That’s So Primal 2017 Christmas Gift Guide – Family Edition

That's So Primal 2017 Christmas Gift Guide - Family Edition

Christmas is now upon us! When I thought about putting together a Christmas gift guide – I looked around my house and my kitchen and thought “Wow, we should actually have a garage sale instead of buy more stuff!” So with the help of my wife we put together That’s So Primal 2017 Christmas Gift Guide – Family Edition.

Really my lists of years past have primal related items that are still GREAT gift ideas – you can check those out here and here. But for this year I wanted to put together a list of practical things that has just made our life (with 3 kids 3 and under) easier and maybe some of these would be a better gift than a toy you’ll sell in a year at your yard sale. I had my wife help me put this list together, so this post has a little bit of her creative gift giving touch while looking forward through the lens real life day of a mom!

This years list takes you a little bit out of the kitchen, I hope that’s ok! And since my wife helped, I have a lot of kid focused gifts listed.

Wake up time

Wake Light
Wake up lightAmazon
This is a PERFECT gift for a toddler when you want to give something practical. We got this when our daughter transitioned out of a crib. It is like a reverse alarm clock. So we tell her “don’t get out of bed until the green light comes on!” It buys us an extra 30 minutes at least. It also sets a nap light, you can set it for however long to make sure you get that afternoon break from your kid(s) even if they are just playing in their room.

Door Latches
Door latchesAmazon
Our handles are horizontal so we had to select this kind, if you have round handles you’d pick this other kind. We needed these to make sure the early riser didn’t go into the baby’s room and to keep the kids out of rooms. This is a practical gift with a capital “P”!

Closet Latches
Closet latchesAmazon
Same idea, we hide stuff in the closets and when my daughter is no longer trapped in a crib, I really really really don’t want her pulling EVERYTHING out of the closet when she wakes up and then while her sister is also asleep still. You may have to be creative in how you gift these but they will be the most used thing ever!

Breakfast time

Paleonola Original
Paleonola GranolaPaleonola
Let’s get real, we all like food! Any family member or friend would love a bag of this! This is an especially good idea for anyone who is in the camp of “I’m interested in your primal diet but it’s just too hard…” It’s not too hard – see try this! Delicious! You can see my review of their stuff here.

Contigo
Contigo kids sippy cupsAmazon
Any parent wishes their kid just never drank anything ever because NO sippy cup is perfect. Most are very far from perfect but we have found these Contigo bottles to be the best we’ve found yet!!!!

HaaKaa
HaaKaa PumpAmazon
The newborn has to eat too. This is only for new or expecting mommies – I WISH we learned about this 4 years ago when we were pregnant with our first daughter! So this is for my wife – and would only be for a breastfeeding mom… the younger the baby the better! This is especially a great gift for an expecting mom who plans on breastfeeding. While they nurse the baby on one side they attach this on the other side, it’s just a flexible bottle with a flange and it creates a suction that pumps out milk. The sooner you start using it the better! Our friend started when her baby was 3 days old and she is storing up like 5+ bags of breast milk with over 5oz per bag PER DAY! My wife started using it when our newest baby was 9 weeks old and she’s been storing at least one bag of milk per day. Storing up pumped milk is a battle and this makes it effortless! And it runs around $23 – you should spend the few extra dollars for the one with the base on the bottom so it would be less likely to spill.

Daytime stuff

Felt Board
Felt letterboardAmazon
Sometimes you just need your dose of daily motivation! These are pretty “in” right now. I bought my wife one from letterfolk for her birthday but Amazon has smaller more reasonably priced ones. Really anyone would love one of these!

Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon Echo DotAmazon
The Echo Dot plays a big role in getting us through each day. This should be your go to gift if someone doesn’t yet have one! Great price point – as low as $30 on Black Friday. In our house we use a few functions more than others: timers, shopping lists, and playing music from Spotify. (If you need a louder speaker you can buy the more expensive Echo… but the Echo Dot is loud enough for our needs) This is a product too where someone can totally have a few in their house, especially if their home isn’t single story.

Spotify
Spotify SubscriptionSpotify
Our lives have been changed by Spotify!! You can sign up on an individual or family plan. This is how we do music… and we love it! For like $14 a month you have access to like almost all music. For the person who spends time at the gym to the person who spends time in their car commuting … and for anyone in between – this is a great gift!

Exo
Exo barsAmazon
These are my favorite primal bars… and their protein source is from crickets. I’ve written about them a bunch of times. Gift these to someone and don’t tell them their made from crickets and I bet you they wouldn’t even know – they taste so good! Sometimes for a busy person lunch (or breakfast) get skipped. These bars are a fantastic option for that meal skipper you know.

Dinner time

Braised Rosemary Pork
Freshly SubscriptionFreshly
I just did a post on how we are loving our subscription to Freshly. This would make a great gift, especially if you can get a promo price. It’s a little tricky to gift this though, because they don’t have gift cards, but it can be done! It would make a great gift for a husband to give his wife (or vice versa) to relieve a week or two of cooking. We gifted it to my mother in law for 2 weeks and my wife had to do it with her own email and select the meals with her mom on the phone… it took a little bit of work but she loved getting it as a gift.

Wipes
WipesAmazon
Dinnertime is a messy time in our house. So if you are like us with more than 1 kid… the new baby has lots of hand me down stuff already… So chances are any mom and dad would appreciate receiving wipes. A kid uses wipes for their first few years, and we still use them on hands and faces for our oldest. A 3 year old won’t like opening wipes but their parents may love you for it!

Bedtime

Bedtime Stories

Well after all we wouldn’t have CHRISTmas without Jesus Christ right… we have chosen to be intentional to read bible books with our kids and we wanted to take a minute to share our top books:

Jesus Calling Bible StorybookAmazon
This one has become our favorite… our 3 and a half year old really is into it. It goes through many bible stories and at the end of each story there is a verse and a section where it is a statement as if Jesus were “calling” (or talking) saying how that story relates to real life. If someone has a younger baby this version could also be a good option.

I AmAmazon
This is our second favorite Storybook bible! This one may be more fitting for even older kids but each section is about one of the names of God and it goes through bible stories through that lens.

9 Fruits AliveAmazon
If I look in my amazon shopping history it exposes that my wife has bought like 15+ copies of this book. Whenever we have a kids birthday party or a shower to go to she seems to “have a copy on hand”. This book covers each fruit of the spirit and encourages children about Love, Joy, peace, kindness, patience, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, & self control.

The Christmas PromiseAmazon
This is an awesome Christmas book. This series is awesome! We have all of them: The One O’Clock Miracle, The Storm that Stopped, The Garden Curtain and the Cross (the best easter book), and the new one God’s Very Good Idea (we just got this one to give our daughter for Christmas.) Our 3 year old totally understands these book, but these are probably actually great stuff for older children.

Post Bedtime

Apple TV
Apple TVApple
This gets used all day long… but once we get the kids in bed we catch up on our programs. The Apple TV just makes life easier. Like the phone, you have all your apps and you access them on your tv. We use Netflix and Hulu mostly. (Also great subscription gift ideas.) You can also pick up a Amazon Fire TV Stick for cheaper and it does pretty much the same things.

Pill Case
Daily pill caseAmazon
For anyone who takes vitamins or regular medicines! So we take about 5 pills each night and to open each bottle it’s like unnecessary work… having a case we just have a pill night once a week and fill ’er up! This is a great add on gift since the price point is super low.

Halo Top
Halo topAmazon
Now this is not Primal and it has to stay frozen. But what a great amazing awesome delicious treat it is!

Book Light
Book lightAmazon
For the person who still reads paper books. A nice new book light is a great idea. Not quite so primal to be staying up late but my wife often fits in her reading once everyone else has gone to bed. A kindle may be a good gift option too for any readers!

Thanks for reading! Hopefully you found some thoughtful gift ideas recommended above. Most importantly though, enjoy time with your family, remember why we celebrate CHRISTmas and make every moment count! Merry Christmas!

3 Reasons to Use an Amazon Echo in the Kitchen

Amazon Echo Dot

I love food, but I also love technology. Ask my wife. My two most visited sites from my phone, laptop or desktop normally consist of a Primal site and a tech website. So consider this post a slight departure from our regularly scheduled programming – sorta. This will read like a product placement, but trust me Amazon didn’t pay me to post this about the Echo. I just thought this would be a good post to identify my top 3 reasons I love using an Echo Dot in my kitchen, and when Apple releases something similar I’ll probably consider it as well. So below I’ve identified my top 3 uses for using an Amazon Echo Dot in the kitchen.

1. Timers

This sounds basic, and believe me it is. But man, a hands free way of telling the Echo to set a timer really comes in handy. So how often do I use it to set timers? ALL THE TIME. The main reason for setting timers is actually to get our toddler into her chair to eat a meal. We started out by telling our daughter to get in her chair because breakfast/lunch/dinner was ready, but as toddlers do she began to resist and get an attitude so we started a new method by having Alexa set a timer for us to get our daughter in the chair. So we now can tell our daughter to go to her chair when she hears the timer. This has evolved to where we use it to convince her of nap time and bed time as well. It’s great and really has worked for us. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Can’t you just use your phone for that?” Yes but no. My iPhone 7 has become much more capable at picking up “Hey, Siri” commands than my iPhone 6, but it’s still inconsistent, and when I’m dealing with a sassy toddler I don’t have time for inconsistent. The Echo is consistent. It hears me no matter if the TV is loud, the stove fan is going on or if I’m frying up some bacon for my brussels sprouts and bacon recipe. It always picks up my request to set a timer. Now besides using it as a brainwashing technique for our daughter I still love to use it for setting hands free timers for cooking, which is great because it can handle multiple timers unlike my iPhone. I have to say using it for a timer is our number one used function of the Echo.

2. Shopping List

The second most used function of my Echo is for adding grocery items to my shopping list hands free. This is HUGE. Once again yes I can use my phone for it but my phone is inconsistent and it doesn’t always pick up what I’m saying to add to a list – which is terrible when I’m standing at the grocery store looking at my iPhone list and it says “eight” instead of what I really meant was eggs (no I’m not making this up). Alexa on the other hand handles all my hands free shopping lists requests quite well. I really love this ability because it really does come in handy while I’m cooking and I remember in the moment I need more cumin or some other can of tomato sauce but my hands are full or dirty and I can just shout to Alexa what I want. Now the way I do my shopping list for the grocery store is actually in the regular notes app on the iPhone. I like keeping it real simple when I make my grocery list every week. So I have a reminder set on my phone every week to check the Alexa app’s shopping list. Then after I look at what I’ve shouted to Alexa throughout the week then I add that to my main shopping list in the notes app.

3. Measurements

The third most used function of my Echo is having Alexa convert measurements for recipes. First, I’m really bad at math and second I’m just not good at converting the measurements in my head. I look at so many different recipes online and in books and I always have trouble with things in grams, ml, cups, teaspoons and tablespoons. I’m terrible at getting this stuff straight! Any home cook would appreciate this feature. It sure does beat trying to look at some paper reference card taped to your cupboard, or trying to google the conversion while you have raw chicken on your hands.

There are a few more things I wish it could do. Two things I keep thinking in my head that I wish it can do are control my TV with just my voice and for it to somehow display recipes. Amazon recently updated their Amazon Fire TVs to be controlled with Alexa devices but this still doesn’t entirely control the TV the way I would like. I would need something more like a Harmony Hub for something like this, but I digress. For displaying full recipes Amazon now has the Echo Show, but I have no idea how well that displays recipes and responds to your voice. Hope all this technobabble helped.

tl;dr

You should buy an Echo Dot.

5 Ways to Eat More Greens

5 Ways to Eat More Greens

Everyone knows that we should be eating more leafy greens, but sometimes it just seems so hard to fit them in our day. That’s why I’ve assembled this list of 5 ways to eat more greens so that we can all make some sort of attempt to get something green in our diet on a daily basis.

1. Shakes

This one’s pretty easy and it’s nice because when you make a shake with some berries, protein and fat – you can always throw in some frozen or fresh leafy greens.There’s really no thought to this one, throw as much in the blender as you like and you won’t even notice it in your shake. I normally prefer kale or spinach but when I had swiss chard in my garden, that was a nice addition too to a shake mixed with some Primal Fuel.

2. Big salads with primal dressing

This is my preferred way to get a bunch of greens. Every day for lunch I just throw a whole bunch of greens in a bowl and toss with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. When I get tired of that dressing I normally make my own Caesar with avocado oil and anchovies or I really like Primal Kitchen’s dressings or Tessemaes. All you have to go is find a dressing you love without industrial seed oils and you’ll have no problem eating a whole bowl of greens with seeds, cheese and meat.

3. Frozen bags of greens

This one is quick and dirty. Just cook some frozen greens with some butter/olive oil and garlic in a large pot or skillet and make it a quick side for your dinner (or breakfast). You can throw in a ham hock or something like that and make some traditional southern collard greens. If you’re looking for another side for your dinner, this is always a great choice.

4. Kale chips

Its so easy to eat a whole bag of potato chips but we should try to replace that habit of eating a whole bag of kale chips. The problem with that is a bag of potato chips is less than a dollar and those really good kale chips are like $5 for a small bag. So you should make your own. It’s a great way to eat a whole bunch of kale and they taste great. I normally follow a recipe similar to this but throw some dill, onion powder and garlic powder on them to give it a little “ranch” feel.

5. Omelets

Now I’m still perfecting my omelet technique but really all you have to do is cook a bunch of leafy greens on the side with some butter or lard and then toss them inside an omelet with a bunch of cheese or something. Whenever my wife and I are on vacation I love it when the places we stay have those build your own omelet bars because I ask if they can cook my omelet in butter, then I hand them the little cubes of butter normally by the rolls – then I just have them throw everything else in there making it a leafy veggie stuffed omelet.


There ya go, some very quick idea starters on how you can incorporate some more leafy greens into your day!

3 Tips to Have a Happy New Year

3 Tips to Have a Happy New Year

As the year kicks off it’s inevitable to see new years resolutions posts all over the web by bloggers and news corps. This year Whole30 and Paleo has been ranked as the worst diet you could follow. Don’t believe them – I lost over 30 lbs a few years ago and have maintained my weight on the Primal/Paleo/Perfect Health Diet.

Without bogging you down with yet another post about how to start a New Year’s resolution or how to follow Whole30 or how to start the Primal Blueprint 21 Day Challenge – I just wanted to keep this short and sweet with 3 tips you can generally apply at the beginning of the year to help you start off on a better foot than you may have been on in the past. If you’re really serious about a structured plan I suggest you check out Whole30 or The Primal Blueprint 21 Day challenge. I however just want to lay out 3 simple tips you can apply for the new year.

1. Just Eat Real Food

We can get into specifics if we wanted to about what to eat by reading this or this but just keep this as a general rule as you’ve probably seen the hashtag #JERFJust Eat Real Food. If you apply this principal to the food you eat this year, I guarantee you’ll be better off than you were the year before. What’s real food you ask? Well, it’s not Doritos taco shells from Taco bell, it’s not McDonalds, it’s not 99% of the stuff on the inside rows of the grocery store. Real food is all those veggies and fruits in the produce section and it’s all that meat at the meat counter. Just stick to real food this year and you’ll have a happy new year.

2. Move Frequently

The fitness tracker market has blown up like crazy with Fitbit, Apple Watch and Android Watches tracking our every move. But all these really are telling us is that we aren’t moving enough. When we live in a society that generally consists of people sitting in cars, to go sit at a desk to sit back in a car to sit on a couch then to lay on a bed – when is it that people are moving?! Check out this post about how to move more and just keep telling yourself this year to do those things like park further away, take the stairs, take a walk after dinner, go on hikes on the weekend, etc… We were made to move so don’t fall into the trap where we just sit in boxes all day.

3. Sleep More

I was really having to think to myself what are the top 3 priorities of my health and sleep just has to land here (with getting in the sun as a close tie). Sleep plays such a huge part in our lives (obviously) and I’ve written about it here and so have these people. But nevertheless we need to take sleep as a priority this year. The recommended amount is 7–9 hours. If you really look at how much sleep you get every night does it fall into that range? For myself it’s really tough to get that amount of sleep every night but I want to really work on it this year because of how huge of a role it plays in our health and I hope you place it as a priority as well.


There it is guys, I hope you read through this in less than 5 minutes, but that it sticks with you all year. It’s simple: JERF, Move, Sleep. Happy New Year everyone.

That’s So Primal 2016 Christmas Gift Guide

That's So Primal 2016 Christmas Gift Guide

I honestly feel like I just wrote a post about Christmas gifts, but that actually was a whole year ago. Time really does fly, I know everyone says that but I really believe it even more so this year. I think having kids somehow multiplies how fast time flies. Nevertheless I still wanted to put together a list of some gifts you can buy that Primal person in your life or soon to be converted Primal person in your life. I won’t make the list long I promise, but hopefully these may spark some ideas for how you can think of some gifts as a little more useful than just wool socks or prepackaged Axe dopp kits from Target.

Kitchen Gadgets

Instant Pot
Instant PotAmazon
I had this on my list last year but I think it’s worth having on this list as well. Everyone on Instagram is always posting about this pot and raves about how great it is. There’s even great recipes out there that people post specifically for cooking in this pot. It’s great for if you don’t have the time to cook something that normally takes a crock pot – i.e. a batch of bone broth or pulled pork. If you don’t get this this year, make sure to keep your eye on it for next year’s Black Friday sale as the price on Amazon always drops dramatically around that time.

Boning Knife
Boning KnifeAmazon
Now normally I’m the kinda home cook that only needs a chef’s knife and pairing knife, but there is that occasional time that I need a boning knife to cut meat away from the bone on those large inexpensive cuts of meat. I normally cut a pork shoulder that’s relatively cheap to make carnitas, but I always have to cut the meat away from the bone – doing this with a chef’s knife always makes me feel like I’m gonna cut off my finger or arm. Not a good idea, it’s best to use a flexible boning knife like this to tackle those large roast cuts of meat.

Dehydrator
DehydratorAmazon
This is the same one I have and I love it. To be honest I really wish I could use it more in the kitchen. It’s great for making jerky or dried fruits. There’s a bunch of great recipes out there for homemade jerky, and the best part is that you really get to control your ingredients in your jerky. Say goodbye to added sugar, msg and gluten.

Exciting Books

Well Fed Weeknights
Well Fed WeeknightsAmazon
I did a giveaway for this book after I interviewed Melissa, and I have the book myself, and man I love it! I have always loved Melissa’s books and her approach to meals. They are friendly, easy and practical – and most of all always taste delicious. Be sure to pick up this book!

The New Primal Blueprint
The New Primal BlueprintAmazon
You can read more about this updated book here. In short, if you haven’t read this book yet it would be a great time to because Mark updated it to include his newest research and to update his charts like the Primal Blueprint Food pyramid and the Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid. I love the added insight and updated thoughts in this book. Be sure to pick it up.

Practical Paleo Second Edition
Practical Paleo Second EditionAmazon
I loved her first edition of this book and I actually want to pick up this second addition myself. Her charts, illustrations and pure knowledge in these books are amazing for veterans and anyone starting out on Paleo. With this being the second addition I’m sure she just expanded on the things that already make this book a great staple for anyone who cares about their health and food they put in their bodies.

Workout Gear

Weighted Vest
Weighted VestAmazon
Adding weight to your workout and strength training is a great way to switch up what you’re already doing with typical bodyweight exercises. It helps build strength outside of what you can do with just your bodyweight. Even if you don’t pick up a weighted vest you can still just add weight somehow to your workout regimen. This follows the Primal principle of lifting heavy things every once in awhile, and in this case your “lifting” your body plus some. Heck you can even wear it around the house while your cooking.

Pull Up Bar
Pull Up BarAmazon
How many people do you know that can do 5 pull-ups? 10 pull-ups? When I first went Primal I literally couldn’t even do one pull up. Now pull-ups are apart of my typical strength training of pushups, pull-ups, squats and planks. Pull-ups are essential! Pick up one for Christmas if you haven’t already.

Fitbit Flex 2
Fitbit Flex 2Amazon
In the war to end all wearable wars, I bet Fitbit will be the brand to survive potentially. Many have already come along, even the big boys like Microsoft and Motorola have decided to step out of making wearables. If you can’t afford an Apple Watch Series 2, maybe pick up this Fitbit Flex 2 because you can wear it all the time, it’s waterproof and has a long battery life. Maybe not as long as the Misfit Ray, but I think it looks slightly better. It’s good for tracking all activity since you rarely have to take it off and it will give you a good picture of how active (or inactive) you were for the day. All of us need reminders of how great we’re doing or how NOT great we’re doing 😉

Play!

Frisbee
FrisbeeAmazon
This one is simple. Just get a frisbee. They’re great. They’re fun for everyone and they can really get your body moving if you take it out to a large field. Sure they may take a little getting used to if you’ve never thrown a frisbee before or if you’re just terrible at it but once you get the hang of it you’ll have so much fun. They’re also great to just leave in the back of your car for that random time you’re at a friends house or at the beach and you want something fun to do. Trust me, frisbees also come in handy when you’re looking for something fun to do on your lunch break.

Slack Line
Slack LineAmazon
I’ve made progress from last year – I had this on my Christmas Guide last year and I didn’t get one until my birthday last month so I haven’t yet had the time to set it up and make the anchors in my backyard yet. BUT I just can’t wait to use this thing. Our daughter even seems interested in it, though I’m not sure how well she will be able to use it – either way it will still be fun to have set up in the backyard. It’s great to have for yourself or when people are over to test their balance, build your core and improve the functionality of your bare feet. Slack lines are awesome and you should definitely get one already if you haven’t yet.

Primal Snacks

Exo
ExoBuy
This should come as no surprise to you. I love these bars and I think you should buy some, like now. Don’t worry about the fact that they’re made from crickets, you won’t even know they’re there. These bars are just a great value, they taste good and they fill you up. Read more about them here and pick some up today!

RXBAR
RXBARGet $5 off your first RXBAR order!
My second go to bar. If crickets freak you out just go ahead and pick up some of these bars. They’re made from egg whites and a bunch of other goodies. These too are a great value, they taste great and they have all the right ingredients in them. Read more about them here.

Handmade

Etsy
Anything on Etsy. Just a plug for Etsy real quick. If you don’t want to buy traditional things like I have listed above, check out Etsy for amazing handmade things. I just bought my wife a cool copper ring on there for our 7 year anniversary last month. It’s nice to just buy directly from the person making it. I’ve purchased watch bands on there and shoes even. Just check it out for anything that interests you and I guarantee you’ll find something that you’ll want to pick up. Just move fast because since these things are hand made and they may take a little time to get to you.


That’s it guys. Another year another dollar – spent. But hopefully you can feel good about spending your money on the things listed above for that special person or persons in your life. Take hope in the fact that these things listed aren’t just junk that fills up your house, they’re things that can help you take hold of your health and things that can improve the quality of food you’re putting in your body. Merry Christmas everybody!