Author Archives: Jo

Eat Smart

Yes, it’s true. Paleo eating can make you fat. That’s a pretty bold statement, you say? Yes, I would agree. But alas my friends, it is true.

It’s not what we eat. It’s not the lean meats, veggies, nuts and seeds and fruit. It’s not the prescribed exercise that goes along with it. If we examine the way the caveman ate, there is virtually no way he could have gotten fat. It’s how we eat today. What has happened is that we have taken modern eating into consideration and thrown portion size out the window. There is a misnomer that goes along with “unweighed and unmeasured” paleo eating. And that is the idea that we can eat all day long like gluttons and we will come out on the other side unscathed.
I will concede to the fact that it is very hard to overeat protein. It’s even hard to overeat vegetables. It’s a little easier to overeat fruit and incredibly easy to overeat nuts and dried fruit. Now try this one on for size…
I just made the most delicious muffins on the planet. They come from a website called This website is actually genius. They figure all of it out for you for a fee. There are preplanned menus, shopping lists, recipes, you name it, it’s in there. What a great idea! I can think of nothing easier in the world than logging on and pressing a button and having my meals for an entire week or more planned complete with shopping list. I don’t know how any of the other meals taste, but these muffins are pure heaven.
So let’s examine the ingredients of said muffins. There’s almond flour, bananas, dates, coconut oil, walnuts, spices, eggs, carrot, etc. All the ingredients qualify as paleo. All of the ingredients are healthy and nutritious. There’s another common denominator here: All of the ingredients (except the carrot) are highly caloric. I don’t know how many actual calories these muffins have in them but I can imagine it’s off the charts. And then it gets even better. I dare you to make these and then just eat one. It’s impossible. They are so good they take your breath away at first bite. I have to admit, I knew this going in because I had a bite of my friend Marc’s at sectionals and they have been on my mind ever since. I broke down and made them this morning. I inhaled two of them in less than 90 seconds. When I get the courage to re-enter the kitchen I’m going to bag them up and bury them in the backyard. Talk about dangerous!
So what’s my point in all this? Just because something is made with paleo ingredients and it beats it’s conventional counterpart (the mega-muffin or bagel) in nutrition and quality does not give us the right to eat it with abandon. We have to use common sense and know our calorie contents.
A long while back I posted about Taco Bell and how they are duping us into believing you can have a lean body by eating their “diet” menu. The girl on the commercial had cut her calories down to 1200 per day. My argument was that anyone could loose weight on that little amount of calories (but, ooohhhh the rebound. Get ready to gain it all back plus some). The inverse is true of paleo eating. If we don’t stay conscious while we are shoveling food in, even if it is paleo, we will gain weight.
So here is my plea. To be successful on paleo, you don’t have to weigh and measure. But you DO have to be conscious. Just because the ingredients are paleo does not give us the right to eat unlimited quantities of food. If you want to make these muffins, go for it. Like I said, they are divine. But have one as an occasional treat. Try to pair it with some protein. I guarantee if you eat these day after day, they will blunt your results.
**Original post HERE


Check out the recipe below from Mark’s Daily Apple!

Sweet Potato Pasta with Hearty Meat Sauce


Take Time to Play!

As adults we often forget that it’s ok to play. We take life seriously, we have jobs, homes, families to take care of. However, it is important that we keep the idea of play in our lives as we get older. Watch the video below and see how happy this guy is from playing all day. We should all try and incorporate a little more into our daily lives!

You can also read THIS ARTICLE from Mark Sisson on ways to play. So go find your inner child (or a tree to climb) and have some fun!

From The Soil to Your Plate

Check out the video below from Sean Croxton at Underground Wellness. All about getting back to the basics of where our food comes from, all the way back to the soil and how from that point on affects the rest of the wheel of life.

Sleep Tips

Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when you’re awake at 3 a.m., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Following healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber. Researchers have identified a variety of practices and habits—known as “sleep hygiene”—that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work. Sleep hygiene may sound unimaginative, but it just may be the best way to get the sleep you need in this 24/7 age. Here are some simple tips for making the sleep of your dreams a nightly reality:

#1 Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Chemicals that Interfere with Sleep

As any coffee lover knows, caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. So avoid caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, and some pain relievers) for four to six hours before bedtime. Similarly, smokers should refrain from using tobacco products too close to bedtime. Although alcohol may help bring on sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, increasing the number of awakenings and generally decreasing the quality of sleep later in the night. It is therefore best to limit alcohol consumption to one to two drinks per day, or less, and to avoid drinking within three hours of bedtime.

#2 Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep-Inducing Environment

A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound slumber. Why do you think bats congregate in caves for their daytime sleep? To achieve such an environment, lower the volume of outside noise with earplugs or a “white noise” appliance. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block light, a powerful cue that tells the brain that it’s time to wake up. Keep the temperature comfortably cool—between 60 and 75°F—and the room well ventilated. And make sure your bedroom is equipped with a comfortable mattress and pillows. (Remember that most mattresses wear out after ten years.) Also, if a pet regularly wakes you during the night, you may want to consider keeping it out of your bedroom. It may help to limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex only. Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.

#3 Establish a Soothing Pre-Sleep Routine

Ease the transition from wake time to sleep time with a period of relaxing activities an hour or so before bed. Take a bath (the rise, then fall in body temperature promotes drowsiness), read a book, watch television, or practice relaxation exercises. Avoid stressful, stimulating activities—doing work, discussing emotional issues. Physically and psychologically stressful activities can cause the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with increasing alertness. If you tend to take your problems to bed, try writing them down—and then putting them aside.

#4 Go to Sleep When You’re Truly Tired

Struggling to fall sleep just leads to frustration. If you’re not asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing, like reading or listening to music until you are tired enough to sleep.

#5 Don’t Be a Nighttime Clock-Watcher

Staring at a clock in your bedroom, either when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night, can actually increase stress, making it harder to fall asleep. Turn your clock’s face away from you. And if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep in about 20 minutes, get up and engage in a quiet, restful activity such as reading or listening to music. And keep the lights dim; bright light can stimulate your internal clock. When your eyelids are drooping and you are ready to sleep, return to bed.

#6 Use Light to Your Advantage

Natural light keeps your internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle. So let in the light first thing in the morning and get out of the office for a sun break during the day.

#7 Keep Your Internal Clock Set with a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the body’s “internal clock” to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Try to stick as closely as possible to your routine on weekends to avoid a Monday morning sleep hangover. Waking up at the same time each day is the very best way to set your clock, and even if you did not sleep well the night before, the extra sleep drive will help you consolidate sleep the following night. Learn more about the importance of synchronizing the clock in The Drive to Sleep and Our Internal Clock.

#8 Nap Early—Or Not at All

Many people make naps a regular part of their day. However, for those who find falling asleep or staying asleep through the night problematic, afternoon napping may be one of the culprits. This is because late-day naps decrease sleep drive. If you must nap, it’s better to keep it short and before 5 p.m.

#9 Lighten Up on Evening Meals

Eating a pepperoni pizza at 10 p.m. may be a recipe for insomnia. Finish dinner several hours before bedtime and avoid foods that cause indigestion. If you get hungry at night, snack on foods that (in your experience) won’t disturb your sleep, perhaps dairy foods and carbohydrates.

#10 Balance Fluid Intake

Drink enough fluid at night to keep from waking up thirsty—but not so much and so close to bedtime that you will be awakened by the need for a trip to the bathroom.

#11 Exercise Early

Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly—as long as it’s done at the right time. Exercise stimulates the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which helps activate the alerting mechanism in the brain. This is fine, unless you’re trying to fall asleep. Try to finish exercising at least three hours before bed or work out earlier in the day.

#12 Follow Through

Some of these tips will be easier to include in your daily and nightly routine than others. However, if you stick with them, your chances of achieving restful sleep will improve. That said, not all sleep problems are so easily treated and could signify the presence of a sleep disorder such as apnearestless legs syndromenarcolepsy, or another clinical sleep problem. If your sleep difficulties don’t improve through good sleep hygiene, you may want to consult your physician or a sleep specialist.

Original article can be found HERE


Bacon Lime Sweet Potato Salad – from PaleOMG

  • ½ pound bacon (225 grams)
  • 3 large sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds/910 grams), cut into ½-inch (12-mm) cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • dash of ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lay the bacon flat on the sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is slightly crispy. Let cool then roughly chop.
  2. In a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, toss the sweet potatoes and garlic in coconut oil and roast for about 30 minutes or until slightly browned.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Toss in green onions, dill, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and salt and pepper and mix well.
  4. Once sweet potatoes are finished cooking, toss them together with the dressing and bacon.
Note: Cook time will vary depending on the size of the sweet potato cubes.

From Mark’s Daily Apple

Will You Make This Summer Your Best Summer Yet?

summerI’m not sure exactly why January gets all the hoopla here. When it comes to change, it seems like winter (all right, not here in Southern California) might be the most difficult time of year for some people to take on serious change. Sure, after the excess of the holiday season people are feeling penitent. They’re also perhaps ready to accept some quiet, “inward” time after the social overkill of the previous weeks. And, of course, it’s cultural sentiment to look back fondly on the year, clink the glasses at midnight and envision a beautiful, better year ahead – a vision that holds our collective attention for about a week. Well-intentioned as it is, New Year’s motivation is too often a flash in the pan. Maybe little wonder. The winter weeks that follow – truly brutal in some areas of the country – can be as inspiring as scraping your windshield. While I’m all for making change whenever (Isn’t it always a good idea, regardless of the calendar?), I wonder if there isn’t something backwards about this typical scenario. Personally, I get to June and sense that a certain energy and rare enthusiasm are accessible again (not to mention the inviting weather, longer days and fresh markets). You can literally see it in people. Who doesn’t know what I mean here (those of you with standard seasons at least)? Doesn’t this seem like the perfect time to imagine something new and ambitious for yourself? Part challenge, part resolution, part bucket list, part self-experiment? Humor me on this path for a bit….


When I lived in Maine decades ago, I always had the sense that the world woke up about now (blackflies aside). You saw your neighbors again (sans parka and shovel). Face it: you saw your own skin again. Literal and metaphorical layers were exuberantly shed. Community calendars were filled to the brim, competing for the limited supply of summer weekends. It’s an interesting mentality, especially for Northerners – something like carpe diem on steroids. I was thinking about the concept this week. How do we harness the energy (and opportunity) of the summer while resisting its more manic pressures?

Personally, I like to use summers to develop something new in my Primal life. It’s not about applying hard core discipline to reach a new level of strictness. In fact, it’s usually about loosening up. By choice and circumstance, I open to new possibilities I hadn’t considered before. Slowing down helps that, and for me summer is for slowing down more than ramping up. I dare say if you went back in the archives here you’d find that a lot of new dimensions to the Primal Blueprint made their first appearances in the summer months. Certainly, The Primal Connection came out of a couple summers’ worth of exploration.

So, here’s my thought….

What would it take to make this summer somehow the best ever – a new pinnacle for you? Seriously. A more fulfilling time, an experience that initiates a new chapter, a welcome if unexpected change? Sure, it smacks of that old Seinfeld theme, “the summer of George.” We laugh at the concept, but maybe in the back of our minds we’re kind of wondering, “why not?” Put aside any skepticism or any thought that this summer is already accounted for with work and family plans. Just brush that to the margins and hold the idea for a moment. What would it take?

I’m not talking really about a bucket list, which too easily becomes an inventory of “achievements” in the same way people talk about “doing” Paris or “bagging” Hong Kong. For a moment, take a step back from the generativity mindset that drives this strange bus of a culture we live in, and get in your Grok mind. What would leave your Primal self fully sated come Labor Day? What would make you feel meaningfully expanded and content in ways exceeding your summers in the past?

Beyond the realm of acquisition or (most kinds of) achievement, there’s unfiltered experience and undistracted connection – rarities in the modern world. Even experts stress that experiences are what offer us lasting joy, that memories are the “durable goods” of a life well lived. Will a boilerplate summer routine offer you much of that?

In true Primal fashion, I’m not suggesting living well means living large or that we need to upend every welcome custom of summer. Think back to your own positive memories of childhood summers. What comes to mind? A lot of it might seem mundane in adult retrospect, but what’s likely underlying it is a sense of natural ease, of unbridled freedom, of subtle ritual, of sensory keenness, of unfettered connection. Funny, these are exactly the layers of experience we lose touch with as adults, as we expend our energy attempting to manage our (or our kids’) experiences, record every meaningful moment on our phones (or encapsulate it for a Facebook status). Maybe we’re so tired, overworked or distracted, we seldom even get that far. Sometimes people work a whole summer waiting for a big vacation that barely registers past the ride home.

A bucket list can work the same – this restaurant, that park, this outdoor festival. We check off the experience but maybe don’t take much away from it. What if, instead of acting on our list like a collection of do-to items (however positive), we prioritized our own lens and let the places we go and things we do act on us? Have a list of what intrigues you, but go and do with the thought of coming away changed. Seek out what touches and transforms you on a personal, however simple or subtle level, and what makes the list just might change.

If you’ve been doing the diet and absorbing the fitness suggestions up until this point, resolve to jump in with both feet this season. Challenge yourself to appropriate it as a way of interacting with life and not just as an alternative meal plan. Use the concept of “Grok mind,” “Primal lens,” or whatever makes sense. Push your own envelope with self-experimentation – daily. Embrace the dirt, the wild, the reflection, the exertion, the quiet, the attentiveness. Master the art of doing nothing, live outside every possible moment (cajole your way to working from home?), seek out 15 minutes of pure silence (in your own head) every day, catalog the birds you see every month, go barefoot and look for sensory opportunities for your feet, lose any inhibition about baring your body (within legal limits) no matter what your size, grow something, spend an entire afternoon observing natural or manmade minutiae, get in the water, watch a dog in the water, let go of a grudge, sleep on the ground, people watch at the lake, do a weekly bonfire, cook something you catch, put your furniture outside, burn a message you have about yourself, watch the clouds at 2 o’clock on a Wednesday, build a fort, sit outside at night and listen to the bugs, get up for the sunrise and walk barefoot on the morning dew, create or record something that captures the thoughts you have when you break the routine this way.

What does this bring up for you? What ideas or interests come to mind? What could be different or uniquely Primal about this summer for you? Offer up your thoughts, and thanks for “journeying” with me today. Can we say it yet? Happy Summer, everyone.

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