Immune Boosting Soup in Less Than 10 Minutes

Immune Boosting Soup in Less Than 10 Minutes

Whether you’re feeling sick, run-down, on the verge of illness, or simply want a highly nutritious meal in minutes, throw together this delicious immune boosting soup.

Immune Boosting soup made in minutes with whole food superfoods
Immune Boosting Soup made in minutes with whole food superfoods

Immune Boost Soup Ingredients

– Leftover cooked veggies such as cauliflower, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, green beans.
– 1 stick carrot or celery, diced
– 1-2 inches fresh ginger, chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, chopped
(use leftover roasted garlic for extra flavour)
– 4 cups chicken broth
– 2 small red chillies, seeded and chopped
– Leftover cooked meat, chopped
such as bacon, chicken, fish (optional)
– Fresh herbs to garnish (optional)

For my soup, I used: leftover steamed cauliflower and carrots as the base, then leftover steamed green beans and cooked bacon chopped and added in after blending the base. That’s just what I had in my fridge, and it came out great! You see…

The beauty of this soup is that the ingredients can be widely varied to suit what you happen to have on hand in the fridge. Making the most of leftovers is one of the best ways to ensure you always have interesting primal meals ready in a jiffy. So every time you cook up some meats and veggies, always make extra so you have a variety of deliciousness in your fridge for the next meal. Read The Basics of Lovin’ Leftovers for more on this!

Boost your immunity with everyday superfoods

What makes this soup such an immune booster is all of its superfoods. No, there are no goji berries, maca powder or chia seeds. Just real organic nutrient-dense plant and animal foods, as I talk about in The Only Superfoods You’ll Ever Need.

Soup is a superfood powerhouse meal, combining vegetables and meats with bone broth, which is liquid gold for your body. Add to that ginger, garlic and chili, known for their antifungal, antibacterial and healing properties, in addition to all the micro-nutrients they provide, and top it off with healing herbs.

A blender, leftovers and broth are all you need for quick nutritious soup
A blender, leftovers and broth are all you need
for quick nutritious soup

Immune Boost Soup Recipe

Step 1: Saute the diced celery or carrot for a couple minutes in a medium-hot pot with your favourite cooking fat like butter, coconut oil, or tallow.

Step 2: Add the chopped ginger, garlic and optional chilies and saute for another minute or two, being careful not to burn the garlic. If using leftover roasted garlic, simply squeeze the garlic out of it’s skin into the pot.

Step 3: Add the stock, plus the leftover veggies you want to use as your base (blended part of soup), such as any combination of cauliflower, sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot.

Step 4: Heat and stir for a minute, then blend everything with a hand blender or in batches in a blender.

Step 5: Stir in any chopped leftover vegetables and meats you desire, such as green beans, zucchini, mushrooms, bacon, and chicken.

Step 6: Heat through, then salt and pepper to taste. If you have some, garnish with fresh coriander (cilantro), basil and/or parsley and extra chilies.

Make a soup to suit your tastes and boost your immune system
Make a soup to suit your tastes
and boost your immune system


Do you love soup? What leftover meat and veg combinations did you or will you use for your immune boosting soup? Share your impromptu recipes!



A Look Into Iridology: Are Your Eyes a Window to Your Health?

A Look Into Iridology: Are the Eyes a Window to Your Health?

Some say the eyes are the window to the soul, and after my recent experience with an intuitive naturopathic iridologist, I would say that the eyes are a window to the body as well.

Iridology looks to the eyes to tell what is happening inside the body
Iridology looks to the eyes to tell what is happening inside the body

Juggling motherhood with my new business (this amazing website) has it’s challenges, as both are new ventures for me and to meet both their needs at the same time takes fine balancing. My body seemed to be feeling the stress: constant knots in my shoulders leading to occasional headaches, digestive dysfunction like bloating and less regular bowel movements, and some PMS symptoms which I don’t normally experience.

Finally on a holiday visiting family, I was still finding it hard to relax. My mother-in-law was raving about her Bowen Therapist, Christine, who also happened to be an intuitive naturopath and iridologist. Being a big believer in following my intuition, as it serves me well on my life journey, I felt a strong pull to see this woman, so I made an appointment.

Within a minute of sitting down in Christine’s office, my chin was resting on the special machine so I could look through the binocular-like lenses while she took one picture of each eye. In the second minute, the giant photo of my eye covered the entire laptop screen where Christine now looked knowingly into the window of my body, mind and soul. She suggested I take notes with the paper and pen that were already sitting on the desk in front of me, and for the next 10 minutes, she told me about me.

I wrote fast while she talked, “Worrier, can be private, sensitive. Self-esteem fluctuates. Rarely sick. Low hormone levels – progesterone, which causes mood changes and some cravings at different times in menstrual cycle. It takes you a long time to get cranky. Your water consumption is fluctuating too much. Your neck and lower back are out; you’re probably carrying your daughter on same hip all the time. You don’t sweat much, only face, armpits, under breasts, so your body gets acidic – can’t get toxins out well through sweat. There’s a little mucus on top of the lungs, and you’re a bit low in iron, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, B12, B6. Liver and pancreatic enzymes low.”

When she seemed finished, I jumped right in with questions and comments, fascinated by what she had seen in my eye and through her intuition. Christine had a wonderful energy about her and we talked intimately and personally before I left.

An example iridology chart for the left eye
An example iridology chart for the left eye,
which corresponds to the right side of the body.

I left Christine’s office with some nutritional advice, a bottle of digestive enzyme pills and an emotional feeling of release from having someone else, a total stranger, look into my ‘window’ like that. The session had brought up more questions in my head about diet and nutrition, and had also resolved some issues that had lingered in the back of my mind for too long. Though I am eating plenty of nutritious food, I’m not absorbing all of the nutrients, and some of the healthy foods I am eating may not be working for my system, so these were things that I could investigate further and improve.

One thing that Christine told me several times throughout the session was that I was very healthy, with a robust system, and that what I was doing for my health was clearly working. This affirmation from a professional, who knew nothing about me before I walked in, was just what I had needed to continue supporting my health without stressing over it. So despite my symptoms, I still ate some of mum’s homemade desserts on my holiday. 🙂

I also found beautiful organic meat and produce at the farmer’s markets to enjoy with the family. I took lots of walks, sat in the sun, read a novel, and played with and talked to my loved ones. The ‘working holiday’ became more just a big serve of holiday, with only a small side of working. I was so happy that I had gone to see Christine in the beginning of my holiday, to help me get out of my mind and into my life. I guess sometimes we just need someone to look deep into our eyes and remind us to nourish our body and soul.


Curious to know more about this alternative medicine technique? Here’s more information on iridology.

What are your thoughts on iridology? Have you or anyone you know been to an iridologist? Please share your experiences!

A Junk-Food Vegetarian & Sugar Addict Finds a Much Sweeter Life

Junk-Food Vegetarian and Sugar Addict Finds a Sweeter Life

“Everyone loves a story. Mine’s not glamorous or turbulent, but it’s real. And I believe there are more women out there just like me searching for true health and happiness. Here’s how I found mine.

Junk food vegetarian Marissa finds a much sweeter life in the kitchen

As an urban professional, I rarely used my kitchen.

I relied on microwaves, takeout, restaurants and street carts for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We live in a fast food society that pumps us full of added chemicals, sweeteners, sodium and unhealthy oils many of which we don’t know are in the food we’re eating. It’s no wonder our society is gaining weight at a rapid pace. Many even have trouble losing weight despite eating what they believe to be a healthy diet.

I spent a decade and a half as a junk-food vegetarian and raging sugar addict without even realizing it.

Working in the corporate world, I was drained, exhausted, pressed for time and uninspired in the kitchen. Most nights, taking care of myself after a long day full of meetings and deadlines meant collapsing on my sofa with a pint of frozen yogurt for dinner then barely mustering the will or energy to pull myself out of bed and do it all over again the next day.

A conversation with a friend at my health club led to my discovery of whole foods and the way they made me look and feel. But there was one caveat – I actually had to cook them.

Living on my own in a Manhattan-sized studio apartment, I had little else than a couple of hand-me-down pots and pans, some dull cutting knives, a steam basket and a George Foreman Grill. Aside from having whipped up some mac and cheese or slice-and-bake chocolate chip cookies in my time, I could hardly find my way around a kitchen. Never interested in cooking, I hadn’t learned how, but my desire to eat healthy food was so strong.

I got off my couch and into my kitchen and slowly began to reclaim my health.

Starting simply with steamed veggies, it wasn’t long before I forayed into fancier recipes to add some variety and flavor. Sure, I burned my rice and overcooked my broccoli more times than I care to admit, but I gave myself permission to make mistakes which made my kitchen much less intimidating.

Quite the opposite actually, my kitchen became a sanctuary — a place for me to unwind and let go of my day. Much like meditation, after cooking and enjoying a healthy meal, I felt both mentally and physically fulfilled in a way I never had before. I was eating more meals at home, bringing lunch to work and feeling more energetic than ever. I realized that I didn’t have to be Rachel Ray to make a healthy, satisfying and impressive meal.

Despite my new-found love of health and wellness, I had an overwhelming sense that something was missing in my life and it’s not surprising that a love affair with sweet treats plagued me.

When I was around sugar, I had little self control and I often substituted it for real food.

I tried everything from artificial sweeteners to quitting cold turkey. The sweeteners only caused bloating and the deprivation caused more intense cravings for what I told myself I couldn’t have.

As I so desperately sought fulfillment in my life, several encounters led me to The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. The day I enrolled at IIN I knew I had come home. I was finally exactly where I needed to be. Unfulfilled in my corporate job, I yearned to find my purpose in helping others. With my passion for healthy eating and exercise, a career as a health coach was the right fit.

My training as a Health Coach woke me up to the reality that sweetness in life can and should come from more than food and I learned how to deconstruct my cravings and stop relying on sugar to find it.

After years spent stuck in the same cycle, rewarding myself with “bad foods” then beating myself up and killing myself in the gym for eating those foods, I discovered how real food could make me look and feel. The cravings disappeared, the energy came back and my weight stabilized. In short, my life completely changed.

Today, I celebrate a sweet life.

I still follow recipes and I’m no gourmand, just a believer in empowering women to find their passion, kick off their stilettos and break in their stove tops as first steps in adopting a healthier, more balanced lifestyle and kissing their unhealthy habits goodbye.”

Marissa Vicario of Marissa's Well-Being and Health
Marissa is an NYC-based Wellness Coach,
healthy-living expert, and creator of the Total Reset Plan.
Visit her at MWAH! Marissa’s Well-Being and Health.

Colon Cleansing Q & A During a Colonic Session

Colon Cleansing Colonics Enemas Laxatives

Note: This is a loose transcription of the video ‘Colon Cleansing – Colonics, Enemas, Laxatives’.

Brad: Hello Primal People, it’s Brad from Primal Health here.  Today, this video should enlighten you, literally, with regards to information about Colon Hydrotherapy. I’m here today at North Side Colon Hydrotherapy with Janice Osmond, super Colon Hydrotherapist, and a lady that I’ve been referring clients to for several years and coming to myself, for several reasons. But also, just to give you a bit of information, Janice is a former nurse and she basically became a devout Colon Hydrotherapist after it dramatically changed her life.

Colon Cleansing – Colonics, Enemas, Laxatives

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Basically, as we know it’s pretty impossible to live Primal 100% of the time. You just can’t do it, and even if you have been doing it for several years, there’s plenty of other years where you haven’t been eating and doing all things that we’ve been teaching you.

So, we look at having a Colon Hydrotherapy session as being like cleaning your teeth. Because essentially the plaque that builds up on your teeth is essentially a window of what’s going on with your digestive system. And the large intestine is the area that’s being cleaned out here with a session with someone like Janice. So, there are plenty of people that I see that have a heap of problems with regards to things to like fungus and parasites and a lot of lower back and hip problems. A lot of that stems from what’s going on in the gut because the muscles that surround the digestive system actually tend to be a mirror of what’s going on underneath it.

So, this is a pretty important thing that a lot of you can do to dramatically improve your health and Janice is going to be the one to give you a whole heap of information about it. So, what we are going to do now…I am going to the toilet and you know, to get myself all ready to go. You don’t have to follow me in there, but then we’ll get back on the table and we’re going to get Janice to start answering some questions.

Okay, so I’ve just been into the toilet and I’m going to give you a full run down of how this all works. I’ve got undressed from the waist down. I’ve got this little towel here and it’s open to the back. Don’t worry you’re not going to see everything but you’re going to see a little bit of poo and that’s the whole point of this whole thing. So essentially, what do I now do, Janice?

Janice: You lie down on here on your back.

Colon Cleansing Colonics Enemas Laxatives
Brad and Janice talking ‘shit’ 🙂

Janice: And then lie on your side, face the window and bring your knees up really high. Bring your knees up, touch my hand, perfect.

Brad:  This isn’t the best part. Tell the guys what you actually do.

Janice: They are all sterilised units. They are all one-off, then thrown away. So then what we do now, is just put some lubricant on there. Everything is sterilised.

Brad: So, what’s that particular thing called there?

Janice: This is the speculum, which only goes in that far. This helps me to glide it in. Now what you do is get your knees up as high as you can and take some big deep breaths. Rest your head down, so that your body is relaxed. Big deep breaths. The more big breaths you take the better.

Brad: I’ve had this done many times, but this still feels really quite bizarre.

Janice: So now I’m going to do what is called the release. So what that does is it helps to bring down all the gas that lies around the sigmoid colon. So, it helps to give a better feel and if there’s any cramping, often it’s just to do with the gas.

Brad: Yup, gotcha.

Janice: So, we take that down for a minute or two.

Brad: So would you say that most people tend to have a lot of gas and a lot of build-up around that sigmoid colon because so many people, especially us westerners, don’t get into a full squat when we do a number 2?

Janice: And we eat too fast.

Brad: And we eat too fast, and not chew our food. Yeah, exactly. Alright, guys we’re into it now. Janice, what are you doing with your hands then?

Janice: Well, I’m just trying to loosen off the rubbish and just trying see where there is some really some hard spots in the bowel that I might need to concentrate on more. I’m helping the water to come around so I’m massaging it up the opposite way.

Brad: Okay, so which direction does the water usually tend to go, for people that don’t know about the large intestine. Where’s the water going to come up first? Up this side there?

Janice: Yeah, yes, going up the left and then go across. So I’m doing that the way the water is going out and helping to move it around, and helping to loosen up the bowel in any hard spots where the water can’t get through. Actually, the water is pushing its way through at the moment. It’s not going through all that easy. It’s just struggling at the moment to go through, and that can be because there’s some hard matter or there’s some big pockets of gas.

Brad: Yeah, we’re not perfect guys, my gut’s not perfect either. So, that’s why I’m here. Now, actually I have a list of questions to ask because lying in this position here really isn’t the best place to remember my lines and all of that sort of stuff. So here’s some of the key things that we always hear people ask about colonics.

Colonics FAQ

Brad: How does Colonic Hydrotherapy detoxify?

Janice: Well, what we’re doing; the water is going in and softening the rubbish and so we’re helping to draw it out. So we’re helping to draw out the old rubbish that’s been there for a long time and all the toxins there.

Brad: So, the mucosal plaque lining the gut wall; all that sort of rubbish.

Brad: So does it hurt? I’m the one that’s in the position at the moment so, well it can hurt, especially on your first time, based on how blocked up you are and how much stuff you got going on with your digestive system. The last time I came in here was the first time I’ve had one in a couple of years, as I’ve been a bit lazy and yeah it was a bit uncomfortable but it’s worth going through that pain. Just like you go to the gym and have a workout– feel a little bit of pain; a little bit of pain for a little bit of gain.

Brad: Is it hygienic and will I leak or make a mess?

Janice: Most cases, no. But there are cases that, if the bowel’s really full and the bowel is just not well, then yes we can get some leakage. Not often, very very few times. But if it does happen, it’s no problem. That’s ok.

Brad: Yeah, gotcha. And as far as being hygienic here is concerned, tell us more about the water that you’re using.

Janice: It goes through three filters and a fluoro light that kills any bugs as well.

Brad: So it eliminates chlorine. Does it get rid of fluoride ?

Janice: Yes, yes, yes.

Brad: It does as well, that’s good to know.

Janice: The water is completely and utterly pure.

Brad: How are colonics different from an enema?

Janice: Well, an enema is where you can only clean the sigmoid colon, but not a lot more. Where with colonics we have the chance of cleaning really the whole large bowel.

Brad:  Gotcha, it’s just the first part (of the bowel); the descending colon.

Janice: That’s still good to use (enemas), like in between colonics, but they are in no way going to all the work of bringing down all the mucous and all the rubbish.

Brad: How does someone know if they need a colonic or what are the common reasons for having a colonic?

Janice: Generally people feel tired, fatigued, migraines, skin irritations like Cirrhosis, pimples. Anxiety and depression is virtually so high of having a toxic bowel.

Brad: Why not just take laxatives? How is it better than taking laxatives?

Janice: Well, laxatives are generally, on the whole a poison. And what they do, they go into the bowel and they irritate the bowel that much that the bowel has to get rid of it. And it generally only just cleans out the last little bit, maybe even just a little bit more than the sigmoid colon. So it will just blurt about, and that’s the poison. The body has to get rid of it. It’s like when you’ve got diarrhea; the body has to get rid of the poison.

Brad: Won’t it flush out the good bacteria, too? One of the biggest questions I always get.

Janice: Most common question asked. No, it doesn’t. Most of the good bacteria is kept in the small bowel and we only clean out the large (bowel). But we live in a fairly toxic world, and so we should take the good bacteria any way. Colonics do not get rid of any good bacteria.

Brad: As we were talking about before, but most people never make the association with it…is that it’s very common that most of you all have had, or will be taking some sort of antibiotic and/or you’re drinking tap water with chlorine in it and they’re two main things that kill bacteria, whether it’s good or bad. So, essentially most people are always doing it (killing good bacteria) without even knowing it. This is just basically trying to give you a fresh clean start for your whole gut. Whether it gets rid of any sort of good bacteria in your large intestine or not. As Janice said, most of it is all in the small intestine anyway.

Last question, we’ve got here: Can the colon become dependent on it and stop functioning on its own?

Janice: No, it actually stimulates the peristalsis. So, you can have them one a week,  for six months or something and your peristalsis is only going to kick in better. When you go to the toilet normally, you will pass more because the peristalsis has made that bowel work and bring everything down. So, no.

Brad: As you can see guys, I’ve been here for a while now and I haven’t been like, you know dying in pain or anything like that. All I’m basically feeling is like, my stomach feels like it’s just bloating up. And then every now and then it feels like, “you know what, I’m going to do a number two now”, and she can feel it with her hands through the massage, and she turns the machine off and it evacuates the stuff out. You can see that in a sec, if you want, in the machine.

Basically she just continues to do that: on, off, on, off, on, off until she feels the water is going up around my descending colon and across the transverse colon and then along the ascending one. So, it’s like this horseshoe shape that the large intestine takes. So, yeah it’s like she said, the first couple can be pretty uncomfortable for people that really really need it, but in general it’s pretty good.

Brad: Yes, when you’re looking at that what can you tell from the actual fecal matter that comes out?

Janice: We can tell if your body is dehydrated, if the rubbish that comes out is hydrated enough; it’s not hard. Also we can tell if there’s candida there. Also, we can tell if your digestive system’s working. A lot of people have a lot of undigested food.

Brad: So how often is safe enough to do this safely? Like three times a day, three times a week, or once every month?

Janice: When you start off, it’s probably a good idea to do two or three in the first couple of weeks.

Brad: Okay.

Janice: Because, we’re already working the rubbish. We’re already trying to get it down, then you can do monthly. Maintenance is really important.

Brad: So, this is a closed system, Janice.

Janice: Yeah, this is a closed system. In meaning that, the water is all enclosed in tubes. Water is going in here gently on a fill and the rubbish is coming out in the tubes. And the other system is the open system where there’s an opening underneath where you lie there and hold, and then you push, so you’re just pushing it out into like a bucket thing underneath the table.

Brad: A bucket or like a bath, or something like that. You can actually see it all and smell it all and…

Janice: You don’t actually see it all, because it’s underneath your bed. It’s a bucket just at your bottom, sort of thing and then you’re just trying to push it out.

Brad: Check that guys, ask for a closed system or find a person that uses a closed system.

Brad: Alright guys, so after 45 minutes, I’m all done. I’m going to go to the toilet, just to get rid of the extras in there (my bowel), and get changed, then voila, I’m all clean. So, I hope this sort of helps you make a more educated decision in whether or not you will go in and do this yourself but we really recommend them. Thank you very much, Janice.

Janice: That went well.

Brad:  Can’t say it was like- you know, amazing to do this or anything like that, but yeah it feels awesome after every time you do it. So, it’s good.

Janice: People feel lighter and they say their head feels clearer. You can be a little bit tired on the night, on that evening and that’s not a bad thing — that’s good. That’s just the body rejuvenating from the toxins.

Brad: Cool, alright thank you very much. See you later!


What are your experiences or concerns with colonics?

How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 5/5: Kneeling Overhead Press

Swiss Ball Kneeling Overhead Press

Note: This is a loose transcription of the video ‘How to get Primal on a Swiss Ball! – Part 5/5 – Kneeling Dumbbell Overhead Press ‘.

Brad: Hey guys, this is part 5 of How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball. The next exercise or movement I want to show you is doing a kneeling dumbbell alternating shoulder press.

Swiss Ball Kneeling Dumbbell Overhead Press

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A: Seated Dumbbell Alternating Overhead Press 

The first progression that I use to get a client to be able get to do the full exercise is to first be able to do a dumbbell shoulder press sitting on a ball. It doesn’t sound that tough, but it can be, depending on how to do it. So, you can do it with two arms, but we’re doing a one-arm alternating one; that’s the goal as I want to get people to activate their core.

Draw your belly button towards your spine. Lift your chest up nice and high and then do the same movement as what you would be doing when you are on your knees on the ball. You can make that harder by lifting the opposite leg, or lift the same side-leg to activate more muscles that should help prevent you from falling off the ball.


B: Supported Kneeling on Swiss Ball

The next thing you would need to be able to do is kneel on the ball. So I recommend you do it somewhere where you can hold onto something firm and get up on the ball on both legs. Get used to not having to rely on sitting back down on your heels, which is a lot easier position to sit, in comparison to actually being up off your butt. Hold onto something like that and just get used to being able to purposely push forwards and backwards, side to side so that you can start to get your muscles used to, and get your nervous system used to, the movements that are going to take place when you’re actually on the ball. Hands on, Hands off, Hands on, Hands off. Get used to that and then also put your feet, dig them into the ball, so that they act like a rudder. Then purposely kick your feet back so that you’re not having to use your feet to help you with your balance. Once you can do that, then you can go onto the next stage.




C: Unsupported Kneeling on Swiss Ball 

So after you have gotten proficient at holding onto something when you’re balancing on the ball, next you want to be able to get up on the ball without anything to hold onto. Perhaps, someone needs to hold onto the ball for the first time to ease your mind a little bit, but you can also do it from this way. Get your knees onto the ball and hands onto the ball like that, then roll forward. Balance in that position there, roll it forward far enough to where your feet dig into the ball and then slowly rise up there like that. Chest up, shoulders back, stomachs sucked in.



D: Kneeling Dumbbell Alternating Overhead Press 

Once you can do this proficiently, and you know that rolling forward and backwards, you’ve got the ability to able to switch on the muscles that you need to get you back to the proper centre of balance, this is when you should then be able to grab onto a dumbbell – nice and light first up, and then be able to actually do the exercise. So for me, I’ve got about 12 kg here, so about 25-26-27 pounds and then from there, one arm up, switch your stomach all nice and tight. Press straight up there like that, and then alternate.


And that’s it! That’s part 5 of 5 on How to Get Primal on a Swiss ball. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Other videos in this series:

How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 1/5: 4 Point Horse Stance
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 2/5: Prone and Supine Balance
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 3/5: Primal Push-Ups
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 4/5: Swiss Ball Squats

What’s your favourite swiss ball exercise?


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Meat Part 4 – What Makes Meat Lean and Tender?

Note: This is a loose transcription of the video, ‘Meat Part 4 – What Makes Meat Lean and Tender?’

Bex: Andrew, I’ve learned a lot about meat from you, in my time shopping here. The one thing, that you have talked about is how aging makes the meat very tender, especially grass fed meat; which tends to be tough.

Andrew: Yes it can be a little tougher…

Bex: Tell me more about the aging process. Is it long or short? Do all butchers do that?

What makes meat lean and tender?

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Andrew: Not all butchers do that. All butchers used to do that. In certain western countries, the health and safety departments have tried to stop aging, which has led to a lot of consumption of tough meat, because aging is very important to allow all the fibres in the meat just to relax and all the microbes to go to work and  tenderise the meat. The reason why we age our meat here, is because grass-fed lacks a little bit of a marbling that you will get from grain-fed meat, so in its natural state it is a little a bit tougher than its grain-fed equivalent, so in order to combat that here in Brookvale meats, we buy yearling grade meat, which is young, therefore tender and we also just hang it for 7 to 10 days. So we cut the body up, and we hang the ‘primals’ which are all the T-bones, and the Sirloins, and the Yorks and the Rumps  – we hang those for 7 to 10 days. Just so nature can go to work on it, just tenderise it a little bit.

What makes meat lean and tender?
Andrew explains to Bex what makes meat lean and tender

Now, the aging process can go on for months and months, if you got the correct microbial environment. We haven’t invested in the thousands and thousands of dollars you would need for special cool rooms to age your meat for three months. That’s NOT what we do here. We are aging our meat specifically to try and tenderise it a little bit, so grass-fed meat which is inherently tougher than grain-fed can be as soft and tender as the grain-fed equivalent, if you buy it from here.

Bex: That would explain a lot about why grass-fed meat would be better than grain-fed meat for people who are concerned about their health and weight loss and fat consumption, because, what you’re saying is that the grass-fed meat is tougher because it has less fat?

Andrew: It’s only slightly tougher. Because it has less fat in it. It’s less marbling, which is that grainy texture running through the meat of the steak, which chefs in restaurants prize.

But the health benefits of grass-fed meat is well-documented, well, well-documented. Search the internet. You’ll immediately see there are many benefits of grass-fed over grain-fed. The benefits to your heart, your brain, some of the essential acids that your body needs to operate healthily…much,much higher levels in grass-fed meat. So, why would you want to eat grain-fed meat? Why?

Bex: Exactly!

Andrew: Why bother, when it’s (grass-fed) healthier to eat. Grass-fed, it is a misconception that it’s more expensive. I mean if you go the cheapest butcher in town, we (Brookvale Meats) will be a tiny bit more expensive. But we’re talking about pennies, cents. We’re not talking about large differences in prices, only very little fractions. Yeah, the animals have done lots of wandering around the paddock, and had a full life. If that’s not worth paying an extra 3 or 4 percent for, then I don’t know what is.

Bex: I couldn’t have said it better.

Andrew (in reference to their cuts in a fridge): Okay, here at Brookvale Meats, we buy in whole carcasses direct from farms and then we bring them in and we break them down. Boris here has worked with us for nearly 40 years so he knows a few things about breaking down animal carcasses. Now, one of Boris’ jobs is to break down the whole body into what are called the ‘primals’ and the primals are different, aren’t they Boris? So what do you have there?

Borris: Sirloin Steaks.

Andrew: Sirloin Steaks, also know as a New York cut. Porterhouse?

Borris: Same thing. It’s all the same.

Andrew: So the T-bone, on one end has the Porterhouse going through it and sometimes the T-bone has the eye fillet on the other end.  In here (pointing to the fridge), the carcasses are de-boned, the primals are hung up to age  for about a week to 10 days trying to tenderise them. That’s how it’s done!

Bex: Just to conclude, is there anything else that you would recommend that consumers ask a butcher, when they’re looking for a butcher with good quality meat.

Andrew: I think it’s not a question of asking the butcher necessarily,  it’s just a question of getting to know your butcher. Whether it’s Brookvale Meats or any other reputable butchers, there are plenty of decent butchers on the Northern Beaches (and the world!). It’s a question of getting to know your butchers, so that you can find out: where it’s coming from, what it’s been eating, what are you putting on the table, recommendations, what’s good this week?  My daughter can’t eat fats, so what cuts are better? My son is allergic is to nitrates, have you got any ham or bacon that hasn’t got nitrates? It is just the question of getting to know your butcher, to allow your butcher to do what he wants to do, just help you buy what you need.

Bex: Fantastic.

Andrew: Just develop a relationship with your butcher, wherever it is.

Bex: Fantastic.

Bex: Well, thank you so much for taking the time today to explain that to us…

Andrew: Thank you so much for giving the opportunity to.

Bex: …so that we can make better choices about food.


Other videos in this series:

Meat Part 1 – You CAN Afford Grass Fed Meat!
Meat Part 2 – Do You Know Where Your Meat Comes From?
Meat Part 3 – What is Free Range, Grass Fed, Organic Meat?

The Dangers of Kids Living on Healthy Treats

The Dangers of Kids Living On Healthy Treats

As the internet becomes flooded with recipes for healthy homemade versions of dessert foods, and the shops stock more “healthy” packaged snacks, more parents are using these foods as daily staples with their children. Health-minded mums are the most likely to fall deep into this trap, which seems like such a great alternative at first. If there are only healthy ingredients in these treats, and no nasties in the snacks, what could be wrong with giving them to your kids every day?

Paleo Muffins for Kids Lunch
Is it ok for kids to live on healthy treats?

Your kid won’t eat his chicken and veggies? Oh well, just give him a paleo pancake instead!

Paleo pancakes and other healthy baked goods

I’ve seen first-hand in my house how easy it is to get sucked into a never-ending paleo treat party. Facebook, Pinterest and loads of amazing blog sites keep our mouths watering every day with new recipes for muffins, cakes, cookies, puddings, mousses, ice creams, pancakes and chocolates that are actually healthy. Desserts that are healthy! Who wouldn’t want to eat desserts all the time if they are not bad for you?

Your kids, of course. You are so happy that your kid is finally eating something healthy, so you make them almond meal pancakes for breakfast, coconut flour banana muffins for lunch, date-sweetened cookies for snacks and cacao avocado mousse when they are still hungry 10 minutes later.

Now YOU know that a balanced diet includes whole plant and animal foods, and you enforce that on yourself because you are an adult. But a child thinks, “Why would I eat anything else if all these snack foods are healthy too, and so much tastier and addictive?” You have now made it 100 times more likely that your child will refuse a carrot stick or apple at snack time, because they are holding out for more paleo brownies. You have taught them that if they don’t want to eat their chicken and veggies for dinner, you will probably give them something more interesting anyway.

Our 4-year-old daughter Kaiya, who has been enthusiastically eating healthy primal meat and veggie meals since she was a baby (you can see her awesome toddler eating habits here), alerted me to this trap before I fell in too deep. After we had tried a few recipes for healthy treats and homemade baked goods, she started saying at meal times, “I don’t want dinner. I want something special.” My delicious home-cooked meals were suddenly not special anymore. Not in comparison to cake that is good for you.

So let them eat cake

I know what you’re saying. But all those treats have such healthy ingredients…even superfoods! Almond meal, coconut oil, cacao, dates, chia seeds and more. Even we make raw cacao balls, quinoa pancakes, and healthy party food. Yes, these foods are nutritious, but only as additions to your diet, not as the whole diet. It’s easy to get carried away and forget that your child is not getting basic proteins, fats and fibrous carbohydrates from your healthy baked treats. And you can definitely have too much of a good thing, especially nuts and seeds and gluten-free flours; all of which can be very taxing on the digestive system. As for superfoods like chia and cacao, read this article, The Only Superfoods You’ll Ever Need, and you’ll see what I’m getting at.

Cake, even if made with “paleo-approved” ingredients, is still cake, which most children understand is an occasional food, not an everyday food. Keep it that way if you want your kids to develop lifelong healthy eating habits.

The problem with healthy packaged snacks

However, almond meal banana cake isn’t the only type of healthy treat culprit. There are also many packaged snacks that easily become staples in children’s diets. Most popular are rice cakes and crackers, muesli/granola bars, dried fruit and yogurts. The packages say natural, sugar-free, gluten-free, high fiber, and no artificial flavours or colours. So what could be bad?

Well you know what’s NOT in it, so what’s in it? The answer is not much. Not much protein, fat or fibrous carbohydrates. Not many vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Not much nutrition.

As I talk about in another article about not worrying that your kids don’t eat enough, it is usually better for kids to eat nothing than to eat nutritionless food. Every time we eat something that has very little nutritional value, nutrients have to be pulled from the body in order to assimilate and digest the deficient food.  Now that rice cracker doesn’t seem so harmless, does it?

Instead of serving up snacks that are nothing more than nutrient deficient processed grains, pasteurised dairy, or fruit dehydrated of everything except its sugars, how about a nutritious raw vegetable or fresh whole piece of fruit? As with the paleo pancakes, your child will never learn to love real whole foods if you always have a rice cracker ready for them as an alternative.

Quick Healthy Snacks for Kids

Reclaim your time and money

To cement your new thinking about packaged snacks, read the article Eat Healthy by Ignoring the Labels, and start making real, whole unpackaged foods the #1 staple in your child’s diet. Take the money that you are spending on “healthy” packaged snacks and the time you are spending baking healthy treats, and put that money and time toward buying and cooking nutritious whole food meals and snacks.

“When children eat beyond a steady diet of ‘kiddie foods’,

their taste buds grow to appreciate a broader variety of flavors.”

– Nancy Tringali Piho, author of the book ‘My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything’


More resources for feeding kids well

See if you are guilty of any of the other 7 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Child’s Healthy Eating Habits, then learn:

10 Ways to Kids Who Eat Healthier Than You
10 More Ways to Kids Who Eat Healthier Than You

Get loads of meal and snack ideas from our Pinterest boards:

Feeding Primal Kids
Primal Meals
Primal Snacks & Desserts


Is your child dependent on healthy baked goods or ‘healthy’ packaged snacks?

7 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Kid’s Healthy Eating Habits

7 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Kid's Healthy Eating Habits

If you often complain about or stress over the fact that your child is a picky eater, there is a good chance that it’s partly your fault. I’m not pointing fingers, I’m just saying that much of what our kids like and do is dependent on our own thoughts and actions, so it doesn’t hurt to look at how you have influenced your child’s eating habits.

How have you influenced your child's picky eating habits?

Check to see which of these behaviors you may doing, so you can make some simple changes that will quickly convert your picky eaters into healthy-eating kids.

1.  You assume your child won’t like healthy food.
Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? If you expect your child to hate vegetables, they will. If you assume that all your child is going to like is chicken nuggets and hot dogs, then you’ve already set them up for that. Instead, forget what you think about kids not liking healthy food. Imagine your child’s mind as a clean-slate. From the moment your child starts eating solid foods, assume they will like all the fresh healthy food you give them, and they will. If they are older, just wipe both your slates clean and start again.

2. You treat mealtimes like a chore.
Do you rush through breakfast and dinner? Do you complain about having to cook or prepare food? Do you pressure your child to hurry up, eat faster, or clean their plate? Then if your child is not interested in eating, they have likely picked that up from you and your annoyed attitude toward food and mealtimes. Celebrate food and mealtimes and they will too.

3. You force or coerce your child to eat foods they don’t like.
Imagine saying to your spouse, “I don’t care if you don’t like green beans. You have to eat them anyway.” Sounds absurd, yet many kids hear this every day. This is a sure-fire way to make kids hate food, especially the “healthy stuff” that you are forcing down their throats. A good family rule is that everyone agrees to try a bite of each thing they are given. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat that part of their meal.  Respect your children’s tastes just as you do your own.

4. You hide or try to disguise vegetables into your kid’s food.
The only thing trickery and disguise will teach your child about food is that it’s not to be trusted. The goal is not just to get the healthy food into your child’s body. The goal is to have your child want to eat that food and enjoy it, so healthy habits are set up for life. Who is going to smuggle vegetables into your kid’s burgers when they are all grown up?

5. You make them a new meal or favourite snack when they won’t eat.
This is the most common mistake and most mums are guilty of it at some point. However, if you continually give your child a favourite snack or “kid meal” when they refuse to eat, why would they ever eat the healthy family meals you make? They won’t let themselves starve, so consider that it’s probably better for them to eat nothing, than to eat junk food or nutrition-less snacks. Here’s a great article on that subject, called ‘Stop Worrying about How Little Your Kids Eat’.

6. You’ve got them on a steady diet of “paleo treats”.
Now here’s a tough one. You’ve found something healthy that your kid will eat, so why not just give that to them all the time? Well, because coconut flour muffins, cacao mousse, and almond meal pancakes alone do not make up a nourishing diet of macro and micro nutrients. You are teaching your child that as long as you use the healthier recipes, you can eat muffins, cookies, pancakes and bars for every meal and never have to worry about those pesky whole plant and animal foods. And those treats are so tasty, why would your kid eat anything else? This is another issue that has become so common, I wrote a whole article on the dangers of kids living on healthy treats.

What Should I Feed My Kids?

7. You struggle to eat healthy food yourself
If you are trying to get your child to do what you say and not what you do, it’s not going to work. Children are sponges; they are natural mimics. You must walk the talk. Eat the way you want your child to, and they will copy you. Be a role model. Learn more about how to do this in my popular articles:

10 Ways to Kids Who Eat Healthier Than You
10 More Ways to Kids Who Eat Healthier Than You


Do you think you may be partly responsible for your child’s picky eating habits?