Shelter in Place

Shelter in Place

We’re all in this together, or out of it (the public?) together depending on the way you look at it? With everything going on in the world with COVID–19 we’ve been asked to stay at home as much as we can to mitigate the spread of the virus. After sheltering in place for a week and working from home I’ve noted a few things I’ve found essential to do and keep in the home. I know the internets are pretty full right now with these ideas but these really are some key takeaways I’ve noted in the last week.

Use a pressure cooker

If you don’t have one of these already – you really need one. Sure you’re stuck at home all day so in theory you can use a slow cooker because supposedly time is on your side, but in my experience the evening still rolls around after dealing with kids and work – that the need to pressure cook a pork shoulder really quick is absolutely necessary.

Go on a walk

We’re all working from hope but that doesn’t mean you can’t go outside (yet). I’ve tried to still move as much as possible while being stuck at home and that includes taking calls outside and going on walks. I typically would do this at work anyway so carrying it over to working from home is a no brainer. If you have a phone call you have to be on – go outside – synthesize vitamin d and move around at a slow pace.

Make bone broth

If you have an instant pot or not you can finally take a stab at making some bone broth. You can follow this recipe to make one in an instant pot or you can follow this recipe to make it the low and slow way in a Lodge dutch oven. It’ll help boost your immunity, the collagen will help you sleep better and it’s just a fun thing to do. Now’s the time to take stab at it.

Ferment something

Ferment something, anything. Make some kombucha. Ferment some pickles. Make some beet kvass. If you’re at home all day, you have the luxury of trying out some of these super old school ways of doing things. They’re really easy, they’re fun for the kids and they have really good health benefits because of the natural probiotics produced in the fermentation process.

Buy a whole animal

Who knows how long this thing is gonna go on, but I’m already being told I can’t buy the quantity of meat I want to buy. My grocery stores are limited to 2 packs of meat per person… that’s like 4 ribeyes. That’ll last me 2 days. I can’t keep going back to the store every other day so the best bet for me and you is to find a local farmer and purchase a whole animal. It’s the most cost effective way to purchase meat and you get to use every part of the animal this way. The best way to go about doing this is to check out the eat wild website and look for farmers and ranchers near you to develop relationships with to purchase a whole animal.

Rice, beans and corn tortillas won’t kill you

Look – I typically eat no carb or low carb but some days a taco or 5 really sound good. Eating a gluten free corn tortilla isn’t that many carbs and if you make your own, especially with this blue masa, it’s tasty and super healthy still. Eating white rice, basmati specifically, isn’t terrible either with its low GI. Beans can be a last resort but can also be fun to prepare if you prepare them the traditional way by soaking and then cooking up in some lard. You could be doing a lot worse. I wouldn’t make these a staple but on occasion throwing them into your sheltering in place routine can be a nice treat.

Sleep long

We don’t have to commute anymore. Sleep is so important. Take advantage of this time and put sleep as a priority. I can’t honestly say I’m succeeding in this area because I’ve been surfing in the morning instead of swimming like I typically do for “moving around at a slow pace” – but I kinda love surfing more than sleep. I know, I’m not taking my own advice, but if the surf looks terrible I’ll be taking myself up on my own advice.

Plan a garden

Again who knows how long we’ll be stuck inside. If you don’t have a garden yet now would be a good time to plan one and get it going for the spring. My advice is to be realistic and plant only the things you know you’ll want to eat or consume on a regular basis. What does that look like for my family? Kale, spinach, dill, cilantro, squash, strawberries, blueberries, citrus trees. Just take a look at what you typically buy and make a plan to try to be ever so self sustaining. If you live in Southern California – I’ve found this book to be a great resource.

Make some art

Where would we be without art?! Lol well I may be a little biased considering I have a BFA in Graphic Design. I’ve literally taken more art classes than math, history and literature combined. While you’re confined to your home try to make some art. Then one day you’ll be able to look back and remember this time that you were confined to your home, for what probably seems like an eternity, and have an art piece set in time to remember the quarantine. Van Gogh painted some of his best and most well known works, Starry Night and Irises, when he was stuck in a mental institution after cutting off his own ear – is that bad to relate our stay at home order to Van Gogh’s time in a mental institution? Either way, all good art has stories behind them, this could be your time to do the same thing. Paint a picture, build something, do some graphic design, draw with chalk on the sidewalk with your kids – just go make something from nothing.

Enjoy family

As cheesy as it sounds – we’ll never get this time back – a friend reminded me of this the other day and it really is true. Unfortunate as it is with the whole world getting sick with this virus, it’s placed the rest of us in a unique situation where we have no other option than being stuck at home. We can either make the most of it or let it drive us mad. We should try as best as we can to see this as a unique opportunity with our family and make memories with them because once it’s all over (hopefully someday) we’ll look back on this time and wish we had it back. As Andy once famously said on The Office – “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them”.


These are just a few things that I’ve noted this last week. If you have any ideas on what’s helping you get through the quarantine – feel free to share them in the comments below. Stay primal, healthy and safe everyone!

Thriving Holiday Gatherings

Thriving Holiday Gatherings

I was going to title this post Surviving Holiday Gatherings but I think that puts too negative of a spin on what should be some of the most important times of the year – Thanksgiving and Christmas. So I think it’s better to talk about how we can have Thriving Holiday Gatherings. I’ll keep this relatively short since I know everyone is probably running at a million miles an hour with the holidays approaching. So I jotted down 6 ways we can approach the holiday gatherings that many of us will be attending with a healthy approach on food and people allowing us to thrive, not just survive.

1. Focus on protein

I often joke with my wife about one season of The Bachelorette when this dude Chad was on the season. Every shot they always showed him eating all the meat they would provide for free, when they interviewed him he said something along the lines of it’s free protein so he’s gonna eat as much as possible. I kinda take the same approach to any type of gathering, just focus on eating as much protein provided as possible. It’s satiating and delicious and will keep you full enough to not be tempted by all the other things that may be on display. And when I do this my wife always jokes that I’m pulling a Chad.

2. Minimize carbs

Now if you’re eating a bunch of protein your plate should already be pretty full, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat just a little of your Grandma’s sweet potato pie or some family tradition of mashed potatoes or something like that. If you limit yourself to just a little bit you’re gonna satisfy everyone and it’s still not that many carbs in the big picture. One little scoop is a lot different than a heaping pile of mashed potatoes and one slice of turkey. Bleh. Flip the script. Fill your plate with the protein and then squeeze in some starch on the side here or there.

3. Embrace conversation

Realize that the time you’re with the people at whatever gathering you may be at has a purpose. So often we can go through these types of family or friend gatherings and just “make” it through the conversations. Believe me, I’m an ISTJ so I’m not one for conversing, but that doesn’t make it right. We were made to be communal people. Try asking truly how others are doing, seek to understand them and what’s going on in their lives. So often these gatherings happen with people we only see for a few times a year, or maybe even less, so make the most of the time you have with the people you’re around. Maybe you needed to be there to ask how that person is doing or for you to grow in some way. I know it’s a weird concept in this day of constantly sharing and posting and projecting ourselves – try for a second to be about others and not yourself.

4. Fast from your phone

Now this one goes hand in hand with embracing conversation. This may sound crazy but try to go a whole gathering without using your phone. You’ll survive I promise. It will feel weird. You’ll get phantom vibrations but remember there was a time where we didn’t have phones to distract us. And that’s literally what the phones do when we’re at gatherings like this – they distract. Try to even put your phones in something like this locking cookie jar. Heck have everyone put their phones in it when they come in the door. That’ll be a conversation starter right there. Now I know what you’re thinking “what about taking pictures?!” – let’s be honest – how often do you go back and look at all those pictures, I know I rarely do. Work at building memories instead of just a ton of unused pictures. If you still want one picture just be super intentional at the end of the day to take one group photo or something.

5. Don’t talk about diet

Don’t be that guy (or girl) who all they literally talk about is how they’re paleo, primal, keto or vegan. We are all annoying. You may be super excited to talk about your diet and how well it’s working for you but I guarantee you that someone will be on some other diet or worst they’re self conscious because they’re not on any diet and they just want to enjoy all the food piled up on their plate. Inevitably all conversations about diet will then lead to arguments, and these gatherings have people from all walks of life so it’s bound to have a ton of different opinions collide when the topic of diet comes up. Save talking about diet for Instagram or with someone you see every single day and you run out of everything else to talk about. You don’t want to be remembered as the person who was talking abut gluten and lectins the whole time. You want to be remembered as the person who was humble, kind and caring – right?

6. Eat the dessert

The end of the day comes around and you’ve had great conversation. You’ve fasted from technology. You’ve eaten a ton of protein. But that pumpkin pie is still staring at you… guess what? Just eat it. Don’t let food control you. You control what you eat. And at the end of the day if you really want that sentimental piece of pumpkin pie or banana pudding just have a little bit. You won’t get unhealthy from one bite of pumpkin pie just as you can’t get healthy from one slice of grass fed rib eye. Eat responsibly and still enjoy yourself because one bite of something that will really satisfy you will be worth it. Just don’t eat the whole pie…


That’s it guys. Have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hold the selfies, put the ’Gram away. Get your family, y’all hold hands and pray. Take care!

5 Ways to Eat More Meat

5 Ways to Eat More Meat header

Awhile back I wrote an article titled 5 ways to eat more greens, so I thought a good follow up to that would be to write an article on 5 ways to eat more meat. Now I know some of you may be saying, wait why should I be trying to eat more meat, isn’t meat gonna kill me? Quite the contrary. More and more studies are coming out praising the healing power of meat, not to mention the whole community around the hashtag #meatheals.

This may come off weird when the culture is very much anti animal protein and pro plant protein, but the best thing for us to eat is animal based protein. I’ve been experimenting with consuming more meat and as a result I have felt calmer, more rested, less bloated and more satiated after meals. So I challenge you to eat more meat and hopefully these ideas below can help you do that.

1. Add a steak to your breakfast

This is hardly a new concept. It’s on breakfast diner menus everywhere, steak and eggs, but how often have you tried it? I’ve been getting these thin sliced ribeyes from Costco and cooking them up in butter and eating them along side my eggs. Ribeyes are delicious and I felt fuller for longer than just eating my typical eggs and bacon. So now sometimes my breakfast (around 11am) is steak, 3 eggs, bacon, cheese and an avocado. Try is yourself, you won’t be sorry.

2. Make your own jerky

Now I happen to have just posted a recipe on how you can do this and all you need is a dehydrator. It’s such a good investment because lean cuts of beef are relatively cheap so you can make a ton of jerky for way less than the cost of jerky you would buy in a store. Making your own jerky is also great because you get total control over the ingredients. Most store jerkys have soy, wheat and a ton of sugar. If you make your own you can replace all that junk with coconut aminos and raw honey or coconut sugar.

3. Snack on burgers

I know this sounds weird, but if the afternoon comes around and you’re starting to feel hungry – what do you typically do? Reach for a protein bar or granola bar or eat nuts or something worse like chips blah blah. Try this – buy a bunch of frozen burger patties and the next time you’re hungry in the afternoon, grill up a couple burgers and throw some cheese on it and some primal mayo. I’ve been doing this instead of snacking on other stuff and I feel way better, less bloated and fuller for longer.

4. Eat canned fish

I literally can’t count how many times I’ve written about eating canned fish. I love it. It’s great for you and it’s relatively cheap to buy. I’m talking about, sardines, tuna and salmon. Again if you’re feeling hungry in between main meals you can snack on these. They’ll fill you up because of the fat and protein and they’ll give you a good punch of omega–3s in the natural form. If you’re eating a bunch of non-grass fed beef too this is a good way to offset that omega–3 to omega–6 ratio gap that may happen if you aren’t eating strictly grass fed beef.

5. Full fat yogurt for dessert

Ok I know this isn’t meat – but it is a good source of protein if you can handle dairy. Now I’m talking about plain full fat yogurt. If you get those sweet cravings after dinner like I do from time to time and dark chocolate isn’t cutting it. Grab some full fat plain yogurt and top it with a little raw honey and you’re good to go. If you can get your hands on some paleo granola too – even better. This is a great dessert and relatively low in carbs compared to whatever else you could be eating for dessert.


Hopefully this gives you some ideas on how you can incorporate more protein in your diet. I know for me this was a good thing because after I calculated how much protein I should be eating, 1g protein/lb bodyweight – I for sure wasn’t eating enough protein. After incorporating more protein and cutting carbs even lower, I actually gained weight (I’m assuming in the form of muscle because of appearance and performance). It’s what my body needed and I feel better than ever. So try eating more meat and let me know how it goes in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

That’s So Primal Prime Day 2019

That's So Primal Prime Day 2019 header

I typically like putting together a nice primal shopping list for Christmas. I didn’t end up doing that this last year, so instead I’d thought I’d put together a mid year That’s So Primal Prime Day 2019 shopping list. Hopefully everyone has some spare time right now since it’s summer so I thought I’d put together a list of a bunch of fun things that I would enjoy doing that have a primal twist on them and hope you may enjoy them too.

Echo Dot

I’ve written about how much we love our Echo Dot in the kitchen. Our whole family literally uses it everyday multiple times a day. We use it for a bunch of different stuff but I have to say hands down the best thing is adding things to a shopping list. When I’m out of something I shout, “Alexa, add butter to the shopping list”. Then when I’m in the store, I just check my alexa app for what I need. When I see people shopping with little pieces of paper with their shopping list I cry inside because they’re stuck in 1996.
Amazon Link

Hydro Flask

Everyone should have a stainless steel water bottle. Why? So you can drink stuff throughout the day, duh – but for real these are great because they keep coffee hot for a super long time and keep water cold for a really long time too. Not only that but if you like to drink essential oils with your water, like we do in our house, you’ll need to do it in a stainless steel bottle since the oils can leech chemicals from plastic bottles.
Amazon Link

Mushroom Kit

Looking for something fun to do this summer? Grow some mushrooms! Well I guess you can do that any time of year but if you haven’t done this yet, you should. You can set it up indoors on your counter and watch them grow and once they start going you can trim them off and cook them up to add with your eggs or steak or just throw them in your salad raw. It’s up to you!
Amazon Link

Slackline

If you don’t have a slackline yet you really should. I got one a couple years ago and I use it all the time. I take it on vacations and camping with us. It’s so easy to set up and it provides such a fun thing to do. I’m still working on getting my kids to do it, but in a few years they’ll be pros. My backyard has very small trees so if you don’t have trees you’ll need something like this with an anchor in the ground.
Amazon Link

SPF Shirt

I haven’t worn sunscreen for the last several years. Read this Chris Kresser article about the toxicity of sunscreen for my reasons why. Now that’s not to say sun protection isn’t important. It’s very important, but so is Vitamin D. So once you’ve been out in the sun long enough to get adequate levels of vitamin D synthesis, throw on something over your skin like this SPF shirt (or this one if you’re a girl) and enjoy the outdoors without the toxicity of sunscreen and without a sunburn.
Amazon Link

Kombucha Kit

Not interested in the mushroom kit? No worries, this is the next best thing to mess around with this summer (and beyond). Making your own Kombucha at home is not only easy and fun – but it’s way more cost effective to do this at home too. Buying store-bought kombucha will leave you broke when those bottles are like $5 a pop. Plus when you make your own at home you have total control over the flavoring. I love tossing in rosemary sprigs, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and doTERRA basil in the second ferment!
Amazon Link

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are a really good source of selenium. An essential trace mineral that helps with cognitive function and fertility. It has a host of health benefits, but not only that, they taste great! You really only need a handful of 5 or so to get your daily dose of selenium. So pick some up, check it out and enjoy.
Amazon Link

Sardines

If you haven’t eaten sardines yet – now’s the time. Seriously if you haven’t tried sardines what’s stopping you? They’re great for your health, cheap and fill you up! They don’t taste fishy or anything. My daughter wanted some of mine the other day when we were camping and she ate it and said it tastes like chicken. So if a 3 year old can do it, so can you!
Amazon Link

Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Ok, I’m not a cold brew coffee fan at all. I literally have never had cold brew. I love black coffee hot BUT this post is for you guys and I know people love cold brew and I saw this and thought it was a great way to make it at home and not give Starbucks all your money. It’s the perfect thing to beat the heat of summer and it looks super easy to make at home.
Amazon Link

Kindle Paperwhite

Reading is good for you. And so is sitting around a pool. Well now you can do both of those things with this Kindle Paperwhite because it’s waterproof. If you already read kindle books on your phone like I do, this is really a no brainier to have a dedicated reading device you can toss in your bag so you can read anywhere – the beach, pool, river, backyard, etc… I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to read or look at your phone outdoors for an extended period of time, but it’s terrible. You can’t see the screen and my phone gets blazing hot. This is the perfect solution.
Amazon Link


Alright guys, there it is. I hope these few things sparked your interest to try something new this summer and to get outdoors. Let me know in the comments below if you have any other good primal Prime Day deals or summer ideas. Take care!

10 Primal Choices You Can Make Right Now

10 Primal Choices You Can Make Right Now header

Starting a diet, trying to lose weight or going primal doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be daunting to do this at first but really changing your lifestyle begins with little choices we make here and there. That’s why I put together this list of 10 primal choices you can make right now so that you can understand that going primal, or getting healthy, doesn’t need to consist of making your own broccoli sprouts or locating a local farmer that sells grass fed and finished beef or walking into a gym and using every piece of equipment. Primal is more than food choices, it effects choices we make all day long. So read below and check out how you can start and finish your day by making just a few primal choices.

1. Go to bed earlier

This is a must for anyone seeking to live a healthier life. Sleep is so important and many studies are coming out now showing just how important sleep is. You should be getting 7–9 hours of sleep each night. This will help set your circadian rhythm and get things back on track. Sleep should be our number one priority.

2. Drink black coffee

As your day goes on feel free to start with some coffee, but hold the sugar, cream, butter blah blah. Just drink black coffee. Coffee already has a ton of health benefits and we don’t need to start out our day with a huge blood sugar spike. If all you drink is black coffee in the morning this will help curb hunger and allow you to extend the fast from your sleep the night before.

3. Skip breakfast

For years we’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day or that we need to eat a bunch of small meals throughout the day. That’s just simply not true. Many studies are coming out now indicating that a compressed eating window is better for us. Eating a couple large meals in a span of 8–10 hours. So if you get in the routine of skipping breakfast, or just eating breakfast type foods, later in the day – that would be a great choice for you.

4. Eat simple meals

Going primal and getting healthy does not need to be complicated. Eat real whole food and avoid packaged stuff. It’s better for you and probably cheaper that way. Think eggs, butter and bacon – or salad, olive oil and tuna – or steak and roasted broccoli. All of those can be cooked up or put together so quick and requires very little thought. Keep things simple and buy whole foods and ditch recipes if you have to.

5. Get in the sun

This is another one that the world tells you to avoid. They say stay out of the sun or use sunscreen at all costs. This is ridiculous because we need sun, we need vitamin d. The Vitamin D Council suggests that we have a Vitamin D level of 40–80 ng/ml or higher. If you haven’t had your Vitamin D levels checked you should because Vitamin D is important for so many things and we can supplement it but the sun is free and you get a nice tan doing it. If you’re concerned about getting burned, just go inside or cover up with an SPF shirt like this.

6. Eat a handful of nuts

If you’re getting hungry but don’t feel like a full meal, just grab a handful of nuts. It’s the natural “fat bomb”. I typically prefer macadamia nuts or brazil nuts, but the choice is up to you. Just try not to eat the whole bag. Eat a handful or two – drink some water – wait a few minutes and see if you’re still hungry. Handful after handful of nuts are still a ton of calories so be careful not to go overboard.

7. Cook big chunks of meat

Lets face it – chicken breasts suck. They’re dry, lean and really boring. Stick with eating the best quality meat you can afford, but prioritize big chunks of meat that have fat and cartilage and bones. Big chunks of meat will fill you up and provide you with plenty of food for leftovers or for when you need a snack. I prefer pork shoulder and cooking it in my instant pot. I can get a good 3–4 days of meals out of that.

8. Trash seed oils and use butter and olive oil

A simple way to get healthier and primal is to throw out all you’re fake fats in your pantry. Canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, etc… and use butter or extra virgin olive oil instead. Industrial seed oils are terrible for your health and we would all be better off not consuming any of them. We have been told that saturated fat is bad but recent studies have shown that to be false once again. Seed oils are polyunsaturated fats which have more of a propensity for oxidation unlike saturated fats. Read more about it here, but tl;dr saturated fat good – polyunsaturated fat bad.

9. Turn on night shift

All that blue light from your phone and computer screen is messing up your circadian rhythm. You need to turn on night shift on your phone if you have it, or some equivalent feature that adds more yellow light back in your display as the night goes on. If you don’t do this and you let the blue light keep hitting your face and eyes from your phone and computer you’re telling your body it’s high noon and day time.

10. Use essential oils

Cutting out toxins is always a good thing. And better immunity is always a major plus! No one likes being sick. We use essential oils a lot in our home, not just any essential oils but specifically doTERRA! Because of their purity and potency they can actually be used for health benefits. We turn to OnGuard + soft gels at the first sign of germs. We turn to our oils for pain, energy, gut health and cleaning too. We diffuse lavender and serenity in the evening to calm down and help us reach those early bedtime goals also. If you take the natural lifestyle leap, a starter set is the best value – here are the doTERRA starter sets


That’s it folks. I hope these 10 ideas can help you progress throughout your day and make little choices to becoming more healthy and more primal. Let me know if you have any more ideas in the comments below. Take care!