Primalgirl Enlighten. Empower. Evolve. Thu, 17 Nov 2016 21:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Primalgirl 32 32 28746722 PrimalGirl Wakes Up: Phillips Wake Up Light Review Thu, 17 Nov 2016 21:00:01 +0000

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I didn’t do a lot of research or read reviews before I bought the Phillips Wake Up Light. I made sure it did what I wanted it to do (wake me up with light and simulate a sunset at bedtime) and took the plunge.

I’m so glad I did.

img_2238Alarm clocks are unnatural. To illustrate my point, I want you to imagine you’re camping in the wilderness. It’s very early morning and you’re still fast asleep. Outside your tent, it’s quiet and still. Even the birds are still asleep. The occasional rustling of leaves as nocturnal animals burrow down for the day is all you would be able to hear if you were awake. Which you’re not. You are directly in the middle of REM sleep, dreaming about sunbathing on the Aegean Sea.

Out of no where, you hear a loud, blood-curdling shriek, right next to your head. You immediately bolt upright, grabbing the nearest weapon as you do. Is it a bear? A wolf? A hungry hyena? You’re on your feet, wide awake and prepared to fight. You instinctively know that sound: something intent on harming you and possibly having you as an early breakfast. You are not going to let it.

Over the years, we lose the “grab the nearest weapon” response and learn how to hit the snooze button but we never grow out of the rush of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones that are released when a modern alarm clock goes off. There is no natural equivalent and our bodies react with panic, fear and stress. It’s a horrible way to wake up. I refuse to begin each day with my fight-flight-or-freeze mechanism activated and pinging. But I still need to get up.

Part of proper sleep hygienefullsizerender is sleeping in a completely darkened room. If you live in a city or well lit neighbourhood like I do, chances are you need blackout curtains. Unfortunately, unless you have curtains or blinds that open automatically when the sun comes up, there is no natural cue that morning has actually arrived. The room will continue to stay dark long after your boss was expecting you at your desk. Longer than normal hours of darkness can mess up your body’s seasonal clock, making it think it’s winter all year long, making it harder to shed weight and creating that ‘nesting’ feeling we get in the darkest part of winter. We can also take longer to get going, or feel inexplicably tired during the day because it seems like we got up in a panic at 2 a.m. The modern solution is an alarm clock. We’ve already discussed why that’s such a bad idea. So how are we supposed to get up on time?

When we’re out in nature, light is what wakes us up. If we want to be true to our primal roots and give our body what it expects from a natural setting, we need to wake up with the sun.

The Phillips Wake Up Light solves this problem. It starts off with a warm red glow that won’t affect you at all and gradually brightens over the course of 30 minutes (or whatever you’ve set) until it’s as bright as the sun. If you wish, you can choose from 5 different nature sounds or the FM radio, which won’t start playing until the ‘sun’ has completely risen and it’s really time to get up.

img_2227The first few times I used the Phillips Wake Up Light, I set my regular alarm as a back up. Used to being groggy, sleepy and irritated when I woke up, I wasn’t entirely trusting that a little light was going to penetrate the fog. However, by the third day I had abandoned the back up alarm. By the time the bird sounds started playing, I was wide awake and ready to start my day. But the biggest change I saw was in my mood. Waking up gradually as the sun comes up–and not being ripped out of deep sleep due to some arbitrary, fluctuating time–is very natural and soothing. Not only was I fully awake when it was time to get up, I was aware, optimistic and excited to start my day.

I set the alarm on the Wake Up Light every day at the same time, regardless if I have to get up or not. I feel balanced, have energy throughout the day, and naturally get tired at the same time each night. After years of waking up groggy, or hitting snooze for 45 minutes, my mornings have been revolutionized.

img_2229The other feature I had been very interested in was the sunset. This needs to be manually set, but it’s easy to do. Choose a brightness (the Phillips Wake Up Light has 20 light settings) and choose the length of time until darkness and the clock will do the rest. I have found that setting 7 is about the equivalent of two candles and is usually what I start with. Gradually dimming from yellow to orange to red and then off, it’s a wonderful way to let your body know it’s bed time.

Although I was initially wary of the hefty price tag, I knew that nature had created the optimal way to wake up–and I wanted to recreate that as best I could in an urban environment. I also knew that Amazon has an incredible return policy. I highly recommend the Phillips Wake Up Light for anyone who wants to honor the natural rhythms of the sun and to live in alignment with their circadian rhythm but who can’t sleep outdoors year round.


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PrimalGirl HS Alliance Group: Meet Manoela Fri, 11 Nov 2016 21:00:39 +0000

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I was recently contacted by Manoela, a young woman whose story is reminiscent of mine. Like Manoela, I had some success with a different type of diet in 1998, which made the puzzle pieces fall together quickly when I was introduced to the Paleo diet in 2009. Without success from a low carb diet, I would have been quite sceptical that insulin resistance was playing a major part in my disease process and may not have taken to the Paleo lifestyle with the intensity that I did. Manoela used a standard Paleo diet and yeast elimination to manage her HS. However, she was missing the final puzzle piece until she read The Hidden Plague: a field guide for surviving and overcoming Hidradenitis suppurativa. I’m excited to have her journey into the autoimmune Paleo protocol (AIP) documented on and thrilled to report that Manoela has joined our team in order to help others. You can read more and get in touch with her on the PrimalGirl Team page.

Manoela’s Story

0I can still recall the sound of my classmates laughing at me while I wrote on the chalkboard in class. I was 10 years old and had my first boil on my bum. The blood went through my pants and my classmates could see it as I wrote on the board. I was humiliated.

From that day on I always had boils.

My teenage years were harder.  I had Pilonidal Cysts four times, which resulted in four major surgeries at the ages of 16 and 17. Only those who had these cysts know how awful it is; recovery is slow and painful without surgery. Recovering from surgery is even worse. Honestly, that was the toughest thing I have ever endured. But like a lot of us, I hid it well. Looking at this picture of my mother and I on my 17th birthday, you would never know the pain I felt, both physically and emotionally.


When I left Brazil in 2003 to live in Boston with my mom, I was still not diagnosed with HS and extremely fearful to have the cysts again. So I went to the doctor and she was the first person to say: “Oh! Manoela, you have Hidradenitis Suppurativa.” Phew! It has a name! That was a relief.

Knowing the name of this awful thing was such a relief because there’s nothing worse than not knowing what you have. But I soon realized that neither my doctor nor the entire medical community had any clue how to treat, care for and instruct patients on what to do.

The doctor referred me to a Dermatologist. I was put on Minocycline, Doxycycline, Spironolactone and strongly offered to consider surgery and Accutane (isotretinoin). I refused the surgery and the Isotretinoin. But I took the meds for a good 6 months. Deep down in my gut, I knew it was being caused by something on the inside. I don’t like drugs for obvious reasons–my early teenage years made me super resistant to a vast majority of antibiotics out there and I had never really seen any improvement while on the drugs.

During some exploring with my doctor, I was tested for common allergies and tested positive for yeast in 2007. I eliminated all yeast intake (wine, cheese, plums, grapes…) and went Paleo for 2 years. Boy, I have never felt so good in my life!

However, by late 2009 I had 9 boils at the same time and they were stronger than ever; I was so frustrated and disappointed that I was eating right and still having them. So I said: Screw this! And I fell off the wagon because I am human being and that’s okay. I pay the price with my HS anyways.

pg-1-nightshadesI am now in my 8th day of the AIP Elimination Phase, thanks to Tara who wrote The Hidden Plague. The book has helped me understand and see my HS in a more scientific way. I know it’s not going to be easy but based on my previous experience with the Paleo diet and eliminating yeast, I have no doubt it will work. Knowledge is power and in my case eliminating nightshades (which I LOVE dearly) will hopefully put my HS in remission.
My hopes are that the more awareness we raise the higher the chances are that in the future the medical community across the globe will understand how crucial proper nutrition is to our health.

Follow your gut!

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates

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Confidence Mon, 31 Oct 2016 19:05:31 +0000

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14352557_10157582048015128_523018756132629003_oThe first time I ever got up on stage by myself, I was terrified. I wasn’t ready to be up there yet; my fingers still fumbled between chords from time to time and anxiety would sometimes lock my voice down. I couldn’t seem to get a full breath. You need to be able to breathe in order to sing.

Another woman who had been doing open stage for what seemed like years got up ahead of me. Her name was Jenn. Turns out she was a professional musician and had been writing and recording her own music for over a decade. She was good. So good, in fact, that I did not want to follow her. I made some excuse as to why I couldn’t go next and got up to talk to Jenn when she got off stage.

“How can you be so comfortable up there?” I asked. “I feel like I’m going to black out.”

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” she replied as she packed up her guitar. She didn’t have any music with her. It was all in her head. I looked down nervously at the tattered sheet music I held in my hands, hands that I feared would betray me on stage by hardening into vice grips or shaking uncontrollably. I knew my songs by heart, but didn’t trust myself to remember them when faced with public scrutiny.
Aware of my inexperience and insecurity, Jenn leaned in closer and whispered, “Want to know a secret?”
I nodded. I wanted to know. I needed to know. Anything to get me through the upcoming pain and ensuing humiliation in front of every single peer I had at the time.
“I made a mistake in the middle of that last song. Did you notice?” she asked.
No, I hadn’t noticed. Jenn had played “One of Us” by Joan Osborne, a song that was all over the airways at the time and I knew it very well. I had been amazed that she was able to figure out the chords on her own, a skill I hadn’t yet developed. I had been listening closely, trying to figure out the chords she was playing, struggling to follow the strumming pattern and had been blown away by her powerful voice. So had the crowd. We hadn’t noticed this “mistake” of which she now spoke.
“Most people have no idea what it takes to play music,” she said. “Their ears aren’t tuned to the same things ours are. They’re listening to the beat. They’re drinking their beer, maybe they’ll sing along with the chorus. But they’re not really listening the same way you were. You were listening closely, did you notice my mistake?”
“No,” I replied. “I didn’t. Not one.”
“Most songs are just three or four chords that are repeated over and over until the song ends. It’s called a chord progression. All songs have them and they’re usually the same chords, just in a different order or key. On the second verse, I got confused and played the chords in the wrong order. The trick is that I didn’t stop playing. I didn’t miss a beat. I just sang over it as if the chords were right and changed it at the beginning of the next bar. No one noticed.”
I couldn’t believe it. I knew what she was talking about now- at one point, things had sounded a tad off but I had chalked it up to Jenn using artistic license to mix it up because I automatically assumed she was at a level where she could do that. I thought about how flustered I would have been if I’d played the wrong chords. I imagined myself stopping mid-song and asking the audience if I could start over. They would certainly notice that.
“It’s even easier with songs that you’ve written yourself, or obscure ones that no one knows. They don’t know what they’re supposed to be hearing,” she continued. “If you’re confident that the sounds you’re producing are indeed what they’re supposed to be hearing, they will assume you are right.”
Twenty years later, I realize that Jenn told me a very powerful secret that night. Not just about music, but about confidence itself. She was confident on stage because she had done it before and she knew what to expect. So, the secret to gaining confidence and being comfortable in any situation was to do it a few times and see what happened. Learn from what happened and get back on the horse. How incredibly simple. Imagining the worst possible outcome, deciding how you would react to it if it did happen and then being pleasantly (ecstatically) surprised when it doesn’t (the negative path to happiness, or Stoicism) put everything else in perspective. My friends were not going to boo me off the stage. I was not going to have a heart attack. No one in the room wanted to see me fail. I was a beginner and I was their friend. They probably expected me to make mistakes.
And if I fumbled, would they even realize it? “It’s even easier with songs that you’ve written yourself, or obscure ones that no one knows. They don’t know what they’re supposed to be hearing.” If it’s my song, or theory, or art, or research, or even my opinion, other people don’t really know. As long as I’m confident about it, they’ll assume that I know what I’m doing.
And if someone thinks you are a specialist, or an expert, or a rock star, then you are. Your performance will be automatically elevated in their mind and they will not notice or even mind if you stumble a little. It may even make them like you more.
You only need to fake it the first time you try something new, I thought. Then you know what to expect. I got up on stage. I hadn’t yet learned about the benefits of meditation before a performance (or breathing in general), so I was strained and my heart pounded in my chest as I gazed out at the sea of faces. I hunched over my guitar in a protective embrace. I made a mistake right off the bat. It was okay. The earth didn’t swallow me whole. No one screamed “loser.” I stopped, took a deep breath, closed my eyes and launched into the best mid-90s angry indie girl rock I could muster.  It was glorious. My friends clapped and not a single person booed at all.
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Heal The Skin You’re In: Historic Dermatological Collaborations and How They Affect You Fri, 14 Oct 2016 13:00:24 +0000

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The results of the first HISTORIC surveys on HS will be published in peer-reviewed indexed journals sometime in 2017. is going to New York City to bring you the information you need sooner – by this weekend, in fact.

Do you have questions or comments you’d like us to pass on to the HISTORIC team? Leave them in the comments section below and make your voice heard.

Vertical image of a school child mixing substances to observe reactions

About six months ago, I was approached by a collaborative that was doing an international survey on Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). They’re calling themselves HISTORIC: The HIdradenitis SuppuraTiva cORe outcomes set International Collaboration. For the first time in history, it seems a concerted global effort is being made to look into treatment option for HS patients. Since The Hidden Plague: a field guide for surviving and overcoming Hidradenitis suppurativa was released in December 2013, more patients have been getting firm diagnoses and many doctors are now beginning to understand the connection between the inflammatory skin condition and diet/lifestyle–but despite thousands of us achieving remission or lessening our HS symptoms with the protocol in The Hidden Plague, no major changes have been made in the treatment prescribed by the average doctor across the globe, or the information available at dermatology conferences.

Research on HS has been limited. There have been several studies linking it to diet (dairy) and auto inflammatory disease, as well as autoimmunity, and it seems that the big drug companies are getting in on the game; more diagnoses means more prescriptions for experimental drugs such as Humira. Needless to say, I am quite excited at the idea of an international collaborative looking into any way to help us.

The doctors and patients involved in this study have been invited to New York City October 15th, 2016 to discuss findings and to forge a path forward. I’m honored to be able to attend and to bring the information from that meeting home to you. I’ll be on Facebook LiveInstagram and Twitter this Saturday so please follow me to stay up to date.

Who are these people and what are they doing?

The HIdradenitis SuppuraTiva cORe outcomes set International Collaboration (HISTORIC) team recently answered a few questions for us. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that something good will come from this.

Can you tell us a little about the three different organizations that have come together for the HISTORIC meetings?

The HIdradenitis SuppuraTiva cORe outcomes set International Collaboration (HISTORIC) is an international initiative arising from collaboration between the International Dermatology Outcome Measures (IDEOM), the Cochrane Skin Group – Core Outcome Set Initiative (CSG-COUSIN) and Zealand University Hospital, Roskilde.

The IDEOM (International Dermatology Outcomes Measures) group is a nonprofit organization founded in late 2013 whose mission is to establish evidence-based, consensus-driven, patient-centered outcomes for dermatologic conditions. Our aim is to develop core outcome sets through alignment of relevant stakeholders so that we may better identify which therapies add the most value to patients, and so we may support clinical decision making at the point of care. Core to IDEOMs philosophy is the direct collaboration of patients in the outcomes development process, since this is essential to ensuring that these outcomes ultimately reflect what is most meaningful to patients.

CSG-COUSIN is a multiprofessional international working group within the Cochrane Skin Group. CSG-COUSIN’s mission is to develop and implement core outcome sets in dermatology in order to improve and standardise outcome measurement in clinical trials and to make trial evidence more useful.

Department of Dermatology at Zealand University Hospital, Roskilde, lead by Professor Gregor Jemec has had a great interest in HS for many years. The department has one of the largest HS cohort of patients in the world, and their portfolio of research on this disease, as well as their clinical experience in caring for patient with HS, is among the most comprehensive in the world.

Please explain the need for the collaboration and how it will effect the future work you do.

The HISTORIC initiative has been formed to establish agreement on which features of HS should be measured and reported in all clinical trials. Researchers refer to this list of features as a core outcome set (COS).

The reasons for developing core outcome sets are to:

  • Ensure that researchers measure all features of the disease that are deemed important to all parties interested in the disease, including patients.
  • Allow for comparison of treatments by ensuring that all clinical trials measure the same features of the disease.

The results of this study will improve the quality of future HS trials, and it is an important step towards the development of better treatment for HS.

What is your mission statement? 

HISTORIC goals are to:

  • Develop global COSs for HS trials including the most relevant core domain set and adequate, i.e. valid, reliable, and feasible instruments to measure the core domains using an iterative process of evidence synthesis and multi-stakeholder consensus process.
  • Implement the COSs on a global level.

An international steering group consisting of researchers, clinicians and a patient research partner under the HISTORIC initiative has been formed to guide the development of the COS.   The steering group consist of nine members; a patient research partner who is a board member of The Patients’ Association HS Denmark, two dermatologists with a substantial expertise in both HS research and clinical work; four dermatologists with a special interest in outcome measures in dermatology and broad experience with HS research and clinical work; a biostatistician with substantial expertise in COS development and a MD Ph.D. student on outcome measurers in HS.

Do any of the doctors and researchers in this project have HS? If not, why have they chosen this speciality?

A patient research partner is included in steering group. She is fully integrated into each stage of the HISTORIC process.

 How many people are you surveying? And from how many countries?

92 participants completed the first round of the survey; 41 patients and 51 health care professionals. 19 countries are represented: USA, Canada, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Bulgaria, Holland, Slovakia, Japan, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Australia

How long did the surveys take to write? 

The candidate items used in the first round were identified by combining the results of three studies:

  1. A review of the medical literature on HS
  2. Danish and US interviews with HS patients
  3. An online health care professional survey.

The interviews have been ongoing for 2-3 year. The steering group was formed in March 2015 and has worked intensively on getting the first survey ready since then.

What will you do with the information from the surveys once they’re complete?

When the final list of core domains is ready we will continue our work to identifying the instruments that should be used to assess these domains (how to measure: the core outcome measurement set). This second step includes the possible need for development and validation of new instruments for domains that do not have valid outcome measurement instrument. We will furthermore work on implementing the core domain set on a global level. The core domains should be considered for inclusion in all clinical trials on HS, so that in most trials, the primary outcome would be expected to be one of those contained in the COS.

If someone attends the meetings, what can they expect?

At the consensus meeting we will discuss the results of the online surveys and work in groups on prioritising and grouping the items. It will be a chance for us the meet in person for in-depth discussions.

Participants will have a chance to express their meaning and we expect a lively debate and safe and friendly atmosphere.

If someone attends the meetings, will they have a chance to speak? If so, for how long and who will be listening to them?

Of course, patients are invited because we are interested in what they have to say. Everyone is welcome to comment in the plenary sessions for as long as they wish. During group work a facilitator will encourage each group member to express their meaning through each stage of the process.

How will this collaboration, the surveys and the meetings affect the average HS patient who is still being prescribed antibiotics and who is being largely ignored by their doctor?

The results of this study will improve the quality of future HS trials, and it is an important step towards the development of better treatment for HS.

Besides attending the meetings, how else can people access the survey results and other pertinent information?

The results of the surveys will be published in peer-reviewed indexed journals. We expect the results of this first part of process to be published in 2017.


We’ll have the results and information for you this weekend. Follow PrimalGirl on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or subscribe to email updates below to access the information.


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Announcing the first ever HS Home Remedy Trials – led by patients! Mon, 29 Aug 2016 23:04:45 +0000

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PrimalGirl HS Home Remedy Trials Banner
Thank you for your interest in the first ever patient-based and patient-led personal science-based study of home-based remedies for HS!

I am an HS patient, just like you. I have had HS for almost 30 years and have seen little to no progress in the way we are treated, how information is disseminated, available treatment options or actual research. I have been experimenting on myself for almost seven years. I have had incredible success at putting my HS into remission and keeping it there. My journey and experiments are documented in the bestselling book The Hidden Plague: a field guide for surviving and overcoming Hidradenitis suppurativa, available on and at Barnes & Noble.

Sign up for the HS Home Remedy Trials

* indicates required


Vertical image of a school child mixing substances to observe reactions

Researchers are not looking into specific home treatments for HS.

In March 2016, I was asked to speak at the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. (scroll to the bottom to see the speech!). I ran some surveys and presented the results to the doctors. I mentioned what incredible results we had gotten from dietary changes and talked about the importance of gut health in the management of HS. I told them that we wanted safe, effective treatments and research, not brutalizing, unnecessary surgeries. My speech fell on deaf ears. I was sent the feedback and findings of the forum, which stated that, although they thought the information was well presented and relevant, the Academy was going to focus their efforts on further drug trials and new surgical procedures.

Recently, I was asked to take part in a historic survey. This time, several major dermatological agencies from around the world are working together. I’ll be providing more information as it’s released and interviewing the doctors involved in October. The survey may eventually help with getting disability benefits, having drugs like Humira covered by insurance and educating doctors so it is definitely a step forward, but they are not looking into specific treatments for individuals like you and me, who want to manage their HS drug and surgery free. I was asked for my feedback, so I mentioned this. I was told that individual triggers couldn’t be tested for in a lab, as there are too many variables. I concur. We all have different individual triggers and it’s up to us to identify them. However, I sincerely do not believe that a pharmaceutical or a surgical cure for HS exists, and I don’t think that what these people are surveying ultimately matters in our daily management of the disease. I believe home remedy trials, like the ones we will be performing together, are going to help more HS patients find relief.

It takes doctors and researchers many years and thousands of dollars to perform rigorous testing, and many things (like the stuff we’ll be testing) will never see the inside of a lab. I want to be able to manage my own HS. I want you to be able to manage yours. I’m tired of waiting on the medical community to help us and I’m really tired of hearing all kinds of crazy, ineffective solutions and treatments coming out of the HS Facebook forums. If we want safe, effective treatments and home remedies we are going to have to run these trials ourselves. Because of my position in the community, I can’t knowingly recommend something for HS patients without first doing my due diligence, i.e. making sure something works. Myths, misinformation and wives tales unwittingly get people’s hopes up, or in the rare circumstance, can even end up hurting someone.

Portrait of cute schoolgirl studying chemical liquid in laboratory

If we want safe, effective treatments and home remedies, we are going to have to run these trials ourselves.

I am recruiting you to help gather information so we have a broader picture of how these interventions and home remedies work in the population at large. I am not a doctor or a health care professional so these trials and surveys are for informational purposes only. Your personal information will remain confidential. The results may be shared with interested medical professionals but are mostly for the use and informational purposes of HS patients and other people interested in managing their own inflammatory skin conditions. I am not being paid to do this and do not have any vested interests, with the exception of finding effective home treatments for my community. (That being said, a purchase and review of The Hidden Plague and encouraging people with HS to sign up for these trials would be much appreciated.)

Sign up today and be part of the solution! You must be 18+ years old. You will be sent a welcome package with further information once the trials start. There is no cost to join, however you may occasionally have to purchase supplies for yourself (~$20 USD) depending on the specific trial.

Sign up for the HS Home Remedy Trials

* indicates required

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How To Survive Your Own Personal Apocalypse Part 5 Mon, 22 Aug 2016 15:30:46 +0000

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PrimalGirlBrandDisastersmallA 5-minute, 15-minute and 1-hour checklist of essential items in case of an evacuation, compiled by victims of the Valley Fire. Essential and 100% free download in PDF format. Print this up now so you and your family are prepared in the case of an emergency. This list is comprised of things we wish we’d done. Learn from us. Please.

I have to admit that before the fire I was starting to lose a little faith in humanity. The way my community banded together and the outpouring of love and support we received from all over the world changed that, though. I’ve been completely amazed at how resilient humans can be. This week the area has experienced another wave of fires, and the next town over (Lower Lake, Clayton Fire) has been devastated. Although many of us are still experiencing bouts of PTSD, depression and panic, we have gotten together to share what we’ve learned and to help others.

Pic_Me and Tzu ChiIt was imperative that we did, because the organizations we thought would help us didn’t. Not really. There was a lot of paperwork, and a lot of promises, but the help we received was more about the acquisition of goods, not counselling or support. One organization stood out.

I was at Sierra Hot Springs shortly after the fire when I got a phone call from a sweet lady who asked if I would be in town later that week. The lady was representing a charity organization called Tzu Chi. The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation travels the world helping out in disasters, and unlike other organizations that were supposed to help us, Tzu Chi seemed to care about our humanity. They offered us aid, but more importantly, they gave us a hug. They listened. And then they came back. A  couple months after the fire, they took over a local church and provided meals for us, free dental care and a pretty amazing inspirational service. I’ve since researched them and not only do they provide aid after disasters, but they also provide tuition, tutors, emotional support, assistance with building houses and shelters and more. They are international and help with so many massive, devastating disasters that our “small” disaster didn’t even make their ‘2015 In Review’ video. That really put everything into perspective and has honestly made it easier to heal and move on. Here’s video that was shot of our town.

Tzu Chi did not have to help us, and that’s what made their visits to our town so special. The way that they’re able to help is through collecting people’s small change from all over the world. If you’re so inclined, please start collecting pennies and nickels. You can order a collection jar of your very own and send it back to them when it’s full. Click here for more information.


Without any further ado, here is the Emergency Evacuation Checklist. You’ll find a detailed PDF with different lists for the amount of time you’ve got to evacuate. Add other personal items that pertain to you specifically, as well as important phone numbers and account numbers and photocopy it so you have at least 3 copies floating around. Leave a copy in your car, one at the office, even one in your locker at the gym. You never know where you’ll be when you get horrible news. The less time and hunting you have to do to find the things you need, the more you’ll be able to rescue–and the better off you’ll be. Please use, share and add to this PDF freely.

PrimalGirl Emergency Evac List

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How to Survive Your Own Personal Apocalypse Part 4 Fri, 19 Aug 2016 16:00:50 +0000

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Key tips for maintaining your sanity directly after a disaster, specific ways you can help loved ones and how to back off gracefully when help isn’t needed.


This particular post has been a hard one to write. I in no way want to appear ungrateful for the help I received after the fire. Friends, family and complete strangers immediately mobilized and came to our rescue. Thanks to the immediacy of the Internet, people around the world knew what we were going through and wanted to help. Unfortunately, attempts to help were not always helpful and I was too shellshocked to know what it was that we needed when people asked. If only I had had dirty laundry for them to do.


Limit Your Digital Exposure

For a week after the disaster, I spent approximately 12 hours a day on my phone, fielding phone calls, getting news, answering Facebook messages and texting people. This was exhausting, unproductive and in retrospect, actually made things way worse than they would have been otherwise. Once it was established that we were all alive and had evacuated safely, responding to texts such as “How are you holding up?” from people I hadn’t spoken to in six years needed to stop. Some people sent me pictures from the news of my house burning to the ground, which sent me into an incredible spiral of grief. Others seemed to get angry if I didn’t respond directly and immediately, not knowing that I was at the Disaster Relief Center dealing with not only my insurance adjuster, but FEMA, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Regional Center, the Small Business Administration, the electric company, AT&T and various other agencies—all while using the five whole hours of respite care I had been able to line up so someone could stay with the children. I needed to take the time immediately after the fire to make sure the base of our pyramid was stable: our basic human physiological need for shelter, food, water and some semblance of stability. Instead, I spent it looking for a way to charge my phone. I estimate this sojourn into digital oblivion added three months to the time it took me to heal from the initial shock of the fire.

Rebuild a Solid Foundation

When helping others, or dealing with a disaster yourself, it’s important to really take Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs into consideration. When choosing donations, or ways to help, be realistic about what stage the person is in at the moment. Someone who does not have their immediate physiological needs met will not be able to appreciate attempts to fulfill their esteem or self-actualization needs. The needs at the bottom of the pyramid must be met first.


By day three or four, donations from all over the world started to pour in. Unfortunately, the opportunistic thieves came out to play, too. Someone friended me on Facebook, set up a GoFundMe account in my name and proceeded to try and steal our donations by requesting the money from GoFundMe by check. It was only because of the gut-feeling and quick reaction of one of my Facebook friends that we managed to recover the money at all. I spent approximately 25 hours on this problem while my son was recovering from emergency surgery and we were sleeping on the floor. GoFundMe immediately deleted the account, which meant that to this day, I still have no idea who donated and I have no way to thank them. Which leads me to the next Survival Tip:


Survival Tip #4

PrimalGirl Survival Tip 4Appoint someone you trust in another geographical location to be your wingman.


With any luck, this is the same person you sent copies of your important documents to. If it isn’t, make sure they have what they need to act as your “administrative assistant” in case of an emergency—and make sure they’re up to the job. Reach out to that person right now and say the following:


“I have appointed you as my Facebook Legacy person. If anything ever happens to me, you can log into my account and tell people what’s going on. If anything ever happens to warrant setting up an emergency GoFundMe account, I would like for you to be the one to do it. Here is my bank account information. I would like for you to help me disseminate information to people that care about me so that I can rest, heal and try to recover.”


Think of it as a digital, living next-of-kin. If you have appointed a wingman, you will only need to give them updates. They can let others know how you’re doing and tell them what it is you need. If they’re in a separate geographical location, chances are the same disaster has not physically affected them. Choose someone reliable, level-headed, trustworthy and computer-savvy enough to set up new accounts.


It’s Not About You

If someone you know has recently been through a disaster, natural or otherwise, and you know for certain that they are conscious and alive, please consider changing what you expect from them in terms of communication. If it has been more than six months since you have seen them in person and/or you are not immediate family, please do not take it personally or get angry if they don’t get back to you right away. Yes, we know you’re worried and yes, we know they most definitely need help. Instead of trying to coordinate efforts with the victim directly, you can try to get in touch with their wingman. If you do text (and I am in no way telling you not to) starting the message with the words, “I don’t expect a response” lets them know that someone is thinking of them but doesn’t make them feel pressured. If you have physical things to donate, please take into consideration that someone may not want or need your donation right away, or that it may actually complicate their experience when all you’re trying to do is help. If someone cannot honestly answer you when you ask what they need, then they need cash and a good night’s rest. Many of my friends coordinated efforts on Facebook, got the basic news and waited for contact from me. Since they weren’t able to be there in person, this was the best thing they could have done. Besides donating money. Which they also did. And I’m still waiting to be able to thank them.



Your homework for tonight is to appoint a wingman. Have an honest conversation with them about what you might need and make sure they’re up to the task. Offer to act as their wingman, should the need arise. The sense of security you’ll get from knowing that someone you trust has your back—and your passwords—is huge.


I no longer have a GoFundMe account (or a job) and this blog is expensive to maintain. If you would like to contribute to my recovery fund, please consider making a $4 donation. In exchange you’ll get a copy of the recipe for Magical and Multipurpose Paleo and Primal Dough. Thank you for your support.

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7 Awesome Paleo Indian Recipes To Enjoy With Paleo Naan Bread Wed, 17 Aug 2016 19:25:35 +0000

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I miss bread. It’s the reason I invented PrimalGirl’s Magical Multipurpose Paleo and Primal Dough Recipe a few years back. One of the first things I tried making with the dough was Indian naan bread. I substituted part of the milk in the recipe with yogurt and added some whole cumin seeds. Then, I shaped it as best as I could and baked it in the oven.

The results were delicious. 

I was recently contacted by a young blogger in England named Alfie who had tried the same thing. Alfie just happens to be Indian and Paleo. He was so impressed with the naan bread recipe that he offered to create some Paleo Indian recipes to go with it. I’m honored to be able to share them with you.  Make sure to subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss out on future recipes. But first, let’s meet Alfie.

Meet Alfie from


I owe my life, my family, my career and pretty much everything to going Paleo. This may seem really dramatic but I was once overweight and depressed and would never leave the house.

Going Paleo has given me confidence in myself and my body, and has helped me get the things I want. This may seem corny but it’s true: wellness is the key to a great life.

It’s not been an easy ride! I have fallen off the wagon many times just like many of you reading this. My advice here is stick to it, the results are well worth it. I grew up eating Indian food. Going Paleo meant that I had to give it up until I learned how to make tweaks and substitutions. That’s all you have to do in order to enjoy Indian food and stay Paleo.

I hope you enjoy my collection of 7 Awesome Paleo Indian Recipes To Enjoy With Paleo Naan Breads (using Tara’s Magic Dough Recipe). These amazing recipes are part of my new series of FREE Paleo Indian recipes featured on

7 Paleo Indian Recipes To Enjoy With Paleo Naan Bread

tikka masala

A Paleofied version of the fan favorite Indian Chicken Tikka.

Prep time: 15 minutes. Serves 4. (requires marination)

All You Need Is…

  • 215 g Coconut milk yogurt
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 750 g chicken breast
  • 1 onion sliced (garnish)
  • 2 tomatoes (quartered for garnish)
  • 4 lemon twists (garnish)

Find the instructions for Paleo Chicken Tikka here.


This is one mean Paleo Indian curry and it’s awesome as a side dish. I just love the taste of slow cooked beef. This could even be a main curry.

Prep Time: 90 minutes. Serves 4.

All you need is…

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp coriander powder
  • 5 cm piece ginger (chopped)
  • 750 g stewing steak (cubed)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Salt
  • 350 g sweet potatoes
  • 4 green chillies

Find the instructions for Beef Curry with Sweet Potatoes here.


Rogan Josh is of Persian origin. Rogan literally means “clarified butter” (coconut oil in our case) and Josh means “intensity” or “flavor.” This Paleo Indian curry is one mean mama with intense flavour and texture!

Prep Time: 75 minutes. Serves 4.

All you need is…

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 750 g lamb (cubed)
  • 300 g coconut milk yoghurt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 cm ginger
  • 2 green chillies
  • 12 x 4 finger pinches of coriander (ground)
  • 4 x 4 finger pinches of cumin (ground)
  • 4 four finger pinches of mint leaves (chopped)
  • 4 four finger pinches of fresh coriander (chopped)
  • handful cardamoms
  • handful cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Salt
  • 125 g flaked almonds

Find the instructions for Lamb Rogan Josh here.


A traditional, mild North Indian dish that is now Paleofied thanks to a few small tweaks but with the same great flavour

Prep Time: 50 minutes. Serves 4. (Requires marination)

All you need is…

  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Small piece of ginger (chopped)
  • 2 green chillies (chopped)
  • 4 x 3 finger pinches coriander
  • 2 x 3 finger pinches salt
  • 50 g almonds
  • 750 g chicken (pieces)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • Small sprinkle of cardamoms
  • Small sprinkle of cloves
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 150 g coconut milk yoghurt
  • Small pinch of saffron (soaked in hot water)
  • A few sprinkles of chopped coriander (garnish)

Find the instructions for Chicken Korma here.


Indian food doesn’t always have to be about curries. Try this amazing Prawn kebab recipe! The spicy marinade will truly get your tastebuds tingling.

Prep Time: 20 minutes. Serves 4. (Requires marination)

All you need is…

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 x 3 finger pinches paprika
  • 1 x 3 finger pinch chilli powder
  • 1 x 3 finger pinch salt
  • 1 x 3 finger pinch turmeric
  • Small sprinkle of finely chopped coriander
  • 12 Giant pacific prawns (shelled)

Find the instructions for Prawn Kebab here.


I love seafood (growing up on a beautiful island called Sri Lanka) and there is something magnificent about a grilled whole fish taking centre stage on your dinner table. I hope you enjoy this easy grilled spiced fish recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes. Serves 4. (Requires marination)

All you need is…

  • 2 large plaice
  • 150 g coconut yoghurt
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 x 3 finger pinches coriander
  • 3 finger pinch chilli powder
  • 2 x 3 finger pinches garam masala
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt
  • Small sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley (garnish)
  • 1 lemon (quartered, garnish)

Find the instructions for Grilled Spiced Fish here.

7 Another great side dish or even good enough to be an awesome vegetarian dish, this sweet potato curry and tomato curry has some really interesting flavor combinations that will leave you wanting more…

Prep Time: 30 minutes. Serves 4.

All you need is…

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 finger pinch mustard seeds
  • 250 g sweet potato (cut into small pieces)
  • 2 x 3 finger pinches turmeric
  • 2 x 3 finger pinches chilli powder
  • 4 x 3 finger pinches paprika
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • 250 g tomatoes (quartered)
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander (garnish)

Find the instructions for Sweet Potato and Tomato Curry here.


These are just a few of the amazing recipes Alfie has listed on his website at Like what you see? Please leave a comment and visit his site. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of PrimalGirl’s Magical and Multipurpose Primal and Paleo Dough Recipe in order to make the naan bread and to post pictures in the comments!

Alfie has been helping readers lose weight without starvation, mood swings or counting calories. He shares exactly what worked for him, scientific evidence (from real papers) and free recipes. Feel free to reach out to Alfie and connect through the websiteFacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram.

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Paleo A to Z: Audio Version on Audible Tue, 16 Aug 2016 19:10:42 +0000

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Paleo A to Z Headphones

Paleo Smarter, Not Harder

When I first heard that Darryl Edwards was releasing an audio version of his best selling book Paleo A to Z, I have to admit I was somewhat skeptical. I received a paperback copy of the book when it was first released and found it to be an invaluable resource for everything Paleo. I tried to think of the most random terms I could–both basic and advanced–with regards to the Paleo lifestyle and then flipped to where it should be in the book to see if it was there. Darryl was one step ahead of me. Everything was included. I was also surprised to find myself learning a few things. After living a Paleo lifestyle for seven years, there isn’t much I haven’t encountered and I must say I was pleasantly surprised to have such a valuable resource in my hands.

The book is laid out like a dictionary. I’ve never once thought about listening to the dictionary so I wasn’t sure what I was going to think when I downloaded Paleo A to Z on Audible and pressed play. I let it play in the background as I went about my chores.

It was somewhat like experiencing guided hypnosis. Things I already knew were being reinforced, information I had forgotten was resurfacing and entries I had skipped in the paperback version of the book were presented to me, giving me a chance to learn something new. I’m very tactile and figure I will always need an actual book to flip through for research purposes, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to learn while driving or otherwise occupied. There is a Kindle version for those of you wanting to search for keywords but for those of you just wanting to learn, download a copy of Paleo A to Z on Audible and let it permeate your cells as you go about your business.

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How To Survive Your Own Personal Apocalypse Part 3 Fri, 12 Aug 2016 16:30:36 +0000

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Most of you have never experienced the after-effects of extreme mental shock and I hope you never have to. After the fire, I couldn’t remember what supplements I had been taking. I couldn’t remember what Vitamin D3 was, even though I have written entire posts and chapters dedicated to the wonders of Vitamin D3 and have been taking it for approximately seven years. Don’t rely on your memory in these situations—you may not have access to it. You don’t need to purchase these items before a disaster, in fact, ordering them if disaster strikes ensures they’ll be fresh when they’re needed. Just have them on your wishlist so you can order them in one easy click if you need to.


If you have experienced extreme stress and/or trauma, these supplements will help keep your brain and immune system functioning. I wish I had had this list and access to these supplements. I may have had the energy and the mental fortitude to make it through all the FEMA paperwork, forms and bureaucratic red tape.

Believe it or not, getting food and water was the most difficult thing for us. I guess people thought we could just go out to a restaurant (we could not) or that the evacuation centre had actual food (it did not, unless you count prepackaged muffins as food). Part of the problem was that the extreme stress turned off our hunger. I went almost three weeks without eating a single meal and was ultimately left so weak that I was unable to complete basic tasks, like waiting four hours in line to talk to the FEMA representative about why we had been turned down five times for housing assistance. On the flip side, when we were hungry, it was hard to find real food. People were mostly making donations of things like clothes, jewelry and razor scooters. Having some of the following items on hand would have been awesome.

Food Items

Beef Jerky
Food bars (protein, paleo, fruit, granola, whatever you like)
Canned fish with easy open lids
Healthy crunchy snacks (I like Snapea Crisps. Yes I know they’re not Paleo. No, I don’t care.)
Plastic forks, spoons, knives
Paper plates and bowls
Other items (think road trip! No, wait—think vagabond.)

If you get grocery donations or are able to get to the store to buy things, chances are you will not have a place to store your leftover food, let alone a way to close bags you’ve opened. In a pinch, hair elastics can be used but twist ties have many other uses, which you will creatively discover as the need arises. You probably won’t be doing a lot of actual cooking at the beginning, or maybe even not for months. You can store open bags of nuts, beef jerky, etc. in Ziploc bags as well. Tupperware sounds like a good idea, but you won’t be able to see what’s inside and it becomes bulky to cart around. Lids can also come off, ruining the rest of your food and making you have a meltdown in the park while you’re trying to keep your cool for the kids pretending that you’re all just out for a family picnic and everything. is. fine. Remember, your kitchen cupboards and your entire pantry has now been reduced to one or more shopping bags, which you are going to need to transport more often than you think. Reducing bulk and maintaining food integrity is paramount.

You would be surprised how difficult it is to get water after a disaster. The evacuation center had small bottles of water but we would easily polish one off in one gulp and then feel guilty as it was thrown into the regular trash, to become part of a non-biodegradable, non-recycled trash heap. Thanks Red Cross! Carrying more than one bottle of water around was heavy, inconvenient and made my heart hurt for the damage we were doing to the planet, especially since every plastic thing I had ever owned was now part of the atmosphere. When we were in the hospital, we ironically had no access to water. Twice a day, the nurse would bring one small pitcher of water for the actual patient, and the rest of us would suck on the ice chips. Although we were constantly asking for more water, she conveniently forgot to bring us any. This resulted in us becoming extremely dehydrated in a short period of time which made everything else worse. Had we had reusable water bottles, we could have asked to have them filled up, or worst case, filled them up in the bathroom ourselves. A good average for the amount of water we needed was one gallon, per person, per day.

Your homework tonight is to add nonessential items and non-perishable food to your wishlist. You’ll be able to change the priority on items as your needs change, so that others will know how to best help you. I’m at AHS 2016 (the Ancestral Health Symposium in Boulder, Colorado) and I’m going to take this time to be in the present moment, enjoy my friends and learn some stuff. I’ll be back next week with some tips and advice on how to help a loved one when they’ve been through a disaster. Hopefully your world doesn’t end tonight. But if it does, grab the laundry basket, your documents, your bug out bag, some food and water and hit the road. Blessings.