the smell of my desperation has become a stench

More about this fad diet humans ate for millions of years

A couple of weeks ago when I wrote about changing my diet, only a few of you griped! What is up with that? Only one of you accused me of bragging, and then only one other told me I was susceptible to fads! Where is all the spit and vinegar? YOU GUYS. I AM BULLYING YOU WITH MY DIET.

A lot of you had some questions for me, so I thought I’d actually collect them all and answer them here, for those interested. For those who just can’t be bothered, well then, SCADOODLE. Go attend to your more pressing matters. Like that poo you need to take.

Do you just eat pasture-raised beef?

I wish I could say that I only eat the meat of the cow I’ve raised in my own backyard. Billie Jo, that’d be her name. And she would taste lovely. We’d give her a proper goodbye complete with a slideshow of her life, and then as we grilled her flanks we’d reminisce about how she used to stand there, eat grass, and poop.

I try to eat only pasture-raised beef. Yes, it is more expensive and not always easy to find. And then when I do find it I inspect the label and see that it has been shipped from Uruguay. Which means that the fuel used to ship it here sort of defeats the purpose of trying to save the world.

I guess you could say that I do the best I can with what I’ve got. I recommend watching Food Inc. to understand that enormous change needs to happen in this country when it comes to our food supply. Since I can afford to buy meat that has been raised humanely and without hormones or antibiotics, I do. I think I have a responsibility to do so.

How did you feel after that tostada?

While I was shoving that tostada in my mouth it tasted better than anything I have ever eaten. Twenty minutes later I felt like I might die. In fact, death sounded like fun.

What do you eat before working out?

Since I always work out in the morning, my fuel is breakfast. I’ll be totally honest here and tell you that I don’t know if I could continue to eat this way if it weren’t for Larabars, and no, they did not pay me to say that. In fact, after I wrote about going Paleo they actually contacted me and said, hey, do you know about our bars? And I was like, um… I have sex with your bars every morning.

The bars are gluten-free and contain no GMOs. I buy them in bulk at Costco. Some mornings I’ll have the apple pie bar (raisins, walnuts, almonds, apples, dates, and cinnamon) plus a fruit shake made with bananas, strawberries, and a little bit of orange juice.

And then! Sometimes I will go all out and do something like this:

You go right ahead and get your mind out of the gutter!

Rico’s is a local company, and they make the best guacamole and salsa that I can find in town.

We use these eggs because the chickens are cage free, but I’m hoping that once Kate’s chickens start laying their own eggs that she will let me shop at her house.

And these are the best sausages in terms of ingredients we can find. YES. SAUSAGE. SAUSAGESOME.

Where can I find good information on it?

Here are some of the resources I used:

Paleo Plan
Paleo Diet Lifestyle
Robb Wolf
Latest in Paleo
Mark’s Daily Apple
Living Paleo
Everyday Paleo

Is there a limitation on the amount of food that you can eat?

Nope. Not at all. It works because the foods I’m eating are totally satiating, and I notice that where before I would want a second serving, I’m now full before I finish a meal. This, for me, is the best part of living this way because I’m no longer walking around all day looking at the sofa or the coffee table and thinking they might taste good with a whole bunch of salt.

How did you manage this in Bangladesh?

Cooked meat. Plus I smuggled an entire box of Larabars in a plastic bag duct-taped to my torso.

How is this affecting your poop or lack thereof?

People, I have never been more regular. Some of you used to tell me that you would go poop at least three times a day, and I was all, SHUT UP YOU POOP BRAGGER. Not possible. You’re stealing someone else’s poop and claiming it as your own.

Since this website is loaded with information you did not need to know, I’ll just go ahead and tell you that I poop at least three times a day. My poop is totally better than your poop.

How did you make the leap? Was it a gradual change? If so, what did you start cutting out first?

The first thing I cut out was processed food. No more “bagged” food like chips. Then I cut out white bread and switched to whole grain pasta. Then I cut those out of about 80% of my meals. Then I discovered Paleo and cut them out entirely. I wasn’t eating that much sugar to begin with (I prefer salty things like French fries and George Clooney’s hair), so I dropped sugar, dairy, and legumes cold turkey AND NOW I’M JUST BRAGGING.

What were some of the difficulties?

Don’t hate me for saying this, but there haven’t been any. This has been the easiest change I’ve ever made in terms of what I eat. I love eating this way. Wait, there has been one difficulty: Tyrant’s incessant mocking. I fully expect to walk up to the office one day only to find a dead cow lying across my desk.

Has this lifestyle change affected your psych meds?

No. I am not willing to risk going off any of my medication. Period.

Is Jon participating?

No. He’s still recovering from gallbladder surgery and the tiniest thing can make him feel sick. One day a salad put him in bed for the day. But he’s been really nice about it and isn’t standing over me crumbling gourmet cheese onto my forehead.

And there you go! My diet and poop are better than yours!

  • slcEB

    2011/08/12 at 9:45 am

    My husband & I have been Paleo since last December — DH has lost about 40 lbs and I’m down almost 20. It’s been easy and tasty and I don’t miss any of the stuff I used to eat too much — bread, rice, pasta. What I like about Mark Sisson’s plan is his “80/20” rule — eat Paleo 80% of the time. The other 20%, don’t sweat it — if you eat out, and want some of that delicious bread in the basket, it’s not going to kill you. He’s also a fan of red wine & dark chocolate so it works for me! For anyone sitting on the fence, or worried about giving up cheese (I haven’t), just make the leap. It’s easier than you think.

  • dianemaggipintovoiceover

    2011/08/12 at 9:48 am

    do you know about these good slc folks with a farm in wanship? best. chicken. evar. and pick-up after “processing” is around 900 S and foothill:
    i hadn’t eaten chicken in forever until this was recommended to me.

    also, rico’s roasted tomato salsa is to. die. for.

    oakdell is local (cache county) … yay!

    and it’s fairly easy to buy a share (1/4, 1/2, what-have-you) of organic, grass-fed, utah cow. we’ve done it. i was just looking in the freezer this morning for those steaks. i found a tri-tip roast instead!

  • caitmarie

    2011/08/12 at 10:13 am

    Yeyyyyyyy! This is so exciting that you’re doing this, and letting people know you’re doing it. Because so many more people will get to know about it now.

    I found paleo semi-accidentally via convergence after finding the bodybuilding community (which taught me about the importance of food and muscle) and trying to figure out what was making me ill (chronic illnesses and joint pain and fever). Left the bodybuilding idea because I want functional fitness not weird muscles, found crossfit instead, whee! Got diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when things got worse (couldn’t lift my arm above my head or walk up stairs). Was told that I had a 30% change of living a relatively normal life and to come back for a massive steroids dose.

    Magic cure? Boyfriend doesn’t eat wheat because he doesn’t feel well with it, tried going wheat free for a couple of weeks, magical cure! From there, easy step to paleo.

    I have not been this healthy my whole life. I have energy to burn, as you say am never ever hungry, skin’s great, haven’t had a cold or a flu or a virus for more than a year, massively happy and healthy. It’s awesome stuff.

    I know several people with other immune system issues which have also made a massive swing on paleo. It’s awesome stuff. I never would have believed it.

    So Yay Heather! And Yay telling everyone about it!


  • caitmarie

    2011/08/12 at 10:16 am

    @Squeetthang You’d be surprised. Veggies aren’t that expensive, you end up often cooking less elaborate/fewer ingredients meals (some meat and some veg on a plate for me! :), and it’s been pretty easy to make gradual change.

    For example, cutting out wheat/grains and sugar doesn’t take any more cash, right? If it’s not organic, so be it. And if you end up thinking it’s worth it or circumstances change, then you make the decision later.

  • ElizBatman

    2011/08/12 at 10:39 am

    Heather- thank you for writing about your experience with Paleo! I’ve been Paleo/Primal for two years now and have never looked (let’s be serious, I really only do this to look good) and felt better.

    I try to tell my friends and family to give it a shot, but they all think it’s weird or too extreme. Apparently my banging body doesn’t convince them. 😉 I think it’s only because they don’t hear it about it much. Hopefully by you writing about it, more people will consider it and it will become more “normal.”

    Once you get used to it – I’d re-examine your med situation. I used to suffer from bad anxiety and it’s gotten so much better since going Paleo.

  • Mrs. Alex

    2011/08/12 at 10:43 am

    I have not done much research on paleo diets, but nothing I’ve seen has addressed the issue of quantities of meat/animal products available and consumed today vs. even 100 years ago–let alone hundreds of thousands of years ago. What I mean is, yes, people were hunters and gatherers who would eat only meat, plants, nuts, etc., but the amounts of animal products they would be able to eat would necessarily be miniscule compared to what we have access to thanks to factory farming.

    Maybe it’s because I’m in the middle of reading “The China Study” and am extremely concerned about the amount of animal products in a Western diet, but I can’t see a good argument for the issue. I really like the diet in theory, but I’m having trouble getting past this aspect…

  • dianemaggipintovoiceover

    2011/08/12 at 11:23 am

    p.s. i <3 the camilla series. this coming from a tee shirt and skirt girl who brushes her hair coupla times a year. i especially like that she's just a gal, not a model, and puts together zany, workable outfits. basically, i sukk.

  • Tracye

    2011/08/12 at 11:56 am

    So now you know the joys of pooping…isn’t it grand 😀

    The diet sounds like how I eat anyway. Whatever makes you feel good and works is what you should be doing.

    Thanks for the links!

  • FeelinFroggy79

    2011/08/12 at 12:02 pm

    I am super excited to do more research and start this diet after I have my second baby. My husband is a work out guru who consumes 2700 calories a day and is always looking at our daughter like she would taste good grilled.

    One thing, I read an article on eggs that said terms like “cage free” are not regulated so “cage free” could mean anything from running about in a pasture full of hopes and dreams to sitting in a dark damp warehouse with 14,000 other chickens just not in an individual cage.

    Thank you for sharing this information with us and I am glad your pooper is in good working order!

  • Joe

    2011/08/12 at 12:38 pm


    I certainly hope anyone interested will do their own research. In any case, every statement you made is either misleading or incorrect.

    1. The article says just as much about the Paleo diet as it says about the other 19.

    2. There has been research, although it’s meager at this point. There has been more research about the very similar Atkins diet, which sits at the bottom of the rankings with this one.

    3. The opinions are not based on “government plans.” They’re based on current nutritional science.

    There are other questions about this diet. It’s far from clear that this is how people ate in the Paleolithic Era, or that our bodies haven’t changed since the Paleolithic Era, etc.

    Anyone thinking about this or any other diet should do their own research, and not rely on blog comments, or for that matter on the subjective experience of an influential person.

  • Paleobite

    2011/08/12 at 12:44 pm

    That breakfast looks hella delicious 🙂 I love Grokamole.

  • sherrye22

    2011/08/12 at 1:35 pm

    “Since I can afford to buy meat that has been raised humanely and without hormones or antibiotics, I do. I think I have a responsibility to do so.”

    Thanks for saying this. I too feel obligated to buy humanely raised beef but I certainly understand that people in this country need to not be swimming in medical bill debt and home foreclosure before they can afford (figuratively and literally) to eat as organic/humanely/privileged as I do.

  • BigSkyMum

    2011/08/12 at 3:17 pm


    I am not on any particular diet (I try to limit processed food, sugar and white flour) but I am always open to try foods I’m unfamiliar with. I tried this cashew queso at a local restaurant and it was surprisingly good! It was a little less thick than I’m used to but it was rich and very authentic tasting. There are various brands available and you can also make your own. Something to consider…

  • IfByYes

    2011/08/12 at 3:17 pm

    I’ve been trying to get up the nerve to go back to this kind of diet again. I did it ONCE. ONE SUMMER. It was brutal, because I love carbs more than anything on Earth. I might sell my husband’s body for carbs.

    But that one summer – damn. I lost 30 pounds and felt AMAZING.

  • Submommy

    2011/08/13 at 11:19 am

    Long time reader, first time commenter (isn’t that what people on radio call-in shows say?) is a fantastic resource for grass-fed pasture raised meat – the site includes an interactive map that helps you find information on farms that are close to you raising animals the way they’re SUPPOSED to be raised. You know, eating grass.

    On a side note – it’s reassuring to me to see you say, in writing, that you wouldn’t risk going off your meds. I haven’t been off of mine since 2003. I had PPD very bad – bad like, I almost packed my bags in the middle of the night and left my baby and husband because I was convinced that I was insane and therefore useless as a wife and mother.

    Meds work. I thank God for them daily.

  • J. Bo

    2011/08/12 at 6:20 pm

    I am commenting only to say that I’m not commenting. While I am full of nutritional opinions, I think whatever works for you in your dietary choices? ROCK IT (or, as Tim Gunn would say, “MAKE IT WORK”).

    And congratulations on the poop, by the way.

  • AshesVonDust

    2011/08/13 at 9:53 pm

    Now, reading up on Paleo, I am more confused than ever. I have been wanting to go vegan for awhile (or at least vegetarian with very limited dairy/bee vomit) but this paleo thing makes a lot of sense. Genius idea: COMBINE THE TWO. Except! WTF does that leave me to eat, besides lettuce? *sad face* I am the most ethically and socially confused fat person I know.

  • SouthernDink

    2011/08/15 at 12:32 pm


    Absolutely, everyone should do their own research. My opinion was based on how I read that article. I actually read it twice. That being said, my statement is true to me, as that is how I interpreted the article.

    1. Paleo/Primal is nothing like Atkins. Of course, do your own research.

    2. Dr.’s make their opinions on science, nonetheless it is still an opinion based on one’s research. If you would take “Wheat Belly” author Dr. William Davis, MD – a leading Cardiologist for an example. His opinions on wheat are greatly detailed here: of course, these are his opinions. Backed up by over 2,000 patients. Great research for anyone.

    And I certianly agree readers thinking about making any lifestyle would not rely soley on blog comments. But dismissing others opinions based on their lack of “credentials” is not necessary either. It is after all… just an opinion.

  • Square Peaches

    2011/08/15 at 12:39 pm

    I’m late to this party, but I had to share. I commented on the initial post (I was the one who asked how you felt after the tostada) and since then hubby and I have been making the change to the Paleo/Primal diet.

    It’s been one week and my husband has lost 6 lbs, I have lost 3 (damn Aunt Flo); we are no longer hungry all of the time, and hubby has already noticed an improvement in his achy knees.

    You mentioned Food, Inc., which is on our list to watch. Have you seen “King Corn?” We watched that last night, and to say I was gobsmacked is an understatement. Not only does it discuss the mind-boggling over abundance of corn grown in this country (thanks to farm subsidies) but corn, that for the most part is not suitable for human consumption.

    What is it used for you ask? Well, obviously HFCS (do you know that the first step in preparing that chemistry experiment is soaking the corn in sulfuric acid??), but a large part of it goes to feed the cattle in commercial pen operations. Feed that would actually kill the cattle if they weren’t slaughtered first — because their bodies are not equipped to eat it. At the end of it, I was saddened and sickened at the thought of what I have been putting in my body.

    To drive the point home, we went to the store and looked at the grass-fed beef available (yes, it is definitely more expensive). The color difference alone must be seen to be believed. We will get what we can, when we can. I just think it’s imperative to get educated about our food supply. We are looking into farming co-ops to see what we can do to improve our food and support local, independent farmers in any way we can.

    And I agree with the comments above — if it works for you, then great. I have seen it myself the reactions people have when you say you don’t eat processed food/sugar/grain products. It’s as if you are saying you enjoy drowning puppies in your spare time. Crazy.

  • luv2cats72

    2011/08/16 at 10:05 am

    Good for you, Heather. I’ve been doing Paleo for a couple of months, and I have noticed that my mad sweet tooth is GONE, plus I’m losing weight without counting calories, or going hungry, or even thinking about it. It also appears to be improving my hypothyroidism. On top of all that, I have unbelievable amounts of energy, even when I forget to drink my unsweetened coffee (this would NEVER have happened on my old diet–the unsweetened coffee, or the energy).

    There are some great recipes on Melissa Joulwan’s blog, And anyone who wants more info on Paleo should check out the blog posts at, in addition to the sites you listed.

    Now, I’m off to have some paleo crabcakes with roasted red pepper mayo (from the Everyday Paleo website) and veggies for lunch. YUMM.

  • H2Mama

    2011/08/17 at 10:45 am

    My husband and I have gone to a completely whole foods diet..nothing processed and preferably local. My husband has lost 10 lbs and his skin has cleared up like crazy. It takes some careful meal planning but I feel so much better! Downside..the neighbors look at like we’re crazy because we grill breakfast on the weekends AND we go through alot of TP.

  • strick52

    2011/08/17 at 4:19 pm

    You can get your eggs from the McDowells – very good and local.

  • turinia

    2011/09/02 at 12:48 pm

    My boyfriend and I did the P90x diet starting last March. We followed the diet that went with it and the first three weeks was basically Paleo. When we started adding back grains, we both felt extremely sick. We have now embraced going gluten free and here’s the biggest kicker: I have IBS (from getting Salmonella) and my symptoms completely, 100% went away after cutting out gluten. OMG, never thought I would actually be cured! I tested negative for Celiac disease but I guess I still have an intolerance which irritates my IBS. So now if I do have a piece of cake, I know how my body will react and am willing to make that trade. But otherwise, we don’t eat gluten. And I’ve lost 15 pounds. And I don’t have IBS. And I have more energy along with everything else you described. Rock on with your Paleo badassness!

  • AlexSmiffy

    2011/10/02 at 6:12 am

    I have lost 120 lbs and keep it off easily by eating a low carb paleo diet. Other than an occasional piece of birthday cake, grains will never again be part of my diet.

    You and your husband should check out Robb Wolf’s podcast, he has talked about gallbladder illness and says that it is connected to a gluten intolerance.

    best of luck

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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