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Is the Autoimmune Protocol a breeding ground for disordered eating?

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

Is the Autoimmune Protocol a breeding ground for disordered eating?


Sarah Ballantyne, author of the groundbreaking Autoimmune Protocol book The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Bodyis one of the most brilliant people I know. She writes at, and at that site as well as in her book, she outlines a very specific, very effective, and therefore necessarily very limited approach to paleo eating. If broken, it heals your gut.

By healing your gut, you heal a lot of other things, too.

It’s remarkable. Sarah has had had success with… I’m going to guess, and correctly, I believe, hundreds of thousands of people.

So short story is: the autoimmune protocol Sarah (and others, like one of my favorite women, Eileen Laird) outlines and advocates is the. bomb. digs.Bomb diggity Black

But I’ve always been wary.

For two reasons. 1) People without autoimmune diseases often eat an AIP for the sake of “better health.” But this is silly, because I and AIP advocates alike think it’s unnecessary, and doesn’t even benefit your health really, necessarily, unless you’re autoimmune. 2) People use this as an excuse to eat a controlled way of eating. 3) People sometimes feel unduly restricted on AIP and develop disordered behaviors. 4) People have a hard time transitioning out of AIP. 5) Obviously there are more than two reasons.

(And no, to answer my title’s question, the AIP doesn’t always beget disordered eating. But there’s definitely a “but” that belongs, hanging, at that end of that statement.  ”The AIP doesn’t beget disordered eating, but…”)

So anyway. I did an interview talking about these things with an AIP advocate named Eileen Laird, who writes at Phoenix (what an amazing brand name, holy hell), who’s brilliant and lovely. There’s a lot of psychological stuff that swirls around AIP: fear of death, fear of illness, fear of freedom..

Good. Stuff.

@ here.

Finding Strength After the Stage, a guest post by former fitness competitor and rabid body lover Madelyn Moon

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Finding Strength After the Stage, a guest post by former fitness competitor and rabid body lover Madelyn Moon


The following post is written by a lovely and powerful new voice in the body love scene. Her name is Madelyn, and she used to be a body builder.

I first came across Madelyn’s work I believe at some point in 2013. To be honest, I wasn’t a fan. I was perhaps even appalled. A bit horrified, maybe. Sad. Angry. I mean – it was okay. But what she was selling on her website, more or less, was herself as a muscle-glorified sex object.

madelyn 2




madelyn 3

Honestly, that’s got to be a hell of a body to let go of. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to step ‘down’ from so high a pedestal.

madelyn 4

Now this is the kind of photo I used to look at and weep tears of envy.


 If you go to her site today, you’ll see a lot of the same photos.  These kinds of photos sell appearances more than health, which isn’t my favorite way to inspire people.

Yet with a keen eye, you’ll see, too, a woman on a hell of a journey of change, and a set of photos that tell a story.

Because while so many of the photos are the same, the language is different. Madelyn talks about “health” and “inner strength” and “acceptance.” Those photos are old, and she and doesn’t compete any more.  Her invitation to join her mailing list reads like this:

“Ready to love your body? Sign up for the FREE eCourse “Mind Body Satisfaction, Sacrifice-Free” and learn how to fall in love with yourself exactly how you are. “

but anyway. It’s so powerful to witness someone coming through these changes and rocking them out. Madelyn now loves her body because of the way it feels far more than the way it looks.

Madelyn is over body building. And in love.

She recorded a hell of a youtube video about her journey -

- and if you’ve got ten minutes it’s definitely worth the watch.

Here she is, in her own words. You can find more of Madelyn (and her kickass podcast, which I was just recorded for last night) @


The following story generally rings true for many people, which is why I’m such an open book in regards to my food and body issues growing up. Nobody is alone in this battle and there is most definitely a solution just waiting to be discovered. I am so glad I can now share my discovery of that solution.


I started my food obsession, body shaming, and negative self-worth at a really young age. When I was about 15 years old I watched a television show that warned against the dangers of anorexia, bulimia and the likes. Even though it warned against the tragic habit, it was the first time I had really heard about eating disorders and it stuck in my head as something to try out later and see what happened.


I wouldn’t say that I suffered from one specific eating “disorder” but I’ve had disordered eating most of my life. My relationship with food always depended on my relationship with my weight. And my relationship with weight depended on how “in control” I was of everything else. It was a terrible cycle that I seemed to never get out of.


I started the cycle as a vegetarian, mostly for animal rights, but it eventually turned into a weight control practice. I then realized I wanted the body of a fitness model and physique competitor, so I switched over to the meat eating clan and began to eat like a bodybuilder AKA six meals a day, every three hours, no salt, no fruit, everything had to be weighed and measured and eaten out of Tupperware. Soon enough, getting my body fat pinched every weekend was a typical activity, as well as my hour-long cardio sessions in the morning paired with lifting sessions in the evening. Amidst this loveless, foodless, deprived life, I was starting to become addicted to seeing my body transform. As the body fat melted off, my self-esteem skyrocketed. As my butt got rounder, my smile got larger.


After hitting the stage for my first and even second fitness competition, I gained a little weight back and returned to my average size. In fact, I was much stronger, healthier, happier, and fuller (physically and emotionally) but less toned. Womp, womp. The psychological struggles continued. I loathed my lack of leanness, I hated my distorted body image and I still measured and weighed my food in attempt to create that perfect body again.


Soon enough I discovered paleo after receiving a book to review for my blog, and then again, when a friend told me how awesome the “diet” had been for him. I became really interested and really involved in the community, where I met many people who taught me to love myself no matter what. Though this is easier said than done, after extreme commitment, positive affirmation, journaling, getting a dog, and moving states (not necessarily because of my body image struggles but it certainly didn’t hurt), I finally found something deep inside of me that was dying to come out.




Not just physical strength but emotional strength. I developed the strength to challenge social norms and to decide for myself what I think “beautiful” really means. In the end, I decided beautiful means life. It means coffee in bed on a Sunday morning. It means an extra spoonful of peanut butter just because. It means going four wheeling or boating whenever I want, because I no longer have to worry about bringing Tupperware meals. Last but not least, it means being able to tell myself “it’s okay” to not work out when I don’t feel like it. It’s okay to put family and friends FIRST before the gym and bulk cooking. It’s okay. Why? Because I’m already beautiful.

As many people say, paleo is not just a diet. It’s a lifestyle. It means to live organically, stress-free, happy and healthy. Healthy can be subjective but for most people, it means to live a life that promotes your version of optimal health. It means to live in a way that promotes mind-body satisfaction, without the sacrifices.

When I first discovered paleo, I went the strictest route. I basically did a Whole30 but for four months. I became too rigid and decided that wasn’t the healthiest for me, personally. I even discovered I have no allergies to gluten, dairy, beans or grains. While that’s kind of cool, I didn’t go crazy on eating them because as I listened to my body, I discovered those foods don’t necessarily make me feel optimal energy.

Truthfully, I rarely eat gluten or legumes by choice because they don’t make me the best version of myself. Dairy on the other hand makes me feel like a rock star.

So I make it work for me. Paleo has allowed me to find the best version of myself by helping me realize what makes me feel best, inside and out.

There are no meal plans, no food scales, no body fat pinchers, no tiny swimsuits hanging on my “inspiration wall” and certainly no sports-bra and spandex clad photo shoots in my near future.

I’m so excited to now have the “Madelyn Moon Diet” and nothing else. And more than just the diet aspect, I now live a much more minimalistic life. I try to keep my household minimalistic, as well as my face (less is more, ladies) and even my workouts!

The people I have met in the paleo community have literally changed my life in every aspect. I could name you ten people right now that have impacted me in some way or another and have brought me to tears from their support and generosity.

I am in no way exactly where I want to be in terms of body image and my relationship with food, but I am much farther in my journey than where I started. I have come incredibly far in all actuality, and as long as I remember to keep up the self-love and acceptance, I will be in the best “shape” of my life (possibly literally, but that one is more metaphorically).


Because I wanted to share how I’ve learned to retrain my brain into loving my body just the way it is, as well as block out all of the lean body fitness fluff, I created an eCourse that guides readers step by step on how to do exactly that. The course is called Mind Body Satisfaction, Sacrifice-Free. The eCourse is completely free, and you will receive a lesson every four days. My goal with the course is to give you small, easily implemented changes you can make every day that will eventually lead you into non-negotiable self-love and body acceptance. To sign up for my eCourse simple go to my website here and type in your email address in the box at the top.


Lastly, I wanted to further share my passion for the ever-so-important mind body relationship by creating a podcast, called Mind Body Musings. The podcast features various guests that are well-known in the fitness industry who share their stories, theories, research and knowledge with us so that we can all better understand our bodies and brains. The podcast can be found on iTunes here, or you can go to my website here for the direct download links.


A big thank you to Stefani for letting me share my story with you today. Stay tuned for this story to be published in The Paleo Miracle 2 as well, along with many other inspirational mind body strengthening stories.


I hope you enjoy any newfound insight you learn from these two tools and further develop your own strength, beauty and self-love.


With love,

Madelyn Moon




PHEW. Taking a breather, gearing up, and holy crap, what’s next is awesome.

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Blog | 5 comments

PHEW. Taking a breather, gearing up, and holy crap, what’s next is awesome.


Hey ladies!

Happy Tuesday. I hope you’ve had lovely Memorial day weekends. I watched a lot of TV. Like – a LOT. Like – 25 hours worth. This weekend’s indulgence of choice was Grimm. All those cops and fairy tale creatures…. they’re all just so. damn. good looking.

Often people tell me I must have a crazy, busy life. I always respond – “well. I do watch a F-ton of TV.”

Sometimes, anyway.

I felt like I really needed that downtime (and will still need more). It came on the heels of kicking off my consulting practice, which came on the heels of the Leaky Gut Webinar, which came on the heels of the Much More than a Mom Mother’s day summit, which came on the heels of the Primal Life Kit Ebook Bundle, which came on the heels of Paleo Fx 2014, which came on the heels of… what? Oh, wait, that’s right, a national book release that I had been promoting full time for three months.

So there’s some TV in my life right now.

I will also probably be a bit quiet on the blog for a little while.

This is not because I need a break from you, darling audience I love to pieces. It’s actually because I am doing a lot of work, but most of it behind the scenes.

(And still the TV.)

So what am I up to?

In my personal life, I am:

-learning how to sleep properly for the first time years (last Sunday I got eight hours of sleep for the first time in 470 days)  FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY. Not coincidentally, last Monday I felt better than I have in four hundred and seventy days. I think I’ll be writing a blog post about this soonish.

-finding a dance partner and becoming a professional Zouk dancer

-working on my French

-preparing to go to France to work on my French and Zouk

These things make me very, very happy.

In my professional life, I am:

-working on building a staff. It’s about damn time. I need help, and desperately. (Hey, volunteers are great, too! ;) ) I’ve always been so terrified of spending money, and also of relying on other people – I’ve never had any help on any of my projects, ever - so it’s time for me to get over those fears. Hopefully in the next few weeks / months another fabulous woman or two will be jumping on board the cool ship.

-writing a new ebook. It’s probably going to be “Six steps to self love” but might also be “Love is the new skinny.” I love the concept of “Love is the new skinny” too much to let it go… so I’m fitting it in on the docket somewhere. I might actually release it on Amazon.

-building time into my schedule to take on consulting clients.

-rebuilding and re-branding EVERYTHING. is actually changing. We’re getting a new face and a new website and I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOO000000!!11!!!!11!!!COS0!!! excited. Now THIS it’s about damn time for. I’m not going to give it all away quite yet, but we’re getting bigger and better and closer to helping me work the job and write the books of my dreams.

-writing the next hardcover book. Again, without giving too much away (really this is for my own sake, since I bet the project will change significantly in the coming months), I won’t say too much. But I will say this: it’s about the philosophy of human nature. Mmmmmmm hmmmm. Talk about melding all the things I love into one book! Mmmmmmhmmmm.

The 'holy crap!' face.

The ‘holy crap the future is awesome!’ face.


So I’ll be a bit touch and go for the next few weeks/months probably, but all with really kickass stuff coming out in the meantime and at the end.

AND I’ll still be around because, well. I can’t seem to stay away.

And someone’s got to drag me away from all those damn handsome strangers on HBO.




Announcing: Consultations with Stefani FINALLY open for business!

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

Announcing: Consultations with Stefani FINALLY open for business!


Hey there, family!

Those of you who have been around for a while know that I’ve been promising to open my doors again for years now.

And finally – finally! – I have cleared enough off of my to-do list to take on a limited number of clients. My heart is singing with gratitude and joy. It’s amazing to finally have the opportunity to share my gifts with you in this way.

The things I specialize in and can help you overcome is extensive.  Moreover, the female-specific angle is – honestly – not one you’re going to find many other places in the paleo web.

If at all.

My list of specialties include the physical, such as:

acne, headaches, weight loss, menstrual irregularities, infertility, PCOS, PMS, birth control woes, menopause, low libido, osteoporosis, and hypothyroidism

And also the mental, such as:

body image issues, low self-esteem, disordered eating behavior, binge eating, restrictive eating, addiction to exercise, food addiction, control issues, poor self-love, and perfectionism.

Because I’ve been there, and I’ve lived many of these things. I’ve swum in the seas of research, I’ve worked with hundreds of women, and I’ve written books. Therefore I have come out on equipped with all the knowledge and tools to help you on your journey I have always dreamed of, and then some.

Leap into wellness!

Leap into wellness!

To help you as best I can, I’ve come up with a whole slew of different services to offer – spanning from the super affordable 30 minute quickie session to the more detailed and connected hour and email access package… I even offer months long packages if you are on a journey and looking to heal on an on-going basis.

So check out more details on what I have to offer at the consultations page at You can book me and sign up for the service at the bottom of the page – and we can be set up and chatting within the week. Because it’s been so long in coming, I am already close to needing to develop a waitlist – so if you have an urgent need it may be wise to book as soon as you can. And regardless know simply that I am here for you however you need, and am excited about the possibility of being on your healing journey together.

With love,





Do you have healthy poop? Leaky gut? It’s not too late to find out! Yet!

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Blog | 5 comments

Do you have healthy poop? Leaky gut? It’s not too late to find out! Yet!


Last week I clued you in to some pretty cool stuff emerging in the paleosphere. (This is a RECAP and “it’s not too late to take advantage!” post.)  It was about your gut. It was about inflammation. And it was, most of all, about your poop.

I told all you about Leaky Gut. What’s Leaky Gut, again?

Leaky gut allows the stuff you’d otherwise excrete as feces – TOXIC food particles, environmental chemicals, and bacterial waste to leak through your digestive tract and into your body. Once inside, these foreign particles travel to different areas of your body and trigger an immune response, promoting inflammation and jumpstarting the development of chronic disease.

Instead of keeping the bad stuff out, the delicate lining of your intestine lets all the bad stuff in, and your body breaks down from the inside out.

You can even have leaky gut and not know it…. this happens all the time. I don’t even know if I have it. I think I might! It’s that silent and menacing a condition.

This is what leaky gut looks like. & it's the most under-diagnosed condition in the country.
So brain issues. Low energy. Uncomfortable digestion. Any kind of skin problem. Insulin dysregulation. Weight gain. Autoimmune diseases. Hormone imbalance. Infertility. Stress! Anxiety! Insomnia! (Big issues for me)

Yikes, and yikes, and yikes, indeed.

So I shared with you a bunch of cool diagnostic and healing stuff! Here’s the recap:

1) A quiz to help you see if you have leaky gut and how severe it might be.

2) An awesome infographic demonstrating the different kinds of poop. Do you have the healthy kind of poop? Check out the cute-as-hell poop diagrams to find out! @ here.

THEN,3)  Steve put on, IMHO, the most informative webinar the paleo world has seen to date.

Did you go?

Did you miss out!?

What did we talk about?

  • How leaky gut causes local and systemic inflammation, which can attack your body’s “weak” links” and speeds up disease
  • Why food allergies are directly related to leaky gut.
  • How gas, bloating and other digestive problems can be caused by infections in the gut.
  • The fastest way to get rid of gut infections.
  • 3 Supplements to try right away if you want to feel better (Yes, probiotics is one of them!)
  • What NOT to eat and Exactly what to eat for leaky gut
  • How GMO’s, Concussions (I know, right?!) and NSAID’s trigger leaky gut
  •  THEN Steve and Jordan did a Q & A for a whole hour. There, we talked about Candida, Adrenal fatigue, SIBO, Gastritis, Type 1 Diabetes, Reversing Autoimmunity and Food Allergies…. all of which you get to hear about if you watch the replay (and again, all for free!).

So if its not obvious already, I was there and it was AWESOME. Not only did it help me with my own health, but also with my work with my consulting clients… maybe you can watch it and not need me anymore. :)

So anyway. This webinar had dozens of thousands of attendees…

And now you can watch it for FREE, on YOUR OWN TIME (finally! a webinar you can watch at your leisure!)

But only until Friday (tomorrow!) at midnight is it free… so grab your pass AFAP… watch it with your dog, over dinner, with a bowl of coconut ice cream…

At least that’s how I did it.

Oh, also, 4) I’m giving you a free copy of one of my ebooks if you watch the replay of the seminar. Simply forward your registration and your favorite part of the seminar to and you’ll receive a FREE COPY of Birth Control Unlocked…. all because I really care about your gut and want to help you heal.

So the webinar is replaying for free. You can take the quiz. Look at the poop chart. There’s also a list of the 19 leaky gut triggers Steve sends out for download for free. All amazing stuff to help you figure out if you’ve got leaky gut and what you as a unique individual need to do for your own healing.

Because we are all unique snowflakes, and we all have our own unique healing to do.

Steve’s got lots of amazing resources available on leaky gut…the kind of stuff even I learn from… These are not those gimmicky web draw-you-in things. Just. a. seminar. chart. quiz. guide. set of resources.  (@ Because leaky gut is a nasty monster thing and we all deserve to be free to be healthy and happy.

Or something. :)

Do you have a healthy gut?

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

Do you have a healthy gut?


I spent all last week promoting – and you spent all last week reading about (thank you) – an awesome product. I like to share things that are cool. Nonetheless I was looking forward to a break…. a weekend full of dancing and White Collar marathons (my new TV addiction … it’s almost nothing but devastatingly handsome men in suits) … and then I finally checked out this set of leaky gut materials all the paleo professionals have been talking about.

I got sucked in.

And barricaded myself in my room at 9pm on a Saturday night. I promised myself I could go dancing if I sat down and investigated thoroughly.

[It is now Sunday afternoon. And five episodes of White Collar later.... So much for diligence...]

This is what leaky gut looks like. & it's the most under-diagnosed condition in the country.

This is what leaky gut looks like. & it’s the most under-diagnosed condition in the country.


As for leaky gut… what is it?

Leaky gut allows the stuff you’d otherwise excrete as feces – TOXIC food particles, environmental chemicals, and bacterial waste to leak through your digestive tract and into your body. Once inside, these foreign particles travel to different areas of your body and trigger an immune response, promoting inflammation and jumpstarting the development of chronic disease.

Instead of keeping the bad stuff out, the delicate lining of your intestine lets all the bad stuff in, and your body breaks down from the inside out.

Brain issues. Low energy. Uncomfortable digestion. Any kind of skin problem. Insulin dysregulation. Weight gain. Autoimmune diseases.

Yikes, and yikes, and yikes, indeed.

I also happen to know from years of clinical experience that gut issues are often the foundation of hormone issues – like PCOS – and male pattern symptoms like acne and facial hair. Why? Because an unhealthy gut causes inflammation, which causes cortisol and insulin levels to rise, which causes testosterone production in the ovaries, which throws a wrench in the menstrual cycle, which derails fertility and causes eight million kinds of symptoms and imbalance.

The gut is a real important issue for women’s health… not something I’ve discussed as much on this site as I should’ve. By miles.

So… what then? Where do I, you, we, start?

A good, solid paleo diet helps with leaky gut.

“Paleo” is about 80 percent of the answer.

Eliminating the gut irritants grains, dairy, and legumes – which is what most “paleo people” do – is a big step towards healing a damaged gut and eliminating all the symptoms that come from it. This is one of the biggest reasons I and so many other health professionals eat paleo. We want our guts to be healthy. We know that gut health is the most important factor for whole body health.


So eat paleo. Eliminate potential gut irritants. 100%. No cheating.

At least for several months if your symptoms are bad. Several weeks if not.  If you’ve got any symptoms related to mental health, gut health, skin health, or hormone health — leaky gut could be your culprit. Clean up your diet with paleo adherence and see if the problems get better.

You might even have leaky gut and not even know it. Leaky gut can silently inflame your body at a slow, steady stream for years and years. I don’t want to scare you. That’s just a fact. It happens to people on a regular basis. It’s a serious problem worth – at minimum – a clean paleo diet for a month. This gives your body a chance to heal.

What else?

Chances are good you’ll still need (or at least benefit from) more tweaking.

The GAPS diet, the specific carbohydrate diet, Sarah Ballantyne’s autoimmune protocol… these are three different diet plans – very specific and highly well-attested to around the globe – designed to heal a damaged gut. Vitamin A may be crucial for some people. Fermented foods or probiotic supplementation. Avoiding fructose. Increasing your intake of leafy greens. Reducing insoluble fiber. Increasing soluble fiber. It’s all very tricky because every person has a different gut environment. Different symptoms, both obvious and hidden ones.

With more symptoms, it may require.. as I said. tweaking. More on which in a moment.

Do I have it?

I don’t know. I’ve always wondered. I really have no idea. Sometimes my digestion isn’t awesome. I have some skin issues but I know my hormones are the biggest players in that. I’ve dealt with significant stress in my life. I sleep very poorly. Do I have it? I don’t know. (I’m not a leaky gut expert… though I’m trying to learn through Steve.)

So I took a quiz! Steve made a quiz! Like so:


Fullscreen capture 2014-05-04 AM 113752

Now you know I’m a tab hoarder.

I’m willing to bet my high risk is because I’m a stress monster.

But who knows. Maybe it’s the three pounds of blueberries I ate yesterday afternoon.

The kind of tweaking I’d need? I don’t know yet. Sarah tells me I might need more vitamin A.

I have a feeling I need to sleep more. But I’m addicted to dancing and we all have our weaknesses.

I have yet to watch my free videos and read the documents from Steve’s quiz.

As for you? You can take it now, too!

If you want, you can take it @ here.  Steve’s got lots of amazing resources available for investigating and overcoming leaky gut…the kind of stuff that teaches you what kind of tweaking you might need… this is just one of them. It’s not one of those gimmicky web draw-you-in things. Just. a. quiz. (@ Because leaky gut is a nasty monster thing and we all deserve to be free to be healthy and happy.

Or something. :)


Asking you for help (!)

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Asking you for help (!)


Hey ladies hey ladies HEY!

Happy Thursday!

I have some excellent and some embarrassing news to share with you.

My baby – Sexy by Nature – has done well and gotten some wonderful reviews. Huzzah!!!

That’s the excellent part!

The embarrassing part is also inspiring and kind of exciting. It’s that these few reviews it has floating around the internet are not nearly enough for the kind of revolution we’d ideally like to have. Our community needs (and I need) your help.

Reviews of books on Amazon are incredibly important for turning Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other readers on to certain books. It is, in fact, the most important thing for disseminating a message like this out into the wider world. It makes my skin itch to ask anyone to help me (regarding anything, come to think of it … :) ), but this is where the power of community pays off big. This is for me, but it’s not just for me.

It’s for helping women find love and nature and love and confidence and love and power and did I say love?

So if you’ve got a copy of Sexy by Nature, head over to Amazon and give it a review! You don’t have to give me five stars (but give me five stars, okay?). Just a rating and a sentence or two. You don’t even need to have bought the book on Amazon. Or even to have finished reading it. Or, hell, started. Just do this easy easy easy easy easy thing:

1) Go to the Amazon page: here.

2) Scroll down to the bottom, beneath all the reviews.

3) Click the button “Write a customer review” in the bottom left hand corner.

4) Sign in if you have not already

5) Write!

6) Pat yourself on the back and give yourself a hug from me, because every single review counts. Hell, tell your friends. Your grandmother. Your pets. I’m sure they’d all like to write a review. And if they don’t, a few minutes of their time would still help so much.

And I will be forever grateful.

For me, for us, for love, and all of those things. I could not ever be more grateful to you, or excited to meet your acquaintance and sending love to you over the airwaves, for helping us move mountains these few boulders at a time.

Thank you, ladies. This means the world to me.


Russ Crandall, the Revolutionary Name (and Nerd-tastic Heartthrob Hero) in Paleo Cooking

Posted by on Apr 30, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

Russ Crandall, the Revolutionary Name (and Nerd-tastic Heartthrob Hero) in Paleo Cooking


I’ve been making the rounds on cookbooks lately. Michelle. Danielle. Josh. Chowstalker. If you know me well at all, you also know this is damn funny, because I’ll never spend more time than I absolutely have to in the kitchen. It’s not that I don’t like to cook or to enjoy a good meal — it’s just that I can’t help but consider it a monumental waste of time.

Which I guess could be interpreted as an insult to many of my dear friends, but I promise you, I consider your jobs and your interests worthwhile. Just not for me, because my focus happens to be elsewhere.

Anyway. Lots of cookbooks and cook guides and cook friends in my life. I love this fact, I really, really, really do.

So without further ado I’d like to take you along for this cookbook ride. Today’s stop, another friend/chef, is a brand new one (to me) of whom I became instantly and rabidly fond of this year at paleo fx: Russ Crandall.

russ crandall

I know. Right?!

Russ (of has a newly released cookbook out. It’s one of my all time favorites (I know, I know, they can’t all be favorites, but humor me, I mean it, okay?). It’s called The Ancestral Tableand it’s full of stunning photography and creative recipes and brilliant tips. No surprises here — of course we expected Russ’s insights to be brilliant — but there are a few things about this book and this man that make them special.

First, the book:

ancestral table

Elegant, traditional, hearty, lively, comforting. Mmmm.

1) The foreword is by Paul Jaminet. This is an official (the official?) “perfect health diet” cookbook — which means it includes carbohydrates (gasp!), highly nutrient dense foods, and traditional foods — ancestral ones — from around the globe.


2) The quality is… obvious. Stellar.

3) The mission is unique and spectacular. Russ’s book is… refined, in some ways.  Which is a part of why I have so much respect for Russ. I wouldn’t have known about the mission of the book unless I had met Russ. But what I learned, flopped over the arm of a sofa after a heavy day of networking and hugging fans, and Russ patiently  humoring my drowsy inquisition, was this:

Russ believes that one of the most important things we can do for the paleo movement is to up our game in the highest eschelons of the foodie and fine cuisine world.

The reason we don’t have high quality and healthy ingredients like arrowroot flour, coconut flour, coconut aminos, and the like robustly filling out supermarket shelves is that there is no demand for them. There is no demand for them because no one knows about them or how to use them. No one knows about them for a lot of reasons, but one is that no one is teaching us how to use ‘em from the top down. Like philosophy, art, painting, and literature, the culinary world is heavily influenced by trickle-down preferences from those of elite status.

Get ancestral and traditional cooking methods to be taken more seriously by culinary institutions and elite chefs, and magnitudes more chefs will know how to manipulate and delight in them.

What ingredients we know how to use, we use, and then we use ‘em better and better.

So one of Russ’s many culinary missions is to convince culinary leaders and institutions that ancestral cooking makes top notch dishes.

The Ancestral Table undertakes and succeeds at this.

This achievement does not mean there’s any kind of far-fetched, silly hobnobbing (I’m actually not sure what this word means, but I mean “fancy-pants BS”) in Russ’s book. You’ll recognize all the ingredients and be able to cook the recipes easy peasy.

You’ll just also happen to be participating in a culinary revolution. This is the brilliance of Russ’s work. He makes ancestral cooking both practically easy and practically transcendent.

This aspect of his work is particularly inspiring.

And then there is the man himself.

russ crandall 2

No such things as too many books!

I don’t want to out him too much publicly, in case he is a more private man than I am aware of, but here are some tidbits to entice you into falling in love with him, like just about everyone I’ve ever met already has:

1) Russ has a beautiful family and a beautiful baby boy who I could look at photos of for ages.

2) Russ recognized the game “Buster Buddies” — an old Play Station 1 eccentricity that only the coolest of the coolest of gamers remember — when I mentioned it at a dinner party.

3) Russ is a highly ranked Navy office of sorts.

4) Actually he’s a linguist in the Navy — one of the top ranked — who teaches and speaks fluent Russian.

5) He also happens to speak Indonesian.

6) And to work more than 40+ hours a week in addition to writing The Domestic Man blog.

7) Russ is the one and only man behind the food blog The Domestic Man, meaning he and I are some of the few full-time advocates without staff.

8) Russ is obviously skilled at time management.

9) Russ has big dreams. I’m not giving it away, but Russ has some field trips lined up that are going to help bridge the gap between food production on farms and in factories and food production in the kitchen. He is also planning to work on hospital food reform–you know, along with blogging and writing and teaching Russian to the Navy full time — which is just so damn cool.

9) He hates onions, and in fact used to write under the handle Onionsaregross. 

10) Seriously.


Soooooooooooo. It’s a good book and a good blog and Russ jumped way up not only on my RSS feed but also on my list of people to admire and aspire to be like.

The blog, Domestic Man, can be found here.

The book, Ancestral Table, here.

The Two Major Causes of PMS, Plus 11 Ways to Overcome It

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

The Two Major Causes of PMS, Plus 11 Ways to Overcome It


Ladies! My apologies.

I have been writing a blog on womanhood and the paleo diet for years now, and I have yet to write a post on PMS.

Better late than never, I say! What follows is the low down on Pre-Menstrual Syndome (for cramps specifically, which is different, see here).

No, you do not have to go crazy every month just because you are a woman. Do not resign yourself to the fates society is trying to give you! Diet and lifestyle can save you. I do not promise perfection — your journey will undoubtedly have bumps, and you may get a bit cranky for the next few dozen years. But you do not have to be a monster. Here’s why it happens, and how to fix it.


In some ways, being a woman is uniquely challenging. Throughout the course of a regular month, we bleed out of our vaginas for a week, we enjoy one week of peace and freedom, and then we ovulate and have two weeks of fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels, which can lead to breast tenderness, water retention, acne, insomnia, moodiness, depression, anxiety, headaches, cravings, and cramping. Technically, you will only be diagnosed with PMS if you experience the mental symptoms, which include depression, irritability, anxiety, and mood swings. But the physical symptoms that accompany these are often equally unpleasant. What gives? Is menstruation supposed to be this way? Does it have to be this way?

How it works: PMS

Menstruation is not supposed to be this way. It is not supposed to be painful, make you crazy, or make you depressed. Sure, even after you adopt a diet based on whole, natural foods, you may experience echoes of these symptoms. But they can be greatly mitigated by supporting the health of your reproductive and nervous systems. You have the power to turn what may be a truly terrible state into a mere inconvenience.

As far as theorists can tell, PMS is caused primarily by two things: estrogen dominance and neurotransmitter dysfunction.

Estrogen dominance (Read more about estrogen dominance in my post on the topic here)

Estrogen dominance is one of the primary causes of PMS, but PMS is not it’s only drawback. Symptoms associated with estrogen dominance include being overweight, weight gain, mood swings, emotional sensitivity, heavy periods, breast tenderness, headaches, decreased libido, sluggish metabolism, and insomnia. Conditions that are found more often in women with estrogen dominance and that may develop explicitly as a result of it include cystic fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, hypothyroidism, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and ovarian cancer. From the list of symptoms and associated diseases, it’s a no-brainer that estrogen dominance is a problem that deserves attention.

Estrogen dominance plagues millions of women, perhaps more so than any other hormone imbalance discussed in this book. This is largely because estrogen is produced in fat cells, and the majority of American women are overweight. But that’s not the only way to develop estrogen dominance. Causes of estrogen dominance are both powerful and diverse, and include:

Being overweight: Fat cells perform a function called aromatization that converts testosterone to estrogen. The more body fat you have, the more estrogen your body produces.

Overburdening the liver: The liver is responsible for clearing the body of old hormones, especially estrogen. If the liver is overburdened by a hyper-caloric, inflammatory diet that includes high volumes of sugar, alcohol, processing chemicals, and toxins, it becomes sluggish in its ability to process hormones.

Being stressed: Stress decreases the production of progesterone in the body. When progesterone levels decline relative to estrogen, symptoms of estrogen dominance emerge.

Consuming phyto- and xenoestrogens: Consuming estrogens from toxic chemicals such as fertilizers found on industrial produce and BPA is unquestionably a bad idea. Consuming plant estrogens such as soy and flax may be helpful sometimes, but in the case of estrogen dominance, it probably is not.

Eating a low-fiber diet: Estrogen is processed not only in the liver but also by gut flora, and it is excreted through the digestive track. Many other variables are likely at play here, but the general idea is that estrogen can be reabsorbed through the intestinal walls. If you do not eat any fiber, and you therefore have little added bulk to your stool, your digestive process will slow down. When it takes a long time for your body to excrete waste, estrogen sits too long in the gut and is reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Fiber may help push the digestive process along and keep the estrogen moving properly. Fiber supplements are unnecessary, however. The fiber you get from natural fruits and vegetables in the Sexy by Nature diet is plenty.

Poor gut flora: Since having poor gut flora is another way to slow down digestion and impair estrogen processing, it is another means by which estrogen levels rise.

Taking the pill: Sometimes birth control pills help decrease estrogen levels. Other times, the pill elevates estrogen levels above progesterone significantly enough to cause extreme discomfort.

Living a sedentary lifestyle: Exercise improves insulin sensitivity, liver function, weight loss, and stress reduction.

Estrogen dominance has many causes and may seem too complicated to overcome easily, but by already emphasizing exercise, phytoestrogen moderation, and anti-inflammatory, gut-enriching, liver-supporting foods, the Sexy by Nature approach to health addresses all of them in one fell swoop.

Symptoms of estrogen dominance occur for many women in the two weeks prior to menstruation. In these two weeks, the body is gearing up for menstruation, so deviation from natural health and hormone balance is a fair bit easier than at other times of the month. Elevating estrogen over progesterone causes symptoms of PMS because the brain is full of receptors for these two hormones. When the brain encounters a hormone imbalance during this time, it has trouble achieving the level of stability it attains at other times of the month. Improper hormone balance can cause a decrease in serotonin, dopamine, and endorphin levels, all of which are important for mental health. Anxiety, irritability, depression, and insomnia may ensue. Correcting hormone balance is a primary concern for any woman experiencing trouble with PMS.

Neurotransmitter health

Maintaining neurotransmitter health is also crucial for avoiding PMS. Poor diet leads to poor neurotransmitter synthesis. Dietary elements particularly important for neurotransmitter synthesis are complete protein—so make sure to eat sufficient protein throughout the day—vitamin C, and B vitamins, especially B6. These nutrients are easily obtained from a diet rich in vegetables and animal products such as the Sexy by Nature diet, though supplementation might also be appropriate.


In addition to mitigating these two causes of PMS, you can support your mental health throughout the menstrual cycle by reducing inflammation, which can be a great help to your brain. Two of the most important ways to do so are by maintaining a healthy blood sugar metabolism—which helps neurotransmitters function more stably—and focusing on consuming plentiful omega-3 fat.

Omega-3 fat is a great tool for fighting PMS not only because it is anti-inflammatory, but also because the brain is composed largely of fat. The higher-quality fat you have in your diet, the higher-quality brain function you are going to have. Omega-3 fat helps with the flexibility of neuronal structures, which ultimately leads to greater peace and alleviation of PMS symptoms.


What to do for PMS


-Exercise, which increases serotonin and dopamine levels.

-Get adequate sleep to increase serotonin levels.

-Reduce estrogen dominance by the methods listed above: reduce stress, eat an anti-inflammatory diet that eschews the potential gut irritants grains, legumes, and dairy, consume plenty of vegetables and fiber, support liver health by reducing toxin load and focusing on natural foods. Leafy greens are particularly helpful since they have potent liver-supporting effects.

-Consider supplements that may help with estrogen detox, such as milk thistle extract, alpha lipoic acid, and the amino acid N-acetylcysteine (NAC).

-Eliminate phytoestrogens such as soy and flax from your diet, and minimize exposure to xenoestrogens such as BPA (found in plastics) and fertilizers on the skins of fruits and vegetables.

-Consume at least 50 grams of protein each day.

-Eliminate or minimize omega-6 oil consumption and consume at least three servings of fatty fish such as salmon every week to reduce inflammation.

-Consider supplementing with cod liver oil or a high-quality fish oil for omega-3 fat.

-Eat animal products and vegetables for vitamins B and C, respectively, which support neurotransmitter synthesis.

-Consider supplementing with 400 milligrams of magnesium daily to minimize anxiety, insomnia, and depression.

-Expose yourself to the sun for 20 minutes every day or consider supplementing with 2,000-5,000 IUD of vitamin D daily to provide crucial support mental health.



And that’s it! My thoughts on PMS, and ways to overcome it with whole foods and a stress-reduced lifestyle. No monsters. No crazy. No depression. (If depressed, please see a medical professional!)

Just women being women.



And the above blog post on PMS is actually more or less an excerpt from my book on women’s health, Sexy by Nature: The Whole Foods Solution to Radiant Health, Lifelong Sex Appeal, and Soaring Confidence.  99 percent of you know already, but it’s available on Amazon today for a remarkable 27 % off — and if you’ve read it, go give us a review!

Do you have to go cold turkey? Can you transition to paleo slowly? FINALLY, a guide that says YES.

Posted by on Apr 25, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

Do you have to go cold turkey? Can you transition to paleo slowly? FINALLY, a guide that says YES.


Yes! yes yes yes yes yes yes!

Ohmigod I am over the moon excited.

I have read so many books on transitioning to paleo, and I’d say… um, 100 percent of them either don’t address the transition to paleo in a gentle way (Three Phase Paleo does do a good job by having three major phases) or advise that you completely clear out your pantry and go 100 percent paleo immediately.

But I have always believed, and my own book endorses this idea, that this is not the only way to do it.

You can also transition to paleo step by step, one day at a time, with different foods moving out of your diet at a pace more appropriate to people who panic at the idea of fast change.

Like myself.

So finally! Huzzah! I have found a guide that transitions you Step-by-Step.


The book is, in fact, called “Step by Step Paleo: The Guidebook that will Simplify your Transition to Paleo.”

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This is going all the way to the top of my books I recommend to women asking for help list.

Ohmigod, I love it. I want to contact the author, Ruth Almon, fly her out to Boston, and give her a hug.  I did just Facebook friend her and gush about how wonderful she is on her wall.

So why do I love Ruth’s book?

First, start with the “philosophy” laid out in the introduction.

“Slow and steady wins the race,” Ruth says. For her, it’s about being mindful, taking your time, and making sure you are doing things right and safe and comfortably. It’s about coming to love and embrace this diet over time.

Second, this is a book that is philosophically and maybe even spiritually whole. Ruth says, “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” which is one of the sayings I live by.



Third, she gives an excellent introduction to paleo – and one that’s not just about her “own” viewpoint, but one that comprises the whole field of ancestral health perspectives.

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“Dairy, maybe.” YES!

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Handy diagrams like this litter this whole 67 page manual.


Fourth, she opens with and focuses on inclusion. Paleo is so often an itemized list of foods to exclude, but it’s possible that inclusion is just as important. And talking about it positively most definitely is. It’s also psychologically healthier to emphasize what’s added rather than what’s deleted and to promote positive thinking, especially at the outset.

Because here’s the table of contents:

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If I went through every aspect of this book that I loved, it would take me… well, the full 67 pages.

Fifth, look, she’s even totally fair and unbiased about dairy!

Sixth, each section is a “week,” and each week has a mission, like so:

I do a lot of buying from corporations, but she's right. I'm getting there!

Add three paleo fats! Totally reasonable. Awesome.


Seventh, Ruth includes kickass little inserts and quotes like this one:

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If it’s too tiny to read on your screen, it says “As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.”

Eighth, she talks extensively about how to make paleo affordable and do it on a tight budget, but still is realistic, strong, up-front, and snappy about what needs to happen and why:

Fullscreen capture 2014-04-19 PM 071827


Saying “Warning: you are going to lose money on the paleo diet.”

Before this, on the page prior, she says “this is a false economy, folks. [If you eat cheaply now,] you pay for it later in medical bills.”

Best make the investment now and save yourself a world of trouble.


Ninth, each section ends with high quality (ones that I would personally endorse) “dig deeper” resources and links:

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Tenth, there are bonus sections that talk about things like money, shopping, BPA, environmental impact, and macronutrients.

Eleventh, the gist of the macronutrient sidebar is “Some like low carb, some say carbs are fine, so don’t worry about that right now.”

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Jaminet, Kresser, and FANI. ;)


Twelfth, she shows you the goods.




Thirteenth, and this is just interesting, she has you switch to sourdough bread first in the third week, then has you cut back bread consumption all the way until the ninth  week, at which you are invited to be completely grain-free. This is an approach I haven’t seen, but I like it.

Fourteenth, ok, this is just funny. The mission for week 11 is “limit coffee to three cups a day.”



Fifteenth, this woman really knows what’s what. She recommends Green Pasture’s fermented cod liver oil as a supplement (big thumbs up), talks about the importance of K1 and K2, knows Jaminet’s philosophy and Kresser’s and so many others, provides links to free resources like Mark Sisson’s Primal Exercise PDFs and how-to smoothie guides, and more. It’s obvious she’s been around in the sphere for a while. Also obvious that she knows what she’s doing, and that her approach works well for her own audience.

So. That’s fifteen brief points that make me a believer.

Thank you, Ruth.


If any of you have questions about this or are interested in the guide for a family member / friend / yourself if you’re struggling with maintaining paleo principles, check out Ruth’s work @, and this book @, OR if you want the works, get on the phone with me.  :)



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