Dispenser Hack – Bulletproof Brain Octane

Brain Octane - Bulletproof

Hack is a strong word for this, but it sounded cool. It’s actually just an improvement. I’ll spare you from the build-up and history, but it is below if you would like to read on…

The annoying problem with the 32 oz bottles of Bulletproof Brain Octane is the drip that comes down the side and makes a mess on the counter. I contacted Bulletproof to see if they sold a better dispenser bottle or a pump, but no luck. I searched far and wide to find a solution to my oily counter. Amazon to the rescue! The best option I found was a small pump that actually screwed perfectly onto the top of the bottle. Perhaps the bottles are made by the same manufacturer? Also, the serving size for Brain Octane is 1 teaspoon. What luck! This pump dispenses exactly one teaspoon and is only $4.98! The odd thing, it is a dispenser pump for bottles of Liquid Glucosamine… for dogs. Here is a link. Canine connection aside, my only question is if the pump is BPA free like the Brain Octane bottle. It works beautifully, though. Hopefully I can get the BPA question answered, but, until then, my counter is drip free! Hey Dave – let’s sell some pumps!

We first tried Brain Octane in Austin Texas at Paleo f(x) 2015. Dave Asprey gave a great talk, so we stopped by the Bulletproof booth in the vendor fair to chat. Great guy, great info and very passionate about his Bulletproof products. We had been making our own version of Bulletproof coffee at home with regular coconut oil and (sometimes) grassfed butter. Delicious and gives you a nice brain jumpstart for the day. At Pf(x), we learned about medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT) and how it is more effective than just coconut oil. We tried Brain Octane and really noticed a difference in alertness and sharpness. No downside to it, except the price! You can read about Brain Octane here… http://www.bulletproofexec.com/bulletproof-upgraded-brain-octane/.  Back to work!


Holiday Wrap Up

Despite contrary sentiments I noticed on Facebook, I was quite sad to see the end of 2014.  For us it was a great year – one of strength, stability, growth and success.  Perhaps most importantly, we felt healthy and strong, committed and comfortable with our paleo lifestyle.  On the flip side, we’re looking forward to carrying this into 2015 and making this year just as great.

The holidays were the perfect time for us to unwind, relax and hang out with family and friends.  There’s not much that can compete with sleeping in, mom’s (paleo) cookies and dad’s fresh squeezed oj 🙂  Did we keep it paleo through all the parties and travel? Duh, totes. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite things and what we ate.

Santa knows us pretty well.  These are a few of the awesome gifts we think you should know about:

  • Mala Beads: These are beautiful, handcrafted pieces.  I got the Strengthening Agate Mala for its ability to ground and balance emotion as well as its healing properties
  • Mascara: This is my go to mascara that is gluten free
  • Salad Spinner: This has saved me loads of time in the lettuce washing department
  • Cast Iron Skillet: We’ve literally used this every day since we got it
  • Smart Wool Socks: Amazing, comfortable and feet don’t get sweaty or cold.  We also love the Defeet brand.

As for food, we don’t travel light.  We ordered groceries ahead of time from www.doortodoororganics.com and www.freshpicks.com.  We packed the car with the food, a box of our spices and even a crockpot.  Here’s what we feasted on:

  • Christmas Eve: Paleo Chili from Against All Grain cookbook.
  • Christmas Day: Eggs*, Bacon, Avocado and Fed and Fit’s Blueberry Scones.*  Grass Fed Pot Roast, Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies and Paleo Pumpkin Pie.  For the pie, I used this crust and this filling.
  • The next 2 days were spent in Peoria, where we ate leftover scones, more avocados, salads and veggies. We also had a new pot of Chili and some Grass Fed Italian Beef (Thanks Dave!)  We went out to eat one night where we ordered burgers with no buns and a side salad.  Chuck also finished off the rest of our cookies on the drive down when I fell asleep!  We had some backup larabars, renola and almond butter if we needed it.

*I have a sensitivity to eggs so I don’t eat them.  My accommodating mom made the scones by substituting one banana for the egg and they turned out amazing!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday as well.  Happy New Year!!

New Years Day

New Years Day Selfie at the University Club of Chicago


Do Celebrities Eat Gluten?

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!! 

Here are some of my celebrities that I follow specifically addressing the topic of Gluten:
http://www.thepaleomom.com/2011/11/why-grains-are-bad.html  (by the way, she IS a scientist!)

Of course, check out anything having to do with my personal hero, Dr. Terry Wahls:

PFX14 – Day Three – It’s a Wrap

Think Tank: Catalyst for Change – (Robb Wolf, Abel James, Roger Dickerman, Dr. Shilpi Bhadra Mehta, Diana Rogers)

This was a great gathering of Paleo experts, especially Robb Wolf. Basically, this session was an open discussion with audience input on how we can get the word out about Paleo lifestyle.  

As individuals, we send out a message and it resonates with people – need lots of different voices and takes on Paleo to grow it.  There is a group of people that will want to hear your message and your story.  Your personal story is what will give you credibility and get people interested. You don’t have to write a NY Times best seller, anything effort no matter how small helps.  That gives me hope for this humble blog 🙂

The Silent Autoimmunity Explosion – (Nora Gedgaudas)

There were so many great stats and points in this session that I was having a hard time keeping up.  We had the opportunity to meet with Nora for a book signing of Primal Body, Primal Mind.  She is true authority on auto-immune.  Auto-immune is the single biggest epidemic in the world today and we aren’t hearing anything about it.  The body Immune system can’t distinguish from self and non-self, so it attacks itself.  Auto-immune issues used to be very rare and now it is common. 1 in 12 women and 1 in 24 men are estimated to have an autoimmune disease. Health care providers aren’t aware and it may be a bigger problem than cancer and heart disease combined.  Why don’t we hear more about this? There is a disconnect between the field of medicine and the field of immunology. Everyone is at risk of developing an autoimmunity in their lifetime. That is really scary!

Why is this happening now? There are a significant amount of grains in our diet, we have an industrialized food supply full of dietary anogens (gluten, casein), depleted soils, GMO, antibiotics, vaccines, contamination, increasing toxic additives to foods, exposure to heavy metals. Other causes – refined table salt, chronic EMF exposure, fluoride exposure, blood sugar surges, infections, haptens. 

The thing we can control is our diet… that is where Paleo comes in. Addressing leaky gut is critical. Once the gut healed, it is not ok to go back to the previous diet. Keep gluten intake at zero, avoid table salt, eat a healthy fat based ketogenic diet, use an air purifier. #1 Glutathione destroyers, 1) Alcohol and 2) Acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Nora has a new book coming out soon and a Primal Restoration Series e book as well.

Genes Aren’t Destiny (but they do matter) – (Dr Helen Messier and Dallas Hartwing)

How do you know that you are healthy? More than a collection of “good numbers” for HDL, LDL, body weight, BMI, BP, fasting blood sugar, body fat percentage. These numbers can give a false sense of security that we are truly healthy.

Optimal health is a state without limitations on out physical, emotional abilities

Up until disintegration and death, it is all reversible. Our tendency it to just paint the yellow leaves green, we forget about the trunk and the roots and the soil that feeds the roots.  Not all trees thrive in the same environment. To optimize our health, we need to live in harmony with our genetic heritage and recognize underlying clinical imbalances.

I’m very sad to say, that Paleo f(x) 2014 Austin is over.  I was very memorable and the chance to talk directly to Dr Wahls and Nora Gedgaudas was woth the price of admission. We stayed all the way through the last word of the closing remarks and still didn’t want to leave our new Paleo friends.  The good news is that we don’t have to wait another whole year for PFX.  There will be a Paleo f(x) conference in Denver from October 10-12, 2014. I hope to see you there! Woohoo!

Stay tuned for our Expo write up and see who our favorite Paleo vendors are!

PFX14 Closing Remarks

PFX14 Day One – A Paleo Neophyte in Austin

I lead a fairly strict Paleo lifestyle and consider myself to be knowledgeable about the food and cooking and why I made this change. But, after one day at Paleo f(x), I am learning how much I really don’t know about Paleo.  I realize that after a year and a half, I am just a beginner.  The wealth of knowledge and quality of presenters at the conference is amazing.  Speakers are throwing around topics that are household words to them and it’s literally the first time I’m hearing this stuff.  Earthing? HRV? Adrenal Fatigue? It’s overwhelming and great at the same time.  It’s thrilling to feel the positive energy and eagerness to share from everyone we meet.  It is such a stark contrast to the lingering malaise from our long Chicago winter. There is no polar vortex in Austin! This is a great learning environment and I’m so glad we made the trip.

I’m going to list out some of the new and interesting topics that we learned about today.  Most of these will require some googling and further study, but I’m planning on expanding and blogging on these topics later.  Here we go…

Gluten and the Gut – Panel Discussion (Dr. Lane Sebring, Jordan Reasoner, Dr. Amy Myers, Dr. Daniel Kalish, Jennifer Fugo) – This one basically boiled down to how bad gluten is for us and it is better to just cut it out completely

Hacking Stress – Panel Discussion (A Jolly, Ben Greenfield, Nora Gedgaudas, Sara Eye, Evan Brand) – Lots or new and hot topics here, lots of googling needed later – Sensory Deprivation Tanks, Binaural beats, Earthing, REM Rehab, HRV – Heart Rate Variability, Herbal Adaptagen, Kava, getting magnesium through epsom salt baths, essential oils

How to Win an Argument With a Paleo CriticChris Kresser – Take the best of the hunter gather diets and combine it with our modern medicine and lifestyle to live even longer. Hunter gatherers didn’t have obesity, diabetes, auto immune, allergies or heart disease. Today, 1 in 6 or people have auto immune issues and 1 in 10 are gluten intolerant Agricultural foods are far more likely to cause issues. Only been eating for neolithic foods for 10k years instead of paleo for 2 million years. You never hear of blueberry intolerance 🙂  Always ask yourself, “How is this food nourishing me or my gut?”

The Road Ahead: Obstacles to Popularizing the Ancestral Health Movement – Hamilton Stapell – Can Paleo ever go mainstream or will it always be on the fringe?  Hamilton is a historian and had great insight on past health movements. 85% of people doing Paleo, have only been on it for three or less years. There are obstacles preventing Paleo from going mainstream 1) Cultural obstacles – Neolithic foods are woven into our culture. Hard to remove from daily lives. 2) Physiological obstacles – Neolithic foods are addictive and taste good. Cause us to eat for reasons other than hunger. The food game is fixed and manufacturers work it to keep us coming back for more. Neolithic foods are 70% of the typical American diet. 3) Social obstacles – I Deserve it, Instant gratification, I want to be happy. We should promote holistic mental and physical flourishing instead of just happy (eudemonia). Paleo out of step w main stream. 4) Other obstacles – Large vested interests like Monsanto and professional organizations like AMA have deep pockets and their own agendas

Maximizing Nutrient Density for Optimal HealthDr Terry Wahls – This was a simply amazing talk… Dr Wahls is a personal hero to Rene and has so much information to share. She showed some incredible videos of patients with primary progressive and secondary progressive MS that are walking again after following her protocol.  And she spoke a lot about nutrient dense foods and how our foods modern have been depleted of nutrients over the years. Buy her book and read it. Rene actually got to speak with Dr Wahls one-on-one. She was absolutely starstruck (Rene, not Dr Wahls).

Adrenals: Key to Restoring Optimum HealthDan Kalish – This is all new to me, but I find the adrenal gland topic fascinating. Symptoms are overweight, fatigued, depressed, gi problems, female hormone imbalances. Three body symptoms: Hormone imbalance, GI tract, detoxification – correct in the order that the problems occur. Original source was probably stress that could have come years before, so that needs to be corrected first. High cortisol leads to fat storage, inflammation, connective tissue turnover. Adrenal fatigue – causes emotional stress, dietary stress, pain and hidden inflammation. Ideal adrenal rhythm follows the circadian rhythm.  I really need to dig deeper into this topic.  The Kalish Method should be a good read on the topic.  Dan Kalish is also pretty hilarious, so it made the topic very fun to learn about.

As you can tell, this was a long day and I’m feeling overwhelmed, yet enlightened, with all of this new information. It also gives me a lot of great blog topics to delve into this year!

Coming up soon, I will be doing a full rundown and recap of our favorite vendors from the Expo.

Dr Wahls

Rene meeting Dr Wahls


Happy Baby

2013 has truly become a transforming year.  To my own surprise, I have embraced what I previously considered line-dancing on rubber mats.  In reality, I have always loved yoga. But, I loved it for different reasons.  Earlier this year, my love of yoga stemmed from the 90 minutes that Rene was in class.  During these precious 90 minutes, I could catch up on “Gold Rush Alaska” and “Bering Sea Gold” without interruption.  There was nary ounce of shame for being so engrossed in the relentless search for gold by highly unqualified “miners”.  It also gave me some quiet time to tune my bike while scouring the cycling forums for deals on shiny new components that I could install during next weeks yoga class.  Rene would come home totally blissed out from her yoga experience, so it was a win-win.

All of this “me time” recently came to an end when Rene coaxed me into checking out Sanctuary Yoga in person.  I had been stalling the inevitable for a long time, but my general lack of flexibility provided a good excuse.  About 3 weeks ago, I attended my first class. Luckily, it was a small class with just Rene, myself and one other yogi.  Steve Cull is the impossibly limber instructor that led me down this path to yoga enlightenment.  I borrowed a well used mat from him and we began.  We started with a little stretching and intention setting then it kicked into high gear.  Overall, I was more bendy than expected.  My hamstrings were ridiculously tight, though.  Any pose that really stretched the hammys made me want to throw up or pass out.  Other than the uncontrollable shaking anytime my core activated, the poses and flows went awkwardly well.  Picture a newborn fawn taking first steps.  Yep, that’s me.  Realizing that my core is more rotten than strong, the final resting pose was a very welcome finale.  I thought the class was pretty demanding, but Rene let me know that Steve took things easy since he knew it was my first class.  It was a really good mix of physical strength and spiritual mindfulness.  I appreciated and savored every minute of it.  Three weeks later, I find myself rocking a Manduka yoga mat and looking forward to attempting Crow at the next class.  There are couple weeks of gold mining action still sitting on the DVR, but my bike is still getting plenty of attention.  Namaste.

In case there is any doubt, those are photos of Steve… definitely not me… the shorts are too long 🙂



To you. With love.

It’s Thanksgiving week!  Naturally, bloggers are posting their favorite recipes and documenting all the things they have been thankful for in 2013.  This seems like a good time for me to take over this blog and do a guest post for, or perhaps to, Chuck.

It’s been a rough year…..That actually sounds like an understatement when reflecting on 2013, but luckily it doesn’t feel like it (at least not anymore).

Chuck started this blog to chronicle our journey with paleo.  And, as he wrote in his intro , we started paleo when I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, MS, in January this year.  I don’t like to talk about it, as more often than not, I don’t feel that much different.  This is actually the first time I’ve talked about it publicly.  The main reason I’m doing so is because I’ve realized how much I’ve learned from others out there who have talked about and shared their experiences.  If I can do that, for even one other person, then it’s worth it.  But, I’m not here to do that now.  I plan to do some more guest blogs in the new year on this topic.

THIS post is about Gratitude.  It’s Thanksgiving, remember?!  And, even after a rough year like this one, I feel extremely thankful.

For what?  Well, for starters, after spending the first 3 months of 2013, doing an insane amount of research (and that is NOT an understatement) I decided to use diet, specifically the paleo diet, to manage the disease and symptoms.  I’m a libra and, therefore, was born indecisive.  But, this was possibly the best decision I have ever made…and I’m so thankful that I made it!

Once that decision was made, Chuck said he would do it with me.  Both of our parents started doing it and many of our friends also adopted a paleo lifestyle that worked for them.  Talk about an amazing support network!

Before I knew it, this blog was born.  Not only was I feeling great, but Chuck was, too.  His blood pressure went down, he was full of energy and wanted to share that with others.  He was there to help me through my chee-tos withdrawal, made me dinner every night and brought me sushi to make me feel better.  Without his support, I never would have made it through those first few weeks of the paleo transition.  Eventually, my body adjusted and I was reaping the rewards of a clean and healthy lifestyle just like him.

It’s now 11 months later, the end of 2013, and we are a well-oiled, paleo machine.  Chuck loves his tight, metrosexual attire, admiring his fat-free body in the mirror and showcasing his new speedos on facebook 🙂  He makes sure our fridge is stocked with fresh, organic produce and meat and he still makes me dinner most every night.

So, I am also thankful for you, Chuck (another great decision this libra made 9 years ago).  I know I could never do this without your daily support.   You changed your life simply because I had to.  You embraced this lifestyle to help me.  In doing so, you’ve demonstrated how lucky I am to have a partner like you and for that, I am beyond grateful.

Thank you for starting this blog, supporting me and giving me so many things for which to be thankful this year.  Although 2013 started out difficult, it ended up being one of the best ever.  Now, go cook that turkey!!

To you.  From me.  With love.

Chuck 1 Thanksgiving_Cropped