Eat Sleep and Play Primally

Eat More Whole Eggs and you’ll be Golden.

In a facebook comment yesterday regarding my post on coconut oil, a friend indicated that he had been frying his egg whites in coconut oil for years and was glad to read about the benefits of coconut oil.  My partner pointed out to him that he needed to be eating the whole egg, yolk included. He told him that “They are very good for you. Don’t be afraid of fat. Be afraid of carbs. You need all the good vitamins and minerals in those egg yolks. Eggs are a very balanced food. When you remove a part you disturb that balance. Eating the whites only actually can make you vitamin deficient and less able to absorb the protein that it sounds like you want.” I couldn’t have said it better. My partner eats about 2 1/2 dozen eggs a week.  I don’t eat nearly that much but I am not afraid of eggs.  I guess this friend is not different that a lot of folks out there who have fell victim to the incorrect but conventional wisdom that eggs are high in cholesterol and should only be enjoyed occasionally.

In Fact Eggs are a naturally nutrient-dense food, which means they have a high proportion of nutrients to calories. One large egg has 70 calories and provides 13 essential nutrients in varying amounts. eggs are an excellent source of choline and a good source of the highest quality protein and riboflavin. Many of the egg’s incredible nutrients are found in the egg yolk, including choline, folate, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin D. The yolk also includes healthy monosaturated  fats and almost half of the high-quality protein found in eggs.  According to the Harvard Health Publications, the only large study to look at the impact of egg consumption on heart disease—not on cholesterol levels or other intermediaries—found no connection between the two.

In a 2008 study at the University of Connecticut, a team of doctors set out to determine the effects of putting several overweight individuals (some of whom suffered from metabolic syndrome) on carbohydrate restricted diets that included 3 eggs a day.  A separate group of overweight individuals were given an equivalent amount of egg substitute (0 cholesterol). Both groups after 12 weeks lost weight and decreased their waist sizes.  Both groups had lower plasma triglyceride levels, but more importantly, the group who consumed 3 real eggs a day had marked increases in HDL.   These results suggest that including eggs in a carbohydrate restricted diet results in increased HDL-C while decreasing the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.  In fact, 18 subjects were classified as having metabolic syndrome (MetS) at the beginning of the study, whereas 3 subjects had that classification at the end.  Finally,both systolic and diastolic BP were significantly reduced in these subjects.

My conclusion: You’ll be golden if you eat more whole eggs.  Don’t be afraid of the fat or cholesterol.  It will do you good.

I have been trying to add more eggs into my daily diet.  Recently I came across a recipe for “Oopsie” rolls.  I don’t know why they are called this but they are a good bread substitute and hold up well for sandwiches.  I’ve used them for chicken salad sandwiches and pulled pork sandwiches.  I’ll be trying them with hamburgers soon.  They are pretty easy to make and you’ll be suprised after seeing the recipe that these could actually end up like a bun.  I’ve seen pictures on the internet of much fluffier rolls than mine.  This could be due to the high humidity here in St. Louis.  In any event when mine don’t rise very much I just use 2 of them for the sandwich.

Open Face Pulled Pork on "Ooopsie" Rolls

Curried Chicken Salad on "Oopsie" Rolls

“Oopsie” Rolls


  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/8 tsp. of cream of tarter
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder


Separate the yolks from the eggs in separate bowls being careful not to ge3 any yolk in the whites.  Use a clean stainless steel mixing bowl and make sure your beaters are clean and oil free.  Add the cream of tarter and whip the egg whites until they are stiff (stiff peaks).  In a separate bowl mix the egg yolks, cream cheese, pinch of salt and garlic powder and blend until smooth.  Fold the egg yolk/cream cheese mixture into the stiff whites gently so as not to lose volume.  Drop 1/2 cup of mixture onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet.  If they are really fluffy, flatten them a bit.  You should get about 6 rolls.  Bake in a 300° oven for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove them from the oven and let cool for a moment and then transfer to a  rack to cool completely.  Eat them immediately or store them in a zip-loc bag.  If they turn out fluffy you can cut them in half. Since mine sometimes turn out pretty flat I just use 2 to make a sandwich.  I hope you enjoy them and eat more eggs.

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Friday, July 23rd, 2010 Uncategorized 5 Comments

Why You Should Leave a Jar of Coconut Oil Next to Your Stove and your Bathroom Sink.

If you haven’t already figured this out, I am a big fan of coconut oil for cooking.  It is healthy and is a good high heat cooking medium.  It does not impart a coconut taste and I honestly believe that food fried in it has a less greasy cleaner mouth feel.  Well I am also a big fan of using coconut oil on my skin.  I use the same organic unrefined coconut oil that I cook with on my skin.  It has a pleasant smell and makes my skin so soft.  The organic unrefined coconut oil I use comes from Whole Foods and is pretty reasonably priced, around $5 for a 16 oz. jar.  I just scoop some out with a spoon, rub it in my hands and spread it all over my body.  My skin glistens for awhile after application, but fairly quickly absorbs into my skin.  I have never had a problem with it staining my clothes either. Why use coconut oil as a skin moisturizer instead of other commercial lotions or moisturizers?  Simply put its better for you and has a host of other benefits as well.

Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these include:

  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Supports tissue healing and repair.
  • Supports and aids immune system function.
  • Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
  • Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant.
  • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
  • Does not deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves like other oil.

Bruce Fife, N.D., a prolific author on the use and benefits of coconut oil, warns against the use of most commercial moisturizers that are predominantly water.  This is because the moisture is quickly absorbed into dry, wrinkled skin.  As the water enters the skin, it expands the tissues, like filling a balloon with water, so that wrinkles fade away and the skin feels smoother.  But this is only temporary.  As soon as the water evaporates or is carried away by the blood stream, the dry, wrinkled skin returns. Besides the water, most lotions have an oil of some type.  This oil is almost always a highly refined vegetable oil devoid of all natural protective antioxidants. As most of you know if you follow the Primal Blueprint, vegetable oils lead to a great deal of free radicals in our body.  Not good, right!

As we age our skin is continually subjected to free-radical attack which breaks down the fiber and connective tissue that makes up our skin.  As a result, connective tissues become hardened and lose both elasticity and strength.  The skin loses its ability to hold itself together and begins to sag and become wrinkled.

Once a free-radical reaction is started it can cause a chain reaction which produces more free radicals, which ultimately damages thousands of molecules.  The only way our body has to fight them is with antioxidants.  When a free radical comes into contact with an antioxidant, the chain reaction is stopped.  For this reason, it is good to have plenty of antioxidants in our cells and tissues to protect us.   Having anti-oxidants in skin care products is important.

Dr. Ray Peat, a biochemist who has written about the antioxidant properties of coconut oil, asserts that it is well established that dietary coconut oil reduces the need for vitamin E, but he thinks its antioxidant role is more general than that, and that it has both direct and indirect antioxidant activities.

Conventional body care products that are made with refined vegetable oils,  which have all the antioxidants stripped from them are highly prone to free-radical generation. This is why you should be careful about the type of oils you use on your skin, and in your lotions, creams and lip balms.  If you use a lotion, or cream with a refined oil in it you may be in fact causing your skin to age faster.  The lotion may actually accelerate the aging of the skin.

Once again, according to Bruce Fife, and as we all know, one of the classic signs of old age is the appearance of brown, freckle-like spots or liver spots.  It is a sign of free-radical deterioration of the lipids (fats) in our skin.  Oxidation of polyunsaturated fats and protein by free radical activity in the skin is recognized as the major cause of liver spots. Because cells cannot dispose of the lipofuscin pigment, it gradually accumulates within many cells of the body as we age.  Once lipofuscin pigment develops, it tends to stick around for life, but you can prevent further osication and perhaps even reduce the spots you already have by using the right kind of oils in your diet and on your skin.

Coconut oil fits this description. Pure coconut oil prevents destructive free-radical formation and provides protection against them.  It can help to keep the skin from developing liver spots, and other blemishes caused by aging and over exposure to sunlight.  It helps to keep connective tissues strong and supple so that the skin doesn’t sag and wrinkle.  In some cases it might even restore damaged or diseased skin.  The oil is absorbed into the skin and into the cell structure of the connective tissues, limiting the damage excessive sun exposure can cause.

Coconut oil will not only bring temporary relief to the skin, but it will aid in healing and repairing.  It will have lasting benefits, unlike most lotions. The coconut oil will aid in removing the outer layer of dead skin cells, making the skin smoother. The skin will become more evenly textured with a healthy “shine”.  While doing this the coconut oil will penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and strengthen the underlying tissues.

How does this work.  According to the scientific literature, antiseptic fatty acids in coconut oil help to prevent fungal and bacterial infections in the skin when it is consumed and to some extent, when it is applied directly to the skin. The biggest chemical barrier to infectious organisms is the acid layer on the skin.  Healthy skin has a pH of about 5, making it slightly acidic.  Our sweat (containing uric and lactic acids) and body oils promote this acidic environment.  For this reason, sweat and oil do us good.  Harmless bacteria can tolerate the acid and live on the skin, but troublesome bacteria can’t thrive and their numbers are few.

The oil our bodies produce is called sebum.  Sebum is secreted by oil glands (sebaceous glands) located at the root of every hair as well as other places.  This oil is very important to skin health.  It softens and lubricates the skin and hair and prevents the skin from drying and cracking.  Sebum also contains medium chain fatty acids, in the form of medium chain triglycerides, that can be released to fight harmful germs.

Our skin is home to many tiny organisms, most of which are harmless;  some are beneficial.  At least one variety of bacterium is essential to the healthy environment on our skin.  It feeds on the sebum, breaking down the tryglycerides into free fatty acids.  The bacteria actually feed on the glycerol part of the triglyceride.  This leaves fatty acids which are now “freed” from the glycerol unit that held them together.  Medium chain fatty acids which are bound to the glycerol unit as they are in coconut oil have no antimicrobial properties.  However, when they are broken apart into free fatty acids, they become powerful antimicrobials.

Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of medium chain fatty acids. When coconut oil is put on the skin it doesn’t have any immediate antimicrobial action.  However, when bacteria which are always present on the skin turn these triglycerides into free fatty acids, the result is an increase in the number of antimicrobial fatty acids on the skin and protection from infection.  The free fatty acids also help to contribute to the acid environment on the skin which repels disease causing germs.

When bathing or showering, soap washes the protective layer of oil and acid off our skin.  Often afterwards the skin becomes tight and dry.  Adding moisturizers helps the skin feel better, but it does not replace the acid or the protective medium chain fatty acid layers  that was removed.  By using a coconut oil cream, lotion or just pure coconut oil you can quickly help reestablish the skin’s natural antimicrobial and acid barrier.

I make it a habit to slather on the coconut oil after I bathe. You should try it too. not only will it make your skin incredibly soft, it will provide greater benefits than that.

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Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 Uncategorized 3 Comments

Is Counting on Luck Enough to Enjoy a Long, Happy and Healthy Life?

Happy 79th Mom

That’s my Mom to the left.  We just got back from Kansas City celebrating her 79th birthday and a good time was had by all.  Truth be told, my Mom is lucky to be alive and celebrating 79 years of life on this earth.  Actually, we are lucky to still have her with us.  She’s a kind, gentle, and strong willed woman.  Her life hasn’t been easy.   She worked hard all of her life retiring at age 65. She then enjoyed 13 years of retirement, spending the winters in Las Vegas with my Dad, who passed away about a year ago. Now she lives with my sister in Kansas City, who I am grateful to for providing her with a loving, safe and healthy environment.

Why is she lucky?  Well lets just say she’s like a cat with 20 lives.  she has had a series of major illnesses all starting in her 50’s when she had her first heart attack.  Since then, she’s has had multiple heart issues and heart surgerie as.  She also had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Most of the last 20 years she has taken cholesterol lowering drugs and blood pressure medication.  A few years after her heart problems, during a routine chest x-ray the doctor’s found a spot on her lungs.  They were pretty sure that it was cancer and then removed one lobe of her lungs.  At the same time she was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.  She was put on oxygen.  But, my mom was not going to tote an oxygen tank around with her for the rest of her life.  She worked really hard at pulmonary therapy and eventually was able to go without the oxygen.  About 5 years later, they found more spots on her lungs.  Luckily, on both occasions, the cancer had not spread.  She once again underwent surgery and they removed another lobe and a half on the other side of her lungs.   Missing 2 1/2 lobes of her lung made things difficult, but she worked really hard at therapy and exercise to stay off of oxygen.  About 3 years ago they found more cancer in her lungs.  This time it had spread to her hylar lymph node and the doctors, because of her age and the fact that they had already removed a good portion of her lungs, didn’t give her much hope.  In fact, the first doctor she saw said there wasn’t really much he could do for her.  I wouldn’t accept this and neither would she.  I did some research and found the best cancer doctor in our hometown and urged my mother to see him.  she agreed.  It was kind of funny that this new doctor was partners in the very same office of the original doctor who said there was nothing to offer her.  This new doctor felt differently and recommended she undergo a new procedure, laser knife surgery.  This was a 3 part process where they first mapped the location of tumors in her lung and lymph node.  The next week, they surgically implanted gold markers around the tumor locations.  The following week she had 3 days of radiation where they beamed radiation directly at the tumors.  It was then a wait and see game.  Within 6 months there was little if any sign of the cancer and within one year it was completely gone.

If multiple bouts with heart issues and lung cancer weren’t enough, she was then diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and peripheral neuropathy.  Today, she continues to struggle with high blood pressure, and barely has enough strength to stand or walk on her own.  The Parkinson’s disease has progressed fairly quickly and now effects her speech.  Some people may say she is really unlucky.  We both say she is one of the luckiest persons “alive”, because she is “alive”.  She has been able to do alot, see her grand children get bar and bat mitzvahed and progress through school.  She was able to have a lot of fun with my dad during their retirement years.  Im lucky because I have had her around all this time.

Why am I bringing this up.  I guess because I’m not so sure I want to count on luck to make it to age 79.  This is exactly why I started living primally, cutting most refined sugars, grains, cereals and bread from my diet.  My mom was a bread and sweet addict.  She still is.  I grew up with the largest part of my diet coming from carbs.  I’ve done a lot of research into these issues and I am convinced that the myriad of health problems my mom has had can be linked to sugar and carbs.  High blood pressure, high bad cholesterol, heart attacks and cancer.

It has been scientifically proven that:

  • sugar can suppress the immune system
  • sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body
  • sugar can cause a significant rise in triglycerides
  • sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infections
  • sugar reduces high density lipoproteins
  • sugar can be linked to cancer
  • sugar contributes to obesity
  • sugar contributes to tooth decay
  • sugar can cause heart disease
  • sugar can cause a increase in bad cholesterol
  • sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity
  • sugar can increase systolic blood pressure
  • sugar can cause diabetes
  • sugar intake is higher in persons with Parkinson’s disease

The list goes on and on.  Nearly every issue my Mom has had can be either directly or indirectly linked to a high carb, refined sugar diet.  Even if her problems weren’t caused by a high carb, high sugar diet, they probably were exacerbated by it and/or made her slower to heal. I don’t want to travel down the same path.  I hope at my age the damage isn’t already done.

After only 2 months of living primally, I do feel noticeably different and better.  Sometimes, however, I need a reminder of why I am doing this.  Visiting with my Mom this past weekend gave me powerful motivation to continue on for life.  Look, I just don’t think most people are as lucky as my Mom (and me for having her around this long) and not only do I want to live to be 79 (or older), I also want to be healthy, fit and active at 79, not just lucky.  So while I am not willing to count on luck anymore, I hope that my Mom continues with her lucky streak and we have her for many years to come.  Love you Mom!

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 Uncategorized No Comments

Mexican Conundrum! What’s a Primal Guy to Do?

There’s nothing like a vacation.  The excitement of deciding where to go, what to do, where to stay and then, when its all planned, the anticipation of the day of departure finally arriving.  My partner’s 40th birthday is coming up and rather than spending lots of money on a party that only lasts a few hours, I decided we would go to on vacation instead.  We decided on Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and I can’t tell you how excited we are about this trip.  We both love to travel and have both traveled extensively. Neither of us has been to Puerto Vallarta.  I’m the type that likes to keep going and typically am not that interested in just lounging around at the pool or beach for a week.  We always try to go somewhere where there’s lots to do and see.  I had a small change of heart last year after staying with a friend in his beautiful villa in Playa Langosta, just outside Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

Playa Langosta, Costa Rica

It was uber relaxing hanging out at the beach, taking naps, watching the sun set and enjoying great company.  The day was usually capped of with a cocktail on the beach and then a nice dinner in town after the sun went down. I have come to realize that you can have a great vacation when you balance activity with rest.  So, this trip to Puerto Vallarta will include some activity and some relaxing.

My biggest conundrum, however, is how I will eat and remain faithfully primal in the land of beans, rice and tortillas.  This will be my first vacation since embracing the primal lifestyle.  During a walk in the park the other day I told my partner that I just didn’t know how I would handle the eating portion of this trip.  I love Mexican food.  Chips, salsa, tortillas, tacos, well the temptation may just be to much for me.  Don’t even get me started on the margarita and pina colada issue.  I suppose everyone will point out that there will be lots of choices: fresh fish, fruits, vegetables, etc.  But when you get to your hotel and they greet you with a couple of fresh margaritas, a bowl of hot tortilla chips and guacomole, well, I don’t think I can just ask for a spoon to eat the quacamole, and send back the chips and margaritas.

There’s something about being on vacation.  Would I go to Paris and not eat my favorite Schwarma Sandwich from the stand at the bottom of Sacre Coeur, or that delicious pistachio macaroon from the pastry shop in the Marais?  A vacation just wouldn’t be a vacation without experiencing the culture around you, and this always includes the food.  I spend every day planning my meals and workouts to remain happy, fit and healthy.  I don’t want to think so much on vacation.  Will one week of a “who cares attitude” really make a difference in the scheme of things? Or, will it throw me into a never ending abyss of carbo craziness.

What do you think?  Should I throw caution to the wind or is there a better way to attack this?  Please help!  Adios!

Friday, July 16th, 2010 Uncategorized 4 Comments

Did you say that isn’t Rice? Easy Cauliflower Rice and Primal “Cornbread”

Yesterday I posted a recipe for Home Style Primal Pepper Steak.  I recommended that it be served with Cauliflower Rice, but I didn’t give a recipe for the Cauliflower Rice.  I got a lot of requests, so here it is.  Also, My mom used to serve her Pepper Steak with biscuits from the tube.  It was great to have something to soak up the additional sauce with.  I served mine with Primal Cornbread.  Well, its not really corn bread.  There’s no corn meal in it at all.  While the texture is a little different, it is closer to cornbread than you might think.  I have a set of vintage cast iron cornbread pans which I use to make mine.  It looks just like cornbread and the cast iron pan makes the whole stick crunchy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.  These will work just as well on a cookie sheet or in a muffin tin, but if you have a cast iron cornbread pan, use it.!

The Cauliflower Rice is so easy to make, especially if you have a food processor.  You can vary this recipe in any way you want.  You can make fried rice by adding garlic and green onion to the oil, seasoning the cauliflower while its cooking with soy sauce, and when its almost done, clearing a space in the middle of your pan and walk and scrambling an egg or two in it.  Drizzle it with some sesame oil at the end, and that’s it. Try Cauliflower rice Pilaf by adding green onion, garlic and diced mushrooms to the oil before adding the cauliflower.

Simple Cauliflower Rice

All you need is a non-stick skillet or a wok, a food processor with a grater attachment or box grater.  This will make 3-4 large servings/sides.


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2-3 tbls. olive oil or coconut oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Begin by cutting up the cauliflower so it will fit through the feeding tube of your processor with the grater blade attached.  Grate all of the cauliflower.  If you are not using a food processor it is just as easy although a little more time consuming to grate the cauliflower on a box grater by hand.  Use the largest grater section you have.  Heat your non-stick skillet or wok over medium high heat and add 2-3 tbls. olive oil or cocomut oil.  When the oil is hot, add the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper.  Stir fry the cauliflower for 5-8 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked and heated through.  Stir the the cauliflower ofter.  It will shrink significantly while cooking.  Be careful not to overcook as the cauliflower may get mushy,  Remove from the heat and serve immediately as a side to just about any dish.  It goes great with a simple stir-fry or even better with my Home Style Primal Pepper Steak.

Primal Cornbread

You will need a muffin tin, muffin top pan,  or cast iron cornbread pan.  This will make 6-8 biscuits or cornbread sticks.


  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cooled, melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt.
  • 1/3 cup coconut flower
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbls. honey (optional)


Preheat oven to 400º.  Whisk together the eggs, cooled melted butter, salt, and honey (optional) and set a side.  Next combine sifted coconut flower with baking powder and mix together well.  Add the coconut flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir to combine well.  Fold in the cheddar cheese.  Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tin, muffin top pan,  or cast iron cornbread pan.  Bake for about 15 minutes until well browned, but not burned.  Keep you eye on them!  Serve them hot alongside your favorite dish, soup or chili.  These heat up really well later in a toaster oven.  They will freeze well and crisp up nicely in a toaster oven straight from the freezer.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010 Uncategorized 7 Comments

Food Dreams and Homestyle Primal Pepper Steak

Home Style Primal Pepper Steak and Cauliflower Rice

Has anyone ever dreamed about food.  Since going Primal, I seem to dream a lot more, perhaps because I am sleeping better as a result of a better balance of diet and exercise.  Many of my dreams seem to involve food.  I think this might be because I subconsciously miss some of the “forbidden foods” or because I am constantly trying to come up with new and inventive recipes to defray the cravings I have.  Lets face it, for many, food is comforting.  Just thinking about family dinners, celebrations, holidays, or just strolling down the street with an ice cream cone conjures up warm feelings.  Crazy as it may seem, I recently had a dream of sitting around my Mom’s kitchen while she prepared one of our family favorites. Pepper Steak.  I swear I could smell it simmering in her electric skillet while I was sleeping.  When I woke up the next morning and recalled the dream I was determined to make her Pepper Steak for dinner that day.  Of course my mom’s version wasn’t perfectly primal.  She used lots of margarine and it was always served over a bed of rice-a-roni.  My version is just as good, but is perfectly primal and delicious.

I substituted the margarine for butter and the rice-a-roni with cauliflower rice.  This is a simple recipe and utilizes ingredients that I know we almost always have in our house and you probably do to.  My Mom’s preferred cut of meat for this dish was skirt steak.  Growing up in Chicago, this cut was abundant.  I was surprised after moving away how difficult skirt steak was to find.  I typically had to go to the local Mexican market to find it.  I’m happy to say that this cut of meat has become increasingly more popular and easier to find.  Many of the grass fed beef stands at our local farmers’ markets carry this cut of meat now.  I have also substituted the bison fillet tips I have been buying lately at the butcher shop in the St. Louis’ Soulard Farmers’ Market. You can substitute just about any cut of grass fed beef for this recipe.  If its a tougher cut you have to be careful to not overcook it.

My Mom would let hers simmer for quite awhile until the peppers and onions were very soft.  I prefer to make this a quicker version, leaving some of the bite to the vegetables.  My Mom also used a beef bouillon cube in hers.  I do use beef bouillon granules in mine to impart a rich beefy  flavor.  While I try to stay away from this because of the salt content, I find that it makes it more like I remember it.  You can ommit this and use beef stock or broth instead.  Yours just may  be a little bit more soupy.  My Mom’s also did not have mushrooms in it, but, I sometimes add mushrooms to mine.

This recipe serves 2-4 people, depending on your appetite.  It reheats very well for lunch the next day.  You can also use the leftovers in an omelet the next day.  I hope you enjoy this dreamy family favorite of mine.

Home Style Primal Pepper Steak

All you need is a large non stick skillet.


  • 1 lb. skirt steak, fillet, sirloin or your favorite cut of beef
  • 1 large yellow or white onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4-6 tbls. of butter
  • 1/’2 cup red wine
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. beef bouillon granules or 1/2 cup beef broth or stock
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste (omit the salt if you use bouillon)
  • cauliflower rice for serving


Slice the beef in to 2 x 1/2″ strips.  Slice the green and red pepper in to 2 x 1/2 inch strips. Cut the onion in half and slice (not too thinly).  Mince the clove of garlic.  Slice 1 cup of mushrooms (optional). Cut the tomato in medium to large cubes.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add 2-3 tbls. butter.  When the butter has melted and is frothy, add the sliced meat to the skillet, season with pepper and salt (optional) and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup red wine and beef granules and or beef stock and bring to a boil.  Simmer for another 2 minutes until the alcohol has boiled off.  Remove the skillet from the heat and place the cooked beef in a bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to the heat and melt 2-3 more tbls. butter.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add the onions and peppers to the skillet and saute until tender but not mushy.  If you are using mushrooms, add them towards the end.  When the vegetables are cooked to your liking return the beef and all its juices to the pan with the vegetables, add the tomato and lower the heat to low and simmer 2-3 minutes so the flavors can blend.  If the sauce seems to soupy, you can add some additional butter to thicken and richen it.

Serve the Pepper Steak over cauliflower rice (or cauliflower mash) and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 Uncategorized 2 Comments

Primal Choco-Coco Truffles

Coconut Powder

On my first outing to find coconut flour I went to my favorite international food store.  I had never seen coconut flour before so I didn’t really know what I was looking for.  I searched and searched, and nothing.  I finally asked the helpful, but not very good English speaking, clerk for help and she pointed me to a bag of coconut powder.  It didn’t look much like flour to me, but, since I didn’t know any better, I bought it.  The ingredient list showed simply “coconut”.  It looked more like coconut granules, but not like shredded coconut. I got it home but still wasn’t sure I really got what I was looking for. I put it in the cupboard and scoured the internet for recipes using coconut flour.  A few days later, while at my local grocery store, I was looking at the Bob’s Red Mill display, and quickly determined that what I had just bought was clearly not coconut flour.  It was too granular and white.  Oh well, the deed was done.  Now I had to find something to do with this big bag of coconut powder I had just bought.  If you read my recent post, Cuckoo for Coconut, I made a delicious chicken dish coated in the coconut powder and topped with mango salsa.  The combination of coconut powder and almond meal made a coating for the chicken that was hardly discernible from the bread crumb version I’m sure most of you have had.  I think the coconut powder works better than shredded coconut as it coats the chicken better and more closely simulates the “bread” crumb look.

I’ve since come up with another perfect use for coconut powder. Primal Choco-Coco Truffles. Now before you run out to find coconut powder, be warned, there is another product out there called coconut cream powder.  This is more like coconut powdered milk.  Don’t use this for the truffles, it will not work. Also, this recipe does use stevia, not very much, but I’m sure some of you may not like this.  I have to tell you though this was such a treat.  I really felt like I was eating a gourmet truffle from the candy shoppe.  Here’s the recipe:

Choco-Coco Truffles

Choco-Coco Truffles

This recipe will yield 4-6 truffles, depending on how big you make them. You will need:

  • 2 tbls. Crunchy Almond Butter
  • 2-3 tbls. coconut powder
  • 1 scant tbls. cocoa powder
  • 2 packets of stevia
  • pinch of salt (if you are using salt free almond butter)
  • additional cocoa powder for dusting or finely chopped pecans for rolling

Combine the almond butter, cocoa, stevia and pinch of salt in a mixing bowl.  When all of these ingredients are well combined, add 2 tbls. coconut powder.  The consistency should allow you to roll the mixture in your hand into a ball.  If it is too runny, add more coconut powder until you can easily form the mixture into balls. Using a tablespoon size measuring spoon, scoop one tablespoon of the mixture into your hand and roll it into a ball.  Continue with this process until you have used all the mixture. Now you can roll the the balls in your favorite finely chopped nuts, or cocoa powder.  You can leave also leave them as is.  Place the truffles in the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour to allow them to set.  Remove them from the refrigerator (one at a time if you can) and enjoy!

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Thursday, July 1st, 2010 Uncategorized 10 Comments

Buy Locally, Eat primally!

I try to shop locally as best as I can.  Sometimes that can be challenging, especially during the winter months when the farmers’ markets aren’t in full swing.  Recently I discovered that I could buy locally produced bison meat at the Soulard Farmers Market.  The Soulard Farmers Market is a St. Louis gem.  It is the oldest farmers’ market west of the Mississippi.  You can get anything from rugs, to jewelry, to locally made goat cheese here.  While the market is chock full of vendors selling commercially grown produce, there are also plenty of  local vendors from whom  can buy organic locally grown produce.  The market is only open Wednesday through Saturday.

A couple of Saturdays ago we popped into Frandeka’s Meat & Fish.  I’d never been in this butcher shop but was pleasantly surprised.  It has apparently been in business for nearly 100 years.  The employees are super helpful and the lines move pretty quickly.   They sell everything from beef, to pork, goat and rabbit.  A sign advertising bison bratwurst immediately caught my eye and I inquired about it.  It turns out that their bison bratwurst come from Sayersbrook Bison Ranch which is located just about an hour from St. Louis.  I love sausage, and I loved even more that it was being produced in my back yard, so I decided to give it a try.  It was about $10 a pound, but, I felt it was worth it because it was locally produced.  When the employee handed me the package he also told me that he had 1 lb. packages of bison tenderloin tips on sale for $7.99. (Four 4 oz. bison fillets are selling for $55.95 on the Sayersbrook Ranch site). Sold! I got a package of that too.

When I got home I wanted to find out more about this local producer and how the bison are razed.  In addition to trying to buy from local producers, I also try to buy grass fed meat,  Its just healthier and better for you, is higher in protein, and contains the good omega 3 fatty acids we need in our diet.  According to the Sayersbrook Bison Ranch website, their bison are grazed on Missouri’s native grasses, but in their last three months, they are fed “a special blend of all natural grains that enhances the flavor and tenderness of these award winning meats”.  Bummer! While I like the fact that the bison are initially grass fed, I didn’t really like the idea that they were finished on grain.  However, I think that this is much better than the typical corn/grain fed meat you get at your local grocery.

The terms “grass fed” and “pastured” aren’t  really regulated, so I’ve heard that some producers are not completely honest about their methods.  I was glad to see that Sayersbrook was up front about their processes.  It’s important to get to know your producers, and that is a lot easier to do when you buy locally.  Unfortunately, even short term finishing on grains or corn can greatly diminish the good omega 3 content of meat.  While I’m not convinced that this is a good method, I have to think  that it is somewhat better than the alternative.  Of course, I would always recommend and prefer to buy purely grass fed beef.  The health benefits are clear.  For a lot of us, this is hard to do, so, if you try to do it is much as you can, you will surely be better off.

In any event, the deed was done.  Now I had to do something with the tenderloin tips.  Bison is typically lower in fat, and cooking it can be a challenge for some.  If you cook it too long, it will be tough and dry.  As I was trying to decide what to do with the tenderloin tips, I started thinking about my favorite dish in Vietnamese restaurants, Thit Bo Luc Lac or known to some as Shaken Beef.  It’s typically one of the more expensive dishes on many Vietnamese menus.  It usually features quick sauteed beef, fresh tomato, onion and some kind of green.  It is served with a salt and pepper dipping sauce that will knock your socks off.  So I went about creating this dish and it turned out fantastic.  It was really quick, healthy and perfectly primal.  Along with the sliced raw onion that is typically served with it, I made some pickled red onion as well.  You don”t need bison Tenderloin, but can substitute any grass fed beef or even pork.  I would recommend a tender cut like tenderloin or sirloin. With 1 pound of bison, this was enough for 2 hearty appetites, but could make a light meal for 4. Here it is:

Thit Bo Luc Lac

Thit Bo Luc Lac (Shaken Beef/Bison)

The Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp unrefined fine sea salt
  • juice of one medium lime

Marinade for the Meat:

  • Juice of 1 medium lime
  • 2 tbls. soy sauce
  • 1 tbls. sesame oil
  • 1 tbls. Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

For the Pickled Red Onion:

  • 1 large red onion
  • 3/4 cup seasoned Japanese rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbls. chopped fresh cilantro

For the Salad:

  • 1 lb. Bison Tenderloin, Beef Tenderloin or Pork Tenderloin cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 thinly sliced white onion
  • 6 Cups baby spinach or watercress
  • 1-2 tbls olive or coconut oil for cooking the meat.


First prepare the marinade by whisking together all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Cut the bison, beef or pork tenderloin into one inch cubes and place in a zip lock bag.  Pour the marinade over the meat and seal the bag.  Shake the bag around to ensure that you have coated all the meat in the marinade.  Marinate the meat in the refrigerator of 1/2 hour to 1 hour. 

Meanwhile prepare the pickled red onions.  Bring 3/4 cups of japanese seasoned rice wine vinegar to a boil in a sauce pan.  While this is coming to a boil, finely slice the large red onion.  When the vinegar comes to a boil, place the onions in the boiling vinegar.  Press the onions down until they are submerged in the hot liquid.  The onions will begin to whlt and they will all fit in this amount fo liquid.  Remove the pot from the stove and pour the contents into a heat resistent bowl.  Add 2 tbls. of chopped cilantro and stir to combine.  Cover and refrigerate the pickled onions until you are ready to serve.

Next, prepare the dipping sauce.  Combine the juice of 1 medium lime with 1 tsp. pepper and 1/2 tsp. of fine unrefined sea salt and set aside.

After the meat has marinated long enough, remove it from the refrigerato and drain the marinade and discard.  Meanwhile prepare the salad.  Place 3 cups of baby spinach or watercress on 2 plates.  slice the tomatos and arrange around the plate.  Slice the 1/2 white or yellow onion and set aside.  Equally divide the pickled red onions among the 2 plates.  I like to do this with tongs or a slotted spoon so that you don’t end up with too much vinegar.  You can always spoon additional vinegar from the pickled onions over the salad if you like.

Meanwhile heat 1-2 tbls. of olvie oil or coconut oil over medium high heat in a skillet. When the oil is hot, place the meat in the hot oil, but don’t overcrowd it.  You can cook the meat in 2 batches if necessary.  Be sure to not disturb the beef in the pan so that you can brown the meat well.  After about 2 minutes, shake the pan to cook the other sides of the meat cubes.  The meat should be medium rare to medium in about 2 more minutes. If you like your meat cooked more well, leave it in the pan for a couple of more minutes, shaking the meat occasionally.

When the meat is done to your liking, mound the browned meat cubes in the center of the plate and garnish with the sliced raw white onion.  Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.  You can dip the meat cubes in the sauce as you are eating the salad, but beware, the sauce is peppery and tangy.


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Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 Uncategorized 3 Comments

Cuckoo for Coconuts

Since going primal I’ve revisited my love for coconut.  It was something that I loved growing up.  Once in a while my Mom would pick one up at the store, crack it open, and we would grab chunks and snack on it for days.  I liked the texture and the fact that it seemed to take forever to eat.  Somewhere along the line I lost touch with the coconut, most likely due to a marketing smear campaign that was launched years ago.  I remembered reading somewhere that it was bad for you and you should avoid any product that had coconut oil in the ingredient list.  It was based on the mistaken belief that saturated fat was bad for you. This was a mistake on my part and I once again am using coconut in all of its forms almost on a daily basis.  I’ve become particularly fond of cooking with coconut oil.

Coconut oil is an edible oil that has been consumed in tropical places for thousands of years. Studies done on native diets high in coconut consumption show that these populations are generally in good health, and don’t suffer as much from many of the modern diseases of western nations.

Coconut oil was once prevalent in western countries like the United States as well. With a long shelf life and a melting point of 76 degrees, it was a favorite in the baking industry. But a negative campaign against saturated fats in general, and the tropical oils in particular, led to most food manufacturers abandoning coconut oil in recent years in favor of hydrogenated polyunsaturated oils that come from the main cash crops in the US, particularly soy, and contain trans fatty acids.
One thing I didn’t realize about unsaturated oils in cooked foods was that they become rancid in just a few hours, even in the refrigerator. This is one reason for the “stale” taste of leftovers. However, some posit that eating fresh unsaturated fats is even worse, because once inside the body, they will oxidize (turn rancid) very rapidly due to being heated and mixed with oxygen.
This does not appear to be the case with coconut oil. Even after one year at room temperature, coconut oil shows no evidence of rancidity even though it contains 9% linoleic (omega – 6) polyunsaturated acid. It is theorized that coconut oil may have antioxidant properties, since the oil doesn’t turn rancid and since it reduces our need for vitamin E, whereas unsaturated oils deplete vitamin E. Many researchers have reported that coconut oil lowers cholesterol (Blackburn et al 1988, Ahrens and colleagues, 1957). Studies in the early 80’s showed that islanders with a diet high in coconut oil showed no harmful health effects. When these groups migrated to New Zealand and lowered their daily coconut oil intake, their total cholesterol and especially their LDL cholesterol  increased. The cholesterol-lowering properties of coconut oil are a direct result of its ability to stimulate thyroid function. In the presence of adequate thyroid hormone, cholesterol (specifically LDL-cholesterol) is converted by enzymatic processes to the vitally necessary anti-aging steroids, pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA. These substances are required to help prevent heart disease, senility, obesity, cancer and other diseases associated with aging and chronic degenerative diseases, actually making coconut oil a healthier  alternative to the vegetable oils most of us are used to cooking with.
Similarly, newer findings about coconut oil demonstrated that it is a healthy fat. In 1988, N.W. Istfan of Harvard University Medical School’s Nutrition Coordinating Center , vindicated coconut oil. Dr. Istfan reported: “For the U.S. consumer, the use of coconut oil does not increase the role of heart disease.” Other researchers demonstrated that coconut oil reduces the risks of atherosclerosis, heart disease, cancer, and other degenerative conditions. It helps prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, as a result of its antimicrobial component, lauric acid, which is found solely in coconut oil and in breast milk.

Coconut oil is one of the  richest sources of medium chain fatty acids.  They are easily digestible, and are sent directly to your liver where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.  They have actually been shown to stimulate your metabolism and aid in weight loss.   Incorporating coconut in all its forms, and particularly using the oil can have dramatic effects in you body.  Try this delicious recipe which incorporates coconut flour, coconut powder and coconut oil for luch or dinner.  I’m sure you’ll love it.

Cuckoo for Coconut Chicken and and Mango Salsa

Cuckoo for Coconut Chicken with Mango Salsa

You will need a large non-stick skillet, and 4 mixing bowls.  this recipe will yield 4 servings.

Prepare the Mango Salsa. You will need:

  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen thawed mango, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 2-3 tbls; chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbls. red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Prepare the Coconut Chicken.  You will need:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs beaten well with a splash of milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut powder (available at your Asian market)*
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3 tbls. coconut oil for frying
  • salt & pepper
  • romaine, green or red leaf lettuce for garnish

Place 1/2 cup of coconut flour on a plate.  In a separate pie pan or deep dish, beat the egss, milk, salt and pepper together.  In a separate pie pan or deep dish combine 1/2 cup coconut powder (coconut powder is a finely grated coconut.  If you can’t find coconut powder, you can substitute unsweetened coconut flakes but increase the amount to about 3/4 cup) and 1/2 cup almond flour and stir together well.  Season the coconut powder/almond flour mixture with salt and pepper.  Now, season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper.  Start by dredging the seasoned chicken breasts in the coconut flour, making sure to coat all surfaces.  Then, place the dredged chicken breasts in the egg mixture.  Now, place the chicken breasts in the coconut powder/almond flour mixture making sure to completely coat the schicken breasts.  set the coated chicken on a plate and heat the coconut oil in the non-stick skillet over medium heat.  When the coconut oil is hot, fry the chicken breasts for 7 to 10 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, and until cooked through.  Check the chicken often to ensure that the coating is not burning and adjust the heat if necessary also being careful not to disturb the coating. Meanwhile, place 5 lettuce leafs on each of 4 plates.  When the chicken is browned and cooked through, place one breast on each plate, top each chicken breast with 1/2 cup of mango salsa and serve.


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Monday, June 28th, 2010 Uncategorized 1 Comment

High Intensity Interval Training and Ginger Salmon Croquettes. What?

World's Fair Pavillion, Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri

As I’ve alluded to before, one of the crucial bases of Primal Blueprint fitness is low level aerobic activity.  This is moderate exercise, working at %55-%75 of your maximum heart rate. A simple often used way of figuring our your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220.  For moderate exercise, strive to obtain a heart rate that is %55-75 of that number.  According to Mark Sisson who authored the Primal Blueprint, “Not only is low level aerobic activity the natural evolutionary expectation of the body, it’s flat out beneficial in its own right. It plays an integral role in maintaining weight and metabolic balance. It also builds your base and makes more strenuous workouts possible by toning all the muscles, joints and connective tissue needed for optimal strength training and high intensity aerobic activity. Low level aerobic exercise engages your energy systems and incrementally improves their functioning and efficiency. And while it does all that, it also physiologically and hormonally counters the effects of stress.

Its easy to achieve a good amount of low level aerobic activity but are you getting enough High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  Its a combination that will lead to a leaner, fitter and healthier body.  My partner and I try to do some type of high intensity interval training once a week.  It can supercharge your fitness, boost your metabolism, and help burn off that extra fat.  High intensity interval training  is about mixing high intensity bursts of exercise with moderate intensity recovery periods. It’s brutal but has incredible advantages.  It will boost your metabolism for the following 24 to 48 hours, meaning that you will burn more fat than if you simply went jogging.  One study  by Dr. Izumi Tabata concluded that  moderate-intensity aerobic training that improves the maximal aerobic power does not change anaerobic capacity and that adequate high-intensity intermittent training may improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supplying systems significantly, probably through imposing intensive stimuli on both systems.  This is something you should add to your routine once a week.

The key to high intensity interval training is working to the max of your heat rate for short bursts followed by full recovery, and repeating the sequence several times.  My partner and I typically go to the park.  We warm up first with an easy paced walk.  We then will sprint for 30 to 60 seconds, followed by about two minutes of easy paced walking.  We typically repeat this pattern 8 to 10 times.  this workout takes between 30 and 40 minutes.  We usually end up tossing around the Frisbee afterwards just for some added fun.  You don’t have to run to do high intensity interval training.  You can do this by biking, swimming, at the gym even on a treadmill or stationary bike.  The key is the burst of all out effort.  Because of a knee problem, sometimes I cant do the sprints by running and I’ll do an alternate workout. Stairs don’t seem to bother my knee as much.  The other day, my partner and I went to Forest Park.  There are 2 sets of stairs flanking the World’s Fair Pavilion pictured at the beginning of this post.  Each set has about 50 steps.  We sprint up the set of stairs and go back down, repeating this 3-4 times.  We then walk over to the other set of stairs and repeat.   We usually do 6 to 8 reps, followed by a pleasant walk around the lake at the bottom of hill.  It’s an intense, but fun workout.

One other method that was spawned from the study referenced above is called Tabata sprints.  These are tough but the best thing about them is that they only take 4 minutes to complete.  In this method you sprint for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. You do this for a total of 4 minutes.  This is a great alternative on those days when you just don’t have time to get out or go to thy gym to do your regular HIIT training.  You’ll still get plenty of benefit from this work out.

When you switch things up, you add variety to your routine, and you are moire likely to do HIITs on a weekly basis.  Admittedly I sometimes get sore from these workouts.  I’m not a big fan of over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs, if you feel the same way, as an alternative, try some ginger, either in the form of a supplement or use it in one of your favorite recipes. 

Ginger has been used for a long time soothing nausea and easing stomach upset, but it’s also a natural immune system booster with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. One recent study showed a 24-25% decrease in exercise induced pain within 24 hours.

One of my new favorite dishes that gets its deliciousness from a good amount of ginger is my Ginger Salmon Croquettes (I love this word)  with Ginger Mayo.  Served in lettuce cups, it makes a great post work out meal. I served this with a spaghetti squash saute and plantain fried in coconut oil – yummy!

Ginger Salmon Croquettes with Ginger Mayo

Ginger Salmon Croquettes with Ginger Mayo


Ginger Salmon Croquettes:

  • 1 lb. wild caught salmon fillets
  • 1 tbl. finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1 tbl. dijon mustard
  • 1 tbl. prepared horseradish
  • 1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbls. coconut oil

Ginger Mayo:

  • 2 tbls. mayonnaise (made with olive oil)
  • 1 tbls. dijon mustard
  • 1 tbls. finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. soy sauce (depending on your taste)


  • Lettuce leaves
  • 1/4 – 1/2 red onion sliced thinly and separated

Make the ginger mayo.  In a small bowl whisk  together the mayonnaise, mustard, ginger and soy sauce and set aside.

Make the salmon croquettes.  Finely chop the salmon by hand with a knife.  You want a very fine consistency (not chunky). In a bowl, stir together the finely chopped salmon together with the ginger, mustard, horseradish, and soy sauce.  Form into 4 – 6 croquettes and set on a plate.  I like to let the croquettes sit for about 10 or 15 minutes before cooking as some of the excess moisture will drain from the croquettes.  Heat 1 – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a non stick skillet over medium heat.  Place the croquettes in the preheated skillet and cook on each side about 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness, and until cooked through.

Meanwhile, place 2 -3 lettuce leaves on 2 plates.  When the croquettes are cooked through, place 1 croquette on each lettuce leaf and smear each croquette with a good dollop of the ginger may.  Top with the slivered red onion and serve with your favorite side.

Try high intensity interval training.  In no time you will see a difference in your leanness as well as your aerobic capacity.  Follow your workout with this delicious recipe and you’ll feel like a million bucks.


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Thursday, June 24th, 2010 Uncategorized 1 Comment