Primal Fudgems.

Or, “Everything you Never Cared to Know: Cave Girl Gastro-Tourism.”

I’m still riding high on an extremely exhilarating weekend – wherein I did NOT completely fudge up a long-anticipated nutrition workshop. My aim was to create an atmosphere just shy of the first half of Kindergarten Cop, without transitioning into a High School High-esque scenario. I must say, I believe I was successful.

Now I’m knee-deep in to my Nutritional Therapy curriculum. This program ROCKS. If you’re dying to make your nutrition education official but can’t stomach four years of SADness, check out the NTA.

Today’s post isn’t a recipe, though it does sound like the name of a yummy Primal-esque treat. What I aim to discuss are the things I incorporate into my regimen frequently that were *prooobably* not available to your typical Cave Person. They’re my “Primal Fudge-ems.” I may be ex-communicated, but I believe that just because Encino Man wouldn’t recognize it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have utility in a modern diet. (What’s with the movie references, Cave Girl? Geez.)

Also, may I point out: this is a list of items that I find completely benign – even nutritious – and excellent additions to my eating plan. Yes, I DO enjoy foods from an entirely different category which I dub “splurges.” These are infrequently enjoyed: Raw milk ice cream from the local raw dairy, Girl Scout Cookies (um, sorry, but once a year I’ll have my sleeve o’ Thin Mints), Kansas City BBQ, and rice & beans from the greatest Mexican Restaurant of all time, Margarita’s. None of these have killed me, gut-irritated me, or gotten me kicked out of Cave World. (At least, not yet).

My top 5 (plus a bonus):

1) Vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar in my Bison Chili and my hair, white vinegar to make egg poaching a breeze, balsamic reduction drizzled over my roasted brussels sprouts. I may even try my hand at home-making vinegar. If Variety is the spice of life, Vinegar is the Spice Girl.

2) Ghee.

Ghee is butter fat. All dairy proteins removed to leave the savory, delicious dairy fat. I get mine from Pure Indian Foods (they ship). They produce their grass-fed Ghee in small batches, in the Ayurvedic tradition. It’s delicious, and it’s a source of “Activator X” – the Vitamin K2 that is so massively deficient in our modern diets due to the disaster of Modern, corn-fed, low-fat dairy and the politically incorrect status of organ meats. Please, please read Guyenet’s post on K2. Then find a way to get it down your gullet. (It’s got to be grass-fed…as in, pastured. Rapidly growing grass – still attached to the ground – is the K2 key. Supplemental hay in pseudo-grass-fed confinement operations is the lock c*ck block). Any skin issues I had with dairy are nil with butter fat.

3) Wine.

If you’re going to tell me that a Caveman wouldn’t polish off a bucket of Chianti had one come available…then you can’t come over and play with my Barbies any. more. (And if you judge my “bucket o’ wine” reference as indelicate, you’re not invited to my birthday party.) I don’t indulge every week, but there’s nothing better than a home-cooked dinner and a glass of wine with friends. Especially friends who are amazing cooks. Tequila may or may not fit into the same category. (winky emoticon)

4) Dark Chocolate.

I used to “cheat” with bread and other processed crap. That’s sooo 2008. As I’ve continued down this path, my “wild nights” might include indulgences like bacon-wrapped dates (Bacon is Rad, Gluten is Bad) or some 87% Cacao super-dark chocolate.

5) Corn.

Two years ago I moved to a part of the US that’s famous for its tomatoes and Sweet Corn. I’ll enjoy an ear now & then, or a scoop of corn salsa in my Chipotle Burrito Bol (get the Carnitas, as they’re not cooked in soy). Look, corn is delicious. It’s hardly ever eaten in problematic quantities (have YOU ever had a corn binge?) and I’m not feeding it to myself with a smattering of anti-biotics to fatten myself up for a vacay at the CAFO.

6) Soy Milk.

It’s delicious, it’s good for me…it’s the perfect way to start the day.***

***THIS IS SARCASM. Punctuated by a quote from The Office. (What’s the soy equivalent of a Rick-Roll? A Monsanto Swivel?)


Every day isn’t a 30-day compliance challenge, and nobody else is my task-master. I don’t follow someone else’s “diet” – I follow my intuition, and the Primal lifestyle is where it’s led me. If I’m always learning – and at the same, committed to laying to rest any old food neuroses – I find that I can enjoy any of these without issue or self-judgment. Other Primal Fudge-ems I’ve encountered in my Cave Community: gourmet cheeses, Worchestershire sauce, and sushi. What are yours?


29 Responses to “Primal Fudgems.”

  1. “Every day isn’t a 30-day compliance challenge, and nobody else is my task-master. I don’t follow someone else’s “diet” – I follow my intuition.”

    Excellent. Sorry I couldn’t be there on Sunday. Liver and garden date soon?

  2. OMG! I can’t stop laughing. Monsanto Swivel.
    Thanks for offering some perspective. Sometimes, being relatively new to this lifestyle, I get hung up on technicalities.
    You’re the best.

  3. I totally agree with your list, except for the soy. Not because of anything primal related, but because of my thyroid. When I eat soy in any form, my thyroid goes crazy! When I am soy-free, my thyroid levels do not jump around like kids in a bounce house. For that reason alone, I stay away from soy.

    But vinegar, ghee, corn, wine and chocolate? I’ll have ’em occasionally.

  4. Great post, Liz!!! Mine is coffee with whole milk, wine (duhh) and the occasional greek yogurt 🙂 So great to hear that your nutrition workshop was went awesomely!

  5. Great post! Mine are:

    Way too many Omega-6-heavy nuts;
    Obscene quantities of caffeine;
    BCAA powder;
    Bad stuff in my jerky marinades: tamari, Worchestershire sauce, etc.
    Bacon — regardless of the source of the swine
    Anything else that looks awesome.

  6. Can’t argue too much with those but soy milk is pure crap.

  7. I’m with Meghan on this one. I hate being told what to do – and I try not to do that to anyone else. Liz, I wish I could have been there too. You should be so proud of yourself for learning and growing so much in a short amount of time. You’re a primal beast and I hope you can over to play with some barbells sometime 🙂

    Anywho – agreed here. On the subject of soy too… funny thing, that’s the one exception I may make like once a year… soy chai latte – O.M.G. Seeing as how I used to get at least two in one day (HOW did I afford this???) I figure one a year is AWESOME.

    much love, and PRs,


  8. Mine are:
    Dark chocolate (Theo chocolates FTW)
    lattes (Hey I’m in Seattle – I have a quota to meet here!)
    Cheese !

  9. You got me on the soymilk thing…

    Mine’s dark chocolate and cooking with butter (the high-quality stuff you’d approve of, of course)… and it would be putting heavy cream in my coffee but I can’t find unpasturized heavy cream anywhere! Should probably find out if they sell it at all in KS.

    Also, gonna run out and buy Encino Man ASAP. It’s probably in the $5 bin… shameful!

  10. Butter for sure, and whole milk dairy in protein shakes.

    Oh, um: protein shakes. Not often, but if I can cram in a WOD in the middle of the day, I most certainly cannot also cram in making lunch, so. Thereyago. I’m betting once I finish my current store of powder I likely won’t re-purchase, but instead find a better way to um, shake it up (sorry. couldn’t resist.)

  11. Dirty Martinis and Organic Corn Chips.

    You can take them from my cold lifeless, water-bloated, fingers.

  12. great post.

    I’ve been eating paleo for a few months now and at the beginning I felt like I was going crazy looking for things like bacon with no added sugars. And reading all those sites/books with hardcore purists freaked me out. But in the end, 95% of my diet and routine is clean, unprocessed foods. An added sugar here in my local farmed bacon isn’t going to screw up my body, nor is the occasional organic chocolate bar. We all have different goals.

    • I’m with you, Peter. Couldn’t agree more. Purism works for some, but if you’re working against your happiness trying to live that way, it’s a miserable existence. Finding that balance between emotional satisfaction and diet comp starts with listening to your body and putting to work what you KNOW is right for you. That means learning, evaluating your goals, and understanding WHY you’re doing what you’re doing, as well as identifying addictive eating behaviors (chocolate bar or truck full of chocolate bars?) and dependencies. No, it’s not as simple as following somebody else’s guidelines, but it sets the stage for a sustainable, healthy eating plan for life.

  13. Hehe great post!
    Dark chocolate for SURE. The occasional drizzle of Maple Syrup and Gourmet cheeses top my list!

  14. Thanks for this post. My husband and I are planning on trying primal eating starting next week (I’m better at willpower during Lent, for some reason) and I’m worrying quite a bit as most of my favorite foods are on the naughty list. There’s no way we are going to be perfect, but I have to think that any step in the right direction is a positive step. But OMG, what am I going to do about my sweet tooth (it’s a serious sweet tooth…I don’t think I’ve ever had anything that tasted too sweet to me, and dark chocolate doesn’t taste sweet to me at all)?

    • Logy, don’t follow anybody’s rules but your own! That always screws me – when I’m “dieting” or following some “plan” somebody else follows. The BIGGEST problem, for me, is thinking that just because I have some cheesecake or a candy bar that I’m “off the wagon.” (Chaos ensues.) Telling myself something “isn’t allowed” just sets me up to fail! But when I know I can have whatever the heck I want (because, let’s be real, I can and I will!) the “bad” things seem less attractive to me and I make better choices across the board. This is all about you and your instinct, and what makes you happy and keeps you interested! What’s the dialogue you’re having with yourself when it comes to food? I aim to keep it civil and balanced and QUIT with the imbalanced, crazy-girl self-talk. Baby steps for sure…but I think the most important place to start is the brain, not the plate!

  15. I kind of like to have some rules to guide me, but I’m sure I will tailor them to suit me (although that might not be a good thing, because I’m sure there will be a lot of special dispensations for cupcakes).

    A couple of years ago I cut back on starchy carbs dramatically (only very rarely ate bread, rice, pasta and cut back a lot but not as much on potatoes, which are my favorite food) and did that for more than a year. I found that it was easier than I expected, but here’s the thing: I didn’t cut back on the sugar at all. Cookies and other baked goods, yes (because of the flour), but the pure sugary stuff, no. I didn’t have any good reason for this particular exception other than I just didn’t think I could give up both starch and sugar at the same time. I love things to taste sweet, so I have Greek yogurt daily with honey and fruit mixed in. I also drink chocolate milk daily. I can’t wrap my brain around cutting these things out, or even cutting back on them and I worry that if I don’t allow stuff that seems pretty innocuous to me like yogurt and chocolate milk that I will really fall “off the wagon.”

    I also don’t want to live in a world where I “am not allowed” to eat a cupcake or a pumpkin muffin, not because I think they are necessary, but because I really enjoy eating them. But it’s way too easy for me to turn that argument into eating a pumpkin muffin every day (I know b/c I just did that last week!). Never is not realistic, but daily is too much. I think balance and moderation sounds very reasonable, but that’s never been my strong suit.

    Thanks for the advice, I think it makes sense to sit down with my husband and think more about what we both can agree is reasonable for our plan. Full-on primal probably isn’t going to be a good starting place for us.

    • You would be surprised if you did commit to going full-on paleo how your cravings for sugar treats would change. When I started I said all the same things you are…

      “I also don’t want to live in a world where I “am not allowed” to eat a cupcake or a pumpkin muffin, not because I think they are necessary, but because I really enjoy eating them.”

      The first week was hard. All I did is want sugar. Too help I allowed myself to have 85% Organic Dark Chocolate every night after dinner-a 1/2 to a full serving. That helped knowing I had something at the end of the day. I am most surprised that I no longer need the dark chocolate every day and I NEVER crave sugary desserts! I’ve even been to my favorite Italian restaurant and ate Paleo and skipped dessert. Not because anyone told me I couldn’t, but because I 100% don’t want it anymore.

      Good luck and I say GO FOR IT 100%!

      • Hey Tracy! My current attitude is definitely shaped by many months of full-on “Paleo!” (see my Mouth Money and Elimination Challenge posts, and I was 100% orthodox Paleo before starting CGE!) I need none of these things, but will CHOOSE them from time to time now that I have a hard-earned, even-keeled relationship with my food. not right for everyone, but certainly for me!

  16. At about one month paleo. New to the site, love it. Excellent post – very encouraging!

  17. Apparently we share the same taste buds!

    Thank you for the absolution.


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