Monday, December 16, 2013

Pork Rinds and Cider... "loose paleo" to the rescue!

If you are a paleo purist, please skip the rest of this post, as I will surely offend someone.

Recently I met a really cool woman who told me that her good friends were having amazing success eating paleo. She was "trying to do paleo", but had trouble with two key weaknesses: Cheez-its and beer.

What immediately came to mind is how I have managed to find "paleo-esque" substitutes for those kind of things in my life.

"Pork Rinds and Cider." I quickly replied.
She was thrilled. Her face lit up... "Wow, what a great idea!"

It then occurred to me how seamless my transition into paleo eating has been. I live in "Beer City, USA" and haven't had a beer in over a year. When my kids want pizza, my wife or myself can quickly whip up a "Chebe crust" pizza that would make anyone swear it was "real" pizza. (Admittedly, not the BEST crust from NYC, but still pretty darn good.)

Personally, I still prefer the "Meat and Veggies, some fruits and nuts." approach most of the time, but for some folks a little "loose paleo" can make a big difference.

Especially if we are living a crazy busy life (more on that later...) and/or have kids, it can be easy for many paleo folks to "fall off the paleo wagon" or to tell ourselves we can't do this paleo thing. For me, it's really not an issue. I truly love the food I eat, and am so thrilled with how good I feel on a daily basis.

When others are eating crispy crunchy stuff and I'm wanting some chips, I find pork rinds are convenient, delicious, and crunchy. Yes, I know they're from industrial hog farms, but these are an occasional indulgence, not a staple of my diet. Would you rather I eat canola-fried GMO corn? I'll take my chicharrones, thanks.

 I loved beer for years. I really don't find that I miss it now. When I want a fizzy-boozy thing, hard cider is a nice option. (or a Nor-Cal margarita in the summer sometimes.) I've found that alcohol in general is just playing a much smaller role in my life these days. Just as often, my cold and fizzy choice is just seltzer.

Chebe fills the "bread void" when needed for my kids. Yes, it's a load of starch, but I make it with a good dose of fat and eggs. Chebe can be found in Ingle's markets (in Asheville area) or at Whole Foods stores (for a considerably higher price!) Are any of these things health food? Not really. However, they are relatively harmless when compared to what they replace. I think there is a delicious balance between a happy and quite healthy person and someone suffering through a self-imposed prison sentence.

Willpower is HIGHLY over rated, By the way... That's why I refuse to rely on it! I really have no discipline, and no willpower. Instead, I remind myself of all the awesome things I CAN have now:

  • a pain-free body
  • youthful, exuberant energy
  • clear skin
  • no -ahem... "digestion issues"
  • better physical fitness in middle age than ever before in my entire life
  • I truly enjoy every meal!

OK, now go outside and play!

                                                                              Love, Mo the human

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Grace in every step: Regaining our natural human gait

As with everything on this blog, I am not telling anyone else what to do. I'm merely sharing my own experiences in exploration of human health. Think. Learn. Be your own teacher.

If you live in the Asheville area, you are lucky for a wide variety of reasons. One of them is that Synchronicity Wellness has gotten in the habit of hosting monthly "Paleo Potlucks" which are announced on the "Paleo Asheville" facebook page. At these events, I've met some wonderful people and had some truly amazing food. No wonder some folks call paleo eating "the foodie's diet"!
 I have also greatly enjoyed the various talks given at these potlucks. Each speaker has brought to the group a whole new perspective on a different subject. It's really cool to see how this "paleo thing" is encompassing so much more that just the classic diet and exercise stuff!

In October I got to give a talk at one of the potlucks regarding natural human gait.
The "lecture" is about 12 minutes, followed by a lengthy and somewhat funny Q&A/ discussion.
To watch the video click here:

If you watch, please let me know what you think. 

If you'd like some additional resources, including loads of shoe options that I consider healthy for our feet and Books for runners... Click here:

A simple exercise I have used with considerable success to regain a gentle, natural human stride is what I like to call...

The “Sobriety Test” Exercise:

Teaching Your Brain to See with Your Feet

by Mo Goldstein, happy human
Expect this to be a joyful, but possibly very slow process. Different people learn at different speeds. Approach this as if you are gardening. You cannot force a plant to bloom. As such, do not force your feet or brain to adapt too quickly. Let this be a short time you take every morning to experience the sensation you brain has been hungry for since childhood.
1.     Start completely barefoot on a flat, hard, smooth surface such as a wood or stone floor.
2.     Stand for a moment and gently shift your weight from foot to foot without lifting either foot off the ground.
3.   While looking forward (not down) with a soft gaze, begin lifting each foot very slightly, then gently placing it onto the ground as you lift the other foot.
4.     Gently place one foot just barely in front of the other foot, then WAIT for the front foot to “invite” your weight onto it. This will involve some gentle contraction of the Gluteal and hamstring muscles in the back leg.
5.     As you shift your weight to the forward foot, gently lift the back foot without “pushing off”.
6.     Repeat at a slow, gentle pace. If you are “thumping”, slow down.
7.     Try the same movement walking backwards. Notice the sensations in your feet.

After some time, you may wish to experiment with some different textures: rough surfaced concrete, dirt, etc… eventually even gravel. Do not rush this. With patience you can avoid possible injury as you slowly regain a very gentle and joyful gait. In time the muscles, tendons, and bones of the feet will become stronger as your brain-foot connection becomes “smarter”.

OK, now go outside and play!

                                                                          Much love, -Mo the human

Saturday, November 30, 2013

My sister the vegetarian... Transformed by paleo!

In this weekend following thanksgiving, I am noticing that I'm thankful for many things. One thing that truly makes me giddy with appreciation is my family.

Like all families, we have had our struggles from time to time. However, for the most part, we remain open to each other's ideas. We are constantly asking each other for support and advice...

 A couple of years ago, I got a call from my sister. She is a very intelligent, educated, and highly capable nurse midwife who unfortunately lives far away from me. To the best of my memory, the call went something like this:

"Hey, Mo... Which barefoot running book should I get?"

"Why?" I replied, "You don't run."

"Yeah," She agreed, "But I've been wearing the fivefingers for about a year and I'm wearing Soft Star's at work like you do. My feet and knees are feeling much better. However, I just turned 47... and I'm tired of getting fatter every year. I want to get in shape."

"If you want to get in shape, forget running," I said. "If you want to be fit and healthy, read 'The Paleo Solution' by Robb Wolf. I gotta warn you, though... He loves to pick on vegetarians."

I love my sister.
Like most vegetarians, she had come into it for all the right reasons:

She wanted to do the least possible damage and the most possible good to the planet.
She wanted to do the least possible damage and the most possible good to her body.
She wanted to be kind to animals.
She really wanted to enjoy a long and healthy life.

Luckily, She was open both to my suggestion and Robb Wolf's sarcastic wit. If we had the same conversation today, I'd probably recommend a different book like "It starts with food" by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig or "Practical Paleo"by Dianne Sanfilippo  Neither of these was available back then, but they both take a much less combative tone with those who don't eat critters.

About 6 months later, I got a text from my (formerly) vegetarian sister:
"I have some local grass-fed sirloin steaks. What should I do?"

Unable to contain my "snarky little brother" self, I replied:

She texted back:
"No, Seriously. I don't know what to do with such a thing."

This time I called her:
"You know that fancy, full-color cookbook with the 12-step process to turn tofu into something delicious? You can get rid of that. Those steaks are such high quality, you could probably eat them raw. Just throw the steak in a hot cast iron pan. Maybe add a little salt and pepper... Flip it over, and take it out when it's too raw. You can always cook it more if you need to."

An hour later, she sent another text:
"OMG, this is so GOOD!"

I replied:
"Welcome to the wonderful world of meat. :)"

On her 48th birthday, after about a year of eating paleo:

  •  she felt like a leaner, more muscular version of her 18 year old self.
  • she had to buy an entire new wardrobe 3 times in a year to fit her rapidly shrinking frame
  • she is now an amazing paleo cook, even making her own "bacon fat mayo"!
A last-minute addition directly from the happy, healthy woman herself:

 "Add in there somewhere that I went from 148 at 5'4" tall to holding at or below 125. But the BIG thing was that two weeks into it I was waking up without any aches and pains at all, and am more flexible than I was when I practiced yoga three times a week--which I don't do any more."

Here she is at 49... A glowing, vital human!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why I DON'T ice injuries.

Ice is for cocktails... NOT injuries!

Disclaimer: As with everything on this blog, I make no pretense of being a professional or "expert" on nutrition, foot health, exercise, etc. I'm a massage therapist, and a really good one (or so they tell me)... And I'd like to continue massaging people for years to come. Therefore, my scope of practice prevents me giving advice on what YOU should be doing. I'm merely sharing my own personal journey in health exploration.

Anyone who has had some training in sports medicine, first aid, or health care has heard the old "sprains and strains" acronym. RICE

  1. Rest
  2. Ice
  3. Compression
  4. Elevation

Personally, Though I heard this through so many of my trainings, I've never been a fan of icing injuries.

First of all:
 I don't like it. It feels awful to me. Perhaps I'm kinda selfish - I tend to avoid things I don't like.

Years ago, a good friend/teacher/mentor of mine explained that in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) they believe icing an injury stops the flow of "Qi"  or "Chi" (vital life energy) to the injury. Since qi this is what brings healing, we don't want to stop it, but would rather encourage flow of qi.

About a year ago, I felt so very much relieved when I saw a humorous, yet  quite geeky video post from one of my "virtual mentors" Kelly Starrett.
He finally gave me a solid, western medicine, biological explanation that's hard to ignore.

This explanation meshes perfectly with the TCM explanation, and that makes me happy... I like when we can all get along!

So, here's my "Plain English" lowdown:

Say, for instance, You just sprained your ankle/worked out really hard/bruised your shin... What's going on?

INFLAMMATION! (lots of extra blood flow/aka"Qi" coming to the area)

Lately, many folks see inflammation as a bad thing.
I agree that CHRONIC inflammation can be a serious issue. That's another subject for another day.

In the case of such an acute injury, acute inflammation is a necessary part of your body's natural repair process.
Torn, damaged tissues need loads of resources to repair themselves. Your body is miraculously bringing in all the necessary nutrients for repair while also removing the debris of damaged tissues.
This is the purpose of inflammation.

As the video says, (and I very much agree.) "There can be inflammation without healing, but there can be no healing without inflammation."
Let me say that again slowly. YOU. CAN. NOT. HEAL. WITHOUT. INFLAMMATION.

The whole purpose of icing an injury is to "reduce inflammation"by decreasing the blood coming to the injury. As these fellas put quite bluntly: "Do you honestly think your body is making a mistake by bringing more blood to an injury?"

"Groceries in, Garbage out." is Kelly Starrett's little phrase for what your body is trying to accomplish. Therefore, the idea here is that if we want to speed healing, we should speed the process of blood LEAVING the injury, not slow it ENTERING. Of course, the brilliant man offering the explanation in the above video is selling a high-tech and high dollar machine to do this. If you play on an NFL, NHL or NBA team, you and your trainers are probably already using one of these awesome gadgets.

Fortunately for the rest of us, we can "walk it off". Or, better yet... Get a massage! I know a really good massage therapist in almost every part of the USA, and even a few in other countries... If you don't see me, see someone. OK?

Furthermore, Dr. Starrett (aka "KStar") has come up with a new acronym to replace "RICE"...

    Move safely when you can, what you can. Compress lymphatics and soft tissues (use bands, muscle contraction, clothing, normatec, etc.)  Elevate when you can.  MCE.

Now, to add further information for the biology geeks out there... a one-year later follow-up on the idea!

Tell me, fellow humans... What do you think?

OK, now go outside and play!  

                                                                                     Much love- Mo the human

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Attention Diabetics: I know nothing

I'll  admit it... When it comes to diabetes, and how to prevent and/or reverse it. I know nothing.

I have read LOADS of books and blogs on the biochemistry of hormones and glucose, taken numerous college courses on human anatomy and physiology, Worked as a teaching assistant for anatomy and physiology classes AND nutrition classes... Watched "FAT HEAD" by Tom Naughton, Read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes...

Yet, Since I myself am neither diabetic, nor certified by anyone to talk about such things, I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING about diabetes.

Luckily for all of us...

Steve Cooksey does! (AND he seems to have a growing number of "proper" dieticians supporting him now.)

This man lives in Charlotte, NC and is royally upsetting the ADA and many other folks who seem intent on NOT curing diabetes. Therefore, since I hope to not make any enemies, I'm asking you to keep taking drugs, and don't listen to anything this happy, healthy, used-to-be diabetic says.

Thanks, that is all.

Now go outside and play! Love, Mo the human.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Caramelized Sweet Potato Recipe

"Heat, Oil, and Neglect" are all you need for delicious sweet potatoes!

1 Preheat oven to 450 degrees while peeling and chopping sweet potatoes into cubes of about 1/2" to 3/4".

2 Spread cubes out single layer in large baking pan and toss a few spoonfuls of coconut oil on them (about 1 or 2 tablespoons per large sweet potato).

3 Put pan of cubes and oil in oven for 5 minutes to melt the oil.

4 Stir to coat all sides of cubes with oil, bake for 20 minutes.

5 Stir cubes again (scraping from pan with a stiff spatula), bake for 15 more minutes.

6 Scrape cubes from the pan as soon as you pull them out to prevent sticking... Watch your family devour the toasted marshmallowy, caramelized crunchy sweetness!

Enjoy! Love, Mo the human.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Go for it! (The joy of being wrong.)

Like most people, I like the satisfaction of being right and getting what I want.

However, I love being wrong... That's when the really cool stuff happens!

When I was in college I signed up for the free "UNCC karate club" so I could learn better fighting skills...
I got something far more valuable. I learned the ability to keep a cool head and avoid getting in fights.

I once made a horrible mistake while snowboarding. I thought for a brief yet eternal moment (as I flew through the air) that I'd never walk again. I did fracture my spine and experience the most severe pain I can imagine, but that day changed me in very positive ways. Also, I was snowboarding again 6 weeks later.

I decided to not date anyone for a while so I could focus on massage school.
The woman who changed my mind became my wife and my best friend...  and I'm still MADLY in love with her 15 years later.

I took a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class hoping to regain my ability to "keep a cool head and avoid getting in fights." Well, that actually worked... But I got something even better in discovering a community of intelligent, fun, creative people and a joyful sport that challenged me and changed me in numerous positive ways. The good folks of I trained with are forever family to me.

I took up barefoot walking and running in the hopes of helping my chronic foot and knee pain. I was thinking I'd probably run a marathon someday. I thought I might lose some "middle age fat gain" too. I lost zero pounds in 2 years. Now I'm thinking I'll probably never run a marathon, and that's OK... My pain is gone, my feet and knees are happy, and I can run whenever I want for the sheer joy of it!

I tried eating paleo for a month thinking it would be bland and boring and might help my joint aches.
I've never enjoyed food so much in my life! The joint aches took a full month to go away, but they did -along with all that middle aged fat gain! Even better, I discovered a huge community of intelligent and open-minded people who are quietly creating a revolution in human health.

The point of all this late-night rambling?

If you're thinking...

"Oh, I could never do that." (Whatever THAT might be...)

Well, you're probably right.

So long as you think you can't... You won't be proven wrong.

But maybe, just maybe, you're thinking, "Maybe I can?"

In that case, whatever it is... GO for it!

Maybe you'll get lucky! Maybe you can.

Or... if you're really lucky, maybe you'll be wrong,

and you will discover something even better.

OK, now go outside and play!  Love, Mo the human

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

You're going to die of a heart attack! a.k.a. My intro to paleo eating

"SPSHHHHHHHHhhhhh...." The smell and the sizzle were wonderful.

The worried look on my sweet wife's face was not so wonderful.

It was early in the morning on June 1st, 2011.

I was cooking my first intentionally paleo meal.

The cooked pile of grass-fed ground beef was waiting on a plate. I was sauteing a huge pile of purple cabbage, sliced carrots, and a few slivered almonds in the copious layer of beef fat that remained in the cast iron pan. This, along with some fresh dill from the garden, carrot sticks and an apple, would be my breakfast and lunch for "Day 1 of  trying to prove Robb Wolf wrong."

It was one of the best breakfasts I've ever had.

Eating paleo was to be an experiment for me. I had just read "The Paleo Solution" by Robb Wolf, and decided I would call his bluff; I would try eating this way for one month... Just to see what would happen.

Over my shoulder, I heard in a tone of dread,

 "Honey, I'm afraid you're going to die of a heart attack!"

My wife was genuinely concerned for my well being. Like most folks in our culture, (and like myself prior to reading this book) she thought saturated, DELICIOUS animal fat was the fastest way to slippery-slide yourself straight into the morgue.
We had a half-full bottle of organic, expeller-pressed canola oil that I was refusing to use... You know, the "heart-healthy" stuff! However, Robb Wolf makes some pretty good arguments, and I figured it was worth a shot to try it out, despite scaring my sweetie with my seemingly insane food choices.

Within 2 days, my chronic, ahem.. "digestive issues" (you know... the kind that would wake my wife up at night.) had disappeared!!!

Seriously, she had been putting up with my nasty, gassy, bloating guts for years. (What a kind, patient and wonderful soul she is.) The gas was GONE.

"Maybe the risk of heart attack is worth it," She said.

In her typical, understated sense of humor, she had given me approval to continue my seemingly dangerous experiment.

By the end of the month, The results were astounding:

-I had lost 15 lbs without trying.
I was back at what I used to call my "fighting weight" in the days before we had kids... (Back then I rode my bike daily, practiced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 5 or 6 days per week, contact improv and yoga twice per week.)
-My energy levels were soaring.
-The mild "old man aches" in my joints were completely gone!
-I was sleeping better.
-The chronic chest and sinus congestion that I've had for 20+ years was gone...
-Essentially, I felt like a 19 year old! (with a tad more emotional maturity, I hope...)

As I stepped out of the shower, my kind and previously skeptical wife said, "Ok, You didn't look that good when we met. I need to read that book."

Needless to say, within one month, her transformation was amazing as well:
-This mother of 2 who had been teaching yoga for a decade had to buy new jeans. (Her old ones were falling off!)
-She was STRONGER! Strong enough to do yoga poses she had never had the strength to do.
-Her PMS and cramps were gone... GONE! This was good for everyone.
-The bloating and discomfort she used to have after every meal were all GONE.
-Like me, her energy levels were soaring!

What did we eat? It's very simple... This is NOT a complicated thing:

-Veggies (not corn, it's a grain.)
-Meats (Primarily pasture raised mammals and birds, and wild caught fish) and "good fats" (coconut oil, fat from healthy animals, avocados)
-Nuts (not peanuts... They are beans)
-A little full-fat dairy for her, but not for me. (More on that later...)

Pretty much in that order of volume... picture it like a "paleo food pyramid"
 The bottom is animals and plants.
The top is fruits and nuts.

What was NOT on the plate?
sugary beverages (including juice)
Grains (ESPECIALLY Wheat!)
Beans (except a few green beans)
Sugar and other refined sweeteners.
"vegetable" oils. (actually industrial seed oil. Has anyone ever actually gotten oil out of a vegetable?)

Does this look like a restrictive diet to you?
This meal was a delicious, local grass fed beef burger, oven- roasted veggies, and an avocado fried in the high-quality beef fat left behind from the burger... YUM!

At this point, we've settled into a nice "paleo-esque" groove. We're not super strict paleovores, but that's basically how we eat.

The truth is, I have enjoyed food more in the last 2 years than ever before! (and those of you who know me know how I love good food!)

So far, no heart attack, and my bloodwork is quite impressive!

"Praise the Lard!" (Pasture-raised, of course.) -Mo the human

How NOT to learn barefoot running!

Behold... The Brooks BEAST! (My old "foot coffins" that made natural, gentle running impossible.)

Below I am pasting A re-post from Steven Sashen at xero shoes... (my favorite sandals) 
for more, look at my resources page.

Enjoy!-Mo the human

(Read this online at

I was on a panel discussion about barefoot running a while 
back. At one point, someone in the audience asked,

So how do I transition to barefoot running?

Quick Note -- while this is about running, if you're not a
runner this story is still relevant and important for you.

Okay, back to the story.

Before I could respond to the question, a well-respected 
physical therapist suggested the following:

"First, switch to a slightly lower-heeled shoe than what 
you have. Run in that for a few months. Then switch to a 
racing flat, maybe one day a week for a while… then add 
an extra day every month, until you can run in those. Then 
maybe try something like Vibrams on a soft surface, like 
grass in a park. Work up to being able to run on the grass... 
then try a soft dirt path. Eventually you may be able to run 
on hard surfaces, but don't do that too often. And I don't 
recommend being totally barefoot because you could step on 

The only reason I didn't interrupt him was that I was in shock!

I had never heard anything so insane in my life. Until he 
he tossed out his next bit of barefoot running advice:

"Expect to spend about 2 to 3 years making the transition. 
That's how long I've been doing it and I'm still not there."

That's when my shock gave way to action, and I took off the 
politeness gloves.

"Hold on," I said, "this is completely upside down and wrong!"

Danny Abshire from Newton jumped in as well, "Right, that's 

I'll tell you what Danny and I proposed, instead, in just a 
moment. But first, let's back up to the question that started 
it all.

"How do you transition!?"

The idea built into the question itself seems to make sense. 
If you're wearing a motion-controlled shoe with a 3″ heel 
and a $400 orthotic, it seems logical that you need to slowly 
wean yourself from all that support. It seems clear that you 
would need to get comfortable in a lower and lower heel until 
you're ready for barefoot.

But as we've already seen in the previous days of this course, 
things are not always as they seem.

Here's the bottom line:

There is nothing that "prepares" you for being barefoot.


Not "zero-drop" shoes (where your heel is at the same height 
as the ball of your foot). Not Vibrams. Not a thinner insole. 
Not even Xero Shoes (more about those in a second).

Anything that you put on your feet will change either your 
stride and biomechanics, or the amount of sensation you're 
feeling in your feet (or both) compared to being barefoot. 
So once you take off your shoes, or fully feel the ground, 
you'll need to learn to move differently.

Here's where some people stop reading what I'm saying and 
respond with two arguments (to points I'm not making).

First, they'll say, "Oh, so you're some sort of barefoot 
purist! Who are you to tell me what to wear or not wear?"

To be clear, I'm not telling anyone what to wear and I'm not 
saying barefoot is the only way to be. Admittedly, the 
majority of my time I am in Xero Shoes, but not always 
(more about when I'm not, and when you shouldn't be in 
an upcoming lesson).

This article is about the myth of "transitioning", not 
about your footwear, or lack thereof.

Secondly, people will say, "Yes, but switching to a racing 
flat or zero-drop shoe will give your Achilles time to 
stretch and strengthen, and that better prepares you for 
being barefoot."

To them I say, "Not always. And for almost everyone, your 
Achilles has more than enough stretch. And, even if it were 
true that you needed to stretch your Achilles, there's a 
better way than spending 2-3 years to make that happen."

Keep in mind that the biggest reason for going totally 
barefoot is that feeling the ground with your skin gives 
you the most feedback about your form. Feedback that, if 
you attend to it, can inspire you to change your gait to 
something more efficient, easy, and natural. Running in 
Xero Shoes is, really, the same... if they covered 
everywhere you stepped in 4-6mm of flexible rubber.

All the other shoes I've tested reduce the amount of ground 
sensation you feel so that you don't get the feedback you 
need to adjust your gait.

I've seen hundreds of people in VFFs or racing flats who 
still heel strike or have some other gait pattern where 
they aren't getting much if any extra "Achilles strengthening 
and stretching".

So, what's the better way to "transition" that Danny and I 
chimed in with?

1) Take off your shoes (or put on your Invisible Shoes), 
find the hardest and smoothest surface you can find 
(like a bike path or street) and run.

2) But only do it for about 200 yards.

3) See how you feel the next day.

You may be sore, you may be fine. If you're sore, wait until 
you're not. Then go try again, and add 100 or 200 yards. Repeat.

I think of this as the "Shampoo method" of barefoot running. 
Instead of "Lather, Rinse, Repeat," it's run a little, rest, 
repeat (and run a little more).

Keep in mind, there are two types of soreness. One is from 
using muscles you haven't used in a while, or using them in 
a way you haven't used in a while (if ever), or using them 
a bit more than usual.

The other is from doing something wrong. Like doing way too 
much distance (which part of 200 yards was confusing to you?), 
or trying to stay on your toes without letting your heels 
ever touch the ground (Not necessary... land mid- or forefoot, 
but your heel can touch down. No need to do 200 yards of 
calf raises).

In other words, a little soreness is probably normal. A lot of 
soreness is telling you to try something different.

And this idea that you need to be on soft surfaces. Completely 
wrong. And wrong for the same reason that you don't want to 
be in cushy running shoes.

Give yourself a soft surface and the odds are good you'll 
heel-strike. Plus, soft surfaces don't give you the feedback 
you want, the kind that can help you quickly learn a new 
and better way to run. I've seen barefoot runners who've 
only run on grass, and they usually look like shod runners 
who lost their shoes.

Instead of thinking that you can work your way to barefoot 
or huaraches slowly, go there immediately. But work your 
way up in time/distance slowly.

All the strengthening that you want to do before you run 
barefoot, you'll get that faster by running barefoot.

All the stretching you need (if, in fact, you need any), 
you'll get that by building up your distance, slowly.

To misquote Yoda's famous "There is no try. Only do." 
There is no transition, only run (or walk, as the case may be).

Oh, and in the next lesson, I'll share some of the most 
important tips about exactly HOW to walk or run barefoot, 
including some suggestions that, frankly, I never wanted 
to share with anyone... shhhhh.

Let me know what you think. Go to
and add your comments.

Feel The World!
-Steven Sashen, CEO

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I should have worn a black trenchcoat and mirrored sunglasses to my health screening.

If I were much cooler than I actually am, this would have been me:

My employer gave a free (mandatory) employee health screening as part of the health insurance program. Needless to say, I rocked it. (Despite eating "all the wrong foods" and working out 15 minutes per week.)
 I hope the nurse who did my bloodwork will read my blog, as she was a very nice person.

Triglycerides: "Should be less than 150" Mine was 50.

HDL aka "Good Cholesterol": "Should be at least 40" Mine was 97.

LDL aka "Bad Cholesterol": "Yours didn't show up on test because the triglycerides were so low."

Total Cholesterol: 222    "A little high." (I am NOT worried, BTW!)

WHY am I not worried about my "high cholesterol"?
Third, if you are really concerned about heart health, or are on statins, you might consider reading this new book by Jimmy Moore
Fourth, LDL is not BAD! If it were, why would our body make it?

Praise the lard! (pasture raised, of course...) -Mo the human

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Resources for natural foot health and reclaiming your natural human gait.

Greetings, fellow humans! 

As of 4-4-15 this post (after some editing) has been moved to my new website:

Thanks for your support over all these years!

Much love and respect, Mo the human

Monday, October 7, 2013

Paleo Brownies recipe

These are my wife's "almost famous" paleo brownies (slightly modified from Mark Sisson's "Primal Blueprint Cookbook")

Bacon and birthday candles optional, of course!

While not what I'd call health food, they are a delicious, "healthier" treat for that occasion when a cake is desired.  If you have trouble eating treats in moderation, I'd recommend making these only when you have lots of folks to feed, as they are GOOD! This dessert has shown a few of our "paleo-phobic" friends and family that we are indeed not suffering by how we choose to eat. For those who don't know, they will never suspect that these brownies (more like a moist, delicious chocolate cake) are grain-free and non-dairy!

Paleo Brownie Recipe:


1 3/4 cup almond meal (We use Trader Joe's Almond Meal)
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (We use Droste. It is extra rich)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 cup coconut milk (full fat variety in a can)
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil (gently melted)
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (melted)

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients until well blended. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs for one minute, then add coconut milk, maple syrup and whisk again. Add melted coconut oil and whisk until wet ingredients are completely blended. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and whisk well; be sure to scrape sides and bowl bottom so no pockets of dry ingredient remain. Fold in melted chocolate chips and walnuts. Batter will be thinner consistency than conventional brownies. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Enjoy in moderation... If you can! (bacon decoration is optional, of course...)

If you'd like to go all "birthday cake" on it, HERE is a good frosting recipe.

Monday, September 30, 2013

What IS "paleo"? (No loincloth required...)

What IS paleo, anyway?... It's probably not what you think.
When it comes to "eating paleo" my first month of trying it out blew my mind!

As it gains momentum, and more people begin looking into it, I expect that many folks will attempt to define it in varying ways. As someone who has been exploring it for almost 4 years (a "newbie" by some standards) I feel a need to add my voice to the online conversation.

As with anything that threatens the current norms, "Paleo" (aka the Ancestral Health Movement, aka Primal, Real Food, Clean Eating, etc...) is quickly dismissed by many as a fad: "You know, that silly caveman diet."...

 Except that it's growing, and doing so quite rapidly. Thousands of people are finding vitality, energy, and health that they previously thought impossible. Of course, we will expect some backlash. Some people are already calling it a cult. Obviously, none of these people have actually looked into it much:

Paleo is the OPPOSITE of a cult.

A cult is a group of people who unquestioningly follow a leader. The members of a cult look to the leader for their answers. A cult worships a specific deity... A specific "truth" of how the world is.

Paleo is a COMMUNITY.

We question everything. Not just "DIET and EXERCISE" but all aspects of how we live our lives. There are some mothersfarmers, biologists, doctors, writers, coaches, playful movers acupuncturists, diabetics, and nutritionists who are major contributors to this community... and the list keeps growing! There is even a network of paleo physicians. However, since there are no "leaders", Paleo is completely decentralized. We (including you, if you're actually reading this) are a large, and rapidly growing worldwide community. We come from different religions, ethnicities, political alignments, etc. We are a diverse group of people who are willing to ask a simple question:

"What if we are wrong about this?"

This question leads us to seek real answers from a multitude of sources. Yes, we ARE learning from our grandparents, but also from much further back in time. We are looking at more than just how we eat. We are learning not just from our ancestors, but also from the latest scientific breakthroughs. We are also learning from looking at the remaining societies of "primitive" cultures today. We are trying these various ideas out, and seeing if they work (or not). We are taking control of our own health, with seemingly miraculous results. And, I might add... having a GREAT time doing it! There are huge, international Facebook groups, and small, local ones. In a matter of seconds, you could find one in your town. Those of us in Asheville, NC have a great resource in Synchronicity Wellness.

Many folks in what is now often referred to as the "Ancestral Health Community" give credit to Weston A. Price as being the father of this movement. He was a dentist who travelled the world and noticed that so-called "primitive" cultures had far greater health than the "civilized" folks. Anyone with rural farming roots knows this.  Many of us have very old relatives who had glowing health despite eating "all the wrong foods". And NO, we don't hate vegetarians... many of us used to be vegetarians!

For many people, they find paleo through crossfit. (Which, by the way, is also NOT a cult, but a community of people who love what they do and constantly question the details of their beliefs and methods in regards to exercise.)

My introduction to this shifting, formless community was through vibram five fingers and the barefoot movement people. (also not a cult.)

My introduction to the nutrition aspect was from Robb Wolf's book "The Paleo Solution." Robb Wolf presented a very appealing challenge to me. It was roughly this:

"Don't believe anything I say... God love people who think! Prove me wrong... Try it for a month, and see what happens!"

So... There you have it.
Make caveman jokes if you want to, (we think they're funny too).
But, seriously... Don't knock it 'till you try it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Could too much exercise be killing you?

I love to run.

Those who spend time with me in daily life see it in my daily activity. I run from the car to work, I run in the woods with my kids. I run to get somewhere if I'm in a hurry. However, I almost never go for a long run, and I never see it as "exercise". To me, running falls into the "play" category, and generally only happens in short spurts. (see 1 minute video below if you like...)

Thanks to Ken Bob Saxton's Book  and a load of other resources I was able to run again for the first time in years without any pain in my knees and feet. I have never been fast, but that's not the point... to me -it's just joyful, childish playtime. I've never run a marathon, or even a half marathon. Heck, I've never run a race at all! (Did I mention I'm not very fast?)

Now, don't get me wrong... I'm NOT saying it's healthy to be inactive. Exercise is good. However, a growing body of evidence is suggesting that too much might be just as dangerous as not enough.

In the past few years (since re-evaluating all I thought I knew) I have been learning more and more that tells me... it's a really good thing I never caught the competitive bug! A growing pile of research is showing that "chronic cardio" is actually causing some serious damage to the heart muscle and coronary arteries of many runners... regardless of their "good form". Even if their knees, hips, feet, and back aren't being destroyed, it appears their hearts may be. It seems that, contrary to the overriding message of the book "Born to Run", too much exercise can actually INCREASE the effects of aging! Now, nobody is saying exercise is bad. However, too much seems to be.

I now have good reason to believe the same thing could also be happening to hard core cyclists (which I was for many years), cross-country skiers, etc...

Would you rather be a healthy "tortoise", or a dead "hare"?

I have to give a BIG thanks to cardiologist James O'Keefe for simplifying most of what I've been learning from various sources into an 18 minute video that in my opinion is well worth watching.

Thanks for reading, Now go outside and play!

                                                                             Much love, Mo the human

PS if you have a taste for a more geeky version of Dr. O'Keefe's talk, go here.

A one-minute paleo-esqe dessert: Maple Bacon Yogurt!

OMG... Maple-Bacon Yogurt:
(A delectable dessert treat for those who can tolerate dairy...)
-finely chop 1 strip of cooked bacon and place in glass bowl
-microwave (covered) about 20 seconds to make really crispy and render fat. Leave the fat in the bowl.
-mix in 1 or 2 TBSP maple syrup
-Mix in 1/2 cup (or so) full fat unsweetened yogurt. (Full fat Greek yogurt if you want super-deluxe!)

A friend of mine suggested that in place of yogurt, refrigerated coconut cream could be a non-dairy option, but I have yet to test this idea... Since dairy usually doesn't sit well with me, I'll have to try it out soon! 
*(Oh, the terrible burden of food experiments I must bear...)*

All measurements are variable to your taste.

If swine in a dessert is unappealing to you (or any of your guests), any chopped nuts can be substituted for the microwaved bacon. (This will, of course, create a far less amazing desert.)

You're welcome!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wheat isn't health food? What in the world do you mean?

I know, it sounds crazy... I grew up thinking wheat was health food too.

"Wheat sustained entire civilizations for centuries!" I thought.

"It's loaded with heart healthy fiber, reduces cholesterol, and is super-duper yummy!"
"Can I never eat a doughnut again!?" I gasped...
Well, not to fear, no one is gonna take your doughnuts away.

However, cardiologist William Davis, MD makes a pretty good case that perhaps we need to take another look at our relationship with this grain.

For those who love to ready sciency-type stuff, Dr. Davis' book "Wheat Belly" is well worth a look.

Gluten has been getting loads of press these days. However, it turns out WGA and other proteins in wheat may be of much greater danger to most of us. This link to a short article by Dr. David Perlmutter is well worth reading.

Wheat, It's not the wheat your great grandma used to make pie crusts from.
If you want more of Dr. Davis, look here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Eggs in my coffee... (it sounded nasty to me too)

If you like the idea of some good fat and good protein in your breakfast, and don't feel like cooking. Or, if you want a creamy latte but don't tolerate dairy well... I might have a delicious solution.
May I humbly present..."the Paleo Latté"

aka "Mo-Joe"
aka "Eeeew...  You put WHAT in your coffee!?"

RAW EGGS! If you're concerned about bacterial safety, you can just pour some boiling water over your eggs in a bowl, let sit 10-20 seconds, and then drain and dry them before cracking. 

1: Using an immersion blender in a wide mouth quart jar (or a regular blender), blend 2 raw eggs and 1-4 TBS organic coconut oil or MCT oil(Warning: If you are new to drinking high fat coffee, go easy on the coconut oil at first... Too much can have a laxative effect.)
2: With blender running, slowly pour about 12 oz freshly brewed French press coffee into eggs and continue blending until frothy. 
3: Pour into large mug or glass and enjoy! 
4: (Optional) Top with cocoa nibs for extra flair and a tasty crunch.
5: (DANGEROUS OPTION) add 1/2 tsp of sugar or honey while blending. This will make the beverage a little TOO good! :)

This can also work with fresh hot chai tea instead of coffee for a "Chai Latte"

I originally got the rough idea from Mark Sisson