Working with kids to help them reach their full potential

I’m pretty excited to say I have my first Private Kids Coaching 1-on-1 student! Yay!

So I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain in a bit more detail what I do.

From a distance, it may simply look like two kids just playing (me being the big kid!) but the reality is there is so much more than just play happening.

The first contact I have before I start working with a child is with the parents. This initial chat helps me understand who I’ll be working with; such as the child’s personality, health challenges, general likes and dislikes as well as gathering information around why they think their child needs to train with me.  Communication with parents is an extremely important element of the children’s training so we know we are working towards the same goals and are on the same page.

We then tee up a 30min intro session where I meet the child, chat with them and introduce them to some games and natural movements. This is a chance for me to get to know them, to make a connection, and to see where they’re at physically and emotionally with movement – I can see what they’re capable of and what needs improving.

From the first moment I meet the children, I am mentally taking notes of how they interact, for example, are they shy, excited, tired, uninterested etc? This initial meeting often dictates how I am going to interact from then on. Say they’re really shy, I need to back off a bit to try and build rapport and earn some trust. If on the other hand, they’re excited and friendly, I need to match my intensity with their excitement level.Once I think I’ve established some rapport with them I start to introduce them to my games.  These games are suitable and modified to suit their current needs and ability level.  At this point again my mental notepad is working over time. I’m noticing how they’re responding to the game, if can they do it easily or with difficulty, if they’re getting bored or frustrated, and how they’re moving in general. If I detect some consistent movement struggles, I will give some suggestions on how to move a little better, than allow them to try again.  I find with children, it’s not about movement perfection, but allowing them the space to develop better skills.  One of the goals of the sessions is to get children outside playing and having fun increasing fitness and

Once I think I’ve established some rapport with them I start to introduce them to my games.  These games are suitable and modified to suit their current needs and ability level.  At this point again my mental notepad is working over time. I’m noticing how they’re responding to the game, if can they do it easily or with difficulty, if they’re getting bored or frustrated, and how they’re moving in general. If I detect some consistent movement struggles, I’ll give some suggestions on how to move a little better, then allow them to try again.  I find with children, it’s not about movement perfection, but allowing them the space to develop better skills in a less structured and specific manner.

One of the main goals with these sessions is to get children outside playing, having fun, increasing fitness and self-confidence. It’s not about gaining really specific skills and techniques.

This mental note taking continues through the whole session as I continually change, adapt and modify the games according to the child.

Once the session is finished we sit down and have a casual chat. Here I often find out what they liked most, what they didn’t like and why.  This allows me to change things around for next week’s session to help achieve maximum results and create a general program in my head for the amount of time we’ll be working together.

From the outside it may look like play, but in reality every game, every movement and every conversation is working towards the bigger picture of helping them achieve their maximum potential.

I really enjoy working with kids, and find it both challenging and rewarding working with those experiencing behavioral issues such as ADHD and Autism. I don’t specialise in these areas but I’ve seen positive results and received fantastic feedback from parents when I’ve worked with these children and it’s made me realise how beneficial what I do is for them.

I recently introduced Private Kids Coaching to my list of Health + Fitness Coaching services and am so excited to have started working with local kids. I’m looking forward to meeting and working with many more!

If you have any questions for me about what I do please contact me via email info@primalinfluence.com or via the website here and I’d be happy to chat to you.

Thanks for reading!

Clint

Health + Fitness Coach @ Primal Influence

The glutes: a holistic approach to strengthening them

“Gluteus maximus is the largest of the gluteal muscles. The general functions of the muscle are believed to be extension of the hip, adduction, and external rotation. There is also evidence pointing to the significant role of glute max in force closure or compression stabilization of the SI joint. While there is some debate in the medical literature of the role of glute max, it is fairly obvious it is an important hip stabilizer.” -Breaking Muscle

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At the Aware Relaxed Connected workshop on Sunday, hosted by one of our mentors and friend Craig Mallett, we learnt a terrific glute activation technique. Yes, there are a lot of them out there; any physio, chiro or PT will have half a dozen you can do on your lounge room floor. And that’s great. And we’ve been given and tried many ourselves over our years within the health and fitness industry as both coaches and also as clients/patients.

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What we liked about Craig’s approach on the weekend though was the truly holistic (whole-istic) perspective. Instead of just lying down to perform a select few leg raising exercises, or some standing up, Craig explained the usefulness and true functionality of activating the glute muscles in ALL movements and angles. From getting up off of the floor in all different ways, standing upright and bending in different directions, to walking up and down stairs. Why set limits?

That was the theme of the day really… move well in ALL directions. Be a ‘generalist’ with movement. Adapt to different positions, angles, heights, environments so you can better handle being in different positions when needed, or when you want to. This really blew our minds! By the end of the day we were happily overwhelmed with this new (but not really ‘new’) concept and have been incorporating this idea into our everyday lives ever since.

So anyway, back to the glute relevance!

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The workshop started with us practising glute activation in all sorts of different positions, heights and movements. We want to share a couple of them with you guys that you can easily start implementing and hopefully benefit from.

SOME GLUTE ACTIVATION IDEAS FOR YOU TO TRY:

Standing position with straight back: bend knees slightly, keep back straight, lean forwards bringing your chest toward the ground. When you feel your butt is at full stretch stop. Then, concentrating, squeeze or ‘turn them on’ and as you continue to keep them switched on, slowly raise your torso back to standing position but take it slightly further by pushing your pelvis forward to finish. Repeat this 10-20 times to get the hang of it.

 

Standing position different angles: this is similar to the previous movement but instead bend the knees at different angles, feel the stretch in one or both glutes and stand to upright position squeezing them the whole time. Play around with every possible angle you can come up with, including a rounded back.

 

Standing from sitting on the ground: sit on the floor/ground in all different positions, activate your glutes as much as possible in each position, then get to standing position keeping the glutes on the entire time. This is a tricky one and takes a lot of concentration (which the brain likes because the brain and body work best together, not separately).

 

Step ups: this one you can do with stairs in your home (we often use 2 at a time to get the full glute stretch) or anything stable you can step up and down with. Simply place one foot up on the step, concentrate on squeezing that glute and stand upright keeping it squeezed the entire time. Do this a few times on one leg then swap to the other leg. Then play around with different foot positions and knee angles. If you automatically step up with your knee facing inward, try breaking that habit and step up with it outward a few times. Change the step height when you can and vary this movement up as much as possible.

 

Easy peasy!

We’ve been making a conscious effort to do these at home. It’s hard, they’re not something we were doing previously so to add the movements into our day has taken some mental effort. But even when we think of it sometimes and just do a few standing with straight back, or we remember to stand up with glutes on from sitting on the floor watching TV, then that’s something. And that’s all you need to do. Practice as many of these as you can manage and you’ll be doing your body some good. Especially your pelvic stabilisation, which is so important.

Remember to check out Craig’s website Aware Relaxed Connected for lots of great resources, grab the current videos on the Tutorials page and check back regularly for new videos. We urge you to spend a few bucks on them and benefit from the content. All the money Craig receives from the purchase of videos and workshop attendance goes toward him learning more from his own mentors and teachers. Eventually that seeps back to all of us.. so it’s really a positive cycle!

Let us know if you have any questions and have fun with your new movements!

Clint & Aimee

 

5 things we’re grateful for today:

  1. Attending Craig’s brilliant workshop last weekend
  2. Forest play time
  3. Meeting new lovely people at all of our recent free library talks
  4. You guys reading our blog posts!
  5. All the cherry tomatoes we’ve been picking from our container garden lately

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor or 000 immediately.

The views expressed on this blog and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are  affiliated.

 

Kids and nature… it should be a no-brainer

Well.. you and I might realise that kids absolutely need nature for their health and happiness, but sadly.. not everyone does.

So we are on a mission. To organise a FREE screening of the doco Project Wild Thing on the Sunshine Coast, with the hopes of reaching lots of parents, educators and anyone else who cares about the health of our kids’ so we can spread the awareness around nature being so crucial for children’s long-term health and wellness.

One of the ways we’re doing this is by raising money at events we hold. On Sunday we held the first… a FAMILY FUN AND PLAY DAY at Point Cartwright. We had about 20 or so people there over the course of the morning and it was a great day out!

We started with a group of kids and adults joining in on Clint’s Primal Play session on the beach; all barefoot, all getting sun and fresh air, all moving their body’s naturally, and all having lots of fun!

Luckily the sun came out for the occasion and with it came some humidity so the location was perfect for play on the sand then a swim to cool off!

Clint took everyone through a variety of natural movements and games including Up Down No Hands, Hip Tiggy, Partner Tug O War, Crab Walking, Crawling, Tiggy and more. It was suitable for all ages and all fitness levels and it was great to see so many people from all walks of life joining in and having a great time!

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After the beach fun we headed to the park, found some shade and set up for a Sensory Connection activity.

It’s easy to have a good time outside in nature when playing at the beach or going for a bushwalk and to head home feeling happier and rejuvenated but most people don’t realise we can get even more health benefits from nature, that can have a longer lasting effect, by making more of a connection with what’s around us.

I wanted to show everyone how they can use nature and simple natural objects to fully indulge the senses and get a more beneficial and uplifting experience.

I’d gathered some items I found on the beach and took the group through a full sensory indulgence session to help them learn to engage their brain in a positive way, without electronic stimulants, in a way that’s really natural and innate for humans. Everyone seemed more relaxed but also more focused afterwards which was terrific and hopefully it’ll help them get more benefit from nature in the future.

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Next… it was time to FEAST!

We were lucky enough to have some fabulous food donated by some very generous and kind local small businesses and we all enjoyed a delicious healthy picnic lunch!

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Paleo sausages from Off the Bone Butcher and onion on the BBQ with some Free Organic coconut oil went down a treat!

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It was great to see everyone chatting and getting to know each other.  Des from Off the Bone Butcher and Andrea had a good chat, while Des’s partner Naomi and Matt from Peachester Farm pastured chickens formed hopefully a new working relationship behind. Matt provided us with a few roast organic chooks which were absolutely amazing!

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With the whole point of the day being to raise money for Project Wild Thing we were delighted to see the jar filling up with cash! It helped too that Off the Bone Butcher donated a $50 voucher to raffle off!!

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Dig in everyone, grub’s up! Salad from Sunshine Organics, paleo sausages, organic roast chickens and yummy bars from At One.. what more could we ask for?!

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My plate! So good, I was so full after!!

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And the winner of the raffle is… <drum roll> … Brenton! Who happens to be Clint’s client and was at another event next to ours but bought a ticket on the day!! Congrats Brenton, enjoy your meat buy!

 

We packed up at about 2pm, with full bellies, pink noses from all the sun, and hopefully all feeling happy! With $150 in the jar, Clint and I are really grateful for everyone who came along and their generosity, including our amazing sponsors and the families who joined in on all the activities. Thank you everyone!!

 

Just $350 left to raise now, so if you’d like to contribute you can keep an eye out on our Facebook page for more events to come along to, or book in for the Primal Trial Pack with Clint of 2x 30 min intro sessions for $10 here
Find out about the movie here

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Help spread the word so we can get this screening happening on the Sunshine Coast soon.. share this blog post with your friends, family and colleagues!

Thanks for your support 🙂

Aimee x

Just how did the first ever Paleo Camping Retreat go?

What happens when 3 modern cave-people who like good food, natural movement and spending time in nature get together and plan a weekend of fun for a group of people?

This!

10 people, 2 nights out in the country, camping in tents, surrounded by bush and wildlife, eating delicious healthy food and playing…

Otherwise known as the Paleo Camping Retreat 2015!

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2015 Paleo Camping Retreat campers and hosts – Primal A Team!

The 3 all-things-primal-loving hosts:

Me – Aimee Clark

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Clint Bauer

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Dan Barrett the Aussie Paleo Chef

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Where was this unique event held?

Well what better location than the beautiful Sunshine Coast, just past the hinterland, in the country town of Kenilworth.

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And we bet you’re wondering how an event like this came about in the first place?

Well late last year we caught up with Dan the Aussie Paleo Chef from Canberra while he was in Brissie for a cooking event. We all got along like a house on fire and became instant good friends. A couple weeks later he invited us to host a camping retreat with him, incorporating all the things we love and are passionate about. We took all of about 10 seconds to ponder the offer and give our response of… Hell yes!

How could we turn down as opportunity like that, when it was something we’d already wished we could do ourselves but knew we needed another awesome primal team member to actually make it happen?!

So it was official, we were going to host a Paleo Camping Retreat! Woo!

We set the date for 1-3 May and worked hard to plan the event and get lots of great sponsors on board. The week leading up was exciting, Dan was flying up on the Thursday, it started raining in the region over the middle of the week and then when Dan was on the plane flying up Thursday morning, we spoke to the owner of the property the retreat was being held at who told us there was going to be some serious flooding come Friday. So we made the sad decision to cancel the retreat. Boo! Poor Dan found out as soon as he landed!

We told our campers the bad news, sat down and worked out a new date…  July!! A couple more months to wait, we could do that…

It was hard waiting, again! But eventually mid-July rolled around, Dan was back up here and it was actually going to happen. It did rain a little during the week, of course, but nowhere near as much as last time thank goodness! Mother Nature just had to tease us didn’t she!

Day 1:

We spent Friday setting up the camp at the private Kenilworth property, with the day not going quite to plan and Clint ended up having to drive all around the Coast trying to collect food and other items, and didn’t get back to the campsite till late in the afternoon when our 7 campers were arriving. So Day 1 was a bit of a shemozzle but we got there. We helped our campers who were bringing their own gear set up their tents and beds, and had tents and beds set up for the others. We had already started a fire to get coals happening for the Roo Tail Stew Dan was cooking up for dinner. Our campers arrived to a nice smoky sunny welcome.. the best way to start a camping weekend!

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Because our day had gone way off track, we didn’t get to sit down and properly welcome everyone until late, and no one felt like doing much that evening, so we sat around the fire, waited for dinner and started to get to know each other.

What a great bunch of people we had… 5 adults, some Clint and I already knew, some we didn’t, and 2 teens created a diverse and interesting group of campers. Dan was looking forward to meeting everyone for the first time.

The stew for dinner was delicious, and really healthy, full of fresh organic produce supplied by Garry at Sunshine Organics, with local kangaroo tail supplied by a local chef and farmer. Then everyone was treated to paleo marshmallows to toast over the fire! One camper in particular, Shannon, told me she was so excited about these, even having a dream about them that night! She said she’d loved marshies growing up and was so happy to find a really healthy version of them. I was stoked to hear that of course!

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Browning the roo tail pieces on the fire

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Only lanterns and fire for light – such relaxing ambiance

Hot stew, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and a fire to warm us up

Hot stew, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and a fire to warm us up

The sky was a little cloudy so star gazing wasn’t an option but this cloud cover meant we’d be enjoying a warm night in our tents.

Day 2:

Us hosts were up at 6am to get a big cooked brekkie happening and slowly our campers started rising. Actually some took a little longer to get themselves up and out of their snugly warm sleeping bags, so I decided to walk around yelling loudly, threatening to eat all the fried eggs, bacon and sausages if they didn’t hurry up haha, that got ‘em up!

We boiled some water on the fire so folks could make a hot cuppa for themselves. We had Montville Coffee, Planet Organics teas and chocolate to choose from. As well as delicious raw and cinnamon creamed honey from Hello Honey Australia, and creamy coconut caramel and chocolate spreads from Niulife to create some magic in a mug. YUM! Along with the cooked goodies, and paleo granola from Analuca, brekkie sure was a feast!

Shannon enjoying a hot cuppa first thing

Shannon enjoying a hot cuppa first thing

We needed by be ready and raring to go by 8:30am for our guided Bush Tucker Tour with the property owner Graeme of Witjuti Grub Bush Foods Consulting. He walked us around his land and educated us about native bush foods. At that time of the year there’s not a lot of fruit available so he bought out some frozen foods for us to try on top of the few things we found on the walk. Some were sweet while some were sour. Ok I lie, most were sour! Bush foods are very rarely sweet, most have a tart flavour. Although strangely enough the Finger Limes that were fruiting all over about 3 bushes near our tents were actually quite sweet. A few of us were squeezing the ‘caviar’ out and sucking it down.. not what we’d expected. We expected to be pulling fish faces! So that was a nice, and tasty, surprise. I was stoked so many Finger Limes were available because I was using them in my Gelatin Demo that day.

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The bush tucker tour and chat begins

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Picking bush foods right off the plant

Native berries are often have very striking colours

Native berries often have very striking colours

Can't remember what this fruit was called but it was actually really sweet and tasty

Can’t remember what this fruit was called but it was actually really sweet and tasty

Bush foods for us to try

Bush foods for us to try

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Native Aussie foods are typically sour and tart as opposed to sweet, and these two aren’t quite sure what they think of this fruit!

After the educational start to the day, we served up morning tea with some Cave Foods and At One bars, Analuca trail mix, gelatin lollies made by me, nice cold Coconut Groove coconut water, and tea/coffee.

Healthy snacks for morning tea

Healthy snacks for morning tea

Next I gave my Gelatin Demo to a few eager beavers wanting to learn about gelatin, it’s benefits and how to use it. I made Finger Lime Panna Cotta (find the paleo panna cotta recipe here) which was for dessert that night. Those not watching had some free-range time to chill out. Some played, some read, some walked. Graeme stayed for the demo and was interested to see how bush foods can be used for healthy paleo dishes, yay, spreading the paleo love!

Clint was keen to get everyone up and moving after lunch so he took a Primal Play Workshop, teaching games and movements to help get the body and the mind working while improving fitness and having fun. Stick throwing/catching, medicine ball throwing/catching, Up Down No Hands, crawling, wrestling, tiggy, combo’s, it was a great mix of movements. Most campers hadn’t ever done that sort of thing before and one in particular, Nicole, got up and gave wrestling a go with Clint. She really stepped out of her comfort zone which was great to see!

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A game of Hip Tiggy gets the heart rate up and the laughter started

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Tog O War is fantastic for all-over strengthening

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Getting some coordination training in with throwing and catching a stick

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Weighted throwing and catching using a medicine ball (or a rock) is great too

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Tiggy through the camp ground!

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We moved to where the ants weren’t around and tried our hand at crawling

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Crab walking (or inverted crawling) plus a game of Crab Grab is hard but fun!

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Wrestling and rough-housing is natural for humans yet so many of us stop doing it past childhood, or never even did it during that time

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Nicole stepped outside her comfort zone and had a wrestle with Clint. We saw her confidence soar after that activity!

One of Clint’s favourite challenges to set is Facing the Flinch. Putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation to build tolerance and comfort level. His challenge this time was for us to jump into the freezing cold creek!!

Putting on brave faces while Facing the Flinch in the cold COLD creek!!

Yes, it really happened, most of us did actually take a dip! It was so invigorating and another confidence-building exercise which is always a positive thing. I remember trying to walk out of the creek onto the bank and found it really hard.. my legs were going numb haha that was sure an interesting experience!

After that chilly activity we got changed, warmed up by the fire and watched Dan get dinner ready. We were looking forward to Eumundi Beef topside and veggies roasted in the camp oven, followed by Finger Lime Panna Cotta I’d made earlier.

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The sun is setting and a fire brings a bit of light while Chef Dan chats about what’s on the menu for dinner

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YUM! Roast beef, veggies and paleo sausages!

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The campers dig into the night’s mighty feast

The pumpkin may have ended up a little mushy in the camp oven, but it didn’t bother anyone, overall the meal was delicious and followed by the panna cotta and more marshmallows, after which we walked to another part of the property away from the firelight to star gaze and chat, and it was a pretty good night really!

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Toasting marshmallows over the fire

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Then scoffing them down!

Camper Ross, a talented photographer, set his camera up overnight and captured these beautiful shots of the stars…

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Star trail

Can’t see stars like this in the city!

Check out Ross’s other amazing photos here

Day 3:

The final day of the retreat <sniff>. The campers woke seeming happier and more relaxed which was great to see.

We wrangled up brekkie for them, of eggs, bacon, sausages, Dan’s amazing tomato sauce, granola and whatever goodies were left in the camp kitchen!

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Happy and refreshed campers

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The last of the Walker Farm Foods pastured eggs cooked up over the fire.. deeelish!

After brekkie we took some time to wander around the property, enjoying the sunshine and warmer temp. Some spent time sitting by the creek, some picked more bush foods and some played.

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Spotted! We wandered off for some free-range time while the sun was shining and came across a kangaroo hopping through the property

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View through the trees and smoke haze

Dan and Clint doing some primal movement after brekkie

Dan and Clint doing some primal movement after brekkie

We really wanted to pack as much fun into the last day as we could, so Clint set the Slackline up between a couple of trees and let everyone have a go.

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Looking ahead toward the end of the slackline is a good tip for keeping balanced and moving forward

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Nicole again doing something completely new and receiving lots of encouragement from others

Shannon's turn

Shannon’s turn

Playtime ended and we decided to have a bite to eat before we had to pack up camp. A few of us foraged in the bushes for leaves to use for tea and came up with Nettle, Lemon Myrtle and Aniseed Myrtle. Boiled up and strained, the flavour was amazing! Even our bush tucker guide Graeme gave it double thumbs up!

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Freshly picked and brewed bush tucker tea

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Tea maker extraordinaire..!

Fresh tea plus some snacks for the road, we ensured our campers had full bellies before they left to travel home.

Shannon, who writes the blog Eat Well Travel Often, actually made a video of herself doing something outside of her comfort zone… trying the bush foods tea and eating roasted crickets! Check out her video here

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Anne enjoying the ‘Classic’ jerky thanks to our friends at Griffin Jerky

One of the downsides of camping would have to be the packing up part! Even though us hosts wanted to take care of most of that for our guests everyone chipped in and helped, so it didn’t take long at all. The trickiest part was folding the pop-up ensuites! But Clint working in a camping store is well practiced so he showed Dan and Shannon the technique!

Hold your tongue in just the right spot and it's easy to fold up these things..!

Hold your tongue in just the right spot and it’s easy to fold up these things..!

Once the campers were all packed and ready to go we organised one last activity… a Forest Therapy meditation session.

We all sat by the creek while I took a guided visualisation meditation using nature around us, to really relax and rejuvenate the group. It’s the perfect way to use the healing properties of nature to the fullest and something we enjoy teaching to people whenever we can.

The ideal spot for some Forest Therapy

The ideal spot for some Forest Therapy

That, sadly,  concluded the first ever Paleo Camping Retreat on the Sunshine Coast! Our campers then said their goodbyes, to us and each other, and off they went back home to their regular lives.. but hopefully feeling happier and healthier from a great few days in the hinterland.

We think they enjoyed the retreat if the feedback they shared afterwards is anything to go by…

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We want to thank all of our open-minded and lovely campers and all of our amazingly generous and helpful sponsors, you all helped make the first Paleo Camping Retreat a success and yes, there will be another!

We’re currently planning another retreat for Autumn 2016. If you’re interested in coming along, register your details here.

The sponsor list:

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Walker Farm Foods, Sunshine Coast Spring Water, Hello Honey, RumblesPaleo, Wippells Organic, Cave Foods, Sherwood Rd Organic Meats, At One, Planet Organic, Natural Evolution Foods, Analuca, Evolution Screenprinting, Ecology Skincare, Tassie Tallow, Niulife, Broth of Life, Primal Collective, Coconut Groove, Noosa Basics, Griffin Jerky, Emmely Rackemann Health Coaching, Eumundi Beef, Montville Coffee, Sunshine Organics

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To stay up to date with what Dan the Aussie Paleo Chef is creating in the kitchen, follow him on Facebook here and next time you’re in Canberra be sure to visit his cafe Elemental for a bite to eat!

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To purchase your own bush foods starter kit for your garden, or to organise a tour for a school/community group, contact Graeme at Witjuti Grub Bush Foods Consulting here.

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We hope to see YOU at the Paleo Camping Retreat 2016 here on the beautiful Sunshine Coast!!

Aimee x

Beating those pesky Winter Blues

With the sudden onset of this current cold snap throughout New South Whales and southern Queensland it seems like Winter has finally arrived, especially because up until this point we were experiencing pretty mild temps really. In general though, the colder months and shorter days tend to make even the fittest person want to roll over in bed of a morning to stay warm under the blankets or to reach for the extra helping of warm comfort foods during the day.

I call this period of lower motivation the Winter Blues!

Today I want to share 5 quick tips on ways you can overcome the Winter Blues and to make the most out of this time of year…

  1. Sun time – Yes the days are short and cold, but when you manage to get yourself out in the sun sure are in for a treat!

 

Spend some time each day lying in the sun.  This sun not only helps to warm us up but it’s a great way to get that vitally important Vitamin D; something a lot of people are missing out on in the cooler months of the year.

 

You can get a really cool phone app called D-Minder which helps track how much Vitamin D you’re getting versus how much you need.

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D-Minder is a great app we use often

If you’re brave and have a private spot to sun yourself, consider doing what Daniel Vitalis is promoting at the moment…  the #NakedSunTime Challenge (check it out on social media)!  The aim of this is to expose your whole body to the sun and have no visible tan lines. Not for vanity reasons but purely for the amazing health benefits.

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naked sun time on the balcony

  1. Play outside – Instead of going to the gym, how about attempting to get outside to play or exercise? This again gets you outside in our natural surroundings and is far more beneficial then working-out inside.

 

Even if you only do this in your lunch break it’s a great way to get the body used to the colder weather.

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playgrounds aren’t just for kids! take advantage of one near you

Stuck for ideas on what to do? Click here for some inspiration

 

  1. Expose the body to the cold – Yes, you read that right! More often than not people feel the cold and rug up as much as possible to make themselves feel toasty warm. Why wouldn’t you?!

 

I enjoy doing this too, of course, but this year I’ve made a conscious effort to let myself be exposed to the cold weather more often than usual. I do this by going barefoot outdoors, trying to minimise the use of my jumpers and even jumping into the cold water at the beach.

barefoot winter

barefoot…

 

winter sunrise

to watch the sunrise on a chilly winter’s morning

The reason I do those things is to build up my tolerance to the cold weather. It’s a new thing for me this year and already I’ve noticed my usual sissy attitude to the cold has improved.

 

So why don’t you give it a go?

 

  1. Work-out and play in a group – It’s much easier to face the cold and work-out if you’re with a group of people. The motivation you can give each other, the ideas of things to do, team work is really helpful at this time of year!
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get your friends involved for some fun outdoors

Find a group of friends who are willing to face it with you and get moving together.  If you don’t have keen friends or colleagues, you can always join our Primal Fitness Class

 

  1. Warm up by a fire – This is one of my favourite things to do in Winter! If you have the space at home outside, consider getting yourself a brazier or fire pit and sit around it at night.

 

It’s a great feeling to sit around with the orange glow in the night. It’s a terrific way to have some down-time from the busyness of our daily lives and helps us reconnect and converse with friends, family and our loved ones.

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a brazier like ours is about $20 from Bunnings

For bonus points head straight to bed after a fire without turning the house lights on.  The orange glow of the fire will make you nice and sleepy so you should be out like a light. By avoiding the bright unnatural indoor lights your melatonin levels stay balanced.

 

You could also consider making healthy marshmallows and roasting them on the fire. Who doesn’t enjoy that?! It’s a nice treat to help you enjoy the experience even more. You can grab the recipe in Aimee’s Sweet Goodness with Gelatin e-book here.

These are a few of my favourite ways to beat the Winter Blues and I hope they help you in some way.  We’d love to hear from you if you have any great suggestions to add to these!

Until next time… move and play lots!

Clint

 

5 things I am grateful for:

  1. Sunshine
  2. QLD flogging NSW in the State of Origin
  3. Sitting around a nice fire
  4. Going barefoot
  5. The ability to learn

Acting like a kid isn’t just for kids!

Whenever our niece and nephew are with us we go to a playground for a play. We don’t just stand on the outside and watch them and all the kids climbing, swinging, running, hanging etc. We get in there and climb, swing, run and hang too. Why? Because acting like a kid isn’t just for kids!

It’s INNATE for humans to do these things. But for some reason in this day and age most of us disconnect from this natural behavior as we go from adolescence, through our teens, to adulthood and there’s a noticeably large void between what children and adults should be doing in terms of movement and fun.

Well lucky for the two of us we’ve tapped into this inner desire and we absolutely love moving and playing as kids do. And we highly recommend you give it a go for yourself if you haven’t already!

When our niece visited recently for her first sleepover with us we took the chance to take her to the forest for the afternoon. We knew she’d enjoy it and we knew we would too. We didn’t need to encourage her to get her shoes off, walk barefoot, balance, climb, explore… she already had the instinct to do those things.

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We didn’t need any encouragement either, we do this on a regular basis. In fact if we don’t get out in nature, totally immersed in it, at least once a week we go a little crazy and find we really crave it!

Having said that though… this visit to the forest, having a kid in tow, was even better than our usual forest explorations because we had a mega boost of imagination and creativity along for the ride. We actually saw things differently.

The bright red toadstools and the holes in the tree trunks were fairy homes (ff course though fairies don’t come out until night-time when they know humans are asleep!), we we saw signs they lived in the forest which was exciting and we talked about it, igniting our imagination. Also when we took an old pool net into the water and caught a couple of shrimp it was more exciting than usual, just watching our niece’s expression and joy in the whole experience. So even though we’re usually pretty imaginative and have fun, we had even more fun, felt even better afterwards, and used even more of imagination having a child with us. Just magical!

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What we’ve realised as we’ve been spending time with our little niece and her younger brother over the last couple of years as they’ve grown through toddler and prep ages is that there’s really a simple way all adults can engage more in natural movement and play and have even more enriching and magical experiences outdoors…

By just following a kid around for a few hours.

That’s it. Seriously!

Watch them; you’ll notice they run around a bit, they get excited by ‘small’ discoveries, they explore their surroundings with enthusiasm, they hop, jump and skip, they climb and hang from things, they crawl around on their hands and knees.. all of which are natural human movements – for any age of existence, not just for adolescents.

Watch their behaviour and learn from it. Use it so you can have just as much fun and benefit as they do!

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Notice another thing while you watch them move around.. they’re having fun aren’t they? Life’s usual big dramas don’t seem to affect them. They have a more relaxed and happy attitude. They use their imagination. Then compare these to how you spend most of your day.. worrying about bills, feeling sad about the world news in the media, walking and driving places in a hurry, spending time in stressful environments and around stressed people getting yourself even more stressed.

The kid way sounds better doesn’t it?!

Even just spending a few minutes barefoot on the ground closing your eyes and breathing deeply can be incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating to the mind and body. So imagine how much benefit you’ll get from bringing in play, imagination, creativity, exploration, climbing, hanging, running, crawling… all of those things kids just do naturally.

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Surely by now you’re getting our drift! Child-like play and movement may seem only suitable for children because of our attitude and perception in this modern time. But it doesn’t mean it’s accurate and how we’re meant to live!

So if you’re a little out of practice and would like to get back to being a kid but as an adult then take our advice…

head to a forest or any other huge chunk of nature you can find, kick the shoes off, walk barefoot, explore, use your imagination, climb a tree, explore a creek or rock pool, notice your surroundings and let your inner child guide you.

Don’t over-think it.

Just be.

It’ll come to you 🙂

 

Clint & Aimee

 

5 things we’re grateful for:

1. spending time in nature

2. exploring creeks

3. barefoot in the dirt

4. having forests and beaches so close to where we live

5. spending time with our niece and nephew and playing

 

A paleo engagement party is definitely do-able!

Clint and I had our engagement party in January this year after he proposed to me just before Christmas. The party was a picnic and games afternoon at the beautiful Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens. We had about 40 people join us for an afternoon of frisbee, slacklining, bocci and quoits. Plus, a whole lotta delicious and healthy foods made mostly by my mum and I, as well as some suitable food kindly provided by the in-laws.

I had so many compliments on how good the food tasted and many requests for recipes so I thought I’d better blog about it so all the recipes are in one place for everyone to use and enjoy! (By the way, this is a post from our old blog!

Most of the food was paleo/primal, it was all gluten-free and all yum!

Here’s a rundown on what we created…

 

Smoky Tomato Dipping Sauce

Smokey BBQ Sauce

Original recipe here

My variation: I tasted the mixture while following the recipe and noticed it still tasted like tomato paste even with the paprika and mustard powders added. So I added another 2 tsp paprika, plus 1 tsp turmeric powder. This made it not taste like tomato paste anymore and gave it more of a smokey BBQ taste.

Also, I decided to place the mixture in the blender and give it a whiz to make it really smooth instead of being full of onion and garlic bits.

The photo is the sauce with my brekkie of mince, eggs and fetta! I’d forgotten to take photos of food on the day of the party so if I had leftovers I took photos then!!

 

Chicken Liver Pate

Chicken Liver Pate

Original recipe here

My variation: I pretty much followed that recipe but I added olive oil instead of rendered chicken fat.

This pate is a winner with anyone who tries it who’s always enjoyed store-bought varieties. But this one is so much healthier!

 

Beetroot Tapenade

Beetroot tepenade
This was my own creation. It was meant to be a smooth and creamy roast beetroot and fetta dip but mum and I almost completely burned and shrivelled the beetroot while in the oven, so when I tried to blend it to a smooth consistency it just didn’t happen and ended up a little chunky. I thought people would hate it but this was the recipe I had the most requests for! Amazing!

Recipe:

1. Peel and chop 3-4 large beetroots
2. Bake in oven with a drizzle of coconut oil, on 180 for… well I don’t know how long because mine was in a tad too long. Maybe go for 20min then check on it!
3. Once cooked, place in a food processor with about 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp sheep or goat fetta, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and blend until it’s about this consistency.

Tip: If you cook your beetroot a little too long and it blackens on the edges, that’s GREAT because that’s what I did and it tasted great! Just be sure to add a bit of stevia to the food processor… that’s my secret ingredient!!

 

Pumpkin Dip

I didn’t get a photo of this creation by my mother-in-law Marian but I had asked her to do a simple dip of roast pumpkin (she used 1kg), olive oil, herbs of choice and salt and pepper. The end result had a pumpkin soup taste about it but it was nice and thick. And very tasty!

 
Raw Chia Sesame Crackers

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Another of my own creations and something I alter every single time I make them!

Basic recipe:

1. In a large bowl add 1 cup chia seeds and 1/2 cup sesame seeds
2. Add 2-3 cups of water, mix well and let sit for an hour or so. The water will absorb into the seeds and the mix will thicken. You can add more water if it’s too thick and you can’t stir a spoon in it easily
3. Add whatever herbs and spices you like. This time round I added dulce flakes, fresh parsley and thyme leaves, all spice powder and lots of salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly so all ingredients are well combined
4. Spread mixture onto baking paper in your dehydrator (purchase one here).
The thickness needs to be about 2-3mm, if it’s too thin the crackers will break too easily when they’re dry.
5. Depending on your dehydrator your drying setting and time-frame may differ, but generally it works to leave on medium setting overnight.
6. When crackers are completely dry, take them out, break them apart and serve!

You can also add minced onion, garlic, veggies etc. The variations are endless!

 

Lemon Thyme Meatballs

Lemon Lamb Meatballs

Original recipe here

Clint’s mum made these for the picnic and I think she stuck to the recipe. They’re so easy to make, simple ingredients and a delicious flavour 🙂

We also had a couple varieties of grain-free sausages from Yandina Butchery – chicken, pine nut and spinach, as well as beef, oregano and garlic. No flours are used!

 

Choc Brownies

Brownies

Original recipe here

My variation: The recipe calls for quite a bit of honey or maple syrup – I use raw honey and I found using less is fine. 1/2 cup max in my opinion still ends up tasting terrific.

Also when I made this the first time for Clint’s birthday in December 2013, the amount you end up with after baking doesn’t look like it’d feed 16 people as suggested in the recipe, and as you can see from the photo above mine don’t look quite as high as the ones in the link. Sometimes I wonder where people get their serving quantity from because the recipes don’t often make as much as large a quantity as stated. Which is the case with thsi recipe. If you’re feeding 5+ hungry people I’d make double! For the engagement party I made a double batch and cut into bite-size squares so most people would get a try.

As for the chocolate chips, we don’t seem to have the same brands as the American recipes suggest but you can find dairy-free chocolate at health food stores, and depending on what other ingredients you want to avoid, even in the supermarket. Sweet William is dairy-free but contains other nasties many paleo-followers would definitely avoid. It just depends on your preferences and also your budget! Shop around. But if you don’t find any you’re happy with, just use a bit of extra cocoa powder instead 🙂

 

Juice Jellies

Lollies
On the day I served up orange juice jelly lollies but you can use ANY juice or fruit pulp you like. It’s just grass-fed gelatin dissolved in hot water/juice and some stevia or other sweetener (raw honey, maple syrup etc) added in. Then set in the fridge. Easy peasy!

The photo above is frozen organic raspberries simmered then strained to remove the seeds. The measurement I find works best is 1 cup liquid to 2 tbsp gelatin. Any more gelatin and the lollies will become rock hard and unedible.

The orange ‘jellies’ (not ‘lollies’ because I didn’t add enough gelatin so they were a bit softer than I’d have liked!) were a HUGE hit on the day! The kids were eating gluten-free lollies but they all liked my jellies as well, and the adults all commented on how good they were!

If you’d like to join our Great Lakes Gelatin Co-Op to get your hands on the best quality gelatin powder, click here

 

Honey Coconut Macaroons

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Original recipe here

My variation: I left out the lemon and just used shredded coconut, raw honey, egg whites, salt and vanilla. I would use dessicated coconut next time though, but the shredded still tasted really good.

I didn’t get a photo of my macaroons because they were snapped up pretty quickly on the day! But they looked almost exactly the same as the photo above.

I’m definitely making these again – they’re super easy to make, not too sweet and actually quite filling!

 

Sweet Potato, Chicken and Honey Bites

No photo sorry and these were totally my own creation. All I did was…
Peeled and chopped sweet potato, into about 20c piece size
Baked with coconut oil and raw honey until cooked through
Did the same with chicken breast
Then placed a piece of sweet potato and a piece of chicken on a toothpick

Easy!!!

I hope you find some of these recipes useful and they give you some inspiration in the kitchen, especially for parties! It’s a great feeling to be able to provide healthy foods – the kinda foods we eat 95% of the time and are passionate about – to friends and family and they actually enjoy them!

Please feel free to share this post with friends so they too can make delicious and healthy party foods. And please let me know of any paleo/primal party food recipes you love to use! I’d really appreciate it 🙂

Take care,
Aimee

 

 5 things I’m grateful for today:

1. Being engaged to Clint!

2. A fun morning at the Kawana markets then hanging out with a friend and her gorgeouos boys

3. Gardening today and finding the first berries appearing from the newest strawberry plants

4. Sunny winter days

5. Natural remedies for illness and injury