Category Archives: Books

GRAIN BRAIN – David Perlmutter

I just finished listening to an audio book that I had to write about. It is Grain Brain by David Perlmutter and whether you read it or listen to it, it is worth the time.  This book is well written and has a lot of information about what grains; especially gluten can do to our brains and our bodies.  Our brains really need fat to survive and yet most of us are deathly afraid of fat.  We are told to eat good fats and most of us don’t want to even think about eating fat because well we think that eating fat makes us fat.  This has been drilled in our heads for most of our individual lives so it is no wonder we are slow to change.  I think most of us believe that EVOO is good for us but what about animal fats, butter, walnut oil, and avocado oil?  These are good for us too but we think that the more we eat of them we are doing bad things to our bodies, our weight and what a mental game to eat such fats.

David Perlmutter has some good information and delivers the information in a way that is easy to take in but still not easy to believe.  Hearing it over and over is really the only way to make real changes.  This is not an easy change for many of us even though we know it is good our brains stop us in our tracks and guilt sets in. He describes all this in his book so it is more common that I initially realized. I too struggle with the idea that I should be eating more fats but I do get a good amount in my diet daily, probably not enough, but enough to keep my body sustained which is really all I’m looking for at this point.  My husband has taken to “bullet proof coffee” very easily and he says that it keeps him full most of the morning so he doesn’t need a snack between breakfast and lunch anymore.  What is bullet proof coffee?  Dave Aspry came up with this combination of mold free coffee, grass fed butter and MCT oil.  My husband chooses his dark roast black coffee, grass fed butter and coconut oil as his MCT oil.  The butter and oil mix nicely in the hot liquid and the fat sticks to his ribs and allows him to feel good.

Dave Aspry has a podcast as well where he talks about his very strict diet and all the bio-hacking he does for his body and brain.  It is pretty interesting and you can tell he has made a career out of bio-hacking himself and sharing with anyone who will listen.

Many of these bio-hackers have similar philosophies to David Perlmutter and the idea about grains is growing daily.



On this day I had a full out work at home day. I started with some yoga on a mat in my basement and some good stretching as well as mental preparation for the day. This day consisted of moving 2.4 tons of wood pellets which is our heating source in the winter time so a supply company drops two pallets or 2.4 tons of pellets in our driveway and each bag has to be moved to the basement for dry keeping. It takes 2 of us about an hour and but it is a mixture of steps, stairs, heavy lifting and sweating, but it feels so good. This day I did 24324 steps and yes this is probably a record for me this summer. I wish I hadn’t given up on my weight training so soon as I could have used all the muscle I could get to move these but I also realized you don’t lose it as quickly as you may think you do. I lifted each bag, carried and dropped it in its place and went upstairs for the next bag. Talk about functional fitness. It makes you realize how important knowing how to squat and lift and move really is. There is actually a book Kelly Starett who wrote “Becoming a Supple Leopard” I have not read this book but have heard many podcasts with him speaking about it and I realized how important it is to be able to move correctly and if you don’t start with the basics.
Our day didn’t end with moving pellets but we also moved furniture, pulled weeds and cut down some small trees. My husband says tomorrow is all about cabinetry, crown molding and painting trim. I don’t know if that will allow for many steps but it will certainly allow for strength training and squatting.


Which are better, free weights or weight machines?  Ask any number of people and you’ll probably get a split right down the middle. At least that has been my experience and I have asked many people. Therefore, I chalk it up to personal preference and the theories behind what people think.  The free weights work for people that able to use them with good form since you need to use your core and muscles throughout your body to assist in many of the exercises you have to have a good balance and stability.  The weight machines target specific muscle groups therefore the machine is your stability and your form is going to be naturally better with less free form available.  The exercises will target one muscle group at a time versus using many muscles with the free weights.

Perhaps a combination of the two is a good way to go.  Free form for a few exercises and hit the machines for targeting the specific muscle you are working on at any given time.  I found an app that incorporates both free weights and machines into your weight training workout.  It is the “Gain Fitness” app and yes it is free.  You set the time duration of your allot workout, where you are going to work out either home, gym, on the go, and the days in which you are committed to weight training and it forms a schedule for you.  Someone like me enjoys a schedule, I am all for being flexible in life but I do better if I have a schedule to follow and reminders.  This has it all, literally.  I get instructions of the exercises, cues as to when to do them and coaching along the way to make sure I’m staying on track in my allotted amount of time I said I could commit.  I used it for the first time last night after hearing about it on yes you guessed it, a podcast. I have been listening to Keifer at Dangerously Hardcore for a while now and find the process he uses very interesting.  The system he uses in carb back loading where you stuff your face with any food you want after extreme resistance training sessions.  Ladies, don’t get too excited, this doesn’t always work as well for us with our hormones and our cortisol levels. However if you are interested there are modified versions to fit a woman’s needs but you have to eat cleaner than the gentlemen.  Now there are women out there training hard and yes I’m sure this will work but the majority of the readers of this blog are on medications, diet restrictions and just trying to keep balance on a day to day level dealing with MCTD. I just happen to love reading, researching and learning everything I can.  Not that I’m implementing a carb back loading night but it does allow me a little freedom to train hard and splurge when needed.  Well now I’m just off track from my original thought which is weight training.

I have been incorporating more weight training sessions into my week because my cross fit classes are great for the cardio portion but I was feeling as though my strength has stalled.  I don’t want to over train but I would like to continue to see results so between a few true weight training sessions, 2 cross fit sessions, lots of walking and 5 days of Bikram I’m hoping to be bathing suit ready in a few weeks.  Remember I’m in Maine and we just pulled out the sandals, although I know many of you are enjoying warm, sunny days at the lake, beach or wherever you like to go to soak in your vitamin D.


Today is the start of a new month and maybe a new approach.  I downloaded a book from Amazon for free. Yes, for free at Amazon called The Flinch by Julien Smith. He wrote and had this book published but wanted it to reach as many people as possible so he gives it away for free so people will read it, apply the principals and share it.  I wanted to share it with you.

We all know what flinching is and we all know it is an involuntary response when we are startled. The flinch starts the flight or fight mechanism but have you ever thought about the fact that anytime something uncomfortable comes near us we flinch.  We may not address certain topics or conversations because they are uncomfortable, this is the flinch. The Flinch as portrayed by Julien keeps us from doing what really matters to us and we stop ourselves out of fear, unknowing, uncertainty, insecurity and many other reasons.  The book has many levels to it and it can apply to parts of your life.  It can pertain to MCTD, your career, your relationships, your lack of security to try new things and other situations. 

As I was reading this book I realized two very important aspects, one is that even when I flinch I keep moving forward.  There are many situations that are uncomfortable for me or I’m not sure about. There are many aspects of living with MCTD and my future that are worrisome, there are people in my life that I’m not what if any relationship I want with them and I have to address these things.  In my career I have made huge moves toward the flinch and watched amazing things happen but of course there are still days and situations where I second guess myself.  With my MCTD I try and try and keep trying to find what some call the impossible and even I think I’m asking for the impossible some days but if I allow the flinch to stop me from trying out of fear or whatever else is facing me down than I really won’t know if I can drastically change things for myself.

I gave a quick synopsis of some of the important aspects of this book because I think for  a free book that you can download it is well worth the read.  You might have areas in your own life where you flinch and keep going or flinch, stop and turn around the other way. Sometimes you have to turn around for safety but recognize that you decided not an involuntary response in yourself that decided.  If you want to push a little harder, walk a little further, try something new, then now is the time.  It is a new month to start.  New Year’s resolutions are unfortunately closer than I care to admit but the New Year really is right around the corner.  Don’t wait until then to decide to do something different, make the change now and face the flinch don’t give into it.


Beans, beans, beans, should we eat them or not?  In my own house this is a topic of discussion and honestly my husband and I are on different sides. My other family members are on the side of my husband and I honestly don’t know who is right?  A reader suggested I check out a blog called “To Bean or Not to Bean” I have posted the link here if any of you are interested in reading it.


Even in the attached blog he argues both sides and gives examples of who is arguing each side. I have listened to each person he references and familiar with the books he mentions but for me it comes down to one simple thing, I have an autoimmune disease and from the evidence I have read and listened to it is clear that for someone like me I should cut beans completely so I did.  If my husband decides in his endeavor that he wants to keep beans in his diet, well I think he is more than welcome to do so. Quite frankly, just seeing him get rid of sandwiches, cookies, granola bars and other carbs has been thrilling so who wants to argue about beans? 

Now with autoimmune diseases I realize that for me the best thing to do is a full elimination diet for at least 1 month and see how I feel. That requires removing eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshades, and all dairy. I will pick a month coming up and do it but I had to start this journey and eliminated quite a bit but wasn’t ready to give up the eggs, nuts, seeds and all dairy. I still use cheese in some of my recipes as well as heavy cream. I snack on both seeds and nuts pretty regularly because honestly it is easy.  This diet as it is designed is easy but it takes planning.  I cannot leave the house for the day and go to work without having something that I can eat.  I have always been one to have my cooler with me at all times and eat the foods that I want and need so this preparation is simply part of my routine. 

I will be able to find a different routine when I do a full elimination diet but I need to be prepared and know when I’m starting so I don’t reach for nuts and seeds. I won’t reach for beans so nothing to worry about there but we do have them in the house in case my husband wants to add some to his chili.  The foods we are making are so flavorful and rich that the less stuff in the recipe the better. My taste buds have certainly changed and my husband said he is waiting for his to change too.  He is really new at this but on board to at least try. Final thought, keep the beans if you don’t suffer autoimmune but consider letting them go if you do.


Every podcast associated with Paleo gets the same question from people interested in trying Paleo or who are even slightly curious and that is the cost of eating Paleo.  I was hooked after hearing a few podcasts and then certainly after reading The Primal Blueprint, therefore, cost was not a barrier for me.  Cost is relative in mind, for instance I use to be an extreme coupon clipper and yes I had a stock pile of many boxes of cereal and crackers, cans of soup and boxes of rice.  I didn’t pay a lot for them at the cash register but there is still a cost associated with that type of buying and eating.

I’m going to run down some of my new cost cutting secrets and although I have limited coupons now I still scour the internet looking for coupons and get my Sunday paper because there are produce coupons and meat coupons, along with eggs and coconut milk. Coupons are a great way to save and with more and more people using them companies have caught on.

Produce has always been our biggest purchase, therefore, we are part of the CSA share where we get a weekly box of produce from our local farmer and since that comes on Wednesday we know what we have before we do our weekend shopping.  The next stop is to the farm stand to get additional fruit and vegetables, and some cheese if we are in the mood.

Eggs is another big purchase for us and we can go through 2 dozen easily a week. Obviously cage free, vegetarian, with Omega 3 are the best but yes you will spend money on them.  I tried Trader Joe’s eggs and although I really enjoyed them my husband said the yolk broke as soon as it hit the pan and wasn’t crazy about them.  I ask everyone I know with chickens if I can buy some and scour the farmer’s market looking for eggs. I will spend a lot but I would prefer not too.  I have to break it down into how many meals we get and the quality we are getting and then it is much easier to justify.

Speaking of Trader Joe’s I love this store for nuts, seeds, almond butter, dark chocolate and their meats.  They have grass fed no antibiotic meats that taste really good. We also look at the butcher shop and our local store and compare prices but quality is key here.  Buying bulk is a great way and when you find good quality chicken that is vegetarian with no antibiotic and hormones stock up because it can freeze for a long while.

Tropical Traditions is an on line company where I have been buying my Coconut oil and raw honey. They have great prices and send me e-mails periodically to tell me about specials they are running and I can stop up. If you don’t open the jars they can sit on a stock pile shelf.

Amazon is another great place to try looking for products and do price comparison.  We always thought that if we could get it on Amazon that was our best bet but you have to compare prices because there are some things that are just less expensive in the local grocery stores. Almond butter for instance was something I found on Amazon but it turns out Trader Joe’s has the best price so don’t be fooled by Amazon and their no shipping fees it could still be more expensive.

The idea is that the cost of food is increasing all the time but if you are buying good quality food and making all your meals at home if you break down the cost per person, per meal, over the course of the week my husband and I have really not increased our costs at all and since we don’t fill a stock pile with boxes that is saving us as well. The cost of the food we eat now is saving us other costs down the road and that is priceless.


Technically my 21 day transformation is over but my journey has just begun. My exercise has decreased quite a bit and I really rely on just walking to be my stress reliever when I can’t get into a Bikram studio.  My PEM’s are increasing and my WOD’s are getting stronger. My sprinting is faster and my HIIT’s are getting longer.  I’m putting in 30 minutes every day of hard exercise and the rest of the day is just walking or yoga. I still use my fitbit and still averaging over 10k every day in steps therefore I’m keeping up with the average number of steps for a healthy person.  I have linked my fitbit to and although this plan doesn’t really consist of weighing and measuring food it is a good indicator for me that I’m taking in enough calories or on days when I may be taking in too many but that has only happened once this entire summer.

When I started this journey it was really back in June and July when I was trying to lose my middle section. At the time I didn’t know if losing weight was the answer or not but my husband as fanatic that I could not start this journey with the idea I was going to lose any weight. We joked that strong was the new skinny and I could gain strength not lose weight . The truth is I have dropped a couple of pounds but I have gained a lot more muscle so I don’t look like I have lost weight.  I have dropped 4% body fat and no not in 21 days but really since beginning of July.  The bulk of it started coming off in the 21 day transformation because I was strict with my diet.  Oh yeah except for those family get together dinners.  Let’s face it, this is life and I’m just living the best I can.

Sleep is important when maintaining health and I lack solid 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. However, I’m working on not setting an alarm when I don’t have to get up early for work and just letting my body wake up naturally.  That natural wake up can start at 2am however and sometimes I’m able to conquer it and sometimes I’m not.  Some nights I sleep great and on those nights and I try to take notice of what I did differently.  I’m trying to end my evening with a calming tea and even a tablet of melatonin from time to time. Stress is an indicator of poor sleep and yes I’m stressed days but who isn’t?  My husband and I start our weekly evening yoga sessions again for the fall and my real hope is that doing a calming hatha yoga before bed will be just enough to keep my sleeping all night.

Other parts of the transformation are the fasting which I have explained in a previous blog and it isn’t really for me especially since I don’t have all the aspects in place yet.  Introducing this idea to others has been challenging and I have decided to watch how I describe it to people but my husband is very curious.  I have been listening to lots of podcasts and having him ask me questions has been good but I wanted to introduce him to it with a good source.  I went to the library and got Robb Wolf’s book “The Paleo Solution” which I believe after my husband reads it will either be on board or not and if he isn’t I’ll leave it be.  I treated this exercise like I did yoga when I introduced him to that.  I waited until he was ready and then chose the very best yoga studio and instructor I could find.  He was hooked.  I did the same thing here, there are literally 100’s of books I could have exposed him to but I wanted to do my research for and pick the best for him.  He is still reading so more to follow later.

The end result is that 21 days goes by quickly, I feel great and I’m sticking with it but my real journey is just beginning.