Wow wow wow! It is our 5 year anniversary or living a Paleo lifestyle. I’m happy to report that Paleo principles work and I truly feel better than I ever have. I feel stronger, healthier and more alive than I did 10 years ago. I even look younger now than I did in 10 yr old photos. It is so crazy the changes that clean eating and living can make. Rene and I have come a long way in the past 5 years.Things that are just a normal part of our daily routine, I would have scoffed at and poked fun at before.When I look at fond Facebook memories from 6-10 years ago, I see a clueless ball of inflammation having an absolute blast eating deep fried Mac and cheese bites washed down by a flight of craft beer.We originally started our Paleo journey when Rene was diagnosed with MS in 2013.I am ecstatic to report that she has been largely symptom free and 100% prescription drug free ever since following the Wahls Protocol. For me, I have been extremely busy between real estate, photography and amateur bio-hacking.So…. the blog has been dormant for far too long.For the rest of 2018, we are making an effort to help others out with their health and wellness journeys.We will be looking back over the past 5 years and writing about what has worked, what we have learned and what we can’t live without.Also fun will be to explore the products and protocols that didn’t make it into our routines.
Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to “The Weirds”.We will be delving into topics like dry skin brushing, PEMF therapy, muscle testing, organ meats, Bulletproof Coffee, detoxing your home, charcoal tooth powder, gong baths, earthing, sleep, meditation, podcasts/ resources, EMF testing, structured water, deodorant, squatty potty, skin care, cupping, traveling, cold therapy, myofacial release, toe spacers, bentonite clay, electro muscular stimulation, oil pulling, digital detox, red light therapy, water filtration, the Human Charger, meal prep tools, favorite foods/ snacks, supplements and tons of other stuff!
I’ve mentioned previously that we don’t go out to eat all that often anymore. It’s difficult to find restaurants with gluten free, paleo options that we trust. This weekend, though, we had an amazing dining experience at RPM Steak right here in Chicago. Winner, winner, grass fed meat dinner!
RPM Steak has been quite the hot spot since it opened last year. Co owners Bill and Guiliana Rancic have created a beautiful dining venue in the heart of River North that is attracting foodies, celebrities and even President Obama who dined there last October. If you want to get a table on a weekend, you can expect to wait months for a reservation. On a whim, I searched on open table Saturday afternoon. An 8:30pm table for 2 popped up – WHAT?! Before I knew it, we were dressed in our finest impromptu date night attire and an uber taxi was whisking us up Dearborn.
The restaurant itself is beautiful. It’s has an open concept, but the darker colors and wood tones keep it comfortable, yet swanky. If you’ve been to RPM Italian, it’s almost the inverse of their bright white, but just as sleek. They were running slightly behind, so we headed to the four-sided open bar. There are booths that flank three sides and people sitting and standing about 2 rows deep all around the bar. It was crowded, but does that matter when you’re there to be IN the scene? I didn’t think so. We ordered a glass each of the Sonoma County, CA Complicated Chardonnay to start. The bar area started to thin out a tiny bit when our table was ready around 9pm.
We sat down and were presented with the gluten free menus (which I requested in the reservation). There is really not that much difference with the regular menu as their gluten free menu is huge and impressive. We were then greeted by our AMAZING server, Chrissy (or Krissy? sorry!) who told us she is Celiac and we can rest assured that they take gluten free seriously. Chrissy then sent over one of their five sommeliers to help us navigate the extremely extensive wine list. Once that order of business was complete, we turned our attention back to the dinner menu. We decided on:
Oysters: Sourced from the west coast – you get 6 for $18. These were some of the best oysters I’ve had. They come topped with a very light sort of ceviche relish that included jalapeno, cucumber, lemon and lime juice. I would go back and just order these with a glass of champs!
Thick cut bacon: Chrissy told us this dish is life changing and she was right. It had a nice sweet maple glaze and in a way, it reminded me of french toast – it was that thick!
20 oz. Grass Fed Bone in Ribeye (sourced from Slagel Farms): Even though there is a bone in it, this steak is HUGE! I thought Chuck would definitely be bringing some home, but he powered through and ate the whole thing. I had a bite and it was seasoned perfectly and very juicy. He also ordered the butter and bone marrow sauce to complement it.
8 oz. Grass Fed Bison Filet (sourced from High Plains): I expect bison to be leaner than other meats and it was, but was still full of flavor and tender. This was a generous, thick cut portion and as much as I wanted to finish it, I did have to give Chuck my last few bites (which he ate on top of his 20 oz. without a problem 🙂 )
Hen of the Woods Mushrooms: You don’t often see these on a menu and they are Chuck’s favorite mushroom, so we had to get them. They had a delicious woody flavor, as you’d expect, and were just divine. The serving dish didn’t move far from Chuck’s setting and I had to strategically grab some while he was busy chewing.
Roasted Cauliflower: Sounds boring, but it’s one of our staple, cruciferous vegetables. This was like no cauli I’ve had before. The roasted florets were very soft and came in a very light tomato type of sauce with lime. Sounds odd, but it worked really well.
RPM Steak hit it out of the park for us on all counts: food (with bonafide paleo options), service and ambience. It is also a bonus that it is part of the Lettuce Entertain You group of restaurants. We had some gift cards that we were able to use which softens the blow when the check comes. It is spendy, but it is worth checking out. Don’t forget to request Chrissy as your server – she is the best! Thank you RPM Steak for an awesome date night!
Those of you that know me know I’m a sucker for celebrity gossip. To Chuck’s dismay, I love shows like The Real Housewives and The Bachelor. I like to catch up on my Hollywood friends by perusing entertainment sites online during my daily train commutes. Today, I came across an article from Harley Pasternak: Is It Good to Go Gluten Free? http://greatideas.people.com/2014/05/28/gluten-free-diet-harley-pasternak/
I’ve got to say that this article totally pissed me off. Now, I get it…it’s a short blurb of an article and it’s probably not meant to elicit thought-provoking, intellectual scientific discussion. I’m sure they’ve got to keep things fairly superficial for our small, entertainment focused minds. There’s my problem. You don’t introduce a topic that is both controversial and important like this one, fill it with mis-information and then end it with a flimsy sentence saying: “But before we throw money after potentially unnecessary gluten-free alternatives, let’s let the scientific community investigate further!”
I want my fellow celebrity stalkers to know this is not good advice!! Don’t wait for that – there is a ton of information out there already. There are so many things I disagree with in this short, shallow article. But, I’ll just cut to the chase. One sentence in the article said: “Researchers found that the subjects reported worsening of their symptoms with all of the diets, including the gluten-free diets.” You can’t eat gluten one day and then not eat it the next day expecting symptoms to go away. You also have to address other items that can be working against you (toxins, sleep patterns and a host of others that are topics for another blog). The best way to test for gluten (or any other food sensitivity) is through an elimination diet. You have to eliminate the food from your diet COMPLETELY for at least 30 days (many people do longer) and then re-introduce it again to see if it causes any symptoms. I would highly recommend cutting out gluten and never re-introducing it, though, as I believe it is the worst. Why? Keep reading for my references…..I just have a few more quick thoughts to get off my chest first!
I’m not a doctor or the world’s most prominent gluten expert, but Harley isn’t either. I don’t have a famous television show to carry my message, but I do have this blog and I do have first-hand experience. I think it would be awesome if everyone gave up gluten (and a host of other terrible foods) and went Paleo. The results for me have been nothing short of exceptional. Yes, I had a compelling reason to try it out. But, many others (some of whom we’ve featured on this blog) have done it and haven’t looked back because the change in the way you feel is so great! Do I expect that everyone will live this way – no. Do I hate my friends that eat gluten – of course not. Do I want you to stop reading People magazine? Don’t be silly. Do I hope you try it out and get educated on the topic from some place other than entertainment mags? Totes Magotes!!
Expo areas at conferences are the best way to accumulate a ton of useless swag that ends up in a landfill shortly after you get home. The expo at Paleo f(x) actually exceeded my expectations. The vendor area was full of mom & pop type vendors with some great Paleo friendly products. Paleo is still on the fringe, so it is still untainted by large corporations. Vendors were generous with their samples and it was all useable stuff. The vendor area was flanked by a cooking demo stage and two open stages for sessions. The middle of the room was the action area where you could learn to dead lift properly or even flip a tractor tire end over end. Our very favorite vendor was Kosmic Kombucha. These guys are awesome! I’ve tried to home brew my own booch quite unsuccessfully over the past few months. Kosmic definitely has the process down. Their kombucha has nice effervescence, organic ingredients and tasty flavor combos. I found myself buying a bottle every time we were out and about in Austin. Mint Julep, with organic white grape juice, fresh squeezed orange and lemon juices and fresh mint, is the stuff! What’s not to love? Well, the fact that I can’t buy it in Chicago. They are local to Austin, but maybe we can work on a distribution partnership in the future?? Seriously great booch with passionate owners that love what they do. It’s just another reason to visit Austin again. Ok, I’m done gushing.
Our next favorite, because it’s such an innovative product, was the Exo cricket flour booth. There are a whopping 40 nutrient dense crickets per bar. It’s only gross if you think about it. When I was a kid, we always had crickets in the basement and they freaked me out. I had no idea that they were snacks! Anyway, the bar we tried had a nice deep chocolate flavor but nary a crunch or a creak. The gross out factor is actually pretty fun. I’d be interested in buying some of the raw flour to cook with, but they aren’t selling it separately… yet.
Ever hear of pili nuts? Me either. So, Pili’s are grown in the Philipines. They are nutrient rich from the volcanic soil and super delicious. It’s kind of a mix between a macadamia and a cashew with buttery smoothness. The Amazon of Paleo goods and Pili nuts is Barefoot Provisions. They literally had half a ton of great food samples to try, but the Pili nuts were the standout. They are an exclusive distributor for many of their products and focus on Paleo foods. I’m going to order a few bags of Pilis as soon as I wrap up this blog.
Epic Bar has been one of my favorites since they came out last year. I actually rode my bike 40 miles just to stock up on Epics. They had a great booth and there was always a crowd gathered to check out their innovative meat bars. It’s kind of like jerky, but much easier on the jaw. They have bison, beef, turkey and lamb bars. I had an issue with a bar a couple months ago and spoke with Sarah about it. She promptly replaced the bar and told me how they had remedied some quality control issues. I’m a happy camper. They stand behind their bars and are passionate about it… very respectable.
This vendor just puts a smile on my face… Primal Pit Paste. They included a sample in our registration packs, but I went to the booth and bought some. I eliminated the typical antiperspirant with aluminum last year, but had yet to find a good replacement. Well, the triple P is it. Organic ingredients and no aluminum. I got the kind that you scoop out and rub in your pits all monkey like. Rene got the more civilized stick applicator. They use arrowroot powder and baking soda as drying agents, which my shirts appreciate. So far, so good!
Where would we be without The Dirt? More Paleo personal care products for us to enjoy. They say “100% Natural and 200% Kick Ass”. We got a couple samples of the tooth powder in our registration pack and tried the samples right away. It’s a very different brushing experience compared to your regular toothpaste. You run your toothbrush head through the water and then dip the tip into the powder. It leaves a clean taste in your mouth and smooth teeth, but looks like dirty water when you spit it into the sink. I guess that’s the point. Chemical free and gluten free.
Nick was generous with his sticks. Nick is a salt of the earth cattle farmer from Iowa. Take as many as you want, he said. And I did. Nick’s Sticks are delicious. Good job, Nick. I think The spicy versions of the free range turkey and grass fed beef were my favorite. I took a pack for the road and it got me through an afternoon hunger attack. I’ll buy these when I see em!
The Granilla Bar was another fave. The guy, Kevin, was asked to fill a booth space just a few weeks before the conference. They had to borrow a kitchen and were able to crank out enough bars to satisfy the crowds. The story is good. His wife, Denise, developed the Paleo granola snack recipe as a healthy snack for the kids. The bars are even better than the story. The Maple Fruit Bar was my favorite… moist, crunchy and mapley. One of the buyers for Whole Foods stopped by the Granilla booth and was interested, so they may really have to step up that production!
We had to wash all the great food samples down with something. I almost walked by this booth, but who can say no to free beer?? Gluten free beer hasn’t ever been my beverage of choice. I used to be a huge beer fan with a very discerning taste for microbrews. The GF beers just have a funk that I don’t care for, so I’ve been opting for hard ciders or red wine instead. Omission Beer has really changed my mind and pleased my taste buds. They have a legit IPA and a really good pale ale. Cheers guys!!
Today, I was really noticing the vast array of attendees at Paleo f(x). There are people with auto-immune diseases like Celiac, Hashimotos and MS, to peak performance athletes that are competing in triathalons and Spartan challenges, people with weight issues and others that just want to learn more about the Paleo lifestyle. There were medical doctors and natural doctors sitting on the same panels for frank discussions on the heath of our nation and how to talk to your physician effectively. Everyone seems to be here for a common purpose… to improve their minds, improve their bodies and help others do the same. It is a strong community of like minded people gathered together to become better versions of themselves. I was expecting Paleo f(x) to be a conference about food preparation and exercise, but this is so much more. Topics encompass everything from nutrition to healthcare to addiction to sexuality to poop. We have only made it to one cooking demo (thanks Marla, it was great!). The rest of the day was spent gathering a-ha moments and processing all of this new information.
Ask The Paleo Experts Master Mind – panel – (Dr. Terry Wahls, Kirk Parsley, M.D., Chris Kresser, Dallas Hartwig, Nora Gedgaudas)
This was just an open session where attendees could ask the experts any questions.
The first question was a lady asking why she has lost 40 lbs and her breasts stayed the same size. I suppose this could be a problem, I’m not sure. Anyway, she has been confused by it because diets from her past made her breasts smaller before anything else. The consensus from the panel was a post menopause hormonal issue. Makes sense to me.
AIP (Auto-immune Paleo) – question for Chris Kresser – His version of AIP doesn’t eliminate seeds and nuts. Why not? He sees more issues with nightshades and eggs and not really any problems with digestion of seeds and nuts.
One audience member isn’t losing fat around the gut – most likely high cortisol. Premebeability in the gut leading to inflammation. Undiagnosed food sensitivity issues. Strength and interval training will help rebuild hormone levels, but only of sleeping well.
Other random tidbits and thoughts that you can Google:
-After exposure to gluten, you can produce antibodies for 3 months
-Asthma is autoimmune. Correlation between the gut and asthma. Google Kresser and histamine.
-One of the best mood stabilizers for teens is to get good sleep. 80% of teens lack sleep and their circadian rhythms are off. (This is why kids be craaazy)
-Issues digesting kombucha and fermented foods? Possible cause is disbiotic flora in the gut. A test for SIBO was recommended.
-No immune reactivity to camel milk because it is so close to human milk (anybody have a camel?)
US Healthcare: In Crisis or Chaos? – panel – (Robb Wolf, Dr. Grayson Wheatley, Julie and Charles Mayfield, Dr. Richard Maurer, Darryl Edwards)
We all know the answer to this… our system is pretty f’d up. Think of yourself as your own healthcare system be proactive with your own health and wellness.
One panelist had a nice analogy with health insurance and car insurance analogy – you don’t expect your car insurance to pay for oil changes, fixing dings and car washes. If they did, the cost of insurance would be huge. Why do we expect our insurance companies to pay for everything?
Darryl Edwards… Doctor, author and Paleo athlete. On this trip from the UK for Paleo f(x), he got cut above his eye and needed stitches. He got first hand experience of our dis functional healthcare system. It’s not good, people. It would have been cheaper for him to fly back to the Uk first class and have an ambulance pick him up at the airport.
Personal Paleo Meatloaf Cooking Demo – Marla Sarris
Author of Pigskin Paleo, fellow member of the Chicago Paleo Meet-up and creator of Paleo Porn. Marla rocks!
She made some personal meatloaves shaped like little footballs – brussels sprouts, leeks, pork. Mmmmmm mmmm. I can’t wait to try these out at home. Marla made some good points about not needing fancy tools or kitchen gadgets to make good food. Keep it simple and minimal. Good stuff.
Paleo and Addiction – Panel – (Karly Randolph Pitman, Kaila Prins, Susan McCauley,Amy Kubal, Dr. Nicole Avena)
-Symptoms of addiction – Perfectionist, over exerciser, perfect food, prefect body, control
-One panelist is grateful for her addiction (drugs and alcohol) – without the addiction and hitting bottom, she wouldn’t be where she is today
-Root causes of addiction – born this way, root was there and there is a genetic component to it.
-Whatever the type of addiction, if there is a genetic disposition to it, it doesn’t mean that addiction is a destiny
-There is a vulnerability, tenderness and sensitivity with addicts that makes addictive substances much more powerful for them
How do you know if you are addicted vs a healthy habit?
-When your life is being disrupted by your behaviors, then it is time to seek some professional help.
-An addiction never brings what you are seeking no matter how much you do it. Never satiates or brings satiation
-Once you start and you can’t stop it
How do you know when you start to recover?
-Stimulus taken away
-You are able to nourish your body and mind and do things in a healthy way
What do you tell someone that you see struggling?
-It is ok to stop and life is better on the other side
-You are recovering what you lost
Using Paleo as a path to recovery
-In typically recovery programs, nutrition is not addressed (pills are)
-Food addiction is the last addiction
Last thoughts… Paleo is healing and hugs are Paleo
Navigating Your Non-Paleo Physician (What’s Up Doc?) – panel (Dr. Lauren Vigna, Dr. Michael Ruscio, Dr. Richard Maurer,Dr. Daniel Kalish, Dr. Rick Henriksen)
-Most MD’s have only had 2 weeks of nutritional training in 4 year of school
-Why is a Dr qualified to give dietary advice?
-Lack of education and its easier to write out a prescription and say to work on diet and exercise. They want to give good advice, but haven’t had the success. If the patients are on the insurance model and prefer the easy fix of a pill.
-You are your own best health advocate
How do we get over white coat and use dr as a consultant?
-Choose the provider with the skills for what you need. You may need several providers for whole health care.
-You can get all the information and do your research and then find a Dr that you trust to guide you through the steps.
-If you are talking to a Western trained MD, you need to communicate in the same language. Saying “leaky gut” may shut that Dr out. Drs went into the field to help people and genuinely want to help out. There is a give and take between the Dr and patient.
-Find someone that is fully trained and has 3-5 years in practice, it might be worth it to travel.
Where can you find a natural doctor? What questions can you ask a non Paleo physician to see if they would be good to work with?
-What do they do for fitness and what do they eat?
-Check out the cross fit gyms and ask the gym owners if there are any family doctors that workout there.
-Most likely Dr’s you find won’t be following Paleo, but they should know about it.
What do you do if your Dr wants to put you on an unnecessary medication?
-Have object measures so you and your physician can measure results and analyze them. Open to using the drug if the diet/ exercise program isn’t effective.
-Ask if there is anything that will be harmed if you don’t take the medication right away
-Tell your doctor that you don’t what to take a medication… and ask their thoughts
-Work together with the Dr and try to collaborate on the solution. They will be more open to alternatives.
-The right test and the wrong Dr = failure
-Natural Doctor is outside the insurance network and will spend significant time with you as a consultant
Are you Paleo Sexual? – Christopher Ryan
I had no idea what to expect from this session, but I knew I had to go. This ended up being one of my favorite sessions of the day. Christopher Ryan had an insightful and hilarious presentation about how we developed sexually. The opening quote is one of my favorites, “A fig leaf can hide many things, but an erection isn’t one of them” 🙂
We went into the social life and sexuality of the Bonobo. If I’m ever reborn as an animal, a Bonobo would be a great choice. I got to meet Christopher at the end of the conference. He is a really great guy and my kindred Bonobo brother. I’m looking forward to reading his book, “Sex at Dawn“, on the flight back to Chicago.
Other interesting facts:
-Human beings have sex around 1000 times per birth – sex isn’t about reproduction
-We are one of few species that have sex when the female is not able to conceive
-Female copulatory vocalization – more likely in species that are promiscuous.
So much new information and another huge day tomorrow!
This is a guest blog from our friend, Annie S. It is a very inspiring read. Thanks Annie for your wonderful contribution!
In January 2011, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I didn’t really ever catch colds or flu or anything, but dealt with the following symptoms on a daily basis: brain fog, tiredness, joint pain, allergies, headaches, and backaches. At this time I was very overweight – classified as morbidly obese. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism in the mid 1990’s and attributed all these symptoms to my thyroid problems. I had tried numerous diets and exercise and just never got anywhere. I begged my doctor to run some additional thyroid tests and found out the medicing I was taking (T4 only) was not enough and I needed to take some additional T3 medicine. I also found out my thyroid antibodies were high which meant I had Hashimoto’s Disease (Autoimmune Thyroiditis). This was the first time this test had ever been done and my antibody count was 118 (normal is less than 34).
I remember getting a phone call from my local compounding pharmacist regarding the thyroid antibodies and they suggested that I eat a gluten free diet. I remember hanging up the phone and laughing to myself and shaking my head thinking there is NO WAY I would be able to change. I did some of my own internet research at that time and found there had been numerous people that were able to get their thyroid issues in check by eating a gluten free diet. I decided to give it a try. At first I probably only made it a couple of weeks before I would willingly cheat on something gluten filled. I noticed whenever I cheated, I would feel extremely bloated and I wasn’t able to breathe through my nose. In Aug 2011, I had new thyroid labs drawn and my antibodies were down to 98. At that time, I decided I needed to fully endorse a gluten free diet. By Nov 2011, my antibodies were down to 55. There is no doubt in my mind this was attributed to the gluten free diet. I continued on the gluten free path until May 2012 (weight loss still about 20lbs) when I started seeing a new doctor who I was hoping would have some magic answers that would cure my Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
My new doctor ran some additional tests and found my fasting insulin was 34 – he said normal was less than 9 and preferably 6. He suggested that I eat a Paleo diet in order to control the insulin issues. It took me awhile (a little over a year) to really give it a try. During that year, I would go through spurts of eating paleo for a week or so and then have some cheat meals every now and then. I added in a kickboxing class and managed to drop the fasting insulin level to 10.4 and thyroid antibodies to 32. I was so stoked that I was normal in the antibody range. The problem was that with all this working out, I had only managed to lose 15lbs in 7 months. I realize I should be thankful for any weight loss, but I was working hard and not seeing the results I thought I should be seeing. I was also experiencing a lot of moodiness, agitation, and frustration with everything that life handed me. I felt like I was unable to cope with minor things that would come my way. In August 2013, a friend of mine told me about a book she read called “It Starts With Food”. I read the book and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the science of how important food (nutrition) can be when dealing with a variety of illnesses. At that time, I made up my mind I would start the plan (eating paleo) the day after Labor Day.
Since I have started eating a paleo diet, I have seen many positive improvements. Most importantly for me was the change in my mood. I no longer feel agitated and frustrated. I also got rid of the consistent bloat. My joint pain and allergies had pretty much gone away by eating gluten free, but I did notice slight improvements in those areas as well. I have more energy and feel more focused on projects at work and in my personal life. I have also noticed that when I do get hungry, it isn’t an overwhelming feeling of “I have to eat now or I’m gonna hurt people”. No empty pit in my stomach, just a feeling of “Hey – you should probably eat something”. Another wonderful side effect was losing 22 pounds in 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, I did reintroduce some foods so I would know how my body reacts to certain things like dairy and legumes. During the reintroduction phase, I found that my taste buds had actually changed and some foods actually tasted too sweet. (Words I NEVER thought would come out of my mouth). I also found that some foods make me feel not so good.
I do plan on sticking with the paleo lifestyle as much as I can. I know eating this way is what makes me feel my best. However, if I’m honest with myself I know I won’t be 100% paleo 100% of the time, but I am positive I can be 100% paleo 90% of the time. I also know how some foods make me feel and I know there are some things I never care to eat again because they make me feel so badly. I love having that knowledge.
My advice to everyone is that if you have any random symptom, pain, or illness you owe yourself 30 days of clean healthy paleo eating. It may be a little difficult at first, but it is worth it. YOU are worth it! I honestly had no clue how awful I must have felt until I started feeling amazing and everyone deserves to feel amazing! Please know that you do have control over your situation. You don’t always have to suffer with joint pain, bloat, tiredness, migraines, or irritability. Many times the food we put in our mouth is causing those very problems. Nutrition is a very powerful tool and when you eat the foods your body is designed to consume, your body will thank you.