks for the insight and the chance to voice my opinion. 🙂


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