Melissa Joulwan Interview

Melissa Joulwan

Melissa Joulwan is the author of Well Fed, Well Fed 2 and her new book coming out called Well Fed Weeknights. My wife and I fell in love with her first two books because they really helped us make super easy meals that were both nutritious and tasty. I continue to cook recipes from both of these books pretty much every week. I was thrilled to be able to connect with her because of the impact her books have had on my family’s Primal journey.

Melissa was able to answer some questions for me about how she got into Paleo and how her Paleo journey has evolved over the last few years. She even shared some insight to some new things she’s working on. We’re also offering a chance to win a free copy of her new book if you sign up for my newsletter. So go ahead and fill out your email in the newsletter box for a chance at winning her new book: Well Fed Weeknights. You’ll have until October 9, 2016 to enter!

Again, I’m thrilled she agreed to do an interview for That’s So Primal, so here is our interview!

Before we get into it, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into Paleo.

From grade school to the day I graduated from college, I was a chubby nerd. My parents are both exceptionally good cooks—my dad brought his restaurant training home and my mom won almost every cooking contest that she entered. By the time I was about eight, I was wearing Sears “Pretty Plus” jeans. My overweight state was mostly because I really liked food but also because I really didn’t like to sweat.

After a broken ankle and vicious playground taunts, I stuck with reading, practicing the piano, and roller-skating to the library. I don’t know how many gym classes I missed because I was “sick” or “forgot” my gym clothes. I do know that my P.E. attendance put my otherwise stellar grade point average in jeopardy. Even though I avoided sports, I secretly admired the athletic kids; they walked taller than the rest of us.

When I was in tenth grade, my dad took me to Annapolis to see the Navy band play a concert, and for about three weeks, I was determined to get in shape so that I could apply to the Naval Academy. I abandoned that dream because I was incapable of doing pushups and situps, and I was too embarrassed and overwhelmed to ask for help.

For most of my life, I was haunted by a deep desire to be different than I was. To be thin. To feel confident. To break the cycle of thinking of food—and my behavior—as “good” or “bad.” I joined Weight Watchers and eventually became a Lifetime Member with a weight loss of more than 50 pounds. I joined a CrossFit gym and learned to love being intimidated by my workouts. I developed a deep affection for lifting barbells. But despite my successes, it was still my habit to celebrate and to grieve and to stress out and to relax with food. Although I worked out regularly, I didn’t feel as strong, inside or out, as I wanted. I had insomnia, allergies, and stomach aches. My body didn’t feel like it belonged to me.

In 2008, I learned I had a nodule on my thyroid. The risk of cancer was high, so I had the nodule surgically removed, and the doctor hoped that the remaining half of my thyroid would continue to function. It held on for a few months but then stopped working. That was a very difficult time. It was like constantly having a case of the blues; I was sluggish, foggy-headed, and desperately worried about re-gaining all the weight that I’d worked so hard to lose.

Then I found Whole9 and the Whole30 and their unique approach to paleo. It was surprisingly easy for me to give up grains, despite my deep affection for toast, but saying goodbye to my standard breakfast of blueberries with milk almost pushed me to the edge. I did not approach the paleo rules with an open heart. But I committed. I followed the eating guidelines. I made it a project to get eight hours of sleep every night. I worked with my doctor to try to find the right doses for my thyroid hormones. I was on track with my nutrition, but my training was all wrong for a girl with no thyroid. The constant physical stress of my sometimes twice-a-day workouts and beat-the-clock CrossFit—without restorative activities like yoga, meditation, and walking to balance it out—took its toll. I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue.

So I started over…again.

My routine now includes daily meditation, gentle yoga classes, walking, strength training, and occasional sprints. What’s never wavered is my commitment to and affection for my paleo diet. I’ve been through a lot of self-experimentation in the last half decade to get back to optimal health. The solid foundation provided by the paleo diet makes it possible to measure other health and quality of life markers and tinker with them. After five years, I’m more convinced than ever that this is the healthiest way for me to feed my body and mind—and it is sustainable in a way that no other “diet” has ever been.

Can you tell us about your new cookbook you’ve been working on?

Well Fed Weeknights

It’s called Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes Or Less. The recipes are inspired by takeout classics, food trucks, and cuisines from around the world—all totally free of grains, dairy, legumes, and soy. There are more than 200 recipes in the book, and they’re put together so you can make 128 complete meals: protein, veggies, and fats. It’s super simple to make amazing meals with this cookbook.

Every meal is thoroughly tested and easy to make, with affordable ingredients you can find at your neighborhood grocery store. And all of the recipes include my super-popular “You Know How You Could Do That?” variations, as well as Cookup Tips to help shorten meal prep time. There’s a “Mini Cookup” with step-by-step instructions for cooking six paleo kitchen staples—like cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, homemade mayo, and more— in under an hour. We’re offering a free 70-page PDF sampler that includes 18 recipes so people can check it out before they buy:

How has your approach to Paleo evolved from the beginning of your journey to now, if at all?

I think the biggest change since the beginning is that I eat more starchy carbs now. When I first started, I was very, very low carb. But I had my thyroid removed, and I’m a woman, so I have more energy, sleep better, and just generally feel better when I eat about 30–40% of my calories from carbs like sweet potatoes, plantains, and white potatoes.

Zucchini Soup
Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup

I’ve also made a commitment to eating bone broth and a serving of fermented foods every day. It’s really easy to eat a bowl of Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup made with bone broth, and I make homemade sauerkraut, fermented beets and carrots, stuff like that. Also super easy! But if people don’t have time to make their own, it’s easy to buy awesome sauerkraut or kimchi from the farmer’s market or grocery store. (But try making your own! This recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo makes is very approachable.

What is your approach to fitness?

Box Jump

I lift heavy stuff twice a week, I walk at least 10,000 steps every day, and then once or twice a week I do some interval training if my energy level is good. At 49 and without a thyroid, I really have to pay attention to my body signals. But I would also argue that super healthy and/or young people will also do great if they listen to their bodies instead of pushing pushing pushing all the time. I also meditate most days and try to do yoga twice a week, although I’m not as consistent with that goal as I would like.

What would you say a healthy diet and lifestyle looks like for you?

I have excellent habits 95% of the time. I sleep eight to nine hours per night to recover from and prepare for lifting heavy barbells, occasional sprints, and plenty of yoga and walking. I keep the house stocked with paleo ingredients and cook nutrient-dense food so my husband Dave and I can eat real food every day. Then on rare occasions, I indulge. I become a temporary slug and give in to the temptation of corn-based chip products, buttered popcorn, an icy-cold glass of Prosecco, or a shot of Ouzo. I should mention that I have a known whipped cream problem.

After a three decades of “being on a diet,” my philosophy now is to “just eat.” I don’t have strict food rules anymore, but now that I know how non-paleo foods affect my mood, energy, and digestion, I eat them on only rare occasions. A few times a year, I make a conscious choice – “maybe I’ll get a tummy ache, but I’m OK with that” – and indulge in non-paleo foods. I savor every bite! Then I go back to the way I usually eat, which is pretty strict by most peoples’ standards, but feels good and delicious to me.

I have cooked so many recipes from both of your cookbooks, I think I’ve cooked the Shepherds Pie the most, my wife and I absolutely love that recipe! What’s your favorite recipe from your books?

I love them all! But I can tell you that my husband’s favorite from Well Fed is the Chocolate Chili. From Well Fed 2, it’s the West African Chicken Stew.
Chocolate Chili
Chocolate Chili

Two recipes I make all the time because they’re delicious and they’re an easy way to add flavor to meals are Zingy Ginger Dressing and Homemade Mayo. Oh! Plantain Nachos! That’s another good one.

Zingy Ginger Dressing
Zingy Ginger Dressing

Plantain Nachos
Plantain Nachos

What’s your favorite recipe from your blog?

These Pumpkin-Spiced Pepitas are really fun and tasty!

Pumpkin Spiced Pepitas

What does a typical week of meals look like for you?

Breakfast is almost always leftover protein (chicken, ground beef) sautéed with leftover veggies, sweet potatoes, and duck fat. I usually don’t eat eggs for breakfast, only because I don’t like them at breakfast; I like them for dinner. Lunch is usually some kind of salad plate: a pile of tuna salad or egg salad or a pile of cold cooked chicken with a bunch of raw veggies, fermented veg, pickles, olives, some fruit. At dinner is where I usually get more creative and make recipes from my cookbooks, but when we’re busy, dinner is usually grilled or roasted protein—pork loin, steak, burger patties, chicken thighs—with cooked veg on the side, Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup, and a salad with homemade salad dressing. A few times a week, we pick something from the cookbooks and get a little fancier.

How do you do meal planning?

Honestly, I’m not much of a meal planner—but that’s because after eating this way for 7+ years, I have a good idea of how to manage groceries and the kitchen. What I do is less a “plan” and more a “buy a bunch of stuff I like and stock the fridge so I can grab whatever, whenever.”

I think this approach can also be helpful to people who are just starting out because a full week of all new recipes—that could mean 21 new recipes!—is really overwhelming. Rather than planning what to eat each day, you can stock up on the basics that you know fit within your eating template. For example, stock up on lots of veggies and fruits, a variety of proteins, cooking fats like coconut and olive oil, and the extras that make meals special like nuts, dried fruit, nut butters, and fresh herbs. Instead of buying ingredients for specific recipes, you’re buying raw materials that you can turn into spontaneous meals. This is the method I usually turn to when I’m very busy because it removes the thinking involved in eating well. I know my husband and I eat about 2 1/2 pounds of protein per day, so I use that as a guide and load up on pork loin, chicken thighs and breasts, ground beef, little steaks, eggs, canned tuna and salmon, and shrimp. At meal time, I pick a protein, choose some veggies, and throw it together according to what we’re craving that day.

But for people who enjoy “real” meal plans, I 100% recommend the Real Plans service. It will generate a meal plan for you based on the number of people you want to feed, their food restrictions and preferences, and how many days of the week and meals per day you want to include in your plan. Real Plans also provides detailed shopping lists for the grocery store and farmer’s market, and supplies a Timeline that reminds you which tasks need to be performed when. Real Plans includes all of my Well Fed recipes, Whole30 recipes, and Nom Nom Paleo’s recipes, too.

I also have a very extensive 4-week cooking plan on my site that includes menus, shopping lists, and step-by-step instructions to get everything cooked in one afternoon. You can find the first week here.

Every week, I also do a blog post called “Five Paleo Dinners To Cook Next Week” that recommends five dinner recipes, a condiment, and a treat, along with instructions for how to work the recipes into a Weekly Cookup to save time. I send a reminder out in my weekly newsletter about those posts so it’s almost like having free meal planning.

Can you always afford to buy top quality meat, grass fed/pastured? Or if your budget doesn’t afford it do you do conventional meat?

I do both! I get large quantities of meat from a local farm to stock the freezer, but I also buy grass-fed or local organic meat at the grocery store. I’m not militant about it, but I try to make good choices. We always buy organic, pastured eggs, and organic chicken. If grassfed, pastured meat is outside someone’s budget, I recommend they buy the leanest cuts they can because the fat is where the impurities are stored. Plus, then you get to add fat to your protein, which is always fun.

On the spectrum of very strict Paleo to very lenient Paleo where do you fall and why? What foods do you eat that are on the boarder of Paleo-Non-Paleo?

I eat very strictly at home so I don’t have to stress out about questionable ingredients when I eat in restaurants. We generally don’t eat paleo treats unless it’s a holiday or special occasion. I eat white rice sometimes, and I have ½ ounce of 85% dark chocolate most days, but always with other food so it’s part of my meal, not a snack.

What kind of food do you eat when your not cooking something up at home?

I always eat gluten free and avoid dairy, even when eating out. My biggest splurge in a restaurant would be flourless chocolate cake, and if it’s just a regular meal out—not a celebration of some kind—I eat the same things I do at home: eggs, bunless burgers, big salads, Thai coconut milk curries. I have a big blog post about eating in restaurants that might be helpful to you readers.

What are some struggles/roadblocks that you’ve run into eating Paleo?

Once I got over the shock of not eating stuff like pasta and bread and cereal or yogurt for breakfast, the real challenge of paleo began to emerge: socializing. I’m fortunate because many of my friends are at least paleo-aware and some of them are as committed as I am to this lifestyle. I also know and love a bunch of people who fall into the “eat whatever they want” category, as well as the “stay up late” and “enjoy adult beverages every evening” groups. Over the years, I’ve figured out tips that help me navigate social situations and travel. You can read them all here.

What inspires you to try out new recipes and dishes? Are there certain foods you have a hard time experimenting with?

I love to travel and eat local foods, and that’s my biggest inspiration for inventing new paleo recipes. I eat something delicious out in the world, then try to figure out how to recreate with healthier ingredients. Later, it’s a really nice reminder of where I’ve been, and it’s a way to understand more about other cultures by learning how ingredients and dishes fit into their lives.

Do you have any tips for someone who is just starting out on Paleo?

One of the things that was the most difficult to get used to when I first switched to paleo was the sheer volume of food I had to buy – here’s a post I wrote about how to estimate how much food you might need each week – and the amount of time I spent cooking. There are ways to make it all less time-consuming: buy in bulk, do a weekly cookup, get really organized about grocery lists and shopping… but there is no getting around the fact that eating very clean and very well means eating at home. A lot.

For me, switching to paleo became about more than just what I was eating. I realized it meant I had to get my whole life in balance. It is not outrageous to spend an average of an hour a day to feed myself well. But in our hardcharging culture, we’re conditioned to think meals should be fast; we’ve been taught – mostly by the media – that dinner in minutes is not only possible, but required, to have a great life. I say, “Wrong!” It is very satisfying to cook a meal that tastes delicious and nourishes the body. Cooking and eating quality food is among the most caring things you can do for yourself and others. My new cookbook Well Fed Weeknights is the best of both worlds: really delicious paleo meals with very short cook times.

My other piece of advice would be to keep it simple at first: build meals around delicious ingredients and don’t worry too much about recipes. Cook a bunch of protein and vegetables in advance, then mix and match throughout the week to make your meals. For example, browned ground beef can go Italian when it’s sautéed with zucchini, tomatoes, and oregano – or make a quick stir-fry with snow peas, broccoli, ginger, and coconut aminos for Asian flair. You can find more details on how I do that in this article The Method Behind My Madness. There’s also a TON of information about this approach in my first book Well Fed.

What is your favorite: protein, vegetable (leafy or hardy), starch and fat?

Favorite protein: tie between pork shoulder and lamb shoulder

Favorite vegetable: another tie! Zucchini and cabbage

Favorite starch: Zero competition! It’s plantains.

Favorite fat: Duck fat. Always and forever.

What can we expect next from you?

The biggest thing on the horizon in my personal life is that my husband Dave and I are moving to Prague in 2017. I suspect our adventures will find their way into my recipes and my blog posts. On the professional front, our next project is a comic book about nutrition. My husband Dave is a cartoonist, and he’s going to apply his extensive cartooning skills to the tough subject of how we should feed ourselves.

More Melissa Joulwan


Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

Preorder: Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less

Signup for my newsletter for a chance to win Well Fed Weeknights!

Happy First Birthday

Happy First Birthday

Happy Birthday to me! Well it’s not my actual birthday, but it’s the birthday of this blog. I started this blog about a year ago now (August 10, 2015 to be exact). This last year for myself has been a little crazy. With the birth of our second daughter and work – life has been a little hectic to say the least. Well, I’m still here, granted I’m not publishing as many posts as I’d like but nevertheless I’m still here! So, I wanted to write this quick post to point out 5 things that I have goals for over the next year – so you can hold me accountable if I fall short on these goals.

1. New Recipes

Food is really the foundation of everything Primal. Sure there’s fitness and sleep and stuff – but food is the foundation for health. So this next year I will still be dedicated to getting new recipes out there – with the focus on easy recipes that really work for the whole family. I know I’ve done a few fun recipes with crickets and such, which there might still be a few of those ;), but there will also be more practical everyday recipes for families out there.

2. New Interviews

I hope to get a few more interviews out there as I’ve done a couple last year with Russ and Joshua. I think these were great because we are able to peer into others real lives on how they do Primal. It’s especially cool because we learn that Primal looks different for everybody. Be on the lookout for a new interview very soon – I promise!

3. New Reviews

Reviews are a huge part of this blog. I’ve actually learned that they are one of the most read things on this blog. My RXBAR review is the most read review actually. So naturally these will still continue and I hope to get a lot more brands on board. If you have any suggestions on products for me to review, please submit ideas here. I would love to hear from you on what Primal products interest you. Let me know!

4. New Lifestyle Posts

Figuring out how to do Primal is a challenge in and of itself. So hopefully the lifestyle posts about how to afford Primal or about how to fit in exercise have been helpful. That’s why I plan to continue to do posts on the Primal lifestyle in general. Again if you have any requests on what kind of lifestyle posts you would like to see please drop them here.

5. More Newsletters

I’ve been really bad at sending out newsletters. Maybe for some of you that’s a good thing because you hate newsletters – but I think they can be beneficial if they include interesting stuff – which is what I hope to do. I’ve only sent out a handful since last year but I hope to be more consistent with this. They will include cool recipes and lifestyle posts I see throughout the web and they’ll include some links to older posts on this blog that maybe you’ve forgotten about. I promise they’ll be worth your time! Sign up here:

Bonus: New Ebook

Now this is really a stretch goal I have for the year. I really would like to put all the recipes I’ve accumulated here on this blog in an ebook format for you guys so that you can have with you when you’re out and about grocery shopping or when you have no internet connection – or really I just want to design a book because that’s what I love to do as a graphic designer. So hopefully this one won’t be too hard to accomplish because I would just use the recipes I’ve already put together on this site plus a few extras – but I think it would be fun for my existing readers and new readers to download and have with them. So be on the lookout for that!

Thanks for taking the time to read through me droning on about my goals for the next year of this blog and I hope you enjoy the content that is yet to come!

Cricket Tacos

Cricket Tacos
Cricket Tacos

I guess I have a thing for crickets. I’ve already written about how my favorite protein bar is cricket based protein. I’ve also experimented with cricket flour in this chia flax pudding recipe. Next up in my obsession is cricket tacos.

Cricket Tacos

I first read this story on The Verge of Next Millennium Farms (Now Entomo Farms), the supplier for Exo, and how there was a Mexican joint next to the factory that sells cricket tacos. When I read that article I knew I had to try it! Well I can’t drive there, since they’re in Canada, so I decided to try to make my own. I contacted Entomo Farms and asked if they could send some crickets my way so I could take a stab at these tacos and they were more than willing.

Tortilla recipe
I used the tortilla recipe on the back of Otto’s Naturals Cassava flour package from Fork & Beans

Now the main issue with creating a Primal/Paleo taco is creating a good tortilla. Flour tortillas are a no go. Non-GMO corn tortillas aren’t the worst thing for you but corn isn’t Paleo. Lettuce shells just sound gross with crickets. I contemplated these cauliflower tortillas which I’ve made before and they were great. But then I started seeing people using cassava flour all over Instagram and I saw this recipe for cassava flour tortillas and I was in love! They looked so real and tasty. So I was set – cassava flour tortillas it was. Otto’s Naturals Cassava flour you say? Check out the FAQ from their site:

Cassava (also known as Yuca) is a root vegetable grown in over 90 countries. Cassava is a staple food for half a billion people across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It is the perfect alternative to wheat flour when dried and ground using our proprietary method. It is totally unique from the traditionally milled cassava flours on the market.

Cassava Flour

Cricket tacos aren’t a new idea necessarily. In Oaxaca, Mexico chapuline (grasshopper) tacos are a thing and eaten all the time. So this whole idea isn’t something too foreign or weird necessarily. It’s actually a really good protein alternative for tacos. There’s almost twice as much protein in crickets than ground beef and crickets are packed with omega 3s. I’m surprised cricket tacos aren’t touted in every Paleo blog out there!

Close up

What I wanted to do with this recipe was make a super simple taco: Tortilla, protein, diced onions, avocado, cilantro and cheese if you do dairy.

Cassava Flour
Otto’s Naturals Cassava flour

Flour before kneaded

Tortilla dough ready to be pressed

Press it flat
Pressed flat (I didn’t use a tortilla press)

Cook until bubbling
Cook until bubbling (1 minute)

Continue cooking
Flip and continue cooking

Whole roasted crickets
Whole roasted crickets

Close up
Ready to eat straight from the package

Assemble your ingredients
Get all your ingredients ready to go


Cricket Tacos
  1. Tortilla:
  2. 3/4 c. (90g) Otto’s Naturals Cassava flour
  3. 1/4 tsp. Sea salt
  4. 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  5. 1/3 c. (80g) warm water
  6. Fillings:
  7. Crickets
  8. Diced white onion
  9. Avocado
  10. Cilantro
  11. Queso Fresco or Monterrey Jack (optional)
  12. Chipotle Tabasco (optional)
  1. I used the tortilla instructions printed on the back of Otto’s Naturals Cassava flour package. The recipe is from Fork & Beans

  2. To make the tortilla, whisk together the flour and salt. Then add the oil and warm water and knead dough until it’s smooth. Then roll into 6 balls.

  3. To make the tortilla flat use a tortilla press or press between two pieces of parchment paper. Try to get as thin as possible. Then heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is warm, place the tortilla on the skillet and warm for about 1 minute until bubbles form then flip and cook for another minute. Now you’re tortillas are ready to go.

  4. Once the tortillas are ready to go, now all you have to do is dice the onion and cilantro. Cut the avocado and bust out the queso fresco or Monterey Jack.

  5. To prepare the crickets you can use them straight out of the Entomo Farm bag or lightly warm them on a skillet. They’re already roasted technically. I suggest trying them without seasoning first. Then next time you can experiment with a dusting of traditional taco style seasoning. I like The Domestic Man’s taco seasoning recipe here.

  6. Now assemble your tacos and enjoy!

That's So Primal

10 Primal Things to do This Summer

10 Primal Things to do This Summer

Summer is upon us. Hopefully you’re enjoying it and taking the time to enjoy your family and getting out in the sun. But for those of you having some trouble trying to break away from the routine and really get into the spirit of summer – I’ve compiled a list of 10 primal things to do this summer. Some of them may seem pretty simple and obvious but if you take the time to do them I guarantee you’ll build some fun memories and you’ll get out in the sun and hopefully unwind a bit.

1. Go Swimming

Pretty obvious one right here but you should make some time to dip in a pool or go to the beach. Whether you have a pool or your family has a pool or you go to the public pool. Try to just get wet and cool off and have fun with the kids or turn it into a workout. Mark Sisson wrote a timely post last week about the importance of swimming. Swimming is my preferred “moving” workout as I go about three times a week to a public pool near my work. I love it. You should try it too.

2. Camp in Your Backyard

If you have kids they’ll love doing this one, but even if you don’t have kids this can still be something fun to do. Plan it for a night that isn’t too hot and just pitch a tent in your backyard or try to find a state park. You can use this as an excuse to just chill outside and cook some good food over a fire and maybe play some card games near the campfire at night. Even if you missed the Great American Campout – you can still camp in your backyard anytime!

3. Take Your Kids to a Splash Pad

Not sure if splash pads exist everywhere, but they do where we live. My wife has been taking our toddler to the splash pad during the day and she loves it. It’s a good way to break up your day and let the kids run around and tire out! Just google areas around you that have splash pads as they are normally free and a great way to cool off during the summer.

4. Smoke Some Meat

I’ve never gotten into smoking food as I’m normally too impatient – and because I like to rely on my Dad’s method for doing ribs. But recently I’ve bene experimenting with a combination of his recipe and smoking in my Weber. It’s something fun to do on the weekends as you get to spend a little extra time outside around the grill. You don’t need to have a fancy smoker either. Just look on youtube for tutorials on how to do it. I’ve been experimenting with some wood chips my parents got me using my Weber. It’s simple and adds great flavor to meat.

5. Grow Something

Our garden has been going crazy since about April but even if you don’t have a garden you can pick up something from Home Depot and start taking care of it. Whether its flowers or a box of herbs. Growing something is a great way to get outside the house after work and enjoy some sun. Plus you’ll have super fresh herbs for spaghetti or honey roasted veggies.

6. Draw with Chalk Outside

Here’s another one that the kids will love or even if you don’t have kids – adults can still have fun with this too. Buy some chalk and just go to town outside. You don’t have to be a great artist or anything just have fun drawing pictures like you used to do when you were a kid. Our toddler likes drawing with chalk outside — or likes it when I draw Disney characters for her. Some of our friends threw some chalk paint on their wall in their backyard and their kid loves it.

7. Go on a Hike

I’m always pushing hiking. It’s a great way to get moving and to get outdoors. It doesn’t have to be a gnarly hike either, just try to find some trail local to you and head out with a buddy, kids, spouse – and just enjoy the time outside. Maybe try to plan this one for a day that’s not blazing outside, or plan it into the evening so you can see the sunset.

8. Take a Nap

Nothing wrong with naps. Take a nap inside. Take a nap outside. It’s summer. Relax. There are numerous health benefits of napping. A short nap from 20–30 minutes will leave you feeling rested and alert. Read more about the health benefits of napping here and start napping.

9. Go to a Drive In

Not sure if drive ins still exist everywhere anymore but there is a nice one close to where we live. Plan an evening to go out to a drive in if you have one near you. They’re the perfect summertime thing to do because the weather is nice and kids are out of school. Be sure to bring your own primal snacks or even homemade popcorn (#notpaleo).

10. Read a Book

I have a hard time finishing books. The funny thing is I read a million things online but I read very little books. I want to challenge myself to read at least one book for summer and I want to challenge you too. Could be a physical book or something on a Kindle. Whatever works for you. You could start with this book or this book.

Hopefully you found some of these ideas inspiring. They’re pretty simple things to do and I think they’ll be fun for you and your whole family. Feel free to let me know in the comments what you’ve been doing over summer to break away from the routine and get outside!

The Primal Pantry Paleo Bar Review

The Primal Pantry Paleo Bars

This review of The Primal Pantry Paleo Bars is a little different from my typical Paleo protein bar reviews, because these bars were given to me as a gift from my mother in law while she was on a trip to South Africa and because they really aren’t “protein” bars. Sure they have protein in them from the nuts and stuff but these particular ones aren’t marketed as protein bars. Though this company does have some protein bars coming out that I hopefully will be able to get my hands on to review.

So nevertheless these are bars marketed at the Primal community so I thought it would be fun to review these. Of course we will be reviewing the three categories like we always do: Nutritional Profile, Affordability, Taste. Let’s get to it!

Nutritional profile

The Primal Pantry Paleo Bar

I think the best bar that we can compare these to are Larabars. Primarily because they both have the same ingredients more or less, and aren’t specifically marketed as protein bars. So let’s take a look at how these bars break down to the typical Larabar.

Larabar Coconut Cream Pie
Total Fat: 10g
Total Carbohydrate: 31g (Dietary Fiber 5g, Sugars 24g)
Protein: 3g
Ingredients: Dates, Unsweetened Coconut, Almonds, Cashews, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

The Primal Pantry Coconut & Macadamia Raw Paleo Bar
Total Fat: 14.8g
Total Carbohydrate: 16.8g (Dietary Fiber 2.8g, Sugars 14.9g)
Protein: 3.8g
Ingredients: Dates, Coconut, Cashews, Macadamia, Almond Oil

Both of these bars have a lot of good things going for them. They’re both made with minimal ingredients. They both taste amazing but where I see these Primal Pantry bars taking the cake – is that they are a little less heavy on the carbs. The Primal Pantry bars I think use a little less dates than Larabar uses. You can definitely tell by the taste since The Primal Pantry bars are noticeably less sweet – and it shows in the nutritional profile. I still love Larabars for the occasional treat but I like that these Primal Pantry bars are a little higher in fat and lower on carbs making the Primal Pantry bars a little less of a treat kind of bar and more of a functional bar providing good fat and not a huge dose of sugar.


The Primal Pantry Paleo Bar

So how does the cost break down for both of these bars? This is where Larabar will probably stand out since you can get them pretty cheap at any Target in the US. The Primal Pantry is based out of the UK so it’s a little harder to get your hands on some cheaply.

Larabar Coconut Cream Pie
Price per bar: $1.04
Price per 16 bar box: $16.63

The Primal Pantry Coconut & Macadamia Raw Paleo Bar
Price per bar: $2.28
Price per 18 bar box: $41.00

Woah! That’s a pretty big difference in price. However it’s expected since these aren’t readily available in the US like I said. Not sure how much exactly they are at the typical market in the UK (any readers from the UK know how much these are?) I wouldn’t necessarily say go out and spend your $40 on these bars since they don’t really offer that much protein. I would say you should go buy some Exo bars or Primal Kitchen bars for that price. That way you’ll get more nutritional bang for your buck.

Anyway, they were free to me since they were a gift from my mother in law! But it sure would be nice is these were readily available in the US – say like Target or something like Larabars are. That way we would have a nice low sugar high fat option Primal bar that we could pick up easily.


The Primal Pantry Paleo Bar

They may be expensive for us over in the states, but they sure do taste good!

The Primal Pantry Coconut & Macadamia Raw Paleo Bar
Not even kidding these taste almost exactly like my favorite Larabar – Coconut Cream Pie. These bars just have way less sugar. This one was definitely my favorite. Very subtle coconut flavor mixed with dates and macadamias. And since the carbs were lower on this bar than Larabars you can definitely notice that these are less sweet, which I did’t mind.

The Primal Pantry Brazil Nut & Cherry Raw Paleo Bar
Very soft and not too chewy. Not too sweet either. I didn’t really taste much cherry. More of just the brazil nut flavor which wasn’t bad. This was probably my least favorite of the three.

The Primal Pantry Hazelnut & Cocoa Raw Paleo Bar
One again not too sweet – which isn’t bad. Nice cocoa flavor throughout. Just the right softness and not too chewy. There were a good amount of Hazelnuts throughout this bar and I just so happen to really like hazelnuts. This bar tasted great.


It was cool to try these bars – so thank you Suzanne! I really like the taste of these bars and that they are a lower sugar Larabar. I just really wish they were more affordable and in a Target or something over here. Thanks Primal Pantyr for making such a tasty bar. Thanks for reading everyone!

Buy some for yourself:
The Primal Pantry Store