10 Holiday Gifts for Your Primal Tribe
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: Stand
Up, Kick Off Your Shoes and Eat Some Dirt
time, at least around here, and that means gift-giving. And since
you're reading this post, you're likely a card-carrying Primal fanatic
who would like to see as many people involved in this lifestyle
as possible. If that's the case, tailoring your gifts to the Primal
lifestyle could be a great way to get people involved. For one,
it requires no money on their part. They just have to be there to
receive it. Second, it's a gift, so they'll feel obliged to at least
try it on for size. And third, all of this stuff is actually pretty
cool and very useful. It's not as if you're gifting them a variety
pack of desiccated offal.
With this year's
gift post, I did something a little different than in years
past – I tailored every gift to one of the 10
Primal Blueprint Laws. Eating animals? There's a gift to make
that easier. Walking?
There's a gift for that. Play?
That too. It's all there.
further ado, let's get to the gifts:
1. Eat Plants
and Animals – Chef's Choice Electric Meat Slicer
I'm not sure
what I'd do without this
thing. Until I got it, I made homemade
jerky (which I love) using one of two methods: sawing away at
a partially-frozen shoulder clod roast with a kitchen knife until
my off hand went numb from holding a frozen piece of beef and my
knife hand cramped up from overtraining; or getting the meat sliced
at the butchers. The former method worked, but it was a labor (of
love, but labor nonetheless) that led to Popeye-esque forearm development
on the one arm. The latter method was much easier, but the butcher
could never make the slices as thin as I wanted. Now, I have jerky
all the time, because my slicer makes short work of partially-frozen
hunks of animal in minutes (fully frozen beef is too much for it,
however). I can also slice steaks up to an inch thick, and it's
easy to clean and use.
If lack of
nutritious, affordable, on-the-go animal is holding someone back,
a meat slicer will be of immense value.
2. Avoid Poisonous
Things - SousVide Supreme
breast with a thigh's tenderness. Turn a piece of steak that's half
gristle into a veritable filet mignon. Perfectly cook your salmon,
or even your turkey (albeit deconstructed). SousVide
Supreme cooking is the gentlest around, and the low temperatures
used reduce the creation of carcinogenic compounds. Even better,
it's pretty much impossible to mess up something cooked with the
thing. Wow your guests and keep your body happy.
At first glance,
the notion of cooking your food by wrapping it in plastic and submerging
it for more than a day in hot water sounds dubious. We're already
wary of popular plastic additive and canned food liner bisphenol
A, or BPA, getting into our food and interacting with our estrogen
receptor sites, and with Chris Kresser recently
highlighting new research showing that even "BPA-free" plastics
leach xenoestrogens into food and liquid (especially when exposed
to heat), anyone who's keeping tabs on this stuff would be understandably
hesitant about using a contraption whose express purpose is to combine
food, hot water, and plastic. But then NomNomPaleo looked
into the matter and found that viable alternatives exist
ones), and that the makers of the SousVide
Supreme – the Drs.
Eades – attest to the safety
of their product.
3. Move Around
at a Slow Pace – Altra Adam/Eve Minimalist Shoe
This is where
I'd usually recommend you pick up a pair of Vibram
FiveFingers (my favorite minimalist footwear), but for those
whose spouses just haven't adapted to toe-spread (and no, that's
not a Primal cracker topping) check out Altra's minimalist shoes.
I recently picked up a pair of the Adams
(ladies, go for the Eves).
They've got zero heel-drop (that means there's no difference between
the thickness of the heel and the rest of the sole, just like your
bare feet), excellent traction (clambered across some rocks just
the other day, in fact), good ground feel (you'll feel the twigs,
cracks, and pebbles on the ground, but they won't hurt – good for
proprioception), and they feel a lot like Vibrams
without the toes. I like.
So, if you
know someone who's been looking for a comfortable minimalist shoe
for all that walking they're (supposed to be) doing, but they don't
want to wear the "toe shoes" and are not quite ready for full-on
barefoot walking, the Adam/Eve is a good choice.
4. Lift Heavy
Things – Cap Barbell Solid 20-Inch Dumbbell Handle
While I mostly
shy away from heavy barbell training these days in favor of enjoyable
bodyweight work, I have been experimenting with unilateral
work using a single adjustable Olympic
weight dumbbell – single arm standing overhead dumbbell presses
(really taxes your core), dumbbell snatches, floor presses, suitcase
carries (like a farmer's walk, only one-sided). You can even use
the thing for kettlebell-esque
swings. Overall, this is a simple, dependable product with a multitude
of uses. The listed product is just the one dumbbell; you'll need
to hunt down Olympic weights and sleeves. Buy the sleeves online,
but before you pay to ship weights, hunt for "Olympic weights" on
You can usually snag a good deal. And since it's only one dumbbell,
it'll fit in your apartment and you don't need to buy a ton of weights.
Pairs of 25s, 10s, 5s, and 2.5s (pounds) should get you going.
Great for heavy
lifting without the need for barbells, squat racks, or gym memberships.
Once in A While – 2XU Compression Tights
I mentioned in an old
post that I was trying out a new recovery method – cold soaks
– at the recommendation of a buddy? Well, he made another recommendation
about recovery, and since the first one worked so well I figured
I'd give this next one a try, too. He told me to wear 2XU compression
after a hard day's training, the idea being that they improve
blood flow, boost recovery, and reduce DOMS.
My hard days are almost exclusively my sprint days, where I really
go all out, and I've found that the tights improve the way I feel
the day after. My legs don't feel leaden; I can go for a hike or
play a game of Ultimate without any nagging soreness. Plus, they
feel good against your skin, and wearing them while lifting seems
to improve my proprioceptive awareness of the position of my legs
and action of my joints. The fact that they're compressive makes
me feel a bit more stable, too. That part could just be a placebo,
but I like it regardless.
Great for recovering
from those sprint days.
the rest of the article
December 16, 2011
© 2011 Mark's Daily Apple
Best of Mark Sisson