Paleo f(x): Communing with My Tribe

Last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Paleo f(x), the largest Paleo/Primal conference in the country, which took place in Austin, Texas.

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As some of you know, by necessity due to health issues, I cannot eat gluten, dairy, and most other grains. When I stumbled across the Paleo/Primal movement about eight years I didn’t feel like I was as much of a freak anymore, for here I found a bunch of people who eat like I do.  So you can imagine what an awesome time I had being surrounded by like-minded speakers and fellow Paleo/Primal-ites, not to mention food that was mostly compliant with how I have to eat.

Yes, the Freak-who-can’t-eat-wheat did not feel freakish at all at this conference. One of the best things about it was that there were over 200 vendors at the Expo hall, many of them giving out samples of food that I could actually safely eat. In general, this Freak’s relationship with food outside of my home is 1) just avoid, or 2) take a chance if I can reasonably determine the ingredients are probably safe (but most are not), both which involve the feelings of deprivation and/or awkwardness.The most unusual food I sampled at the Expo was crickets made by a company called Aketta. They come in 5 delicious flavors. They were actually tasty. Other unusual offerings were camel milk and pili nuts. But there was also the normal fare like bone broth, coffee with MCT oil, grain-free crackers, and bison jerky. So, this food fest was a definite bonus to what drew me to attend in the first place, which was the awesome line-up of speakers.

Beginning on May 19, there were 6 sessions on Friday, 5 on Saturday, and 4 on Sunday, all with multiple speakers and workshops from which to choose.  Biggies in the Paleo/Primal world were there like Dr. David Perlmutter, Mark Sisson, Dr. Josh Axe, Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser, Dave Asprey, Ben Greenfield, and Sarah Ballantyne.  I made sure I didn’t miss any of those.

Attending those sessions with the above mentioned speakers were definitely awesome, but certain things were highlights. Dr. David Perlmutter was one of them. I am very familiar with his work and was wondering/hoping that I would learn something new; was I ever happily writing down notes as fast as I could; the content was so jam-packed good and new! Here is me with him afterwards looking dorky with my Austin-humidity-is-bad-for-hair look.

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Another highlight was meeting Mark Sisson, author of the greatest blog ever, Mark’s Daily Apple. He is also the creator of the Primal Health Coach course, of which I recently graduated from and am now certified in as a health coach.  He and his staff held a lunch on Saturday for all of his graduates that were at Paleo f(x). It was nice of Mark to coordinate his shirt with mine.

 

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Mark Sisson had a booth at the Expo for his Primal Kitchen, showcasing wonderful new products such as mayonnaise and salad dressings made with healthy oils, and introducing Primal Kitchen, a new restaurant serving only Primal foods. I am looking forward to the one in Culver City opening in a few months.

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Speaking of food, Austin food is great! Here is one meal I enjoyed at Eberly, an amazing restaurant with mouth-watering-gluten-free options.  Menu description: Axis venison, iberico bacon, grilled quail, huckleberry preserve, pickled cabbage, and a side of brussel sprouts and cauliflower with smoked chilis, anchovy, butternut, oil, maple, and balsamic. How Paleo/Primal is that! And also, exquisitely and tantalizingly delicious!

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All that being said, in closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t give you a heads up on something. Mitochondria. Mitochondria is a word I heard mentioned at Paleo f(x) a lot, and one which you will all be undoubtedly hearing a lot of as “they” are discovering more and more about this little cellular organelle and its importance to our health. A whole other post is waiting to be written about this in the near future.

That’s a wrap!

 

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Eggplant Tincture for Skin Cancer

Say what?

Homemade eggplant tincture is something you may want to try if you have been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or a precancerous condition called actinic keratosis. No kidding. I told my dermatologist about this and he asked me for the recipe.  Three months earlier he had wanted to biopsy a spot on my nose that he thought might be squamous cell carcinoma, my poor nose that had previously been carved up due to Moh’s surgery for a basal cell carcinoma in a different area. And he was also concerned about suspect spots on my bottom lip and wanted to biopsy them. I bargained with my dermatologist to give me 3 months to try an alternative treatment. He agreed, and like I mentioned above, he was pleasantly surprised when I came back and he saw that there was no longer anything to biopsy.

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Eggplant tincture is simple and inexpensive to make. It only targets receptors on cancer cells so healthy tissue remains unaffected. Remarkable stuff !!!

Eggplant Tincture Recipe
1 organic purple eggplant chopped,  then placed in a jar
organic apple cider vinegar, enough to cover chopped eggplant
Refrigerate, shake the jar at least one time daily.
Strain off liquid after 5-6 days. Keep the liquid. Store the liquid in a jar in the refrigerator.

How to Use to Treat Cancerous or Precancerous Lesions with Eggplant Tincture
Some people dip a piece of cotton ball into the tincture and adhere it to the lesion with a bandaid.  This can be unsightly so I prefer my method. I have found good results by applying the liquid directly to the lesion at least one time daily, but preferably more frequently so what I often do is set out a small measuring spoon full of it and keep reapplying it throughout the day or evening, whenever it dries and I think of it.

The Big Guns: BEC5 Cream (aka Curaderm)
While the eggplant tincture can be effective, BEC5 cream, aka Curaderm, is stronger, but the mechanism is the same: derivatives from eggplant. It also contains acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) added to help penetrate the tissue. (Question: why would we want to ingest aspirin???) Anyway, I tried the Curaderm on a weird spot on my forearm, and it created quite a large and scary crater, which gradually stopped enlarging and started healing. I watched it carefully for signs of infection, and took heart from this very interesting video that shows one man chronologing the process. (I highly recommend watching this.) At the same time that I started treating my arm, I also tried Curaderm on my bottom lip which had been diagnosed with actinic chelitis (lip precancer) and totally burned the h*ll out of it, so I discontinued treating this delicate area and went to my naturopathic doctor who informed me that the lips only have about 3 layers of skin while the rest of non-mucosal body skin has about 15.  Live and learn!

While I would use Curaderm if necessary again, I think the Eggplant Tincture is the place to start. I highly recommend it. It is so mild and so easy to do. If you try it, you will have to let me know how well it worked for you.

Please note however: this is not a recommended treatment for melanoma, which is often deadly.

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. I recommend that you try Eggplant Tincture only after a diagnosis by a dermatologist, and with his blessing. And of course, if you experience any alarming signs or symptoms, obtain medical treatment.
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The Importance of Sleep

Going to bed and going to sleep every night seems like a very indulgent thing to do, in my mind at least. We change our clothes (or take them off), perhaps shower or bathe, lay down in bed, close our eyes, and check out of life. Every night, for like 7-8 hours for most people. And we get away with it. No one thinks we are lazy, unless we over do it, of course.

Sometimes when I go to bed I feel like an iPhone or iPad that needs recharging, thinking like “here I am in my dock station”.

See below. Not me, but someone else recharging:

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Sleep is very important.

Why:
Scientists are not sure exactly why we need sleep, but it has been well proven that we do. There are at least 4 different theories about why.

However, we do know that major restorative functions take place while we sleep such as tissue repair, the cementing of new memories, the removal of toxic wastes in the brain, the processing and filtering of information, the giving your organs and muscles a break, the releasing and regulation of important hormones such as human growth hormone; insulin; hunger regulating hormones, ghrelin and leptin; and testosterone; as well as much, much more.

Health guru Mark Sisson in his book (which I highly recommend), Primal Blueprintsays, “Chronic sleep deficit may lead to weight gain…negatively affect your mood, concentration, and memory retention” as well as make you “less productive and more irritable, impatient, and moody”. It can “also lead to hypertension, elevated stress hormone levels, irregular heartbeat, compromised immune function, and drastically increased risk for obesity and heart disease”. Umm, who wants any of that?

Causes of Sleep disruption (just to name a few):
Caffeine of course.
Exercising too close to bedtime.
Environment is too hot or too cold.
Stress.
Exposure to too much light after dark and the use of screens, you know, iPhones, iPads, TV’s.
Too much alcohol, or alcohol consumption too close to bedtime.
Also, melatonin production, the sleep hormone, stops if light hits the back of the inside of your eye. When I found this out I started walking to the bathroom with my eyes closed in the middle of the night. It helps me fall back asleep more quickly.

Sleep Tricks:
Experts say the most restorative sleep occurs between the hours of 10pm and midnight, so try to get to bed early.
Deep breathing slowly, like breathing in to the count of 4, then out to the count of 4, helps shift you into the parasympathetic nervous system state, the rest and digest state.  Doing this and counting breaths will help you fall asleep. I have found this very effective. One reason why I think this works is because you can’t think of anything else really as you are counting.
Thinking of 5 things you are grateful for as you are falling asleep. Very cathartic.
Reading fiction.
A comfortable environment: good bed; cool temperature; tidy, uncluttered room; dark.
Consistent early bedtimes.
Shoot for about 8 hours. Some people need a little more or less to feel optimal.
Avoid eating a few hours before bedtime.
Chamomile, Tension Tamer, or Bedtime teas are helpful.

Bottom line:
Get adequate amounts of sleep.  This is a key tenet of healthy living.

In closing:
I like this quote by John Steinbeck that I found in a Prevention magazine article by Sarah Klein, “it is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” How true!

Sleep is such a gift for what Steinbeck said, and many other reasons. I for one am very thankful for sleep. You will find me in my dock station tonight usually between 10 and 10:30pm.

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Find Yourself an Inspirational Word

Mine is STRONG, and I have several variations: just plain “strong”, “finish strong”, and “be strong”, in that order. I identified my word about 2 years ago and have found it very helpful many times.

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(Photo of a strong mountain-Mt. Rainier in Washington)

Inspirational words or phrases are very useful for keeping on track with your goals and true desires.  For instance, if you really want to lose weight, yet are eyeing a donut with thoughts of giving in, your inspirational word could come in handy. Or if a college paper is due and you are having trouble finding the gumption to tackle it. Or if you are at some social event and you just feel lost. Just to name a few.

Fitness expert and naturopathic doctor Jade Teta lists some questions that one could use to identify their life word, what he calls an inspirational totem. He goes on to say that this power word can fill you with inspiration, help keep you on track, and remind you of what is important. It is your anchor to use when you are tired, scared, stressed, lacking direction, when you need inspiration, or when you feel like you are unravelling. I encourage you to click on his link for instructions on how you can identify your inspirational word. It takes a little bit of time and some thought, but it is well worth the effort.

With everything that influences me, I need to have it validated biblically. I am happy to report that the Bible supports the use of STRONG as being important, and well, valid. Several verses come to mind:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”
Ephesians‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“She girds herself with strength And makes her arms strong.”
Proverbs‬ ‭31:17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.”
Proverbs‬ ‭31:25‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Be strong and courageous.”
Joshua 1:6 NASB

All quotations taken from YouVersion bible app.
I love my inspirational word, but there are many other good words to choose from, one that will resonate specifically for you. I am very interested in hearing what word you come up with. Please share!

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Dealing with Breakfast Boredom

It is not hard to find breakfast items for those who eat the normal breakfast fare, but for those who eat more Paleo/Primal due to necessity or preference, breakfast can be a bit more challenging. Here’s a new delicious favorite of mine that you may just want to try, especially for those are wanting to add more vegetables in their breakfast or are tired of eggs or can’t eat them: Turkey Vegetable Scramble.  It does not take long to throw together, and requires only one pan to be washed. Also, scroll down for some other ideas.

Turkey Vegetable Scramble
(Serves 4

1 lb ground turkey
1 bag frozen broccoli florets
1 container sliced mushrooms
1/2 onion chopped (0ptional)
1-2 tablespoons of duck fat (or coconut oil)

First heat the fat or oil in a large skillet adding the broccoli first. Salt and pepper it a little. Cook on medium for a few minutes, then add the turkey and onion.  Salt and pepper a little more with each new addition. Lastly add the mushrooms when the rest is about halfway cooked.

You could probably throw everything in all at once and it would turn out fine, but that wouldn’t seem like much of a recipe.

There are countless variations you can make with this basic idea. For instance, the turkey can be substituted with ground beef, ground lamb, ground bison, ground organ meat, or baby shrimp. As for the vegetables, I have used chopped celery, spinach, chopped cabbage, shredded carrots, minced garlic, and zucchini chopped into bitesized pieces. Remember to add the vegetables that need to cook the longest in first.

Other Non-Egg Breakfast Ideas

Sausage: We buy the big links in the meat case at Whole Foods, throw them in the oven in a 13 X 9 baking dish, and cook for about 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees when we first get up in the morning. They cook while we drink our coffee. Make extra to heat up quickly for the next few days.  Add some fruit like berries, or a leftover vegetable. Husband always like his with a banana.

Bacon: Lay the strips out on a large baking sheet with sides, cook for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees.  Add some fruit or leftover vegetable.

Protein shake: Blend in a blender or with an immersion blender protein powder (I use grass-fed beef bone broth protein isolate), with coconut milk (canned) or almond milk, frozen berries, and a big handful of greens like arugula, spinach, kale, or mixed green lettuce. You can also add a number of other things like chia and/or ground flaxseeds, avocado, a little banana, almond butter, etc.

Deli turkey with avocado and/or fruit

Bone Broth: Don’t laugh. One to two cups of this makes an excellent breakfast just by itself.  It is very nourishing and easy to digest.

Homemade beef jerky: I have not yet made my own, but one of my brother-in-law’s made some for me, and I have had fine, quick breakfasts with beef jerky and some berries. Or you could substitute the jerky for an EPIC bar or Paleo Stick.

Leftovers: Salad with some meat like steak cut into bite sizes is one of my sisters favorites. One doesn’t normally think of salad for breakfast, but on days that I have time to chew it is pretty satisfying. Then of course, any other leftover you have can definitely be option.

Egg dishes: From omelets to hard-boiled eggs to scrambled to egg muffin cups, eggs can be delicious and made in a huge variety of ways, so they definitely deserve a mention, however, I wanted the emphasis in this post to be breakfasts-other-than-eggs.

And finally, for an occasional treat:
Paleo pancakes-There are many recipes out there you can google
Paleo bread spread with a nut butter

Breakfast doesn’t have to be boring.  We just need to think outside the box a little. I gladly welcome any additional ideas you might have.

 

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Move More With Music

Who can sit still to Runaround Sue by Dion? I dare you. Seriously, try it.

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They are saying lately that sitting is the new smoking, meaning that being sedentary can be as detrimental to your health as smoking.  Whether or not that is true, one thing is true, moving more and sitting less is definitely a healthier choice.

We need to move more. But how?  It behooves us to find some ways that we enjoy and then work it into our lives.  One thing I recently discovered is Tabata, which I recently wrote about; another is moving to music.  This can take various forms, like the obvious, dancing; or rebounding on a mini-trampoline, or something more creative and unconventional like moving across the room in a variety of ways, such as skipping, bunny hopping, sashaying, etc. Enjoyable music with a good beat is key to me.

I subscribe to Pandora.  Johnny Rivers playlist is my favorite.  It features a lot of great dancing songs like the one above.  Other times I deviate and just go straight to YouTube and pick a song I know has a good beat.

Here are a few of my YouTube favorites that come to mind:
Kryptonite by Three Doors Down
Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees
Human Wheels by John Cougar Mellancamp
Beat It by Michael Jackson
Wild Night by Van Morrison
Easy Lover by Phil Collins and Philip Bailey
Ain’t Too Proud to Beg by The Temptations

One easy workout routine using music that I invented is called the Fab4.  I dance to 4 songs and within those 4 songs I do 4 exercises that work different larger muscle groups: jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, and sit-ups.  You can do 15-25 of each one time, or all of them with each song, depending on your energy and/or fitness level.  I recommend the latter, but hey, the other will get you off the couch too.

Another way music causes me to move more is that it energizes me.  Back in the early days when we were first married we always put on “workin’ music” while we cleaned our apartment every Saturday.  I still put on workin’ music when I really need to conquer some housework.  Even on normal days I often have music playing, and I have noticed I just move more when I do. Like I am swaying to the beat while I am chopping celery, or sashaying down the hall with a load of laundry. Or, if Runaround Sue comes on I just have to stop what I am doing and dance it out.

Ahhhh, magical music.  I love it!

I would enjoy hearing some of your favorite dancing songs, or favorite ways to move more.

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Tabata-My New Favorite Way to Exercise

It can take ten minutes or less. Most of us can find 10 minutes on most days, right?

Tabata is a high intensity workout that was developed from a study in 1996 designed by, and named after, Professor Izumi Tabata in Japan.  It involves intense full body exercise for 20 seconds, then 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.  So if you add in a few minutes of warm up and cool down, both of which are highly recommended, you end up at about 10 minutes. One study showed better results of those doing Tabata for 4 minutes 4 times a week than the group that exercised 5 times a week on a stationary bike for 1 hour.   I’m in!!!

HOW TO DO TABATA

Warm up: I like to start off by moving my body around to one song on Pandora, usually Johnny Rivers station playlist.

Then I access the free Tabata timer app that I downloaded to my iPhone and iPad. This tells you when to do the 20 seconds of high intensity exercise and when to rest for 10 seconds.

Actual Tabata: It goes something like this:

20 seconds rapid squats, 10 seconds rest

20 seconds push-ups, 10 seconds rest

20 seconds jumping jacks, 10 seconds rest

20 seconds burpees, 10 seconds rest

REPEAT

Cool down: Do slow movements and stretches to another song on Pandora. Done!

Simple and quick.  That’s my kind of exercise.  In addition, it provides both an aerobic and anaerobic workout that is great for improving endurance, stamina, and fat-burning, it protects/builds muscle tissue, and improves glucose metabolism. Here is a great link with video demonstrations and more information: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ask-the-ripped-dude-what-the-heck-is-tabata-training.html.

It is recommended that you perform Tabata 1-3 times a week, with rest days in between. Let me know what you think after you try it!

OTHER FAVORITE EXERCISE IDEAS

I also like exercising on my mini-trampoline or rebounder. It is particularly good for draining the lymphatic system and increasing bone mass. It is also easy on the joints and good for stress reduction. Did I say fun too?

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And…

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There are these nifty decks of cards called Fitdecks that are a wonderful resource for ideas of different kinds of exercises that you can perform. They were developed by Navy Seal trained Phil Black. The two above are specific for exercises using only your own body weight and for children, respectively. There are a number of other versions, such as yoga and kettlebell workouts.

The big takeaway here is find something you enjoy doing to move your body more, and then do it. I hope this blog inspires you to be more active. Your body will be happier for it.

Of course I advise that you check with your doctor beforehand if you have any concerns before starting any new exercises, and you need to build up gradually if you are not accustomed to exercising. Happy moving more.

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