Primal Power Method Book Review

Gary “The Primal Guy” Collins of Gary’s Health Tips recently interviewed me about how I came to adopt a holistic lifestyle and my motivation for starting this blog. I enjoyed our chat and getting to know another Real Food advocate! [You can read our interview here.]

PPM Book 3d coverAfterwards, I had the opportunity to review Gary’s book, Primal Power Method: Unlock the Ancient Secret to Health. I’d been interested for some time in the Paleolithic (Paleo) way of eating—a popular diet purported to be best for our bodies, which haven’t changed much since prehistoric times. The subject of the book, Primal living, goes beyond the realm of Paleo in that it’s not just about eating the way our ancient ancestors did…it’s a way of life.

In a conversational, no-nonsense style, Gary explains the background, research, and the “why” of adopting a Primal lifestyle. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that knowledge is power, and knowing why you should do something makes healthy changes a permanent part of your life. And guess what? That’s Gary’s Primal Power Principle #1!

The objective of Primal Power Method is to deliver time-tested, proven information that everyone can realistically use to achieve optimal health. And it does. It’s chock-full of both scientific and first-person knowledge, and includes recaps of important points for easy reference. What you come to realize while reading this book is that Primal living isn’t about following the newest craze, it’s about giving our bodies what they biologically need and are meant to do…period.

My favorite part of the book is the lengthy section on supplements, a subject that’s always confounded me with the overwhelming number and variety of options out there. What supplements do you need? What do you look for in a product? What’s safe and what’s not? Gary, a former Special Agent for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, demystifies these points and reveals the regulation process behind dietary supplements. I was shocked by what I learned, but also relieved to finally have the straight scoop. I’ll also feel more confident in choosing supplements from now on. By the way, you can get your hands on the products Gary has found safe and effective, and uses daily, at his store.

I love the opening of Primal Power Method:

The truth is, to change your life, even a little, you’ll need to take action. It does no good to learn about your health and do nothing.

You can read all the books in the world about how to increase health, vitality, and get a lean body, but it’s up to YOU to make it a reality by acting upon what you learn. And acting upon what you learn in Primal Power Method will get you that vibrant health for which you’ve been looking.

Collins Bio PicGary Collins holds an AS degree in Exercise Science, BS in Criminal Justice and a MS in Forensic Science. After an exciting career in military intelligence Collins worked for the U.S. State Department, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a Special Agent. His career took him around the world and gave him a unique perspective on not only how the United States, but the world is affected by our food, drug and healthcare policies.

The highlights of his career took him from protecting some of the most powerful people in the world to investigations involving the biggest tainted pet food death case in the U.S. to the intricate dealings of one of the largest counterfeit prescription drug rings in the world. He has often said, “If Americans really knew what was going on in the area of healthcare and nutrition in this country, they would be appalled.” For his full bio click here…

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A Few of My Favorite Things

heart in sandIn honor of the spirit of love, here are a few of the products, services, and sites that are keeping me happy and healthy:

Green Beauty Team

This site is my go-to stop for getting the scoop on the latest, best, eco-friendly, and body-loving beauty products. Kristen Arnett, founder of Green Beauty Team, is a professional makeup artist responsible for many of the glam faces on major fashion runways around the world. She proves, day after day, that makeup and skin care need not be chemical laden to work beautifully. Her team of experts give us the lowdown on beauty, skin, and health. Especially helpful is her Toxic Ingredients Glossary…chances are you’ll find many of them lurking in your products.

For Internal Use Only

For Internal Use Only is the second novel from NYC author and cupcake lover, Cari Kamm. She writes entertaining, inspiring, witty, and addictive stories, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! I had the honor of getting a sneak read in before its Valentine’s Day début. Read my review on Amazon here…and show yourself some love by getting your own copy!


I rarely use conventional perfume because of the harsh chemicals/toxins and how my allergies can be set off with one strong whiff. But that doesn’t mean I can’t smell delicious! Lavanila Laboratories offers all-natural yummy scents like Vanilla Blackberry, Vanilla Lavender, and Vanilla Coconut, which I’ve personally tried. There are other fragrances from which to choose, all in a variety of sizes.

Pick Your Plum

Such a great little site for unique, get-it-til-it’s-gone deals! After you sign up, Pick Your Plum will send you one offer each morning (Monday through Friday) for truly remarkable prices. From tins to twine, clutches to cupcake liners, skirts to striped straws…they’re all lovely and at a steal! Classy clutches for $7.95?! Crazy! Unlike other bargain sites, I like that you don’t have to spend any time browsing to see if there’s a deal you want…only one thing being offered, so if it’s not your thing…delete! The only catch is you can’t wait too long to buy…these deals are gone faster than you can pick a crate of plums.

Savvy Bohème

I received a deluxe sample of Savvy Bohème’s Summer in Spain Whipped Cocoa Butter in one of my Goodebox shipments (another favorite of mine!). I was in love the moment I opened the jar. The creamy concoction has the intoxicating aroma of orange chocolate and melts delightfully into your skin. While you can’t eat it, at least you’ll know this “dessert” is nothing but good for your skin and those who are special enough to touch it!


Beauty Benefit cream (aka B.B. cream) is a big thing right now and for good reason: Who wouldn’t want a product that treats, hydrates, protects, primes, and covers the skin in ONE STEP? The only problem is that most of the B.B. creams out there are totally toxic. The solution is Suntegrity’s “5 in 1” Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen, available in Light and Medium shades. I adore the way this multitasking product feels and looks on my skin, and that all the awesome ingredients are giving my skin the love it deserves.

Show yourself and your special people some love…not just today but


Bringing the Farm to You

The best food to eat is straight from the source, whether it be ground, animal, stream/ocean, or tree.  Don’t grow your own grub?  Don’t live on a farm?  No problem!  No matter where you live, chances are there’s freshly picked food near you.  I dug up some resources to share so you can experience food as it was meant to be eaten!

When you buy food at a farmers' market, you know where your food comes from and how its been grown. Photo by Jill Rath

What:  Farmers’ markets
Why:  Food is fresher when it’s not shipped in from thousands of miles away.  Fruits and vegetables that travel long distances are usually either unripe (because they’re picked too early for a long journey) or on the verge of spoilage by the time they get to you.  Produce at farmers’ markets is local and seasonal…you’re living in a certain climate, and your food should too.  Having the people who grow your food available to answer your questions is a big plus.  You can find out if they spray their produce and how often, or learn what conditions their animals live in and what they eat.  Sometimes farmers can’t afford to be “certified organic” but follow those practices anyway.  And knowing that information can save you some major moolah.
How:  Visit Local Harvest to find farmers’ markets in your area.

Assortment of squash and radishes from my CSA.

What:  Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Why:  You support local, small farmers by purchasing a share of their yield, and in return, receive a mix of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.  Some CSAs deliver, while others have pick-up locations.  Most list what fruits and veggies you can expect to find in your share, and some also offer other goodies such as milk, eggs, cheese, jam, meat, flowers, and bread.
How:  Again, Local Harvest is the place to go to find CSAs closest to you.  Then visit that CSA’s website to get details.  Sign-up is usually in early spring and tends to sell out fast, so make sure you mark the date on your calendar!

A winning combination: Raw milk, fudgy flourless brownies, and an adorable companion with which to enjoy it all!

What:  Dairy delivery
Why:  Drinking milk from grass-fed, pastured, healthy cows (or goats or sheep) is the ultimate “Got Milk” moment.  Real dairy is raw, which means it’s neither homogenized nor pasteurized.  Unfortunately, raw milk isn’t commercially available in most states, so I get it delivered from a dairy co-op that sources its products from Amish farmers.  Other than dairy products (including cheese, yogurt, cream, etc.), they also offer meat, fermented products, spices, and unfiltered honey.  Farmers who believe in raw milk also believe in raising, growing, and producing products that are as nature intended (no antibiotics, pesticides, or additives).  Their animals eat what they’re designed to eat, so you get the nutrition and benefits you were meant to receive.
How:  Check out to get info straight from the cow’s mouth about the benefits of raw dairy and how you can get it.

5 All-Natural Solutions to Summer Skin Problems

Ah, summer.  Golden skin, warm rays, outdoor frolicking.  But summer isn’t all fun and games…it can cause havoc on your skin.  To make the rest of your summer worry-free in the skin department, here are effective, all-natural solutions to five of your summer skin woes.

Problem #1:  Sunbathing has left your skin too tight and/or scaly for comfort.

Coconut oil in glass bottle with pump makes application easy

Solution:  Coconut Oil.

Not only is coconut oil a healthy fat to use in the kitchen, it’s all-natural, traditional moisturizer for skin that gives you a lovely glow!   To keep things sanitary, either get a separate jar of coconut oil to use exclusively for your skin, or take a portion from a new jar of oil before using it in the kitchen.

The best way to use this oil without ending up like an oil slick is to apply this right after the shower, before drying off.  Pour the oil into a glass bottle with a pump (I saved mine from a skin cleanser and just cleaned it out).  Spray a pump into your hand and spread it lightly over wet skin to distribute as far as it will go before rubbing it in.

Keep in mind that it does take an hour or so to soak in completely.  And if you’re heading right out to a function where you’ll be doing lots of hugging, you might just want to play it safe and skip your arms to avoid any explanations.

Problem #2:  Skin has passed “glow” and landed in the pink/red zone.

Solution:  Lavender Essential Oil.

Uh-oh.  Has too much sun left your skin blushing?  Lavender essential oil to the rescue!  It’s an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, and was traditionally used to treat burns.  When I get too much sun, I combine a few drops with a carrier oil–another use for coconut oil!–and smooth over my stressed skin.  I then apply it several times more that day and the next, if needed.  The redness always goes away, and I don’t peel.  Not that it’s an excuse to get sunburned, but it really is amazing how well it works on those rare occasions!

Treating burns is only one of the multitude of uses of lavender oil.  Click the link below and download the PDF file on the Overview tab to see all its uses.

Try this:  100% therapeutic-grade Lavender Essential Oil from Young Living.  I only get my oils from this company because I know they’re pure, and I’ve experienced the healing and health-promoting qualities of their oils firsthand.

Problem #3:  Body bumps appearing from sweating it up in heat and humidity.

Solution:  Tea Tree Soap.

Summer heat and humidity can keep you in a constant state of sweat, which can lead to body breakouts.  Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic that not only helps skin heal from cuts and bruises, but can solve skin conditions like acne.  I’d heard of the zit-zapping power of tea tree oil and decided to give it a try.  Although my skin is by no means perfect, tea tree soap does work to keep those bumps at bay.  Use daily with an exfoliating sponge (skip the sponge if you’re sunburned).  The soap’s fresh fragrance and tingly sensation make for an energizing suds session too.

Try this:  Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree Bar Soap.  All Dr. Bronner’s soaps are fair trade, not tested on animals, made with certified organic ingredients, and have over 18 different uses.  These soaps are so safe, you can brush your teeth with them…whether you want to or not is up to you.

Problem #4:  Insects see you as a free buffet.

Solution & Try this:  Dr. Mercola’s Bug Spray.

No one looks good with swollen polka-dot skin.  But commercial bug and insect sprays with chemicals and laboratory-born fragrances are not the answer.  Dr. Mercola’s Bug Spray contains only natural ingredients to keep bugs at bay: citronella oil, lemongrass oil, peppermint oil, and vanillin (vanilla).  And you won’t smell like you’re wearing bug spray either…my mom uses this and was once asked what perfume she was wearing!  It’s safe for children and pets too, so the whole family can be naturally bug-free.

Problem #5:  Can’t find a sunscreen for your face that doesn’t look oily or cause breakouts.

This is the travel size, the link takes you to the full size

Solution & Try this:  Josie Maran Argan Oil Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40+.

With some products, what’s good to use on your body doesn’t necessarily translate to good times for your face.  Sunscreen is one of those things for me.  This moisturizer-sunscreen combo leaves my skin soft and glowing instead of greasy, doesn’t leave a whitish residue that can result from titanium dioxide/zinc oxide, and I’ve never broken out from frequent usage.  You can easily wear this under your normal makeup, but when I want a sheer tint to even out skin tone while saving my face from the sun, I opt for a tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 from 100% Pure.  Both of these products are winners when it comes to glamorous summer sun protection.

What are your favorite summer skin savers?

Natural Makeup Review: 100% Pure Cosmetics

I’d been hearing a buzz about 100% Pure for a while, from makeup artists, green websites, and natural-makeup lovers.  Since I needed some foundation and mascara, and I’m always on the lookout for completely non-toxic makeup, I decided to give this company a go.  I mean 100% pure is exactly what I’m looking for!

While I was browsing their products, I clicked on the ingredients lists to see for myself if they were actually that pure.  Never just take marketing for face value, you’ve got to read and research the ingredients yourself…there are so many products that claim to be healthy, non-toxic, natural, etc. that aren’t!  I was really impressed with the ingredients of all of their products, and their makeup is pigmented only by fruits and vegetables.  Awesome!  In the past, I’d seen versions of fruit-pigmented makeup and had been sorely disappointed by how they looked on my skin.  But talented natural-makeup artists wouldn’t recommend this brand if it wasn’t good, so I decided to go for it.

I always check out makeup collections or gift sets because I either get a better deal than purchasing the items separately, or I can try out smaller sizes without too much of a commitment.  I found one that had exactly what I wanted:  Tinted moisturizer, mascara, and eye cream in the Fruit Pigmented 3-Piece Try Me Set.  Fabulous!

Here’s what arrived….

Tinted Moisturizer (SPF 20) – This foundation evened out my skin tone nicely.  It comes in seven different shades (five are offered in the Try Me Set).  To help you choose the right color for your skin, they show the faces of women each shade works best on.  As with all tinted moisturizers, don’t expect them to hide any blemishes or major splotchiness.    It’s perfect for daytime and weekend errands with its sheer coverage and sun protection.  Take a look at the ingredients by clicking on the photo on the right…nothing but nature in there!

Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream – The first thing I noticed was the fragrance but I couldn’t quite place it….Mocha coffee?  Hazelnut coffee?  Tiramisu?  I don’t know.  But it’s an absolutely delicious concoction only nature can provide!  Oh, I suppose I should mention what it does for your eyes, huh?  Green tea and coffee work together to give a double punch to puffiness and dark circles, that’s what!  Just be aware that others might unexplainably crave dessert when they get near those bright eyes of yours!

Black Tea Mascara – This mascara smells slightly like fruit punch…seriously.  I know I’m getting hung up on the smells, but how often does your makeup, especially mascara, smell good?  Black Tea (blackest black) was the only color offered in this set, but it also comes in Blackberry (shimmery black plum), Blueberry (shimmery blue-black), and Dark Chocolate (shimmery black-brown).  This mascara goes on very nicely; lengthening and separating lashes while giving them a nice gloss.  I’m sorry to say I didn’t find it water-resistant though, definitely not ideal for muggy summers or sappy movies.

I was already pretty pleased with my purchases.  But wait, that wasn’t all I got…

They included a bunch of freebies!  I was surprised to find a generous pot of Raspberry Lip Butter.  If I didn’t know better, I would’ve assumed I’d been kissing glossy raspberries!  There were also five nourishing body cream samples that felt rich on my skin but absorbed quickly with no greasy feeling left behind.  Love that!  If you’re keen on dessert/fruit fragrances, you’ll love the scent of these lotions I got to try:  Cabernet Grape (grape soda), Honey Almond (little Italian almond cookies), Coconut (coconut macaroon), Vanilla Bean (adult milkshake), and Green Apple (green appletini).  But don’t worry, you won’t be mistaken for dessert…the scents fade soon after application, leaving behind only a faint hint of yumminess.

Verdict:  I will most certainly purchase more products from 100% Pure.  I love that I found another brand of truly all-natural skin care and makeup products that work, and I can feel 100% certain that I’m doing right by my skin!