Sunday, December 18, 2011

Moved to Missoula!

Well, we survived the move to the Missoula area at the beginning of this month and have happily settled in our mountain cabin on 20 acres of wooded property. Whitney (my partner in all things fun and criminal) was accepted to the University of Montana for this spring semester. She will be pursuing a B.S. in Sustainable Agriculture.

In the meantime, we now have a new opportunity to own poultry and rabbits again. Eating primal has drastically influenced how I view food and where my food comes from. Whitney and I both have made a commitment to raise as much of our own meat and food as possible (the goal is to meet 100% of our meat needs.) Not only is this as local as you can get it, we directly control and are responsible for the well-being, happiness, and health of our animals which translates into the best damn meat there is.

We made a huge step yesterday and acquired four rabbits for the start of our show, meat, and fur herd. Satin rabbits are near and dear to me not only for their luxurious fur but their gentle personalities. Ramon, Emma, Gayle, and Vanna mak

e an excellent addition to our homestead efforts. Rabbit meat is the leanest and the most protein-dense meat you can readily find but prices make it ridiculous for most people to purchase on a regular basis. But when you have your own backyard herd, you can feasibly get down to $2.20 a lb if you get efficient enough and for organic and happy animals that's a great deal!

I'll leave you with a delicious recipe for biscuits I just tried out from Food Renegade!

Grain Free Biscuits
(I had to modify the recipe because I only had baking soda and no powder.)
  • 1 cup almond flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
In a mixer (or with a fork) combine the butter and almond flour until you have little broken up, pea-sized bits of butter distributed into the flour. Add the egg whites, salt, baking soda, and vinegar. Mix to combine. Scoop the batter into 4 even portions and place onto a greased or silicone-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, until slightly golden.

I scrambled the yolks with one additional egg and served the biscuits with the eggs, jack cheese, and a smidgen of sausage.

What I would do next time:
  • Find baking powder -- I think I'll get more lift with baking powder
  • Fry the eggs more densely, too scrambled and they fall off the biscuit
  • Bake on silicone or parchment. Even greased they still stuck to the pan.
Other than that the taste and texture were divine! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Check out Food Renegade for many excellent recipes and dishes.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Long Time

It's been a long time coming but unfortunately, I don't have much to update except that I will be updating a lot more soon enough! I can't wait to have a full kitchen again so I can resume the full extent of my cooking/baking experimentations. However! That does not mean I have NOT been working on some delicious goodies. Over the past couple months I have perfected:

- Chocolate Chip Cookies PRIMAL!
- The BEST Primal Banana Bread

And other delicious goodies that I can't remember off the top of my head. Be prepared. I have a lot of pictures and information percolating on my laptop that just needs to be transferred to the blog so once that happens there will be a lot more comprehensive recipes and visual aids.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Primal on the road

As Whitney and I have been on our U.S. trip for the past two months, I think it only appropriate to comment on eating primal while traveling or on the road.

Initially, I worried it would be very difficult to maintain my diet on the road because of the press of convenience and small, more limited kitchen facilities. I've been pleased to discover that we have had excellent success with our efforts to remain 80-90% primal. Unfortunately, sometimes rural excursions have placed us in positions where we have had access to small stores or gas stations for food, so getting to 100% has been very difficult. Even so, I am as of two days ago, 12 lbs down from my wedding weight!

We eat a lot of eggs, fried up in the morning or incorporated into the delicious coconut pancakes. For snacks, we usually nosh on meat and cheese of some variety, with some various rotating selections of fruit. We made some delicious tuna salad lettuce wraps which were quite divine. I've also been experimenting with baking primal cookies and breads using almond and coconut flour. It's been an interesting and mostly delicious process. I've also started contemplating writing a "cooking" book on living grain-free as I feel very passionate about the subject and have been enjoying the cooking and baking part of this lifestyle. I also understand it can be difficult to come up with a variety of new things to try so having a cookbook with different recipes would be beneficial for people who are looking not only for primal options but who may have celiac disease or type 2 diabetes.

Enough about that! I have added a Recipes page and an About Me page but both are under construction so stay tuned for developments!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A promised recipe - N.R.G. Bars!

This is a recipe I have promised several people now. It is not of my making, the original can be found at but I have tweaked it for my own purposes and preferences. That is the best part about this recipe is the flexibility. I gave them my own name as well. Because it sounds so much better than Primal Energy Bars. Boring!!

N.R.G. Bars (Naturally Really Good!)

First of all, preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

1/2 cu slivered/chopped/minced almonds (your preference)
1/2 cu pecans
1/4 cu unsweetened shredded coconut (I found mine at the local co-op)
1/4 cu almond meal (also at the co-op)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (this can be omitted if using vanilla whey protein powder, unless you really like the vanilla flavor, which I did!)
1 tsp raw honey
1/2 cu vanilla whey protein powder (original called for plain but all I had was vanilla)
2 LG eggs (original called for one but 2 really helps bind it together)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cu dried fruit of your choice (I used a chopped blend that was excellent)
1/4 cu unsweetened shredded coconut (this is for the topping if desired)
1/4 cu almond butter
1/4 cu coconut oil (at the co-op again)

1. Toast coconut/nuts until golden brown.
2. Melt coconut oil and almond butter (30+ seconds in microwave) and stir until smooth.
3. Add vanilla, salt, and honey. Mix thoroughly.
4. Fold in nut mixture, almond meal, and whey protein powder until mixed thoroughly.
5. Add eggs and mix well.
6. Fold in dried fruit.
7. Press mixture firmly into 8 x 8 pan, any larger and the bars will be thin and crumbly.
8. Cook at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
9. Remove from oven if ingredients appear dry and cooked. This cook time can vary depending on your oven so it might take some experimentation to find your perfect cook time here.
10. Cool 10-15 minutes, cut into bars.

OPTIONAL TWISTS: You can also add coconut to the top and broil it until golden brown or for a chocolate spin, add dark chocolate chips to the mix! Experiment to find your favorite.

I don't have pictures because THEY DON'T LAST LONG ENOUGH! Try them, you'll be impressed!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rough Patches

No one said the Primal Diet was easy. And yet it is. What is not easy is battling stress-related comfort eating. Although the Primal Diet instructions have remained a constant reminder in my mind, I have still struggled over the past couple of months. I'm not going to spend this time justifying or waxing eternal about all the problems I've had that have gotten in the way of me following my plan. But I will acknowledge the difference.

Over the past month of eating poorly, my energy has dropped, I have put on some of those shed pounds, and am starting to have a resurgance of some of the symptoms that had initially vanished with this way of eating. This is motivation alone to get me back on the wagon. As today is my last day of employment, I am looking forward to being able to spend more time focusing on managing my stress, getting back to eating 3 square primal meals a day, and getting more exercise. The return of good weather also means I can begin to go outside and get more exercise than I have previously. Ahhhh, vitamin D!

I'll keep you posted on what develops over the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Paleolithic Diet

First of all, I'd like to share an especially interesting link given to me by my friend Elizabeth -- an interesting debate on the "paleolithic diet" from the perspective of four "experts" in various anthropologist and biology fields.

GOOD -- Ask the Experts: Is the "Paleolithic Diet" Really Better?

What I took away from this is that while the opinions were differing, there seemed to be a broad general agreement that one size does not fit all and that generalizations are often not factual.

"Leonard: In the modern, industrial world, we have become ever better at creating diets that are dense in calories and don’t require a lot of energy to procure them. No one recommendation is going to fit everybody, so the challenge is to find what works for you individually, and, at the same time, what fits the broad nutritional requirements of our species."

"Leonard: Although there’s an extraordinary range of variation, based on the climate and the environment, hunter-gatherers get a fair amount of meat in their diet. We require a diet that is more energy-dense than other primates and historically, we may have reached that point by incorporating more meat. It’s reflected in evolutionary changes in our face, our teeth, and in our gastrointestinal tract. Indeed, the GI tract of modern humans looks more like a carnivore's than a large primate's. Because early humans increasingly used tools to hunt, we don't show the same kinds of dental adaptations as modern carnivores."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

More deliciousness!

Mmmmm made a delicious dinner tonight!

Slow roasted pork and carrots (with a little onion soup mix thrown in,) Spicy and sweet potatoes, and some salad!

Here's the recipe for the delicious Spicy Sweet Potatoes!

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    1. In a zip-top plastic bag, toss potatoes and oil.
    2. Combine remaining ingredients; add to bag; toss to coat.
    3. Transfer to a greased 11x7 inch baking dish.
    4. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring every 15 minutes.

    Sunday, March 6, 2011


    This past month has been a whirlwind and shows no sign of abating as we get closer to wedding time and now that I am under the influence of drugs deemed necessary for my post-septum repair surgery. BUT! I wanted to update with some more pictures of delicious eating in the meantime.
    I came across this delicious recipe in the Primal Eating Cookbook featured at Mark's Daily Apple and I love it because it contains a lot of my favorite ingredients.... namely?

    Eggs! Bacon! Cheese! Salsa! RINSE LATHER REPEAT!

    These transform to create the awesome, protein packed egg muffins. Be
    st part is that they are highly customizable and I experimented a little. I made two types:

    - Eggs, ham, salsa, pepperjack cheese
    - Eggs, chicken, goat cheese, stirfry veggies, chives

    I think upon the next round I'll ditch the veggies only because they were frozen and were a little too soggy to be palatable. The rest was delicious however and the chicken ones turned out really excellent minus the vegetables.

    Here's the recipe for those who wish to duplicate my delicious success.
    ▪ 6 eggs
    ▪ 1/4 – 1/2 cup cooked meat, cut or crumbled into small pieces
    ▪ 1/2 cup diced vegetables
    ▪ 1/4 tsp salt
    ▪ 1/8 tsp ground pepper
    ▪ 1/8 cup mayonnaise
    ▪ 1/8 cup water
    ▪ 1/4 cup shredded cheese, onions, and lightly
    drained salsa to the eggs

    Submitted by Amy Schoenherr OMELET MUFFINS
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease 6 muffin tins with butter or coconut oil or for easier removal line with paper baking cups. The baking cups also help the muffins hold their shape. In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add meat, vegetables, salt, ground pepper, and any other ingredients and stir to combine. Spoon or scoop into the muffin cups. Bake for 18–20 minutes until a knife inserted into the center of an muffin/omelet comes out almost clean. The omelets will continue to cook for a minute or two after removed from the oven. Remove the omelets from the muffin cups and serve, or cool completely and store for another day.

    I served mine with a side of sour cream and flame-roasted salsa. YUMMY!

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    Promises, promises.

    The Primal Blueprint has a lot of promises packed in there and while I have not read the book itself, I follow the blog and community pretty closely. This are some of the "Primal Blueprint" claims (from

    So the question is, does it deliver on these pretty profound assertions? Remember, I said I was an evidence-based person and I don't do things if they suck and feel like shit. So we've met one of my parameters: I feel GOOD. Okay, excellent. But now we've got to move on to the evidence based portion. As a member of Group Health I have access to these nifty health charts that show the progression of weight, blood pressure, BMI, etc etc. I also have access to my labs. I will be sharing this information here in hopes that we will in fact be able to SEE the evidence (if there is any to be had) about what this diet is actually accomplishing inside my body.

    Let's talk briefly about the immediate "external" benefits I've been able to see and directly experience thus far:

    1. My hypoglycemia vanished. This is an issue I've been struggling with for many years, forced to eat every few hours to keep myself from experiencing severe blood sugar crashes that cause dizziness, sweating, fatigue, and that impending "oh my god, I'm going to die" feeling. It's gone. I can now eat less than 6 "meals" a day and the only sensation I have is a normal hungry feeling. No crash, no fluctuating, no "oh my god, I'm going to die" feeling.

    2. My psoriasis has shown improvement. When I first started, I experienced a drastic reduction in my psoriasis flares. So much so that I first thought it was grain that WAS the cause of it. However, it did not vanish as I thought it was going to and reached a stable point. But the flare ups are all but gone and it is significantly reduced from its previous status.

    3. My hair seems to have stopped falling out. This will be an observation that will have to take place over a long period of time. But it SEEMS my hair has stopped falling out and the "bald spot" I was developing in my part line seems to be filling in. Time will tell.

    4. My stomach is smaller. I carry most of my weight in my upper body, including a pouch of fat across my abdomen. I had this even when I was much thinner, though its size has of course increased with the weight gain. Over the last 2 months, myself and others have noticed a decrease in the size of that stomach fat.

    So those are the most direct effects I can think of so far but hey, so far so good. Check out following posts for the actual graphs from my GHC profile!

    Mmmm Sausage!

    Sausages are an item that while technically primal, tend to be so packed with nitrites and other nasty preservatives that I rarely eat them (though I love them so.) But when I saw these all natural roasted red pepper and spinach sausages at Costco, I couldn't resist. No nitrites, preservatives, all natural pork casing, etc etc.

    Here they are featured with slabs of goat cheese and an herb salad with yogurt ranch dressing. This is one of my favorite meals at the moment and very filling!

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    So what am I eating???

    Since I love trying new recipes, I'll be adding pictures and recipes of the things I am actually eating. When I've described the Primal Diet, people are highly skeptical that anything good other than salads and steaks could be had. I would like to demonstrate that this is not the case.

    Case Study #1:

    Worcestershire Hamburgers with Pepperjack
    Fat Guacamole Devils

    Here's the recipe for the Fat Guacamole Devils from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook (you can download it FREE at marksdailyappe.)

    ▪ 2 hard boiled eggs
    ▪ 1/2 avocado
    ▪ 1 teaspoon hot sauce (or more to taste)
    ▪ 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
    ▪ salt & pepper to taste

    Peel and halve the eggs and spoon their yolks into a small bowl. Mash the yolks with the avocado, hot sauce and lime juice; add salt and pepper to taste.
    Refill egg white halves with yolk mixture, and enjoy!

    The hamburgers were delicious. I don't have an exact recipe but it's along the lines of add an egg, add worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper. It's perfect! Topped with a slice of pepper jack cheese it's even better.

    The Fat Guacamole Devils were a little plain. In my opinion, more salt is better and I didn't have lime juice on hand which would have given it more pizzazz. Next time I'll add more hot sauce too. However, they have a creaminess and unique flavor that warrant more tinkering.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    How it all began -- PRIMAL LIVING

    The Primal Diet.

    For most of my life I was a staunch opposer of fad diets, of extreme deprivations, and of "experts" who told people what they should and should not eat. But at the age of 24, I found myself in the worst physical condition of my life having exploded to 250 lbs and plagued with problems ranging from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hair falling out, just to name a few of my physical ailments. Needless to say, my body was telling me SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT! And this was operating on the "everything in moderation" philosophy. Never mind that I had been tested for everything under the sun (almost everything was negative) and that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) was beginning to ruin my life. I didn't have celiac disease, crohns disease, or any other "disease." Just a syndrome that needed weight management in order to manage the symptoms. Too bad the syndrome itself causes insulin resistance which translates to difficulty in losing weight. So spending two years battling my weight and losing, rea

    lity began to look really ugly. Facing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (all long-term possibilities from PCOS) I began to get scared. Scared that I would never be able to backpedal on the road my body was on -- that I was doomed to inevitable failing health, I resolved myself to do something about it.

    So I began to do my research and I discovered something called The Primal Diet. See, there's that word "diet" that I hate so much. And even though the opening page looked like a gimmicky nightmare, I was desperate

    and so I read on. What unfolded was a concept that was broken down and explained so simply th

    at I could almost

    -- almost -- see what outcome it might have. The basics? This according to Mark Sisson at

    1. 80% of your body composition will be determined by your diet. Yes, exercise is also important to health and to speed up fat-burning and muscle-building, but most of your results will come from how you eat. I’ll write more on this later, so just trust me on this one for now. Suffice to say, people who weigh a ton and exercise a ton, but eat a ton, still tend to weigh a ton. I think I’ll have that made into a t-shirt…
    2. Lean Body Mass (LBM) is the key to life. I’ve said it many times on this site: lean mass (muscle and all the rest of you that is not fat) is directly correlated with longevity and excellent health. Rather than strive to “lose weight”, most people would be better off striving to lose only fat and to build or maintain muscle. Since other organs tend to function at a level that correlates to muscle mass, the more muscle you maintain throughout life, the more “organ reserve” you’ll have (i.e. the better the rest of you will work). Refer back to rule #1 and eat to build or maintain muscle.
    3. Excess body fat is bad. Most human studies show that being significantly overweight increases your risk of nearly every disease (except osteoporosis – because ironically it responds to weight-bearing activities). Fat just doesn’t look that great either. See rule #1 and eat to keep body fat relatively low.
    4. Excess insulin is bad. We’ve written about it here a lot. Chronic excess insulin may be even worse than excess sugar (and we know how bad that is). All animals produce insulin, but within any species, those that produce less insulin live longer than those who produce a lot. Eat to keep insulin low.

    Simple enough yeah? But how to accomplish the above?

    1. Eat lots of animals, insects, and plants.
    2. Move around a lot at a slow pace.
    3. Lift heavy things.
    4. Run really fast every once and a while.
    5. Get lots of sleep.
    6. Play.
    7. Get some sunlight every day.
    8. Avoid trauma.
    9. Avoid poisonous things.
    10. Use your mind.

    Really? That's it???? Sounds like brain food for morons. This is all common sense stuff right? So there's a little more to it perhaps. These are things that actually have to change in your day to day life.

    • No grains. Seriously, none. No bread, pasta, or rice. No quinoa. No whole wheat. Nada.
    • No beans (there's an in-depth explanation of why on the website.)
    • No refined sugars and really, avoid sweets in general.
    • Double and triple the amount of vegetables eaten in the SAD (Standard American Diet)
    • Eat fermented foods -- REAL ones that aren't processed.
    • Speaking of processed foods, DON'T EAT THEM!
    • Eat nuts! Eat avocados! Eat eggs! Eat coconut oil and coconut milk!
    • Eat meat products -- grass fed and organic if you can swing it.

    These are just to name a few. But how could I give up carbs?!?!? I loved my pasta, loved my bread -- it just didn't seem feasible. But I'm desperate remember? So I told myself, "I'll try it for 8 days, if it sucks, I won't do it." I'm an evidence-based person after all. I operate under the assumption that the body will signal you if you're doing something wrong. You just have to make sure you're paying attention.

    So the first 5 days I experienced carb withdrawals which I can only liken to coming down off an amphetamine binge followed by something similar to a hangover headache. I really didn't feel so hot -- which, Mark's website had warned me, might happen. The carb "flu" they called it.

    After the 5th day I started to feel better. A LOT better. I assured myself through this that I would not limit my calories, I would not count carbs, I would not do anything except eliminate the refined carb food group and increase amounts of the other good stuff they recommended. And yes, at the beginning, I ate A LOT. After the first two weeks of binge eating though, I began to experience a sudden retreat in appetite. My hypoglycemia had all but vanished and I found that I was eating mostly out of habit so I started to pay more attention to how my stomach and body felt. I ate what I wanted and didn't eat if I wasn't hungry.


    This may not sound like a revelation for some people. But for those of us out there who have struggled with food addiction or other dependence on our food, not having my life revolve around what I ate was an 'effing miracle. Never before had I felt free from having to snack continuously. My energy improved, I was eating much less, and the side effects that had plagued me for the majority of my young adult life literally vanished. I wish I could convey the profound impact this has had on my life. And I will -- through evidence-based results.

    I will be following this post up with my progress and the changes my body is experiencing as a result of this Primal Living. Don't read into the hype, it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle. One that I thought I would never be able to do until now.