Monthly Archives: December 2015

Acheiving Your Health Goals when Things are Complicated (or Chaotic)

Achieving Your Health Goals 3

Goals are an expression of our desire for change.

Of course, change is happening all the time.

But we want the change we want. And goals help us influence the sprawling messiness of life in the direction we want it to go.

In part 1 of this post I introduced the Stacey Matrix as a tool to help select goal-achievement strategies that are targeted to your situation.

The Stacey Matrix has two dimensions:

  1. Certainty &
  2. Agreement.

These two dimensions result in four possible situations. Yesterday I considered two of them. In this post, I’ll look at what to do when life is complicated or chaotic. Continue reading

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Achieving Your Health Goals

Achieving Your Health Goals 2

You and your health are part of a situation.

If there’s something you want to change about your health, start with the situation.

Most advice about goal achievement skips this step. But a quick analysis of the situation (system) that is impacting your health will help ensure that your goals are appropriate and your strategies are effective.

Ready? Let’s do it!

An easy way to begin is by asking: Is this situation simple or complex? Continue reading

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Stress Management

Stress ManagementThese days, the only thing I track is my stress.

That’s because stress is the #1 leverage point for my health.

I know that if my stress is in line, I’m exercising appropriately. Eating well. Sleeping enough. Connecting with my kids and Matthew. Getting enough time to myself. Keeping up with my day job (but not letting it rule my life). Moving forward with my core personal projects.

If any one of these elements of my life is being neglected, my stress spikes. Continue reading

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Biohacking Tip #7: Choosing Your Own Indicators of Well-Being

Your Own Indicators of Well-BeingIndicators are friendly signals.

That tell you if you’re on track.

Or if you might want to adjust course.

They communicate about the status of something you care about.

Like your health.

  • An outcome is a result.
  • An indicator gives you information about where you are in relation to achieving that result.

Choosing Your Own Indicators

Continue reading

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Creative Destruction & the Adaptive Cycle

Embrace creative destruction 2The secret?

Embrace creative destruction.

Because it’s inevitable.

And it’s everywhere.

It’s evident in the turn of the seasons. In the life (& death) cycles of plants & animals. The rise and fall of civilizations.

Divorce. Illness. Earthquakes.

All the things we dread.

Remember the financial crisis of 2008? Creative destruction.

Hating it doesn’t help.

What does?

The Adaptive Cycle

The thing to know about creative destruction is that through it, resources are released. And become available for re-purposing.

Knowing that can change your life. Continue reading

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Leek & Wild Boar Belly Jam on Daikon Crackers (AIP)

Leek & Wild Board Belly on Daikon 2So easy.

So delicious.

And fancy!

Serve these as canapes. Seriously enjoyable healing-protocol friendly appetizers for the fanciest party.

Or it can be just you, a bowl of warm Leek & Wild Boar Belly Jam and a lovely crispy pile of Daikon Slices, snuggled in on the couch with your favourite movie. For a truly restorative comfort food session.

Pork Belly works perfectly, too, but I use Boar because they stock it in the freezer at my favourite food store, Health Essentials.

The night before I want to make this recipe, I defrost the Boar Belly in the fridge. In the morning I chop it up, slice the leeks, add the salt and my food prep is done.

Diversity & Nutrient Density

The key to health, and to stick-to-itiveness, on a healing protocol is diversity.

A variety of nutrient-dense foods ensures you cover your nutritional basis to promote healing, and it also prevents boredom.

Dr Terry Wahls is an advocate of ensuring a diversity of vegetables make into the rotation each day. To ensure the brain and body get the micronutrients they need.

I’ve also found that planning a range of meat offerings (different animals, varied cuts & assorted preparations) really helps to avert the feelings of deprivation that can sometimes emerge on a restricted diet.

But that doens’t mean it has to time consuming.

Or difficult.

So. Put this one in your rotation!

Leek & Wild Boar Belly Jam on Daikon Crackers

 from petra8paleoLeek & Wild Board Belly on Daikon

  • 1 pound Wild Boar Belly or Pork Belly
  • 3 Leeks
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan Salt (or similar)
  • 1 good-sized peice of Daikon Radish Root
  • Microgreens or cilantro, to garnish

In the morning, slice the Boar Belly into cubes and lay in the bottom of a Slow Cooker. Sprinkle with Salt.

Slice the leek into coins, reserving the dark green leaves for another use (stock pot!) and scatter these on top of the Boar Belly.

Turn the slow cooker to low if you’ll be gone all day (medium if you have a little less time and will be home to give it a stir now and again).

Stir gently at least once before the cooking is complete.

When the cooking is complete, pour off the fat into a glass container and refrigerate for future use.

Using a sharp knife, or a mandolin on a sturdy setting, slice the Daikon into ‘crackers’.

Pile a piece of Boar Belly and a slice of Leek onto each Cracker and garnish with the Microgreens or Cilantro.

For comfort food, serve immediately.

For party presentation, refrigerate the cooked Boar Belly & Leeks. Once chilled, assemble the most aesthetic bits with microgreens on slices of Daikon. Use the less pretty canapes as pre-party fuel~.

Leek & Wild Board Belly on Daikon 4

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The Ultimate Turmeric ~AIP~ Recipe Roundup

TurmericTurmeric.

So easy to include in your healing protocol.

And so valuable.

Turmeric, and it’s active ingredient curcumin, is known to alleviate systemic inflammation.  That’s how it supports the reversal of autoimmune diseases and counteracts neurodegeneration, including conditions like Alzheimer’s. To find out more about the common link between these diseases, read The Origin of Illness.

It’s not surprising that most AIP bloggers include it in their recipes on a regular basis.

To spread the golden love (and help counteract the effects of all the baking that’s floating around at this time of year), I’ve gathered together 60 AIP-compliant recipes, to make it easy to include turmeric in your healing protocol.

Continue reading

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Personalize Your Diet for Weight Loss

Personalize Your Diet for Weight LossWe each respond differently to the same food.

Specifically, our blood sugar responses differ.

And elevated blood sugar leads to all kinds of health issues, including obesity.

A New Scientific Understanding about Obesity

Like most people who have struggled with being overweight for most of their lives, I’ve suspected for decades that our response to food is individualized.

Because I’ve spent those decades watching my effortlessly-slim sister scarf down all the food she wants.

If I ate like she does, I’d be obese.

I know. Because I used to be.

Obese.

But now, we have scientific proof to back up what most overweight people have always known…

Breaking News: Maybe Overweight People Haven’t Been Secretly Binging & Lying About It All This Time

Continue reading

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Your Zone of Proximal Development

Zone of Proximal DevelopmentYour edge.

The place you can step into.

Grow into.

Your zone of possibility.

Your zone of proximal development is the space just outside your current capacity that you can reach if you have the right support.

Last year I suggested that biohacking is the ultimate new years resolution.

Because as long as you stick to biohacking principles, you can’t fail. If you fall off your program, you can turn your attention to that and start hacking your will-power, or adjusting your goals, or fine-tuning the strategies you are using to achieve them.

But why do we fail when we set self-improvement goals?

Zone of Proximal Development 5The Zone of Proximal Development

Zone of proximal development theory suggests there are 2 reasons:

  1. The goal is outside the zone of possibility; or
  2. The goal is inside the zone, but the strategy didn’t include the necessary scaffolding to achieve it.

To find your goal-achievement sweet spot you need to:

  1. Determine the boundaries of your zone of proximal development;
  2. Set a goal that’s inside your zone; and
  3. Determine what supports you need to achieve that goal.

If your supports are adequate, you should be good to go!

By moving into your zone, chances are you’re expanding it, thereby increasing the likelihood that more ambitious goals will eventually end up inside your zone, too.

Let’s geek out ZPD theory a little more

The zone of proximal development, or ZPD, is my #2 parenting strategy of all time.

I’ve been a parent for 60% of my life and in that time I’ve tried a lot of things. Consistently, ZPD enables me to do my best work as a parent.

My top parenting strategies 4ZPD is also my #2 life strategy.

Developed by Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky in the 1920s & 30s, ZPD was lost for decades before it resurfaced near the end of the 20th century.

Vygotsky hypothesized that humans are hard-wired to learn certain things.

Like language.

Put any child in a environment full of speech and affection, and barring a significant cognitive disability, they will learn to speak fluently.

Nobody has to create a structure for that to occur.

But if we want to learn things that we aren’t necessarily hard-wired for, we need appropriate supports.

Vygotsky suggested that to help develop certain skills and capacities, we need to first determine the scope of an individual’s zone of proximal development and then create customized supports to help them to grow into that potential.

Later theorists referred to these supports as scaffolding.

Both the ZPD and the required scaffolding are unique to each of us.

So, in the biohacking context, not only are we taking bioindividuality into consideration, which includes our particular health status and our environment, but also our ZPD and the supports that are effective for each of us as individuals. Those are the dimensions of n=1 experimentation.

Lev Vygotsky. Image from http://isdgo.com/portfolio/vygotsky

Lev Vygotsky. Image from http://isdgo.com/portfolio/vygotsky

Sound like a lot to sort out?

It is, but each of these elements can be simplified considerably by approaching the n=1 project in a systematic way. And if you put your energy into discerning what these dimensions are for you, rather than copying what someone else is doing or pursuing goals in a haphazard way, you’ll find yourself way ahead.

In fact, taking time to plan using ZPD is an excellent way to successfully move through the contemplative stage of change.

According to ZPD theory, part of designing the appropriate scaffolding to support the development of an individual involves:

  • their receptivity to particular types of support;
  • the sequence that the supports are offered in; and
  • how willing and adaptive a person is.

These factors not only effect the design of effective scaffolding to support change, but also effect the size of the ZPD.

Zone of Proximal Development biggerYou can make your zone bigger.

Vygotsky also believed that the ZPD of many people was larger when they were in a supportive social context than when they were alone, and that social networks can act as scaffolding for growth.

SAD to AIP in 6

All of this is one reason why I endorse Angie Alt’s SAD to AIP in 6 every time she offers it.

SAD to AIP in 6 provides appropriate scaffolding in a supported and social context to make the transition to the AIP possible.

Learn more about the SAD to AIP in 6 program here.

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Poached Salmon with Leek & Fennel Soup

Leek Fennel Salmon Soup 5Before money, we caught fish.

We gathered plants.

We created money, in part, so we could pay someone else to get our food & bring it to us.

With money, we no longer had to know how to find food for ourselves.

Money allowed us to specialize: You get the food, I’ll sit here and make baskets.

And specialization led to civilization.

And civilizations to economies.

In order to try to understand this evolution better, I took an economics course last year.

It wasn’t progressive economics.

It was the kind that asserts that any problem can be solved by money.

For example, if your neighbour’s dog barks incessantly and you value your quiet at $500 and your neighbour only values her dog at $499, you can purchase your quiet for $500.

That’s an actual example from my textbook.

Leek Fennel Salmon Soup rotatedWhat happens to the dog?

The textbook didn’t say.

Disconnection.

The course helped me to understand how we got so disconnected from the natural world.

Through quantification.

We decided that everything had monetary value. And that it is up the free market to determine what that value is.

Which led me to consider the economics of food.

The Economics of Supper

Even if we buy all of our food at the supermarket, we can still resist the quantification of the food that we eat to survive.

I can value my food, not only because it contributes to my well-being, but because it is an expression of the life force of this planet.

It has inherent value.

Spear fish. Dig roots.

Or buy everything you need from the supermarket.

Make soup.

It’s the spirit, and the intent, that matters.

Leek Fennel Salmon Soup 7

Poached Pacific Salmon with Leeks & Fennel

 from petra8paleoLeek Fennel Salmon Soup 2

  • 1 Fennel Bulb
  • 1 large Leek
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 3 cups Bone Broth
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan Salt
  • 2 wild Pacific Salmon steaks

Slice the Fennel Bulb thinly, including the stalks.

Trim any very tough ends from the Leek. Slice it lengthwise and wash thoroughly to remove any dirt. Slice it into rounds. Include the greens.

Melt the Coconut Oil over medium heat in a large saucepan and add the sliced vegetables, Turmeric and Salt.

Stir occasionally until the vegetables are softened, then add the Bone Broth.

Lay the Salmon Steaks on top and cover the saucepan.

Simmer for 20 minutes.

To serve, carefully remove the salmon steaks onto plates with a slotted spoon and ladle the soup into bowls. Add a green salad.

Or, be rustic & all-in-one-bowl, laying the salmon on top of the bowl of soup. Add a saucer to receive the bones and skin (though the skin is entirely edible).

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