Primal Hunting: Bows and Arrows

Bow-Hunting Practice in Arkansas

Bowhunting Practice

It’s been a little over a month since bow season opened up here in Arkansas, and I’ve been getting my fill. I usually spend about 30 minutes a day practicing in addition to getting out and hunting on the weekends. According to, archery burns about 238 calories per hour. Exercising while practicing something I enjoy doing? It can’t get much easier than that.

And what’s more primal than eating an animal you’ve hunted and killed yourself? Nothing, I’d say.

I’ve been filling up my deer tags and freezer with venison. I’ve taken pictures of some of the meals I’ve made so far this winter, and I’ll be adding the recipes soon. As we speak I have a nice roast stewing in the crock pot and it smells delicious.

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For Lunch: Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries and Spinach

Sweet Potatoes, Chicken, and Spinach

Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries

I love sweet potatoes. I know that they’re kind of a hot button issue for the paleo/primal community. Some won’t eat them because they’re a tuber and strictly speaking wouldn’t have fit in with the caveman’s diet, while others adore them because they have 10 times less starch than normal potatoes and simply chalk them up to being a rare modern convenience in their otherwise paleolithic diet.

I eat them. From my perspective, they aren’t that bad. Their starch content is low, their vitamin content is high. Now-a-days, we talk about paleo food as “Food you have to cook yourself” or “Nothing pre-packaged”, but if we’re being strict — cavemen wouldn’t have been cooking meals at all. Definitely not cooking them on a grill. Or smoking them. Or dehydrating them. Or baking. I realize there are some out there that eat their meals raw — even their meat — and I salute you. I’m just not there yet.

Today’s lunch consisted of a chicken breast fried in a splash of olive oil and covered in basil, oregano, and garlic. For the sides I had sweet potato fries that were fried in coconut oil with a dash of sea salt and a well-proportioned helping of sauteed spinach.

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Back from Thanksgiving

We are back from Texas. We had a great time, took a lot of food-related pictures, stuck to a kettlebell routine while we were gone, and I came back weighing 2 lbs less. While most people are gaining their extra holiday 15 lbs, I’m losing weight. It’s like magic.

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And we’re off…

To our first Paleo Thanksgiving. We’re driving all the way to Texas. I’ll be taking lots of pictures of everything we make.

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For Dinner: Paleo Meatloaf and Cauliflower Rice

Primal Meatloaf

Paleo Meatloaf and Cauliflower Rice

On the menu tonight is a recipe borrowed from Mark Sisson; Mama’s Meatloaf.

The meatloaf turned out better than expected, and ended up making a lot of food. I’m sure we’ll get at least 3 meals out of it, which is always good for people with limited time to cook. For the topping we used 100% tomato paste, dilluted in water to give it a ketchup-like consistency, and seasoned with garlic.

I believe we’ll be going to Texas for Thanksgiving to visit my mother- and father-in-law. It should be fun because my wife’s parents not only support our lifestyle, but even cook/eat the same way we do (at least when we’re in town). This will be our first “paleo Thanksgiving” and that should make the transition pretty smooth.

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The “Duh” Story of the Week

There’s no shortage of “Duh” stories in the news about health. This one by CNN is rather long, but the entire story could have been summed up in the title.

The gist of the story is that resistance training, when coupled with a fitness program involving walking, makes you fitter and healthier than merely walking alone.

So let me get this straight… The more exercise you do, the fitter and healthier you’re going to be? …. And this is news? This should be common sense.

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Long, Slow, Walks

Sailing Lake Dardanelle

Lake Dardanelle, Arkansas

Following up on my weight loss post, I mentioned that we’re trying to do activities on our rest days from fitness/self-defense. Generally this involves taking long, slow walks.

Around here one of our favorite places to go is Bona Dea Trails in Russellville. I’ve posted about it before, and I’ll be adding some neat pictures that Amanda took soon.

On Sunday we walked 2.6 miles at Bona Dea during the day (Walden Way Trail) and then followed it up after dinner with another 1.5 mile walk (Prairie Creek Trail) at night. The night walk was kind of creepy, what with the trail going through a forest. There were many opossums to be seen.

Yesterday we followed it up with another 2.6 mile walk at Bona Dea during the day, and then an indeterminate (1 mile+) walk at the Lake Dardanelle recreation center at night.  While we had been to the recreation center before, and even been inside, this was the first time we ever walked around and it’s really beautiful. Tomorrow, I think we’ll go back and bring the camera during the day. We had a great time.

The point of this post is that over the last two days we’ve walked at least 7.7 miles. When we started this diet and started walking, we couldn’t even finish a mile. We were that out of shape. It’s amazing what a few months of eating healthy and exercising can do. The hardest part is starting, but once you do you really will see and feel the results quickly.

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“Sometimes” Fat is Good For You

Bacon for Ketosis

Bacon. A healthy treat.

I just read this ridiculous article on how a ketogenic (Atkins)/mostly paleo diet is “sometimes” good for you.

The basic gist of the article is that while a ketogenic diet cures people’s epilepsy, a change in your diet should be the last resort when your myriad of epileptic drugs have failed you. My opinion is that it should be your first resort and that would prevent people from taking all these stupid, deadly medications to begin with.

According to the article,  a high-fat ketogenic diet “seems just plain wrong given the overall declining state of U.S. children’s diet.” Really? How many exactly of those U.S. kids are on a ketogenic diet? Ever stop to think maybe the declining state of the U.S. children’s diet is because of all the pre-packaged, sugary, bready garbage their parents are feeding them? They’d cure their epilepsy AND lose weight if they switched to a diet like described in the article.

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Update on Weight Lost

Seems like as good of time as any to update our weight loss progress. Since the last time I updated, we’ve started going for longer walks (2.5 miles average) and joined our self-defense/fitness class.  We’ve been trying to keep our diet clean, even when people try to tempt us off of it.

Name: Richard
Height: 5’7″
Starting Weight: 216lbs
Current Weight: 178lbs
Loss: 38lbs (17.6%)
Goal Weight: 150lbs

Name: Amanda
Height: 5’3″
Starting Weight: 260lbs
Current Weight: 210lbs
Loss: 50lbs (19.3%)
Goal Weight: 140lbs

Lately Amanda has been dropping weight faster than me, but I’m thinking that maybe it’s because as I’m getting closer to my goal weight I’m actually putting on more muscle. At least, I can see more definition.

We’ve been doing fitness/self-defense on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. On off-days I’ve made it a goal to do at least one strenuous activity or a long walk. On Tuesday I volunteered (yikes!) to dig a 60-foot long 2-foot deep trench. Now that was a workout.

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Monday Fitness Class

This week we had our Monday Fitness Class and boy was it rough. We had a new instructor, Dave, who I was told was ex-military. He gave us an awesome 1 hour workout which was very intense and packed full of kettlebells, ground and pound, and bag work.

For our warm-up we started out with 10 kettlebell swings, then 10 kettlebell halos, then 10 kettlebell tricep extensions, and finally 10 kettlebell crunches. Between each set of kettlebell exercise we had to do 10 body-weight push-ups. And this was all done as fast as possible.

In the end, the warm-up looked like this:

10xkettlebell swings
10xkettlebell halos
10xkettlebell tricep extensions
10xkettlebell crunches

Needless to say, after the warm-up I was already pretty beat for the rest of the 55 minutes or so of the class.  The rest of the class consisted of combat maneuvers that the instructor called out on hanging punching bags for an indeterminate amount of time, then running to a floor bag, mounting it, beating the hell out of it, and then running back to our hanging bags to resume combat exercises.

After the class I felt really great. I mean really great. Yesterday, I felt a little worse. Today the DOMs are kicking so bad that it hurts to even stand up. It’s still great, though.

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