Tuesday, September 10, 2013

VIDEO: Another good reason to buy from your local farmers and ranchers. (WARNING: GRAPHIC)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Monthly Budget Progress

The easiest way to give yourself a raise is to cut back on your spending.

In order to keep track of your finances, I highly recommend using online tools, such as Mint.com.  It puts all of your accounts on one page, and tracks your spending, income, investments, and savings.   

I am currently in the process of reducing my monthly spending as much as possible so that I can pay down my credit card debt and increase my savings.

My short term goal is to move to southern California at the end of May, so I am being super strict about spending in order to make this happen.

I currently have $2,147.10 in credit card debt.
The balance on my student loans is $2,019.12 (7 payments left)
The balance on my car loan in $23,603.15

I put 10% of my net pay into my savings account.
I put 10% of my net pay towards my credit card debt.

Monthly Budget


$0 spent of $2,073
  • Auto & Transport: Auto Insurance
     $0 of $130
  • Auto & Transport: Auto Payment
    $0 of $500
  • Auto & Transport: Gas & Fuel
    $0 of $160
  • Bills & Utilities: Mobile Phone
    $0 of $71
  • Education: Student Loan
    $0 of $292
  • Entertainment: Movies & DVDs
    $0 of $20
  • Food & Dining: Alcohol & Bars
    $0 of $50
  • Food & Dining: Groceries
    $0 of $240
  • Food & Dining: Restaurants
    $0 of $80
  • Home: Mortgage & Rent
    $0 of $500
  • Shopping: Clothing
    $0 of $30


  • Pay off credit card debt
  • Savings

Monday, April 1, 2013

10 Reasons Why Going Primal Can Save You Money TODAY

We've all heard about the short-term and long-term health benefits of eating more whole foods and eliminating processed crap from our diets.

But there is this idea floating around that doing so will be cost-prohibitive, considering the higher cost of grass-fed beef, pastured eggs and organic produce compared to the GMO-riddled alternatives.

I have found that I am actually SAVING money since going Primal (16 months now), and I'll tell you how I'm doing it.  

All YOU have to do it send me $10 via Paypal and I'll give you my secrets!
That's only a dollar per secret, and you'll save much more than ten measly bucks if you follow my advice.

Just kidding.  I'm going to tell you for free, because I love all of you.

Without further tomfoolery, here's my list:

#1.  You will eat out MUCH less.  
Now that you are acutely aware of all the poisons used in the typical restaurant kitchen (GMO-chicken fried in canola oil comes to mind), you will likely have a more difficult time finding a restaurant that meets your standards, particularly if you live in the South like I do where Farm-to-Table is still a foreign concept to most people.  Here in Savannah we are STILL waiting on a Chiptotle AND a Whole Foods to open.  There are a couple restaurants locally that I'll visit when I want to dine out, but I literally mean a "couple." 

Green Truck Pub
Crispy Pork Belly at 22 Square

I schedule one meal a week outside of my kitchen, and 9 times out of 10, I find myself at one of those two spots.
There's something I remember hearing Angelo Coppola say on his Podcast that I'll paraphrase here -  
"You don't have to try very hard to find a Paleo-friendly meal when dining out. Look at the best chefs in the world - they're using high-quality meats and fresh seasonal vegetables, and little else."

#2. You will drink less alcohol. 
I still consume a fair amount of Primal-friendly red wine, but I have significantly reduced the amount of craft beer and bourbon I drink.  And I LOVE craft beer and bourbon.  But, at $10+ for a six-pack of good beer and considerably more for a decent bottle of small-batch bourbon, it's pretty expensive. 
I know wine can get pretty pricey too, but it doesn't have to be that way.
In fact, here's a Tumblr with reviews of inexpensive wines available at Trader Joe's.

#3.  You can cancel your gym membership.
A few months ago, I posted about the fact that going to the gym was costing me over $1,000 a year.
I canceled my gym membership and began to explore more cost-effective options.  A week later, Mark Sisson mentioned a word I'd never heard before - "Shovelglove." 
As it turns out, this was exactly what I was looking for.  A 14 minute workout I can do in my living room (or outside, if I want to scare my neighbors), barefoot and shirtless?
Count me in!

After two months of swinging a 10 pound hammer, I saw muscles I hadn't seen after a year of lifting heavy in the gym (with a focus on deadlifts, squats, benching and military presses).

Particularly in my back, shoulders and abs.
Here's a link to 180+ sledgehammers (I narrowed the results to 6 lb - 16 lb hammers) that Amazon will ship to you for free!

And here's a link to Mark Sisson's archive of Primal-approved workouts.

#4.  You can cancel your cable/satellite service.  
It's 2013... And while we don't have flying cars or hoverboards like we thought we'd have back when it was 1985, we do have some options that can keep us from missing our favorite TV shows without being slaves to some arbitrary time slot that was chosen by overpaid advertisers.

You lied to me, Marty.

Why pay for hundreds of channels when you only watch a few of them?  On top of that, why should you be required to watch your favorite shows at certain times?

You have options... You could pay more and get a DVR to record your shows so you can watch them when you want.  The downside is that you still record all the commercials (though you can fast-forward through them)... and you're spending more money.

Alternatively, you could cancel your TV service and watch your shows online, via your computer or wifi-enabled TV (or blu-ray player).
Netflix starts at $8 a month.
Hulu Plus is $8 a month.
If you're an Amazon Prime member, you already have access to lots of free streaming content.

All three of these services offer free trials.

Here's a link to some quality Paleo-friendly documentaries you can watch online. Many are free, some require a Netflix subscription.

#5.  Go to bed earlier. 
Staying up later, with lights and other electronics on, is costing you money, not to mention it's effect on your natural sleep cycles.
Try setting a bedtime, and stick to it.  Turn off the TV, put the laptop away, switch off any unnecessary lights, and get into bed with a book.  Better yet, see if you can talk your significant other into nature's best sleep aid.

Failing that...
Here's a free program that automatically reduces blue light emissions on your computer. 
Here's a pair of sexy glasses to wear before bed that will block blue light from interfering with your natural melatonin release. I use these myself, and they might be the best 8 bucks I've ever spent.
Here's Rev. Mark Sisson's Definitive Guide to Sleep.

#6.  Take short, cold showers.
Give your water heater, and your wallet, a break (especially in the summer), by taking short, cold showers.  On top of the money you'll save, there are some health benefits.
If you're not ready to give up hot showers, try setting a time limit.

#7Sell your stuff.
You can bet that Grok and his family were not weighed down by lots of material possessions. 
And I'm willing to bet you have accumulated some items you do not need.  Freeing yourself of unnecessary material items can help reduce your stress level by limiting the clutter in your home, helping you to be more organized, and putting some money back into your wallet.

Set aside some time to sort through each room in your home, and create four categories for your unused items:
  • Sell - Craigslist is great for selling items locally.  A Yard Sale will also get the job done.  If you choose the Yard Sale option, this is a good time to see if your neighbors would like to do a collective Sale, which will draw more people. Try not to get too worried about much you get for each item.
  • Donate - This is a great way to lessen the burden of excess material possessions in your home.  Find a local charity, and take them your extra clothes, shoes, toys, sports equipment, books, etc.  Tax-deductible and good for the soul!
  • Recycle - I had an assortment of rare beer bottles I had collected that were just taking up space in my guest bedroom, so I rounded them up and took them to a friend's house who has curbside recycling.
  • Trash - Sometimes, you just have to let things go.  I found a bunch of old paperwork I no longer needed.  Anything that had my name on it went through the shredder and into the compost pile.  Other old items that weren't in good enough shape to donate ended up in the trash.

#8.  You can shop at the Farmer's Market.
Every Saturday morning, I venture to the South end of Forsyth Park to hunt down local, pastured meats and eggs, and to gather lots of local, organic veggies.

This is a great way to meet the people who work so hard to bring the food to you, and to talk to them about their practices.  You'll learn some farmers are local, but use the same conventional farming methods as larger farms, while others are certified organic.  Do some research, and talk to them... find the people who can't wait to tell you how much they love their chickens, or how their organic rainbow carrots are the best in the area.  The more they geek out about it, the better the product tends to be.Yes, you might pay a little more vs. buying organic items at a large grocery store, but I find that I actually spend a little less by focusing on what's in season, and seeking out the sales.

This is also a great time to meet other like-minded people, who think buying locally is important for their health and their community.
Make some friends, and swap some recipes.

#9.  You can eat fewer (but larger) meals.
After reading about all the benefits of fasting (not to be confused with "starving oneself"), I did some research.  I came across this 7 Part Series on Mark's Daily Apple about the benefits of fasting, which linked me to Leangains.  Now, I tend to fit all my eating into an 8 hour window every day, usually beginning at noon (after my Shovelglove Workout), and ending around 8pm.  This means I spend less time cooking (Time is money, after all) and I get to have two big feasts every day, between 1,000 and 1,500 calories each.  This has accelerated my fat loss, and doing my strength training in a fasted state has been great for me thusfar.  My head is clear, and I am never hungry.

#10. 30 Meals for $69!
Pressed for time? How about a chocolate (or vanilla) shake with 20 grams of protein from high quality whey protein isolate, 10 grams of delicious, creamy fat from coconut, and 6 net carbohydrates (5 grams of fiber)?
Put some ice, water, and a serving of Primal Fuel in a blender, and for $2.30, you have a pretty outstanding milkshake. Add whatever else you want. Fruit, spinach, kale, almond butter, coffee grounds... the options are endless.

I have 10-15 more ideas, but I'll save those for another day.
What are your ideas? Post them below in the comments!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Paleo Drama?

I stumbled onto this whole fiasco while reading Richard Nikoley's blog, Free The Animal.

He sums up the whole thing quite nicely, so I'll use the same format here (italic text is copied/pasted from FTA):

Last evening someone alerted me to the newest in drama land involving Robb Wolf and Evelyn "aka Carbsane" Kocur on Twitter...so I poured a glass of milk—not popcorn—and sat down to watch it unfold. Here's the deal for those who can never get enough.

Before today, I'd never heard of Evelyn Kocur, and for good reason.  As far as I can tell, she is a troll with nothing of actual value to contribute.  She latches on to people with far more influence, harasses them until they engage with her childish tantrums, and then plays the victim.

Now, she is recommending that Mark Sisson distance himself from Robb Wolf's "meltdown," and it's obvious she is only doing this to get a response from Mark so she can have some more (undeserved) attention.


Here's the deal. Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, the Jaminets... they have HELPED MILLIONS OF PEOPLE.  They don't agree each other on everything, and they don't claim to.

YES, Robb said a potty word.
YES, Mark sells protein powder. ("But cavemen didn't have protein shakers!")
YES, the Jaminets say you can eat white rice. ("OMG NOT PALEO!")

ALL of them encourage self-experimentation (n=1) to see what your body responds to.
NONE of them claim to be perfect examples of the ONE TRUE PALEO DIET TO RULE ALL PALEO DIETS.

You, Evelyn, have never helped anyone, and your blog is clearly just a soapbox for your ego.
Of the four tabs at the top, two don't function, one hasn't been updated in almost two years, and the fourth links to her "forum," which no one has used in weeks.

But the "Donate via Paypal" button sure seems to function, doesn't it?

Return to your cave, Troll.  None of these people owe you a passing glance.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekly Recap March 4 - March 10

Last weekend, I sold my 10 lb sledgehammer to a fellow Shovelglover, and went in search of a 12 lb sledgehammer.  I did not anticipate how difficult it would be to find anything heavier than a 10 lb hammer.  After searching all four home improvement stores in the area, all I could find was a lone 16 lb sledgehammer.
I decided to just go for it.

For the first time ever, I actually did my Shovelglove workout all 5 days this week, but my routine was pretty different compared to what I was doing with a sledge that was 6 pounds lighter.

Previously, I might do shoveling motions for 50 reps per side... now I do 10-12 per side.
All my sets have fewer reps now, but I'm keeping the 14 minute limit sacred. I'm taking it VERY slow with this new weight and concentrating on keeping my form perfect.

On Monday, I made Sweet Potato Power Bars from Ashley Tudor's outstanding book Sweet Potato Power.  I am not in the business of giving away other people's recipes that they don't make available online themselves, so some pictures will have to do for now.  I absolutely love these things.  I made them again on Friday.


Here are some things I ate this week that were Paleo-friendly:

Spaghetti Sauce with Julienne Zucchini "Noodles"

Grass-fed Steak Tartare with local field greens
Local Pastured Eggs with Kale and Chicken Sausage

Local Pastured Bacon and Eggs with Organic Rainbow Chard and an avocado

I'm currently hovering between 177 and 179 pounds.

The only supplement I'm currently taking is my Primal Fuel, after my Shovelglove workouts or when I need a quick meal.

I spoke with a Primal Blueprint CSR last week, and he confirmed that my Primal Fuel would be shipped every 6 weeks, and that I could in fact alternate between chocolate and vanilla flavors.

Click the picture below to order some for yourself!

Primal Fuel - New Price!