Got any ideas for new blog articles? What would help you? What do you find challenging about the paleo/primal lifestyle? Let me know (form below), and let's fix it together!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Paleo Thought Leaders - Part 1

I know it kind of seems back to front publishing Part 1 after Part 2, but hey, that's how I roll! Actually, this part was originally published in my newsletter,with the second part then published here. This then is now the outstanding part being published for completeness.

  1. Mark Sisson
    • The instigator, and owner of Mark's Daily Apple. He's been around since pretty much the beginning. The Primal movement is now a massive operation including books, supplements, podcasts and much more.
  2. Chris Kresser
    • As a medic Chris applies his knowledge to his own practice. Also uses robust analysis of the published literature to backup his position, or to debunk others
  3. Jimmy Moore
    • Has been livin la vida low carb for getting on for 1000 episodes of his podcast. Also does numerous lectures and tours and has published a couple of books
  4. Darryl Edwards
    • Primal play expert (and author) and Fitness Explorer who doesn't like the gym or working out, so reinvented exercise to incorporate the best of primal movement and play (check out his Paleo Fitness book). Normally found in the Concorde lounge or seat 1A flying to his next engagement! Very recently published another new book, Paleo from A to Z
  5. Denise Minger
  6. Aseem Malhotra
    • Consultant cardiologist who has appeared across the media recently, particularly in campaigns against sugar, and when trying to improve public understanding of the science behind good nutrition and well-being
  7. Gary Taubes
  8. Zoe Harcombe
    • Author of the Harcombe Diet, and well known critic of big business and bad science
  9. Paul Jaminet
  10. Chris Masterjohn
    • Author at the Daily Lipid, Chris has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences, and is Professor at CUNY
  11. Terry Wahls
    • Terry came to prominence a couple of years ago when she overcame her multiple sclerosis using a largely plant based diet and has since developed the Wahls Protocol
  12. Abel James
    • The Fat Burning Man, well known for his Fat Burning Man Show podcast and The Wild Diet book
So there you have it. Over the two parts, that's more than 20 thought leaders brought together. There's many more out there, but if you're looking to read around the subject, watch a few you tube videos or just follow some twitter feeds, you can't go far wrong with this lot!

Who else would you add to the list?

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Announcing Product Reviews

My interest in snack products, energy bars, gels etc goes way back since before I was Paleo. Trips to the US ended in me bringing back bags of Gu gels, Clif bars or more recently, Lara bars.

Since going Paleo/Primal, the reliance on snack products has by definition gone down. However, there is still room for the odd good quality snack product be it whilst travelling, hiking or just whilst on run and juggling school pick ups. My fascination with snack products therefore continues, just with a slightly different bias.

It makes sense therefore, to capture my thoughts here, hopefully for the benefit of others. Products will generally, but not exclusively, be those available in the UK, but interesting products I grab on my travels will also be included. The reviews can be accessed from the button along the top.

First up, The Naked Ape's Cherry Coco biltong...

Do add your own comments on my reviews or make suggestions for other products.


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

New Book Just Published!

I'm very excited to announce that my first e-book, Caveman Breakfast has been published today on Amazon!


The book is Over 40 Simple Paleo Breakfast Ideas and provides a list of quick and simple ideas for breakfast. It is not a recipe book per se, but rather a collection of thoughts and ideas on breakfasts that generally do not require a detailed recipe in order to quickly get something on the table. In addition, example recipes are provided, along with commentary on many of the issues in Paleoland today, such as nitrates in bacon, resistant starches and thoughts on what a Paleo lifestyle includes in addition to eating well. The contents are 
  • Introduction
  • What is the Paleo Diet?
  • No-rules: Left Overs and Fasting
  • Eggs
  • Snacks
  • Dairy
  • Meat and Fish
  • Pancakes
  • Liquid Breakfasts
  • ‘Cereals’
  • Baked Goods
  • 'Oatmeal'
  • Once You’ve Finished Breakfast
  • Final Thoughts
  • About The Author
  • Acknowledgements
The book is relatively short, but I think great value at £1.99/$2.99/AU$3.99.

For tomorrow (June 17th - note this is Pacific time, so roughly from 8am tomorrow morning UK time) only though, this book will be absolutely free! It is definitely great value at that price, so grab it while you can.

I'd love to get your thoughts on the book, so do leave (nice :) ) reviews on Amazon or on this blog, and I hope you get some value from the book

Yours in health,


Sunday, 7 June 2015

Ensuring You're Primal Fit

So, you've nailed the whole eating healthy thing. No grains, sugars or industrial oils pass your lips. Your meals are a beautiful blend of grass fed meats and nutritionally dense veggies. That's it, right? Not so fast! A primal lifestyle has healthy eating as one (very significant) component. But there are other aspects that you need to think about, in particular, exercise and fitness. 

What do we mean by Primal Fitness? Based on best guesses, and observations of modern day hunter gatherers, activities are generally described as brief, intense periods of activity, in between longer periods of rest/sleep. Think about the sudden need to climb out of harm's way. You need to carry a kill, foraged firewood or a youngster back to camp. There may be periods of walking whilst stalking prey or moving to a new home. You may need to sprint occasionally. 

So how do we translate that into today's modern lifestyle? Currently in vogue at the moment is functional fitness. This is the idea that rather than using a weights machine to focus on a specific muscle or group of muscles, you exercise in a way that provides a workout targeting the whole body. If you remove the machine and use free weights for example, your core now takes up much of the support system that the machine would otherwise provide. In many approaches weights may not even be explicitly be used and you instead focus on body weight exercises. 

By going through a series of progressions i
t is possible to continually improve by pushing your body to adapt to new situations. For example, push-ups may start on an incline (e.g. such as leaning onto a table), through normal push-ups, push-ups with feet elevated and onto one arm push-ups. What this does is provide you with fitness that rather than adapted to a weight machine, is more useful in 'real life' - carrying the shopping home, running to catch a bus, lifting a sofa up to get a child's toy back. Who knows, even lifting the back of a car in an emergency. More on functional fitness here.

It is that adaptation to new situations that is key if strength gains are what you're looking for. The body quickly adapts, so if you bust out 30 push-ups each morning, you get good at doing 30 push-ups each morning. Don't get me wrong, that's great in itself, but won't have as big an impact as mixing it up and moving through variations or progressions.

So, how to get started. There are a million websites out there that will give you this month's next big 'Killer Workout'. Many are just variations on a theme. Take a number of key exercises and work through the progressions.

Mark Sisson for example, has the Essential Primal Movements - push-up, pull-up, squat and plank. That's it. Start at the level you can manage comfortably, once you can nail that, move on to the next progression. Mark also mixes it up a little with his workouts of the week (WOWs), that use a number of different exercises in one workout - check out his housework workout

Other sites that have a number of fundamental moves that you focus on include this one and this one. One that I regularly use, especially when tight for time, is the Daily Dozen. A dozen exercises, 45 seconds each, 15 seconds rest. 12 minutes and you're done!

There are also a number of programs or systems out there designed to take you through continuous improvement. Very popular globally, and with a strong affinity with the Paleo scene, is Crossfit, the aim of which is to "is to forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness". If you prefer to workout in your own home (or better, the garden!), then how about the popular Convict Fitness, or Mark Lauren's Your Are Your Own Gym (YAYOG).There is also Start Bodyweight Training, which has a whole series of progressions, from very straightforward to seemingly impossible! 

Of course, this is all very well, but you still need to get the motivation to get out there and get on with it. For many people this is the main barrier to improving fitness. Fortunately, nowadays there's a variety of options and ways in which exercise programs increase your motivation.

Fancy being chased by zombies? There's an app for that! (Several other'zombie' workouts also available here, here and here)

There's also a number of 'level up' type websites, the idea being you get awarded points for particular workouts, achieving a particular move, etc. As you get points, you progress up levels, can challenge friends and colleagues and so on. A lot of the wearable devices (Fitbit and Jawbone for example) offer this kind of functionality.

Fitocracy is a website (and app) that also provides you with the ability to level up in this way, offering challenges, dials with friends and other features to really provide the motivation you need.

Freeletics is slightly different in that it offers hundreds of tailored workouts. As you progress and your fitness improves, you unlock additional workouts and more challenging exercises.

Finally in this space, Nerd Fitness is a whole community built on this levelling up concept, in addition to providing workouts with a fun aspect (Angry Birds workout, anyone?!)

All of the above approaches target functional fitness, and move away from weight machines that just go through the motions. What they don't do though necessarily is get you outside and into nature. It is perfectly possible to do the vast majority of the workouts in the comfort of your own living room.

To get truly primal therefore, it is necessary to go beyond functional fitness, and to embrace the outside as your own infinite playground. There are two great examples of this approach.

MovNat, established by Erwan le Corre, describes itself as a physical education & fitness system based on the full range of natural human movement abilities. It is about learning to move your body to its fullest extent and through that derive the strength and conditioning you require. Take a look at the website and you'll see lots of info about people crawling, climbing trees, chucking rocks and most importantly, having a good time getting fit and healthy!

Talking of having a good time, this is the whole basis for the fitness movement developed by Darryl Edwards. Darryl doesn't like working out, so he goes out for a play instead. Again based on full movement and using the planet as his playground, Darryl can often be found leaping over things or carrying the people in his groups and again, having fun. Darryl also talks about movement 'snacks'. Regular times throughout the day when you take out five minutes and do a few push ups, run up some stairs or simply get outside. Check out his book here.

This article has largely focused on strength training. Sprinting is another aspect of primal health, and we'll cover that in another article.

For now, take a look at the options above, find one you like, and have some fun with it!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Paleo Thought Leaders - Part 2

This is the second part of my list of thought leaders within the Paleosphere. The first part was published in my newsletter. You can see a copy of that newsletter here (to ensure you don't miss future newsletters, why not subscribe over on the right hand side?).

These thought leaders are not in any particular order. It is simply a list of a couple of dozen of what I believe to be the current thought leaders on the planet as far as Paleo living is concerned. I will have missed your favourites, and you won't agree with some on this list, but that's part of the fun!

So, on to part two...

  • Robb Wolf
    • Possibly the thought leader. Author of The Paleo Solution book and podcast and author of many facinating and insightful blog articles. Regular presenter at the Paleo conferences. His scientific background helps him cut through the inaccurate claims and present well thought out and robust opinion.
  • Angelo Coppela
    • Presenter of Latest in Paleo, one of the most popular podcasts available. Angelo regularly shares his own experiences and personal experiments, and provides week thought out rationales for what he's doing. Has recently been making reasoned arguments for inclusion of beans and legumes in a Paleo diet, as well as a more plant based Paleo approach .
  • Robert Lustig
    • Has come to prominence over his anti-sugar campaigning, including his You Tube video, Sugar: The Bitter Truth that went viral, and is rapidly approaching 6 million watches! Also on the Board of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, and author of Fat Chance , a book looking at how companies and governments are failing to reduce sugar in processed food, and the related health issues. Also has many many published journal, magazine and newspaper articles.
  • Laura Schoenfeld
    • Registered nutritionist, and owner of Ancestralize Me blog, as well as a popular podcast. Laura is also a staff nutritionist over on Chris Kresser's site, which is testimony enough!
  • Tim Noakes
    • If ever someone demonstrated the power of science in its ability to rethink theories based on evidence, and to re-evaluate and change opinions, it's Tim. Author of the Lore of Running which had its 4th Edition published in 2002 (I read this version way back!), Tim has reversed his opinions on carb-loading and what defines good nutrition and is now very much in the low carb, high protein/fat camp. Tim has re-popularised the Banting diet, showing there really is nothing new under the Sun! His book is out later this year.
  • Michael Pollan
    • Not a total Paleo advocate, but a lot of his work is relevant, common sense and aligned to Paleo thinking. He speaks out against inedible foodlike substances, and his mantra is "Eat food, not too much. Mostly plants". Here's one version of his supposed anti-Paleo stance. Actually, I think there's lots we have in common.
  • Sarah Ballantyne
    • Owner of the popular Paleo Mom website, Sarah has many fingers in many pies! Consulting, podcasting, presenter at Paleo conferences, blogger! Sarah is also author of the popular Paleo Approach book, as well as having a great collection of recipes available on her website.
  • Richard Nikoley
    • Over at Free the Animal, Richard has one of the best straight talking paleo-type sites on the web. You know where you are with Richard - there is no sitting on the fence. Topics include several articles questioning the current direction of paleo, and challenging the status quo (should legumes ever be a total no-no?)
  • Stephen Guyenet
    • Stephan is an obesity researcher who has written a great blog series on meat as well as lentils and beans. He was also recently the guest in a fascinating interview with Angelo Coppela here.
  • Loren Cordain
    • Although technically there were Paleo diet proponents before Cordain (I don't just mean the Paleolithic peoples themselves!), his book, the The Paleo Diet is considered by many to be the starting point for the whole movement.
Who's missing? Who would you add to this list? Check back in soon for the first part of the list which was put in my newsletter, but will also be reproduced here shortly.