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!

7 Tips for Backyard Gardening

7 Tips for Backyard Gardening

When we first moved into our house we were so excited to have such a big backyard that one of the first things we did was run to Home Depot to get stuff for a backyard garden. A backyard garden is a great way to get in the sun and dirt and switch up your daily routine. We have been doing a garden for the past few years and I’ve learned a few things along the way that I wanted to share. Granted I could still learn way more, but these are just some things that seemed to stick out over the years of trying to operate a little backyard garden. Most of my help comes from this book which is specific for my area of Southern California. If you’re not in Southern California try to find a guide specific to your area. So whether you already have a garden or would like to start one, here are 7 tips I have for running a mini farm in your backyard.

Kale

1. Plant only the things you will actually eat

When we first got our square foot garden going we made 3 boxes. 2 shallow boxes and 1 deep box for root veggies. It was a great learning experience but I soon realized as our crops started to grow that I didn’t really like most of the stuff I was growing. Sure it was nice to experiment growing and eating things that are new, but it’s hard to be devoted to a whole garden if you don’t even like the stuff growing in it. So this year when we got our garden back up and running, I decided to only plant the things that we were going to eat. So we have a whole box for herbs, another box for veggies, and our deep box for roots that was taken over by our daughter so she could plant flowers. The veggie box only has the stuff we eat and is easy enough to grow in the backyard: kale, romaine, summer squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, watermelon and pumpkins. Sure there are other veggies we love to eat like cauliflower, but it takes so much time to harvest and it only yields one head of cauliflower – whereas we go through too much cauliflower to try to grow it in the backyard. The crops we did plant are perfect to pick off when you need them and they still keep coming back.

2. Install a drip line

This was a lifesaver for us and our crops. When we first started our garden 3 years ago we were going out there everyday with a watering can or hose and it became very stressful if we missed a few days and our crops would start to suffer. Especially when we went on vacations for a week or more at a time – our crops were destroyed by the time we came back. So I hit up my dad for help to install a drip line and it was super easy to run soaker hoses and a timer. Now our garden is hands free and flourishes even when I fail to give it attention.

3. Check on your garden every day

Now just because you have a drip line doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out your garden everyday. It’s always good just to get outside and get in the sun, especially if you’re stuck in an office all day looking at a computer, but more than that you need to check to see how your crops are doing. There may be snails tearing up your romaine or there can be those scary green worms attacking your tomatoes. You need to be out there everyday killing all those things that aren’t good for your garden. You don’t want to resort to spraying your precious beyond organic crops with something to ward off bugs – so you and your fingers need to be the “pesticide”. Just pinch them and kill them or if you’re a hippie you can collect them and release them in a field or something. I prefer to pull the snails off my romaine and throw them as hard as I can at the wall. I get angry when snails ruin my burger buns or taco shells.

4. Don’t go crazy washing your crops

This one is a little controversial because even if you don’t use pesticides in your backyard garden, your soil or municipal water may contain contaminants. What we’re looking for here is some of the good soil based probiotics to still remain on the crops. So go ahead and wash off the snail juice that’s all over your romaine or bird poop on your squash, but don’t freak out if you can’t get off all the dirt from your crops. You’ll be getting more soil based probiotics which is what we need most. Most probiotics you can get in a pill or from fermented stuff isn’t soil based. The best way to get soil based probiotics is to eat a little soil still left on your crops before you eat them. Just be sure to use the highest quality soil in your square foot gardens and do your own composting.

5. Actually eat it

The whole point of a garden is to grow food that you actually eat. It’s easy to get in a routine of tending to your garden and have it be self sustaining with the drip line and all but the whole point is that you’re growing food to eat for you and your family. So try not to let backyard gardening turn into a drag or a chore – let it be a fun thing and actually eat what you’re spending all your precious time and water growing.

6. Experiment with different recipes

Anyone whose grown zucchini before knows how to experiment with different recipes because once your zucchini starts to take off, you’ll have a hard time keeping up with cooking it all. You’ll also go crazy if all you do is make zucchini noodles for your spaghetti alternatives. Try to use your zucchini (or other veggies) in recipes you’ve never tried before. Feel free to have fun and experiment and if something turns out terrible – well now you know to never try it again.

7. Get your kids involved

Like I said at the beginning of this post, we converted our deep box that was intended for root veggies into a flower garden for our 2yr old. At the beginning of March we went out there and my wife helped our daughter plant a bunch of flower seeds we picked up from the store. So far it’s been really cool to see the flowers grow and for her to get excited about her garden. Our daughter is also really into the raspberries and strawberries we have growing. We pick them right off the plant or vine and we eat them right there on the spot. Getting your kids involved with a backyard garden is a really fun thing to do that gets you outside the house and into the dirt and sun.

Garden

Hopefully you found some of these tips helpful and will inspire you to get started on a backyard garden! If you have any tips for growing a backyard garden feel free to share them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Weekend Camping Trip: Keeping it Primal

Weekend Camping Trip: Keeping it Primal

Not too long ago I encouraged you to get back outside with your family. Hopefully you were able to find some ways that you could enjoy the outdoors before it gets too cold and before we all get too wrapped up in the mad dash of the holidays. If you’re still trying to figure out ways to get the family together, might I suggest you plan a weekend camping trip? Something you can easily do after work Friday with a little planning.

There are campgrounds everywhere, all you need to do is find one close to you that sounds fun. This is something you can do with just your spouse or even if you have a bunch of kids. The kids will be sure to love it and it’s a great time to get the whole family together. It also offers the a unique time where everyone’s faces aren’t plastered to the bright screen of a phone, tablet, laptop or TV. That idea, in and of itself, may freak you out. But don’t let it. Below I’ve listed a few ideas for what you should pack, what a meal plan may look like and what to do. All you have to worry about is where you want to go camping.


What to Bring

Camping Gear
This depends widely on where in the country (or outside) you may be camping. Now, you don’t have to buy everything you see at your local camping store but some basics that you don’t want to forget are:

Food

  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Pack of Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausages sliced into 1/4”
  • 3 Bell Peppers chopped (I use red, orange & yellow)
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove diced
  • 2T Coconut Oil
  • Mixed Greens
  • Oil & Vinegar
  • Cans of tuna/sardines/chicken
  • Bag of Paleonola
  • Burgers
  • Cheese
  • Organic Baby Carrots
  • Homemade Ranch
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Butter
  • Popcorn Kernals
  • Coffee

Clothes
Just keep them comfy. Maybe even go barefoot if you can take it. It’s a rare chance you can go a whole weekend without having to wear shoes at all. If you can’t bare (pun intended) the thought of that, then just stick to sandals or something like that. You don’t need $400 hiking boots. Humans have spent a long time “camping” without needing giant rubber heels attached to their God given arches and heels.

Board games/deck of cards
Forget the solar phone chargers and extra battery packs. Just make sure you have a headlamp or a bright enough fire to play some card games or a board game or two.


What to Eat

All of these meals can be cooked in your 12” Cast Iron. I suggest you do all your cutting Thursday night before the weekend. No one wants to do the cutting on some janky table at the campsite.

Friday Night
Dinner: Chicken & Apple Sausage Stir Fry
If everything is precut, this meal comes together really quick. Perfect for getting to the campground, getting the tent up and then right into dinner.

Campfire Snack: Popcorn
Popcorn isn’t paleo. But it’s a nice once in awhile snack. Especially when you cook it yourself with butter and salt. All you have to do is melt 2T of butter in a skillet, throw in 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels and cook over fire or flame with lid, shaking continuously, until you hear the kernels start to pop. Take off the lid when the kernel popping slows down. Then top off with salt and enjoy.

Saturday
Breakfast: Eggs & Bacon
Cook the bacon. Toss out some of the fat while leaving a thin layer in the skillet. Then scramble the eggs in the remaining fat.

Lunch: Salad & Sardines/Tuna/Chicken
Toss salad in bowls with oil and vinegar and top with protein and Paleonola. Or eat the protein of your choice straight from the can.

Dinner: Burgers & Carrots with Ranch
Melt some butter in the skillet and cook burgers until desired doneness. Top with cheese if you do cheese. Serve with carrots and ranch.

Campfire Snack: More Popcorn
This is too good to just have it one night. Cook up another batch of this and you won’t even be thinking of s’mores.

Sunday Morning
Breakfast: Eggs & Bacon
Same as Saturday.

Lunch: Chipotle
No one wants to have to have to prepare a lunch on your last day of camping so just pick something up from Chipotle or some other Primal option lunch spot on the way home.


What to Do

Once again this depends widely on where you’re planning on camping. But think outside the box a little bit, and by box I’m referring to your home. Take advantage of being outdoors. Maybe even ditch the tent and just sleep outside. Just do something that you don’t normally do, here are some ideas:

Beach
If you happen to be camping near a beach then this one is pretty obvious. But I point it out so that you don’t think just camping by the beach is enough. You need to go to the beach. Put a suit on and go body surf, dig some holes, eat a sand crab, do some sprints. Anything really – just go to the beach.

Hiking
This one is pretty obvious too but not everyone likes hiking (wink wink my wife). But you should really use this opportunity that you’re living outside for a couple days to explore and see what the trails around you have to offer. Remember too, don’t try to pull the excuse that you don’t have your hiking shoes. God gave you hiking shoes when you were born. If they’re good enough for the Tarahumara, then they’re good enough for you.

Skateboarding/Biking
Most state funded camping places have some paved road throughout the grounds. If they do, take advantage of the no TV and laptop and go cruise around on a skateboard. If there are no paved roads you can always use a bike to go cruise around.

Nothing
Don’t always think you have to be doing something when you’re camping. Use your time away for the weekend to do nothing. We need to relax and kick back every so often, and this is your perfect time to do so. Take a nap throughout the day. Stare off into the distance. Watch ants crawl around. Just try to do absolutely nothing.

Look for bugs
Ya know, bugs may be the future of food. How about you go checkout some of the local offerings? I’m not sure if it’s kosher to eat bugs just crawling around, but hey depending on where you’re camping they may have a better diet than the chicken pumped full of antibiotics and soy.

Rock climb
Rock climbing didn’t start in an indoor gym. It started with actual rocks. Try to see if you can find some rocks to go climb on. Doesn’t matter how big or small, just look for something to climb on. Remember to always bring a buddy so they can catch you if you fall.

Play Games
You brought all those board games and cards. Bust ‘em out and play as much as you can. Busy schedules at home don’t always lend time to play a couple rounds of Catan.

Hopefully this post urged you a little bit to even contemplate planning a family camping trip. Now your trip, if you choose to do one, may look completely different than what I have outlined above, but this was just to spark ideas. So take some ideas I’ve listed above, or make your own, but most importantly – get outside.

Fall Back Outside: 8 Ways to Avoid Being a Couch Potato in the Fall

Fall Back Outside: 8 Ways to Avoid Being a Couch Potato in the Fall

Fall began today. For most of us that means no more vacations, back to school/work and tv shows are starting back up. All of which really means we will be spending less time outdoors and more time indoors. Less time in the sun and more time in a car, on the couch or in an office building. I want to challenge you though: fall back outside. Just because summer is over doesn’t mean we should be stuck indoors. We should still be outside moving frequently at a slow pace. I’ve listed 8 ways below to help you and your family still make time to get outside and avoid being a couch potato (pun intended) in the Fall. Now these ideas can hopefully be done everywhere you are but I live in Southern California so my ideas may be a little bias. To help kickstart some ideas for where you live, you can always Google things to do in (insert your city here).

It's Fall Today

Amusement Park

So we live near a bunch of stuff here in Southern California but most importantly – Disneyland. My wife and I do have passes to here so it makes it extremely easy for us to pop in and out of the park whenever we want, even after a long week of work. We also have annual passes to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park which is pretty fun and if you bought a pass for the San Diego Zoo Safari Park you can use it at the San Diego Zoo also. If your budget affords you and your family to go to an amusement park, it’s a great way to get in a bunch of steps, hang out with your family and be outside.

Book Store

When you get home from work and get dinner over with, try to avoid slamming into the couch. Get out and go to a bookstore near you. I know there isn’t that many around anymore, but if there is, they’re a great thing to do if you just want to spend time with your spouse or kids checking out books of all sorts: cookbooks, animal books, kids books, craft books, etc… Just promise me one thing, don’t buy your books there. They’re overpriced. Buy your books from Amazon. Just a little husband pro tip also, watch what books your spouse looks at and make a mental note of them for Christmas or birthday gifts. You’re welcome.

Pumpkin Patch

This time of year is a great time to go out and buy some pumpkins. They’re everywhere. Look up some place fun around you that you can take the family. Now, you can pick up pumpkins for carving or for roasting some pumpkin soup. It’s up to you, but the pumpkin patch is only possible one time of year and that’s now. So get outside and take advantage of it!

Farmers Market

Look up when farmers markets are going on in your area and check them out. Sometimes they are going on through the week or on the weekend. They afford you some great opportunities to connect with farmers around you. Also, it may be a good place to pick up pastured eggs, pastured meat and organic fruits and veggies. This is definitely something the kids will love. Just do your best to avoid street fair type foods like kettle corn popcorn or something else that’s gonna give you a glucose spike. Look for someone smoking some meat or something if you’re hungry.

Neighborhood Walk

You don’t even have to go far from your home to get outside. Once everyone gets home from work or school and dinner is all wrapped up, head outside. Walk around the block, walk to the nearest park – just make the walk around 15-20 minutes at least. Walking after dinner has actually been shown to improve digestion and has led to lower post-meal blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Backyard Bonfire

Sitting around a fire is about as primal as you can get. The yellow light is good for your circadian rhythm and it’s just plain fun. Just skip the s’mores and maybe just eat some dark chocolate instead. Or experiment with some melted dark chocolate and some almond butter in a cast iron? I dunno. Ok if that sounds too weird just throw some steak on the coals instead…

Weekend Hike

If you just absolutely can’t break away from your home during the week, then spend the week nights planning some time in the sun over the weekend. Look up some trails for you and your family to check out over the weekend. If you have a dog, which you should, then find trails that allow dogs. My wife doesn’t necessarily enjoy hiking so this one may take a little more creativity for me to get her on a trail over the weekend!

Watch the Sunset

Ok I know, it’s sounds cheesy. But isn’t there something about watching a sunset? Maybe I’m just spoiled in Southern California with beautiful sunsets but my wife and I have driven down to the beach a few times after a long day and sat on the beach to watch the sunset with our daughter. And I’ll tell you what, I’ve actually remembered the few times I’ve done that far more vividly than the nights we get done with dinner and watch tv.

Whatever you do with your family, keep it outside and keep it fun. It’s very temping to crash on the couch after a long day, I get it, but I guarantee you that you’ll cherish the memories you create once you get out of the house with your family.