PRIMALOCITY

Eat Sleep and Play Primally

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Comfort Food Gone Primal

Roast Chicken, Just Like Potatoe Kugel and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Having just celebrated Mother’s Day, and with Father’s Day just around the corner, I found myself  thinking about spending time with my family, holidays, and comfort food.  You know, the food your mom made growing up that you can never seem to duplicate perfectly.  Try as I might, it never seems to quite turn out like Mom used to make.  That probably has a lot to do with the experience of sitting around the table with your family enjoying a meal.  Growing up Jewish, food played a big role in our family.  Each holiday had some dish that was usually associated with it, and when the holiday neared, you looked forward to having that dish served at the holiday celebration.  It was Matzoh Ball Soup and Potato Kugel at Passover, or Roasted Brisket with Kasha (bukwheat) and Potatoes for Rosh Hashanah.  My Mom’s cooking was definitely heavy on the carbs and starches.

Having gone primal, a lot of these dishes are, of course, forbidden.  But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy the same taste, feel and texture of many of the dishes you grew up on, and still remain faithful to your primal lifestyle.  I find myself constantly trying to replicate those dishes my Mom made, but, with a primal spin. 

One of my favorite dishes that my Mom served was Potato Kugel.  Kugel is a baked Jewish pudding or casserole usually made with potatoes or noodles.  Its somewhat similar to a potato pancake (latke) but in casserole form.  It’s simply delicious, especially served with your favorite roasted meat or chicken.  It soaks up the delicious meat juices on the plate and simply is heaven on a plate. 

The other night I was determined to replicate this kugel, but alas, I wasn’t about to use potatoes. I opened the fridge, which always has a big variety of fruits and vegetables and noticed:

Voila! Daikon Radishes.  I had used regular red radishes before as a substitute for potatoes, but the thought of grating a hundred radishes to create a potato kugel seemed daunting at best.  I thought that the Daikon Radish was the perfect solution.  It is a very large mild flavored white east asian radish that is very commonly used in Japan and other asian cuisines.  Daikon is very low in calories. A 3 ounce serving contains only 18 calories and provides 34 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. Rich in vitamin C, daikon contains active enzymes that aid digestion, particularly of starchy foods. Select those that feel heavy and have lustrous skin and fresh leaves. I had picked some up at the grocery store earlier in the week thinking I would simply snack on it or use it in a salad.  While not used by many in the US very often, they are widely available in most grocery stores.

Let me tell you, the Daikon worked perfectly in this Kugel.  It was almost identical to my Mom’s Potato Kugel, just a little moister.  Here’s the recipe:

Just Like Potato Kugel 

Preheat your oven to 375º f.  Genourously butter or grease a 9″ x 13″ cake pan.  I prefer a glass baking dish as I think that the Kugel browns better.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups grated Daikon Radish
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

You will need 2 large mixing bowls.  Grate the Daikon Radish and place in 1 of the large mixing bowls.  When you have finished  grating the Daikon Radish, place both mixing bowls next to your sink.  Grab handfuls of the grated Daikon, and with both hands, squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can.  Place the squeezed radish in the empty mixing bowl and continue until you have gone through all of the grated radish.  It is really important that you squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Then grate the onion directly into the Daikon radish.  Now, beat the eggs and pour them over the drained grated Daikon and onion.  Add the almond flour and salt and pepper to taste.  (I happen to like a lot of pepper but you could really get away with none since the radish has a mild peppery flavor anyway).  Stir all of these ingedients together until it is well mixed.  Pour the mixture into your buttered baking dish, spreading it out evenly throughout the baking dish.  Bake the Kugel in your preheated oven, 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the kugel is browned to your liking.  Remove the Kugel from the oven and slice it into the desired number of portions and serve with your favorite roasted meat or poultry.

You will definitely be surprised at the intense flavor and potato like texture you will obtain with this recipe.  This recipe will make multiple servings and you will likely have leftovers.  It will keep for several days in your refrigerator.   It will be just as delicious the next morning, rewarmed and served topped with fried or poached eggs and a drizzle of sriracha or hout sauce.  Yummy!

Live healthier, happier, leaner and stronger.

 

 

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 Uncategorized No Comments

Go Climb a Tree!

Since I’ve started the primal lifestyle from Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint  I’ve done a lot of thinking about more than just diet and nutrition.  As I pledged in my first post, my main goal in this primal journey is to live healthier, happier, stronger and leaner.  Party of my pre-primal lifestyle always included exercise.  After reading The Primal Blueprint I started to think that maybe what I thought was exercise to make me healthier, stronger and leaner was not making me happier or having the real benefits that my body needed.

My routine for the last 10 or more years included, almost exclusively, running and cycling.  I was pretty passionate about these activities.  I’ve run 5 marathons, countless 1/2 marathons, biathlons and triathlons.  I’ve also logged thousands of miles on my bike, having followed the Tour De France on my bike twice, once through the Alps, and once through the Pyrenees and Alps.  I thought I was strong, healthy and lean. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the running and cycling, but, there were too many occasions to count when I would dread the next long run or bike ride.  There simply wasn’t enough variety in my activities to keep my body strong as it could have been.  More importantly, because of the lack of variety, simply running 3-4 times a week, and cycling the remaining days, wasn’t enough to keep my mind focused and engaged.

To top it off, all of those years of pounding out the long mile, seemed to take a toll on my body and my mind. I was plagued with injury, knee issues, hamstring issues, and calf problems.  You get the picture.  Typically, I would trudge on, through the injury.  I got to the point where my mind just couldn’tkeep up anymore.  After a series of injuries in the last year, the stressesof life and some family issues, I stopped running and exercising.  I would bike once in awhile, take a spinning class, but that was about it.  I never thought I would get to the point where I wasn’t working out every day.  In fact, I often questioned the dedication of friends who would take a week off when they had a minor injury, cold or the flu.  Not me, I had to be really really sick to skip a day of running or biking. 

Well, I found my self in that very position.  The combination of injury, boredom and lack of variety got me to the place I thought I would never be.  I started to put on weight and generally felt like a sloth.  So, in the late winter of this year,  against my will again, I was talked into starting the P90X program by my partner.   This is an intense program which includes a variety of high intensity aerobic and strength workouts.  I made it through the 90 day program, and in fact started it over again, and am now finishing phase 2 this week.  While I think that this may be too intense of a program for most, and probably not the ideal primal exercise plan, it made me realize something important.  I wasn’t bored with my workouts anymore.  There was plenty of variety and I was learning just how weak I was in certain areas that I didn’t need or use just didn’t use while running or biking.

Lets face it, variety makes everything more interesting. P90X helped me realize this.  The Primal Blueprint was the final piece of the puzzle.  It made me realize that my  previous notions about exercise was causing me to injure my body, joints, mind and happiness level.  Now, its no longer about chronic cardio, its about making myself leaner and stronger and enjoying it all the time.  This means lots of low level aerobic activity, walking and hiking for example.  Its about lifting heavy things once in a while.  Its about high level aerobic activity once in awhile.  Its also about rest and allowing my body to heal. 

I will no longer force myself to run 50 miles a week and bike 100 miles a week.  I may have some weeks where I will bike over a hundred miles or run 50 miles, but they will not be the standard.  However, because of the variety I am providing in my life, when I do these things, I will enjoy them more and be fit and strong enough to do them.

See that picture at the top.  That’s me this past weekend.  We went to Johnson Shut-Ins State Park which recently reopened after 5 years of being closed due to a catastrophic breach in a reservoir that sits way above the park.  Notice the big smile on my face.  I hiked about 5 miles through the Scour (this is where the breach devastated a part of the forest below the reservoir).  I then climbed, swam and simply just had fun in the river.

What a blast.  I was active and was having fun.  Afterwords I felt happier, healthier and stronger.  goal accomplished.

Rethink how you live your life.  Whats going to make you healthier, happier and stronger.  You can accomplish this and still have fun.  Throw a Frisbee around in the yard.  Go for a walk in the park. Go Climb a tree.  I guarantee you will have a renewed interest in life, you will still burn calories and you will be stronger in ways you never thought possible.

Live healthier, happier, stronger and leaner.

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 Uncategorized 5 Comments

Its Primal Party Time

Hooray! Once again the weekend is upon us.  Even now that I am not working, I still look forward to the weekends.  Happy hours, parties, dining out or just staying home, people just seem to be happier when the weekend comes around. For me weekends always mean doing something active during the day – running with my running group, cycling, hiking, oh, and of course stuff around the house. Evenings can be laid back, dinner and a movie, parties, or just getting together with friends at a bar.  While I typically shy away from alcohol during the week, I do enjoy a cocktail or two, or a glass of wine, on the weekends.  Its something I am just not willing to give up. So, can you still enjoy some wine or a cocktail while still being faithful to the primal lifestyle.  It’s a choice, but I think you can.  Of course, it goes without saying, moderation is the key.

The news is fraught with the benefits of drinking in moderation, from lower heart disease risk to a lower risk for diabetes (http://www.diabetes.org/news-research/news/diabetes-in-the-news/drinking-alcohol-can-lower.html).  Some studies suggest that it may actually lower insulin levels altogether and may prevent diabetes through that mechanism.  Precisely what a primal diet is supposed to do, right!  Also, alcohol isn’t metabolized the same way as carbohydrates.  Of course it does have calories, so be careful.  Alcohol is metabolized in the liver and becomes your body’s first choice for energy.  so, you won’t be burning fat until you burn off those alcohol calories.   So enjoy a drink every now and then if you like.

While you’re at it, why not mix your favorite alcohol with something that packs some antioxidant effects.  Might I suggest during the upcoming hot summer months that you add some rum to an icy green tea with freshly muddled mint. 

Cheers and enjoy, in moderation, of course.  Have a great weekend!

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Saturday, June 12th, 2010 Uncategorized No Comments

The "C" Word

Who isn’t afraid of Cancer?  According to the U.S. Cancer Society, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United states.  It is second only to heart disease and contributes to 1 out of every 4 deaths in the U.S. every year.  Can you eat a diet that can actually protect you from cancer.  William Li, head of the Angiogenesis Foundation, www.angio.org, believes that angiogenesis is a medical breakthrough that promises to conquer cancer.  Angiogenesis is the process your body uses to build blood vessels.  Mr. Li believes that cancer cells can’t thrive without the nutrients and oxygen supplied by your capillaries.  He believes if that we can control angiogenesis, we can prevent a myriad of diseases, including cancer.

Coming from a family that has been plagued with numerous events of cancer, many culminating in death, I read up on angiogenesis and highly recommend that you listen to Mr. Li’s fascinating presentation for TED, http://www.ted.com/talks/william_li.html.  According to Mr. Li,  the majority of people carry around microscopic cancer cell clusters in their bodies, but not everyone actually develops cancer.  He posits that if your body has the ability to balance angiogenesis properly, it will prevent blood vessels from forming to feed these microscopic tumors.  When cancer cells manage to get their own blood supply, they can transform from harmless to deadly.

There are currently numerous anti-angiogenesis drugs being used today to treat cancer.  Mr. Li believes that drugs for curing cancer are not the only answer, but rather, focus should be on stopping cancer before it starts.  He believes that this can be done through diet.  If you could eat foods that would protect you from cancer, wouldn’t you?  Seems to make sense, especially since mother nature has given us a tremendous number of foods and herbs that actually assist in the anti-angiogenesis process, thereby starving cancer cells from progressing.

Some of these foods are probably already in your diet, especially if you are a primal eater.  So either continue to eat or incorporate these ant-angiogenesis foods in your diet on a regular basis:

Surprised?  Like I said, you probably eat many if not all of these things on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.  One of my favorite snacks from this list is Oven Baked Kale.  It’s really simple to make, delicious and will  your craving for something crispy and crunchy.  It’s a great snack (I like to eat it out of a bowl like popcorn), or an awesome nibble to serve at your next cocktail party. 

How To Make oven Baked Kale

To make Oven Baked Kale you will need an oven preheated to 350 degrees fahrenheit, a cookie sheet, olive oil and salt to taste.  Simply wash and dry a bunch of Kale.  Then, remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear  into pieces the size of a tortilla chips.  Toss the clean and dry kale with a tablespoon or two of olive oil (depending on how much Kale you are using) and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes until the kale is browned but not burnt.  Remove the kale from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes and then enjoy.  You can kick it up a notch with your favorite seasonings like curry powder, garlic salt, cayenne pepper or even parmesan cheese.

Eat to starve cancer and enjoy!

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Friday, June 11th, 2010 Uncategorized 3 Comments

What I Miss the Most

There are a few foods that  I just can’t seem to get out of my head since I starting eating according to the Primal Blueprint.  At the top of that list is pizza.  This is always my “go to” food when I’m craving something decadent, hot and cheesy.  But alas, how do you eat pizza and still be faithful to the primal lifestyle?  I think I’ve come up with the solution and hope you agree.  Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

PRIMAL PIE

First, preheat your oven to 400 deg. fahrenheit.  I recommend that you use a 11″ x 17″ cookie sheet that has at least 1/2 inch sides.  This will allow the “crust” to build around the sides and creat a more pizza like experience.  Butter the pan and set it aside.  You will then need the following ingredients:

  • 6 farm fresh organic eggs
  • 5 tbls. of melted butter that has been cooled slightly
  • 3/4 cup of cream or coconut milk
  • 2 tbls.  fresh basil, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • 3-4 cups of protein (chicken, shrimp, cooked sausage or cooked hamburger)
  • 1-2 cups of your favorite primal tomato sauce
  • your favorite pizza toppings

Whisk the eggs, cream or coconut milk, and melted butter together until the batter becomes somewhat frothy.  Add the basil, salt and pepper and your protein of choice.  You can also add 1/4 to 1/2 cup parmesan cheese to this crust batter if you are eating dairy.  I think the parmesan cheese contributes to giving the crust a more doughy chewy like texture.  Salt and pepper the batter to taste.  Now pour this mixture onto your buttered pan.  Try to keep the protein about a 1/2 inch away from the edges so that the crust can brown and raise around the edges while baking.  Place the pizza crust in the oven. 

 After about 30 minutes, remove the crust from the oven. It should be brown and set well by this point. Since all ovens are different, I would recommend that you keep an eye on the crust so that it doesn’t over-brown.  Now  spoon your primal sauce and chosen toppings (I like onions, peppers and mushrooms) over the baked crust.  You can  now cover this with the additional parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese (if you are eating dairy), but this is not necessary.  Place the pizza back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until the toppings are hot or the cheese is melted and browned.  Remove the Primal Pie from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing in squares and serving.

Primal Pie

This is more than enough for two people.  In fact, my partner and I enjoyed this pizza with a farmers market salad and still had plenty left over.  We especially enjoyed it the next morning for breakfast.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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Thursday, June 10th, 2010 Uncategorized 6 Comments

PRIMALOCITY: Eat Sleep Live and Party Primally

PRIMALOCITY
 
Eat Sleep Live and Party Primally
 
Okay, once again I’ve been suckered into doing something I would not have otherwise chosen to do on my own or even had thought about doing.  Life is like that, I guess.  One of the keys to living a full healthy and fun life is to keep your mind open to new thoughts and ideas.  Some people can live there lives, trudging along in their routine, day in and day out, never opening their eyes to the possibilities for a more fulfilling, healthier and happier life. Well, my eyes have recently been opened to living my life according to the Primal Blueprint.
 
I was first introduced to the “primal” lifestyle by my partner.  Looking at him you would never think anything other than, “wow, he looks very fit, healthy and strong”. However, despite an active lifestyle ( he works out regularly, bikes and loves to hike) and eating a relatively healthy diet including lots of protein, “healthy” grains (whole grain breads and pastas, brown rice) vegetables and fruits, dairy and eggs, in the last year, he was diagnosed with borderline high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Of course, his doctor prescribed medication to both lower his blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  He promptly filled the prescriptions despite his general dislike for taking any kind of medicine.  Who could blame him, conventional wisdom has told us that this will make him live longer and feel better.  The problem was that he wasn’t seeing any significant changes in his blood pressure, but more importantly he was feeling less strong and more tired.  He started doing research and came across Mark Sisson’s website, www.MarksDailyApple.com which advocated living life primally.  This meant completely changing his diet and lifestyle to more closely mirror the way our early ancestors ate, worked, slept and played.  Well he decided that it made good sense and why not give it a try. 
 
He didn’t really tell me about his new “primal” lifestyle, most likely because he knew I would be resistant to the idea. You see, I love food, in particular carbs.  When I say “carbs” I mean bread, pasta, potatoes, chips, cakes, and cookies.  I  couldn’t (and still have trouble) imagining a life without “carbs”.  I also love to cook, and am the primary meal preparer in the family.  My passion for food and cooking typically lead to delicious, beautiful meals.  I like being creative with food, and I especially like seeing my partner enjoy the dishes I create.  These meals always included some kind of bread, starch, pasta, rice or potato.  When my partner made this change to eating and living primally (did I already mention he did not tell me about this change) he stopped eating the carbs that were included on the plate. I felt bad.  I thought to myself “whats wrong”?  It must not taste good.  How did I mess this up?  When I finally questioned him he fessed up to this new plan and I was somewhat pissed.  I was mad that it wasn’t something he discussed with me, but I think mostly, I was being selfish.  I just was not ready to give up all those things I loved, and didn’t really see any reason too.  I thought that I had become fairly adept at including these carbs in our meals in more healthier ways: using whole grains, switching from white rice to brown rice, etc. 
 
Then after some discussion and a better understanding of why my partner felt this change to eating and living primally was so important, I started doing some research on my own.  The next day, Mark Sisson’s book, The Primal Blueprint came in the mail.  I snagged the book while my partner was at work and read it in a day.
Everything in the book made perfect sense to me, but I was still resistant.  I’m relatively healthy and have never had any problems with blood pressure or cholesterol.  Up until about 12 years ago, I was obese, weighing in at about 325 pounds. After a series of events I decided I was simply on the path to horrible illness and dieing before my time.  So I made all kinds of changes in my life.  I went on a “diet” and started working out.  Within a years time I had lost  125 pounds (I limited my calories to between 1500 and 1800 calories per day, and eating less than 20 grams of fat a day).  I was working out every day.  I started running and cycling, eventually completing numerous biathlon’s, triathlons and marathons.  In this process I continued to lose weight and had trouble eating enough to keep on weight. I started adding things back into my diet, including more carbs like bread, rice, pasta and chips.  More recently, after a series of life events and constant injuries, I slowed down a bit and put on some weight.  While I did not get fat, I did not put on good weight.  It wasn’t muscle and therefore, it just had to be fat.  While I needed to gain some weight, it should have been in the form of  lean body mass.   I had already started on this course of leaning up, and putting on muscle by doing the P90X workout plan (again not my idea, but rather my partner’s idea).  I really hated it at first, but trudged on and started seeing significant gains.  While I was putting on muscle, I didn’t seem to be leaning up as I thought I should.  After reading The Primal Blueprint, I think I figured out why.  It was the way I was eating.  My body was using the significant amount of carbs that I was eating for energy to complete the vigorous workouts, instead of using my fat.  I was still hesitant.  I didn’t want to give up the “reward” that carbs represented to me for working out so hard.  But there were other compelling reasons for purging these harmful carbs from my diet, that made too much sense to me.
 
I’ve always been the type, however, to say “I’ll try anything twice”.  What do I mean by that?  Well Ive found that most new experiences can be daunting and uncomfortable. You may already start out with some trepidation or doubt.  Beginning anything new with a negative state of mind can make the first experience not truly as exciting or enjoyable as it could have been.  That is human nature I guess.  However, if you try it again, you already know what to expect, you can let go of the fear of unknowing, and hopefully make a decision if this new experience is right for you.
 
It really boils down to a couple of key principles: 1) too much body fat is bad; and 2) too much insulin is bad.  These principles standing alone are important, but together, they will give me and you the key to a stronger and healthier body.  Lets face it, excess body fat isn’t pretty, but more importantly it is linked to almost every known major health issue and disease plaguing our society.  Science has proven that those who create less insulin live longer healthier lives. By changing our diet, becoming leaner and decreasing the amount of insulin created in our bodies, we will  be stronger, healthier, and, we  will have more fun in life.
 
I’m no scientist and it is not the purpose of this blog to convince you that the science behind living and eating primal is for you, for that I would highly recommend that you visit Mark Sisson’s website, www.MarksDailyApple.com, or read his book, The Primal Blueprint
While I have just embarked on this new life strategy, I’ve been very verbal about it.  Most of my friends reactions have been the same.  Why would you want to do that?  How are you going to have enough energy to keep up?. How in the hell are You going to give up pasta, bread and rice?.  At first I didn’t have a really good answer.  However, after doing a lot of research (including reading mark Sisson’s Primal blueprint) and soul searching, I decided it was better to ask why wouldn’t I do this.  The answer is complicated in theory but simple in reality.  I want to be healthier, live longer, be leaner, be stronger, sleep better and have more fun living life. 
 
So, with this frame of mind I’ve now embarked on a course of trying to live, eat, sleep and play primally.  In simple terms that means that I will eat in a way I’ve never eaten before.  I will workout in a way I’ve never worked out before before.  I will play more and hopefully sleep better. Sounds easy? Wrong!.  Well, nothing in life worth doing is ever easy, but it will be worth it.  So here I am. starting my primal journey.  The first couple of weeks have been hard, but not as I hard as i thought.  I already feel better physically, have lost several pounds and am sleeping better.   The fact  still remains that I love food and I love working out.  I need to make this change exciting, continuing to be both creative in the kitchen and in my exercise regime.  This blog is going to help me, and you live primally in a way that is simply not boring. This means sharing exciting recipe and food choices, great workout ideas and plans, and tips for fun and getting more our of life and our beautiful world.
 
With that said, I pledge the following:
 
Eating:  I will eat more vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and good fats.  I will ignore conventional wisdom regarding carbohydrates.  I will no longer make grains, cereals, pasta, bread, rice, chips  or other processed and toxic foods the bulk of my diet.  In fact, I will try my best to no longer eat these types of food again.  On this note I must confess I will probably fail but that’s okay with me.  Even if I cut these items out of my diet 80% of the time, I will be healthier, happier, leaner and stronger.
 
Exercising: I will run and bike slower.  I will run fast and work hard once in awhile, but not for very long.  I will lift heavy things.  I will likely never go back to running marathons, dong century bike rides as fast as I can, or limiting my workouts to a few activities like I did before. As a result, I will be healthier, happier, leaner and stronger.
 
Playing:  I will play more.  I will do more things that I enjoy.  I will see friends more.  I will not stress about that TV show I missed.  In fact, I’ll probably watch less TV, play with my iphone less, and surf the web less.  As a result, I will be healthier, happier, leaner and stronger.
 
Sleeping:  I will sleep more regularly and soundly.  I will endeavor to get on a routine sleep pattern.  I may take a nap once in awhile. I will not deprive myself of sleep because my schedule is to hectic.  As a result, I will be healthier, happier, leaner and stronger.
 
 I already feel better, just after a couple of weeks with these new changes.  don’t get me wrong, I still crave a sandwich, pizza, potatoes, pasta and rice. But, because I love eating and cooking, I have already created lots of good foods, substituting things for the bad “carbs” that, quite astonishingly have satiated my constant need for these bad carbs.  In the days, weeks and months ahead, i will share these ideas, recipes, and substitutes with you.  I hope you take the journey with me.  If you are already on this journey, i hope that I can impart some good ideas for healthy and satisfying meals to you.  Of course, I hope that others share their ideas with me as well.
 
Live life primally, but more importantly, live life healthier, happier and stronger!
Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 Uncategorized 5 Comments

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Monday, June 7th, 2010 Uncategorized 5 Comments