Pontefract Cakes (AIP & low-FODMAP)

AIP Pontefract CakesMy ancestors were candy makers. Among other things.

When I was a child, going ‘to town’ always meant a visit to the Sweet Shop. For Pontefract Cakes. As far as my matrilineal family members were concerned, Pontefract cakes were their own food group.

My youthful love of licorice was so pronounced that 30 years later, someone I grew up with had only one question when she learned I’d gone paleo: “But you still eat licorice, right?

No. I said. But: I have licorice lip balm, licorice toothpaste and licorice tea…

liquorice_pontefract_cakesNow I also have Pontefract Cakes! Or a variation thereof.

This recipe’s for my mum, who died in August. And my grandma, who I still miss.

Whenever I want, I can evoke them with licorice.

Pontefract Cakes (AIP & low-FODMAP)

 from petra8paleo

I can still take a packet of Pontefract Cakes to the movies!

  • 3 Licorice Teabags
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • 2 cups Blueberries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 3 tablespoons (grass-fed) Gelatin

Pour the boiling water over the tea bags and steep for four or more hours, until the tea is cool.

In a saucepan, heat the blueberries with half a cup of the licorice tea, the vanilla & salt until the mixture is hot & bubbling.

Meanwhile, pour the remaining half cup of cool licorice tea in a wide bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Stir to combine, pressing out any lumps with the back of the spoon.

Puree the hot blueberry mixture in a food processor.

Pontefract without moulds

No silcon mould…

Add the hot puree to the waiting gelatin. Stir vigorously to combine, ensuring the gelatin is fully dissolved.

Put the silicon mold (if using) on a baking sheet for ease of transport & spoon the blueberry mixture into each shape.

Chill for 4 or more hours in the freezer before popping the frozen cakes out the molds.

Store in the refrigerator.

No silicon mold? No worries…

Line a  baking dish with parchment paper & pour the mixture in. Refrigerate until set & cut (laboriously into coin shapes) with a sharp knife or scissors. (Kidding).

Licorice TeaLicorice Love

My grandmother always had Pontefract Cakes in the sideboard in her dining room. Tucked in the top drawer, with the family silver. Stored in a paper bag, they’d get incredibly tough.

But I loved them that way.

Sitting in the gloom under the dining room table, contemplating the meaning of everything, gnawing on nearly petrified licorice. I did some good thinking that way.

Of course, I was fond soft Pontefract Cakes, fresh from England, too. My grandmother told me were once hand-stamped, every single one, with a picture of a castle & a raven.

Imagine having that job, she’d say.pontefract stamping

I thought it’d be lovely. Surrounded by licorice all day long.

Anytime we went to the movies we always smuggled Pontefract Cakes into the theatre. According to my grandmother this was ethical, because all they inside had was twizzlers.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s still ethical, if all they have inside is twizzlers!

I can still take a packet of Pontefract Cakes to the movies!

A packet of Pontefract Cakes, ready for smuggling

Sunday Stew (AIP & low-FODMAP)

This is my introductory-level heart recipe.

Because I needed one!

Last April I made a resolution to start eating organ meats. I’m proud that I now eat liver & heart on a weekly basis.

But that took some doing.

If you find it challenging to approach a great gnarly heart in the middle of your cutting board, I understand. I wrote a blog post about that: Have Heart!

If you have trouble with the notion of eating heart, the secret is to cut the heart exactly like stew beef and cook it, long & slow, together with stew beef in a 1:2 ratio.

If you are very disquieted, be soothed by the statistical probability that in any given spoonful, you are more likely to be eating stew beef than heart. In any case, you can’t tell the difference.

This is the recipe I often make on Sundays. Sunday morning for Sunday supper, or Sunday evening for Monday breakfast.

The world is a better place when start my workweek off with super-nourishing ready-made food in the fridge.

Sunday Stew (AIP & low-FODMAP)

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 from petra8paleo

Sunday stew with lamb chops

Sunday stew with lamb chops

  • 1 bison heart (or the the heart of another ruminant)
  • 2lbs stew-cut beef or venison
  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan salt
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat or coconut oil
  • 5 cups Bone Broth
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Savory
  • 1 carrot, cut into a micro-dice (optional)
  • 1 bunch greens (chard, spinach), chopped
  • 2 lamb chops (optional: see variation, below)

Trim & cut the heart into cubes the same size as your stew meat.

Put all your heart & stew meat into a bowl, add salt & stir to coat.

Melt the fat in a large frying pan & brown the cubed meat in the fat in batches, ensuring several sides get nice & browned.

Add the browned meat to the slow cooker, add the Savory & pour the Bone Broth over top. Deglaze the frying pan with some of the bone broth & add this meaty mixture in, too.

carrots for stew 2Cook 9 or so hours on low (overnight or all day).

Then, add the micro-diced carrot, if using.

If you want to freeze some, remove that quantity now, before the greens go in.

Add the chopped greens to the pot, stir gently & let the stew cook for 15 more minutes.

Serve with a side of sliced cucumbers & olives for a low-FODMAP feast.

Lamb Chop variation

If I’m going to have a particularly busy week,  I lay a couple of (lightly salted) lamb chops on top of the stew before cooking. I pop them in a container in the fridge before adding the carrots or greens. Then all I need to do is reheat them in the oven to have meltingly delicious lamb chops for Tuesday night supper.

Have Heart!

Bison heartIn April (my paleo new year), I set a resolution.

I resolved to start eating organ meat.

The year before I started eating mammals for the first time in 27 years. The year before that I went paleo after adhering to a vegetarian ideology for decades.

I’m pretty pleased with the organ-meat progress I’ve made. For months now I’ve been eating liver multiple times a week, in the form of Victorious Offal Muffins. I make ’em, eat ’em & make ’em again.

I did have an alarming misadventure with a bison tongue, which I haven’t quite recovered from. But I plan to revisit tongue soon.

And I’ve totally come to terms with heart, though that required introspection.

The challenge I had with heart was psychological.


I figured out a delicious recipe easily enough. I call it Sunday Stew, because it’s a perfect dish to prepare on a Sunday for the workweek ahead. I’ll post that tomorrow (on Sunday).

But despite the delicious outcome, I remained troubled by the ventricles & aortas. By the overall heartiness of the situation.

Then I read The Circular Ruins by Jorges Luis Borges, which includes the following passage:

Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges

“In the afternoon, he purified himself with the waters of the river, worshiped the planetary gods, uttered the lawful symbols of a powerful name and slept. Almost immediately, he dreamt of a beating heart.

He dreamt it as active, warm, secret, the size of a closed fist, of garnet colour; …with minute love he dreamt it, for fourteen lucid nights. Each night he perceived it with greater clarity. He did not touch it, but limited himself to witnessing it, observing it, perhaps correcting it with his eyes. He perceived it, lived it, from many distances and many angles. On the fourteenth night he touched the pulmonary artery with his finger, and then the whole heart, inside and out. The examination satisfied him.”

When I read that, I decided that perhaps I needed to take a more reverential approach to heart.

I didn’t necessarily dream about a great big bison heart for 14 lucid nights or explicitly worship any planetary gods, but I did approach it ceremonially.

  • Acknowledging my squeamishness as one of the amusing machinations of my human psychology. Endearing, really. Not so much endearing me to myself, but all of humanity to an observer-self that exists outside of resistance & attachments.
  • Acknowledging the bison that lived, with this wonderfully self-organized organ continually beating all of it’s life, from the time before it was born. Acknowledging my own heart, too.
  • Acknowledging the bison that died, so I could thrive.

I was no longer trying to force myself to process heart, or to eat heart, but exploring the opportunity for self-knowledge, learning & devotion that heart presented.

Now all I need is an inspiring literary passage about tongue…

Friendly Fats for Paleo Protocols (AIP, low-FODMAP & WahlsPaleo+)

TallowNow that I’m ketogenic, fat is my main food group.

This seems really normal to me, but I can tell I’m way out on the far-flung edge of the bell curve whenever someone asks what I eat, and I say “I mostly eat fat.”

They look perplexed & ask “What kind of fat?”

And I say “Coconut Oil, Avocados, and Animal Fat mostly.”

When I say it out loud, it starts to sound sort of unlikely, even to me.

But it’s true.

Many ketogenic people have more diverse sources of fat to choose from. A lot of them eat full-fat pastured dairy & include high fat nuts & seeds. Though I adore nuts, I’m on an AIP-compliant ketogenic diet (love it!), so dairy, nuts & seeds are off my list.

Being ketogenic is easy, actually. It’s wonderful, actually.

It just sounds a little weird to say that fat is your primary food group. Out loud. So I’ll type it quietly instead.

You don’t have to be ketogenic to benefit from increasing your fat intake. Healthy fat feeds your brain & helps with satiation, no matter what your protocol.

For reference, here’s a list of fats that are legal on a variety of Paleo protocols, (starting with the strictest).

Healthy Fats

Wondering which Protocol to start with? I wrote a blog post about that!

Our Current Protocols

As mentioned, just now I’m on a ketogenic version of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). Matthew is on a non-ketogenic low-FODMAP version of the AIP.

We settled there after self-experimentation with all of the various Paleo protocols listed above. We’ve each found the pattern of eating that enables us to optimize our well-being:

  • For Matthew that means a reduction in autoimmune & other symptoms;
  • For me it means previously imagined (arguably extreme) levels of high-performance awesomeness.

Our biohacking experiments continue. In our quest for healing & peak experience, we expect the protocols we follow will continue to evolve.

A ketogenic version of the AIP is currently my happy place.


Interested in my ketogenic AIP & Wahls Paleo Plus experiments?

I intentionally kicked myself out of ketosis in August, but I experienced a decline in performance, so I got back in. I think I’m still getting keto-adapted after those few weeks of higher-carb eating, but I’m already experiencing the benefits I had before.

This time I’m experimenting with reducing my carbohydrates still further to find out what that does to my overall well-being.

… & low-FODMAP

I don’t know if any contemporary humans are working on sustaining ketosis on a low-FODMAP version of the AIP, but moderating coconut products makes it challenging.

Matthew tried this hack & his (very) low tolerance for coconut oil cause him to abandon the experiment.

He’s quite sensitive to FODMAPs generally, but tolerates Red Palm Oil. That’s hardly definitive evidence about where Red Palm Oil sits on the FODMAP spectrum but it’s the only data we’ve got at the moment.

Friendly Fats for Paleo Protocols

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 from petra8paleo

Low-FODMAP version of the Autoimmune Protocol

  • All animal fats (from pastured animals);
  • Coconut Oil (In moderation);
  • Full-fat coconut milk (In moderation);
  • Coconut Butter (In moderation);
  • Red Palm Oil (No data about need moderate: possibly);
  • MCT oil (In moderation);
  • Olive Oil & Olives;

Autoimmune Protocol

  • All Of the above, plus:
  • Coconut Oil;
  • Full-fat coconut milk;
  • Coconut Butter;
  • Avocados;

Wahls Paleo Plus

  • All of the above, plus:
  • Nuts & seeds (in moderation);


  • All of the above, plus:
  • Nuts & Seeds;
  • Some people include pastured Ghee.


  • All of the above, plus:
  • Full-fat pastured Dairy.


Biohacking Update: 8½ months into the Autoimmune Protocol

Today is my wedding anniversary.

8½ months into the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), the best anniversary present I could have is a husband that looks like this:

Matthew 4 cropped

Not bad for a 46-year old arthritic guy!

Just saying.

We remain fervently committed to the AIP, so we can’t go out to our favourite restaurant to celebrate this year. But that’s more than okay. We’re going to rent some paddleboards & before we go out paddling, we’re going to put some SPCA-certified short-ribs in the slow cooker.

It has been years since Matthew could even contemplate paddle boarding.

Granted, August & September have typically been his best months, so we expect he’ll experience a decline as winter sets in. But we’ve learned to compare each month with where he was a year, 2 years, 3 years ago, so we won’t think of the increase in symptoms associated with winter as something to be discouraged about.

Okay, I’m lying. It’s super discouraging when his health declines & we both dread the winter. But he’s so much better than he’s been in 6 years that we’re also kind of perpetually celebratory.

I’m really grateful to Eileen at Phoenix Helix & Sarah at The Paleo Mom for documenting their personal experiments with the AIP & continuing to share research and information through their blogs. That’s where we found what we needed to get started.

8½ months after committing to a long-term AIP experiment of our own, we’re getting used to the idea that we might one day get our life back.

Not the same life. A different one. A better one.

Because we’ll know how hard-won it was. How precious it is.

We’re nowhere near there yet. But today, going paddleboarding feels close enough.

Find updates on our AIP experiment here:

Find the recipe for our Anniversary Short-Ribs here:

Slow Cooker Short Ribs & Greens (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleo

Mmmm, short-ribs...

Mmmm, short-ribs…

  • 4lbs bone-in short ribs
  • 2 tablespoon Himalayan Salt
  • 3 cups Bone Broth
  • 2 bunches greens (chard, kale, mustard, collards)

Lay the short ribs in a baking dish and sprinkle salt over top. Turn them to ensure all sides get lightly salted.

Preheat broiler to 500.

Pop the baking dish under the broiler & brown the Ribs, turning once or twice, for a total of 10 minutes.

Transfer the Ribs to the slow cooker & add the Bone Broth.

Turn the slow cooker on low and cook for 8-11 hours (overnight or until your daytime adventures are done).

Chop the greens.

Remove the short ribs to a plate and add the chopped greens to the slow cooker. Put the short ribs back in and let the greens cook for 15 minutes.

Serve it up.

The liquid in the pot will be very rich. You’ll want to ensure your greens are gloriously sauced in it. You may wish to pour the rest of the hot liquid into a container & refrigerate for tomorrow’s greens.

Me & Matthew


Wildcrafting: Figuring It Out As You Go

I’ve been on a mini-mission. Off the side of my life.

kelpI’ve been working on upgrading my wildcrafting skills.

Hence the recipes for rose petals, rosehips, blackberries, salal berries, stinging nettles and dandelion greens.

This month it’s kelp.

The Kelp Story

It’s a good story.

We were spreading my mum’s ashes on the Salish Sea. My sister and I had arranged for a flotilla of double kayaks and stand-up paddle boards so everyone could paddle out together.

It was sunny. Late afternoon.

Some people were swimming. One of the children swam up with an entire kelp and plopped it on my paddle board. “Here.” he said. And swam away.

kelp 2A gift from the ocean.

It looked edible. I could see the little plastic shaker in my spice cabinet labelled ‘kelp flakes’ in my mind. This thing looked like about 450 shaker’s worth.

I’ve been trying to eat sea vegetables every day for some time now.

So I accepted the gift.

My car was overfull with teenagers when we left the beach, but I made them incorporate the kelp.

It lay on the porch over night, and all the next morning while we attended my mum’s celebration of life.

kelp 3As we were leaving that day, I threw the kelp into a tote, herded the teenagers back into the car. On to the ferry. Back to the city.

The kelp spent another night outdoors, but in the morning after I took my #1 kid to the airport, I googled what do with a ginormous kelp. I was imagining something elaborate and labour-intensive involving scissors & an oven. But (another gift!) it turned out to be way simpler than that.

In a couple of days it had air dried.

Now I have kelp!

Drying kelp 2

Drying kelp

About 450 shaker's worth



The Electromagnetic Connection

Electricity 2It’s not easy to find the paper Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and Implications for Metabolism, hidden away on page 799 of Advancing Medicine with Food & Nutrients (2nd edition).

Easier to find the man who co-wrote it.

Finally, an explanation (& validation) for our long-standing suspicion that one of Matthew’s issues is an electromagnetic sensitivity.

Picking up where Benjamin left off…

BenjaminTurns out, metal conducts electricity.

The wiring in your house.

And the metal in your body.

When infused with metals, our bodies can become conductors.

Our hypothesis

Matthew grew up playing in polluted creeks in Southwestern Ontario. Known pollutants from industries in the region include lead, mercury and nickel. From there, he moved on to automobile manufacturing, where he worked with powdered nickel, molybdenum, and cobalt. Then he switched to airplane manufacturing. He worked on some big ferries, too. The planes & ferries were all about aluminum, with some alloyed silicon, copper & manganese.

He’s riddled with metal, we figure.

We decided that he was electromagnetically sensitive years ago. Even though none of his doctors believed such a thing existed.

He was always better away from cities, out of cell phone range. He felt better when the power went out (I do, too).

We moved several times, kids, cats & all, trying to find a place in the city he could live. At one point (in one house) he was in bed 18-20 hours a day, unable to function. He improved somewhat when we moved again.

We noticed these patterns and then started to test our theory. The electromagnetic sensitivity hypothesis held up. 100% of the time.

Finally, we took radical action. Disrupted careers, community & all of our kids to move to a small island with minimal electromagnetic radiation, where Matthew was able to somewhat live

I say ‘we’.

I had teenagers to fledge & there is no highschool there. In reality, we became a family with 2 residences. But not in a fancy way. More like in a lots-of-credit-cards-perpetually-maxed-out way.

I live primarily in the city. Matthew lives primarily on the island. We travel back and forth.

All his symptoms return when he’s back in the city, so he has to limit his exposure. We are a 4-hour drive apart and miss each other like mad. But he’s been able to start rebuilding his life there. And one day the teenagers will be fledged and we can live together again.

When we first met Dr Cline, I was hesitant to mention our electromagnetic theory. I’ve receive so many patronizing looks from doctors. But condescension can’t kill you, so I shared our hypothesis.

“Yes.” he agreed. “In fact I co-wrote a paper about that.” He pulled a big blue book off the shelf, flipped to page 799 and handed it to me. I left that day with a copy of his paper & I’m going to give you the quick version here.

ElectricityElectromagnetic Hypersensitivity and Implications for Metabolism

A brief summary of a paper by John C. Cline and Beth Ellen DiLuglio

Cline & DiLuglio explain that “The human body can be visualized as an electromagnetic semiconductor matrix that allows for instantaneous communication among all cells within the system.”

As electromagnetic semiconductor matrices, we interact with the electricity in our environments. Electromagnetic radiation comes from a variety of natural and human-made sources, but it’s the human-made ones that are proliferating and causing the problems.

Sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation increases the more metals & other toxins are lodged in the body. The more toxic our environment becomes, the less able we are to detoxify, and for some people electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) can result.

According to Cline & DiLuglio, there is still a lot to learn about the origins of this hypersensitivity: “The exact pathenogenisis of EHS is unknown but may be related to aberrant patho-physiological responses to the bioaccumulation of toxicants from various potential sources such as toxic chemicals/metals, surgical implants, infections, dental materials, and radioactive compounds.” They explain that “after surpassing a threshold of bioaccumulation, the body’s immune system loses the normal adaptive responses (tolerance) and becomes sensitized to exposures from unrelated stimuli such as [electromagnetic frequencies].”

Non-and-Ionizing-EMRSome researchers are starting to pay attention to electromagnetic hypersensitivity, as it is now found “in a subset of the population on a worldwide basis-wherever there has been a rise in the exposures to [nonionizing radiation]”, but others remain dismissive (or hostile), because acknowledging the scope of the problem would require an upending of civilization as we know it.

This dismissal is similar to the medical establishment’s attitude toward the implication of food in many of our serious health problems.

Nonionizing radiation, unlike the ionizing kind we’ve been wary of for some time, includes most of the standard accouterments of first world life: cell phones, wifi, electricity, appliances, televisions and the computer I’m typing away on right now.

What does nonionizing radiation do to individuals who are highly sensitive?

Cline & DiLuglio explain: “Symptoms of EHS can vary and mimic those found in many other disease processes. Therefore, a high index of suspicion is required by the health practitioner when gathering historical information. Common signs and symptoms of EHS are listed as: general malaise, headache, thought-processing difficulties, memory impairment, heart palpitations, sleep disorder, immune dysfunction, inflammation, blurred vision, weakness, dizziness, chest discomfort, muscle pain, tinnitus, fatigue, nausea, night sweats, restless legs, and paresthesias.”

Got any of those?

I wake up with a headache every morning in my city apartment. Never at our island cottage.

How is it diagnosed?

“The diagnosis of EHS is supported when symptoms improve with treatment.”

And the primary question: How is it treated?

By removing the sources of electromagnetic radiation as much as is possible, and supporting the body’s ability to detoxify.

I’ll address that in part 2.

Spanakopita Pie (AIP & low-FODMAP)

PieThis August, Matthew and I worked on converting a couple of my old comfort foods, as part of my AIP for hard times strategy. In the SAD-old days I loved spanakopita, so we decided to figure out how to do it without filo or feta.

Paper-thin zucchini replicates the filo. And it turns out lamb shanks (slow cooked with bacon, & then shredded like pulled pork) are divine & may be even better than feta for salty spanakopita-scrumptiousness.

This recipe is one of my new favorites.

We had one of these pies ready yesterday; the perfect comfort food for me after my mum’s celebration of life.

Spanakopita Pie (AIP & low-FODMAP)

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 from petra8paleo

Pie under construction

  • 1 batch ‘pulled’ lamb (recipe, below)
  • 2 medium zucchini (or 6 small ones)
  • 3 bunches Spinach or Chard
  • 1 bunch fresh Basil leaves (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Oregano
  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil or Bacon Fat

Advance prep: The morning or night before, put the lamb shanks & bacon in the slow cooker.

Preheat oven to 350.

Slice the zucchini into rounds on the thinnest setting of a mandolin slicer. This is your filo pastry.

Grease a large baking dish or casserole with 1 tablespoon of the fat. Line sides & bottom of the dish with zucchini rounds.

Using another tablespoon of fat, wilt the greens, with the basil, if using, and the oregano. For chard, chop the chard stems finely & saute them briefly before adding the greens.

When the greens are wilted, add the pulled lamb to the pan & stir to combine.

Put half the greens & lamb mixture in the zucchini-lined baking dish.

Add a layer of zucchini slices, then the remaining greens & lamb.

Finish with a double layer of zucchini slices.

At this point you can cover the pie & refrigerate it for later.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of fat & drizzle it over top.

Bake for 50 minutes.

Quick variation

Fry bacon over slow heat to caramelize the flavors. Set aside. Fry 1 pound ground lamb in the bacon fat, then crumble the bacon back into the pan. Use the lamb~bacon mixture instead of ‘pulled’ lamb.

'Pulled' Lamb (AIP-friendly, low-FODMAP)

  • Difficulty: Not even slightly
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lamb shanks

From petra8paleo ~inspired by Nom Nom Paleo’s Kalua Pig~

  • 8-10 slices bacon
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt (Himalayan or ‘alaea)

Lay 4-5 bacon slices in the bottom of your slow cooker. Rub the shanks all over with the salt & arrange them in the slow cooker, bones tilting upwards. Lay the remaining 4-5 bacon slices over the shanks.

Cook on low overnight or for 8 hours.

Remove the meat form the bones & pull it apart with 2 forks, like pulled pork. Season with the warm, salty fat from the slow cooker.

Save the bones in the freezer for bone broth day.




Book Review: Keto Clarity


(Note: check out my Biohacking Update from February 2015 for details about my sub-optimal results of my 3½ month super-low-carb experiment.)

I’d been in ketosis for 3½ months (on a ketogenic version of the Autoimmune Protocol) before I read Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet by Jimmy Moore with Eric C. Westman.

I’ve shared a bit about the results of my ketogenic experiments in the posts Biohacking for Peak Experience and Biohacking for Career Leverage.

Even though I was in love with ketosis, I still had questions.

I’d tried online research, but everything I found was contradictory: ketosis is bad; ketosis is freaking awesome; more ketosis is better; there is no such thing as more ketosis, urine test strips are useful; urine test strips are useless; ‘carb cycling’ is necessary; or unnecessary; or we’re really not sure. That and incomprehensible scientific explanations about the biological processes involved in ketosis that I really, truly tried to read.

Even though I didn’t have all the information I wanted, I stuck with a ketogenic diet because:

  1. Terry Wahls says it’s good & she’s a wizard;
  2. It feels amazing; &
  3. It addresses my ethical issues about being paleo.

But I didn’t really, completely know if ketosis was a valid, sustainable approach to running my life in the long term. Until I read this book. Now I’m utterly convinced that ketosis is for me (and that it’s probably for you, too).

Keto Clarity: My reviewKeto Clarity

Moore (& Westman) have written a comprehensible & comprehensive book on ketogenic lifestyle.

It’s readable. As soon as it arrived in the mail, Keto Carity interrupted both the historical novels I’d been previously immersed in. I read it cover to cover.

Things I liked

  1. The book includes the expertise of 22 additional ketogenic experts, including medical doctors, researchers, elite athletes and influential paleolithic lifestyle people. Their perspectives were diverse and while they didn’t actually, actively contradict each other, they were disparate enough to give a good sense of the range of orthodoxies among keto-proponents. I liked that.
  2. The book has three chapters that review current research on ketosis: ‘Solid Science’; ‘Good Evidence’ & ‘Emerging Research’. What a friendly way to approach the subject. And what compelling evidence about proven & potential benefits of ketosis. Including for curing cancer.
  3. It outlines how to set up your own ketogenic n=1 (self-experiment).
  4. It provides comprehensive information about testing for ketones, including why urine test strips are not useful in the long term.
  5. It addresses women’s concerns, not excessively but sufficiently, including intermittent fasting for women; reduced ketones during menstruation; & metabolic changes during menopause that can affect carbohydrate tolerance.
  6. It explores of the common critiques of ketosis and the origins of these. Fascinating.
  7. It explains the connection between ketones & blood sugar: ketones up; blood sugar down. And vice versa.
  8. It references to My Big Fat Diet, an experiment in ancestral eating from my very own corner of the planet.
  9. Jimmy Moore is a blogger. I love that bloggers keep leading the way.
  10. And it might be just be me but I am uninterested in the real-life examples of real-life people that most self-help & health books are riddled with. I always skip them. But  I also always wonder if the author hasn’t tucked some important information into one of these stories, so then I get stressed out & feel compelled to go back & skim them. If you are a fan of example stories, you’ll find them in Keto-Clarity. Happily nestled in their own chapter. Brilliant. It’s the only chapter I didn’t fully read, but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.

My critique

My critiques are minor. Nevertheless, here they are:

  1. Down the rabbit holeJimmy Moore uses too many cliches. In my humble opinion. That was a cliche. It’s easy to do. His worst offense was “Take a chill pill, people!” on page 182. That was really bad. But I also learned something about myself, because when he used the cliched phrase ‘through the rabbit hole’ I wasn’t ruffled. Because it’s a literary reference. So I learned that it’s not that I dislike all cliches, but that I am a cliche snob. So, even though I can’t condone the use of the phrase ‘chill pill’ under any circumstances, I appreciated the opportunity to learn that about myself.
  2. Jimmy Moore is into ketosis, not paleo & not the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). I don’t critique him for that. But I do critique him for being into ketosis in a SAD kind of way. For example, he recommends boullion cubes (a couple of times) as a way to boost sodium intake when in ketosis. Last time I checked (5 minutes ago) boullion cubes contained salt, sugar, partially hydrogenated palm oil, monosodium glutamate (MSG), cornstarch,  disodium inosinate, & TBHQ (a chemical preservative). In other words, they’re not food. There are other ways to get salt. Like salt.
  3. Likewise, the recipes and menu plans are not AIP friendly, so were pretty useless to me. But, likewise, I can’t really fault him for that. Except for the recipe idea from Wendy McCullough to pan-fry under-ripe avocados. That is brilliant.
  4. I don’t like the design of dust jacket, but underneath, the book is rather handsome, with an elegant purple spine.

Keto Clarity 4Despite my picky criticisms, I completely recommend this book. Even if you don’t think you are interested in ketosis. Yet.

Ketosis & Physical Activity

At the end of the book I knew almost everything I wanted to know about a ketogenic lifestyle, including whether ketosis is compatible with high performance physical activity, which was my #1 lingering question when I was 40 days into my ketogenic experiment on the Wahls Paleo Plus.

The answer is: yes, but you need to get fully keto-adapted first and that can take time. Three to four weeks in most people. It took 4o days for me.

During the transition, you will probably experience a reduction in physical stamina (I did), which (understandably) leads a lot of people to give up on ketosis before they start to experience the benefits. Keto Clarity refers to a study on endurance training for elite cyclists that was almost abandoned after 2 weeks due to declining performance. Luckily they persevered until they became keto-adapted, resulting in improvements in VO2 max; amount of glycogen in muscle; and other markers. The moral of that is (another literary cliche), stick with it.

“There is a lot of misinformation and disinformation – if not outright, unwarranted hysteria – concerning the potential risks of a low-carbohydrate, fat-based ketogenic diet.” ~Nora Gedgaudas in Keto Clarity.


Raspberry~Rosehip Gummies (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

Raspberry~Rosehip Gummies_2

Your ancestors were gatherers.

And hunters. And scavengers.

Mine were, too.


I’ve been communing with my gatherer ancestors lately. By filling my pockets with rosehips, processing them & making these gummies.

I’ve come to appreciate the worth of a sharp knife. When you’re a gatherer~hunter~scavenger a sharp knife is a prized possession.

Admittedly, processing rosehips is time consuming.

But it’s the kind of activity that humans have engaged in from the beginning of time, so it can also be profoundly relational. In an ancient-generational way.

I knew rosehips were supposed to be a fabulous source of vitamin C, but it turns they are also being seriously investigated by researchers as a remedy for symptoms of Rheumatoid and Osteo arthritis.

Rosehips_7So mixing rosehips with grass-fed Gelatin might just be a recipe for superfood for an arthritic guy like Matthew. He has Psoriatic Arthritis, but anything that works for Osteo & Rheumatoid might be efficacious for the Psoriatics, too.

Use the hips from wild dog roses or any other unsprayed roses that create robust hips. Select the firm ones for maximum hipness.

Grass-fed Gelatin

It’s been a month since Matthew has been including Gelatin in his diet on an almost-daily basis & his fingernails are starting to look almost human.

Without oversharing ghastly details about the werewolf tendencies of his Psoriatic fingernails & toenails, including their tendency to disintegrate, exposing the nail beds & the nerve endings that lie there, let’s just agree that having almost normal nails is a beautiful, wonderful thing.

The gatherer~hunter~scavenger ancestors prescribe Raspberry~Rosehip Gummies. Daily. At least they do over here. Ask them yourself & see.

Looking for grass-fed gelatin? You can find Great Lakes gelatin on amazon. But if you’re in Canada, the shipping is prohibitively expensive. Health Essentials mail-orders anywhere in Canada. And is it really grass-fed? Detox-Mama sleuthed that out.

Raspberry~Rosehip Gummies (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

  • Print
 from petra8paleoRaspberry~Rosehip Gummies

  • ½ to 1 cup de-seeded Rosehips (how-to below)
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger
  • 3+ cups water
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen Cranberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen Raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons Gelatin

Peel & chop ginger. In a saucepan, simmer the ginger & 3 cups of water gently while you process the rosehips.

Rosehips_5Rosehips: Trim the flower & stem ends with a sharp knife & cut each hip in half. Discard any that have brown flesh. Using your thumbnail or a sharp knife,or probably a combination of the two, remove the seeds & fuzz & trim any brown bits. Persist until you have ½ to 1 cup of de-seeded rosehips.

Strain the ginger from the tea with a seive. Top up the ginger tea with additional water if need be until it measures 1½ cups.

Pour ½ cup of the ginger tea into a medium-sized mixing bowl, to cool.

Return ½ cup of the ginger tea to the saucepan with the de-seeded rosehips & simmer gently until the tea is evaporated & the rosehips are softened. Add the raspberries, cranberries, cinnamon & the final ½ cup of the ginger tea. Heat through.

Next, add the lime juice to the ginger tea waiting in the bowl & sprinkle the gelatin on top. Stir it up, pressing out any lumps of Gelatin with the back of the spoon.

Then, whirl the hot berry mixture in a food processor and add it to the gelatin. Mix thoroughly.

Spoon into silicon molds or line a biking dish with parchment paper & pour the mixture in.

If using silcon molds, freeze for 2 or more hours until the perfectly-shaped gummies can be popped out.

If using parchment and a baking dish, refrigerate until set & cut with scissors into bite-sized pieces.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Have some daily.