Eat Sleep and Play Primally


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

Soothing Cool summer Salad

Asian Shrimp Pineapple Salad (photo courtesy of Framed)

Before I began following the Primal Blueprint I loved a refreshing cool salad during the summer months.  This Asian inspired shrimp salad fits that bill perfectly.  The spicy herby dressing, paired with the smooth avocado and refreshing pineapple will satiate your hunger for something healthy and filling without having to even turn on the oven during these hot summer months. The addition of slivered or chopped almonds gives it that extra crunch you might be looking for.  This dish is great for lunch, either on its own or wrapped in lettuce leaves.  It also makes a great party dish that your friends will love.  I sometimes use canned pineapple for this recipe along with a few tablespoons of the light syrup for the dressing.  I prefer fresh pineapple and you can squeeze some of the natural juices from the pineapple for the dressing as well. This recipe will yield 2-4 servings.

Asian Shrimp Salad
First make the dressing, You will need:
  • 2 tbls. Olive Oil
  • 2 tbls. Asian fish Sauce
  • Juice of 1 large lime or 2 small limes (about 2-3 tbls.)
  • 2-3 tbls. fresh pineapple juice (or reserved light syrup if you are using canned)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 small jalapeno or thai chili pepper, finely chopped (remove seeds if you like it less spicy)
  • 2 tbls. fresh chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tbls. chopped cilantro

Whisk together the oil, fish sauce, lime juice,  and pineapple juice until well combined.  Stir in garlic, red onion, chile peppers, mint and cilantro.   Set aside.

Assemble the salad.   You will need:

  • 20 peeled and deveined cooked large shrimp (tails removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • I large avocado
  • 2 tbls. chopped or slivered almonds
  • 8 lettuce leaves (butter, romaine, red leaf: your choice)
  • 4 lime wedges for garnish

Assemble the salad. Leave the shrimp whole if you are serving the salad alone or cut the shrimp into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on the size of the shrimp, and  about the same size as the pineapple chunks if you are going to serve this salad wrap style. Place the shrimp in a large bowl and salt and pepper the shrimp to to taste.  Halve, pit, peel and roughly chop the avocado.  Add the pineapple, avocado and dressing to the  shrimp and stir to combine. I like to place the salad in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to allow the falvors to meld and develop, but this is not necessary.    When you are ready to serve, divide the salad among 2-4 plates, sprinkle the salad with some of the chopped almonds, and place 2-4 lettuce leaves and lime wedges alongside the  salad and serve.

I hope you enjoy this salad.  Its packed with flavor and nutrition.  Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit. Pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. Pineapples are also  known for having the anti-inflammatory substance bromelain.  This salad will undoubtedly become a summer favorite.

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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 Uncategorized 1 Comment

Viva La Crepe

I used to live down the street from a little coffee house and creperie, The City Coffee House and Creperie .  Their crepes are simply to die for.  One of my favorites was the Shady Oak which was a buckwheat crepe filled with grilled chicken, spinach, tomato relish, havarti cheese and  drizzled with honey mustard dressing.  It was a favorite indulgence of mine.  I was craving one of these crepes theo other day so I decided to replicate it.  My version was just as delicious but still primal to the core.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! You can fill these delicious crepes with anything you like.  They are great for any meal and perfect filled with your favorite fruit for desert.

Crepes Stuffed with Chicken, Tomato Relish and Spinach

You will need a good non-stick skillet (8″) or a crepe pan. This recipe will yield 4 crepes.


  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons of almond or coconut flour
  • 2 1 tsp. honey
  • 3 tbls. dijon mustard
  • 4 grilled chicken breasts
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 ripe tomatos
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tbls Olive Oil
  • 2 tbls. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbls. chopped fresh basil
  • coconut oil


Make the crepe batter.  Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl and add the almond or coconut flour and one teaspoon of honey. Stir to combine well and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Next, make the tomato relish.  Combine chopped tomato, sliced green onions, chopped basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.  set aside so the flavors can combine.

Make the honey mustard drizzle by combining 3 tablespoons of dijon mustard with 2 table spoons of honey.

Dice up the grilled chicken breasts and coarsely chop or tear the spinach and set aside.

Now preheat your oven to 300º f. and heat the non-stick skillet or crepe pan over medium heat.  Add 1/2 tbls. of coconut oil to the pan.  Remove the crepe batter from the refrigerator and stir well. Pour 1/2 cup of the stirred crepe batter in the hot pan and swirl to evenly and thinly  the batte over the pan.  Watch the crepe closely as it will brown fairly quickly.  When the crepe is nicely browned flip it in the pan and brown the other side.  Remove the crepe from the pan and place it on a cookie sheet.  Continue making the crepes until you have used all the batter.

After the crepes are done fill 1/2 side of the crepe with 1 chopped chicken breast, 1/2 cup spinach and 2-3 tabls. of the tomato relish.  Fold the crepes over the stuffing and place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the crepes are evenly heated through.

Plate each crepe, drizzle with the honey mustard and serve.

These crepes are very versatile and can be stuffed with just about anything.  a delicious vegetarian version might include spinach, sauteed mushrooms and goat cheese.  Or try filling them with fresh sliced berries and drizzled with cream.  Bon appetit!

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Friday, June 18th, 2010 Uncategorized No Comments

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.


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


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

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,, 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,  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.


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