A Paleo Conversation : From CST to PST, a bi-regional take on living paleo.
  • Balance

    Jo-Jo, sorry that is has taken me so long to respond to your most recent post. I can just imagine making that drive from Stillwater to Minneapolis.  For the most part, I enjoyed those miles driving into work as it was the only quiet time I had for reflection. I never listened to books on tape, but I wished I had. I drove so much back in the day that I could have made my way through volumes of text.  Instead, I chose to flip between NPR and the classic rock station.  I knew it was going to be a good day when they played Led Zepplin back-to-back or a favorite Stones song.  Lately, I have been having some Pink Floyd kind of days. Perfect music for introspection.


    Is there anybody in there?

    Just nod if you can hear me.

    Is there anyone at home?


    Although I’m not “Comfortably Numb,” I have been finding comfort in the small moments of the day.  I haven’t been putting up many posts, but I have been thinking about things in life and how they relate to our blog’s purpose. In between ramping up my surgical practice, selling and buying a house, trying to make quality time for Henry, Bea, and Ryan, I have made time for little else. That’s what got me thinking about the concept of balance.


    Actually, what really got me thinking about balance was a recent walk we took across the street to the park. There was a young man who had strung up between two trees a very taut bungee-type rope and proceeded to walk across it like a high-wire act at the circus.  He said it was made of a trampoline material.  Although only a few feet off the ground, he carefully mounted the wire and walked a few paces, sometimes jumped off, sometimes righted himself, and sometimes even walked to the other side, pivoted 180 degrees and walked again. Analogous to life, if you know what I mean.

    I have often found that trying to make big changes in life require the sort of flexibility and balance of the tight rope walker. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no high-wire artist, but I know what it is like to jump on the proverbial bungee wire, fall off, get back on, fall back off again, stumble, pivot, and sometimes successfully make it to the other side. I have done all of these things over the past couple of months, having moved from Minnesota to California, resigning from one job where there was a lot of security, taking a leap of faith, becoming a full-time academic surgeon, developing a new practice with more complex patients, all the while trying to maintain sanity at home.

    The lessons that I have learned during this recent upheaval have been patience and balance. Although we largely stick to a paleo diet, sometimes I find that I deviate from the rigidity of the “rules” in order to bend and not break.  I have been eating white rice and rice noodles from time to time. On occasion, I’ll have fish tacos with corn tortillas. I had a coconut milk latte at Starbucks the other day because I had been too busy in the morning to make my own.  Unfortunately, the Starbucks coconut milk is just loaded with sugar, or so it seems.  It tasted just too sweet for me. I have found that most coconut milks, unless they are directly  from a can, appear to be infused with a lot of other ingredients from guar gum to cane sugar to preservatives. But, on occasion, a Starbucks’ coconut latte is going to have to do.

    As I have gotten older, I have learned not to beat myself up over the small things. I’m not too worried about a little guar gum, a little cane sugar, corn, or rice. Nobody is on a fast food diet here. We’re still getting exercise. Running, crossfitting, playing at the park.

    We’re walking the tight rope here in California. Luckily, it’s only a few inches above the ground.

    “Tight Rope” by Stevie Ray Vaughn

    Caught up in a whirlwind, can’t catch my breath.
    Knee deep in hot water, broke out in cold sweat.
    Can’t catch a turtle, in this rat race.
    Feels like I’m losing, at a breakneck pace.

    Afraid of my own shadow, in the face of grace.
    Heart full of darkness, spotlight on my face.
    There was love all around me, but I was looking for revenge.
    Thank God it never found me, would have been the end.

    Walkin’ the tight rope, steppin on my friends
    Walkin’ the tight rope, was a shame and a sin.
    Walkin’ the tight rope, between wrong and right.
    Walkin’ the tight rope, both day and night. (Solo)

    Lookin’ back in front of me, in the mirror’s grin.
    Through eyes of love I see, I’m really lookin at a friend
    We’ve had all our problems, that’s the way life is.
    My heart goes out to others, who are there to make amends.

    (Walkin’ the tightrope) Trying to make it right
    Every day and every night
    Bring it all around.
    From the lost to found.
    Streched around the world.
    Save the boys and girls.
    Let’s make it right.
    Do it, do it tonight.
    Walkin the tightrope




  • On The Joys of Commuting


    It seems like I blinked and two weeks shot by.  Fall is well and truly on the horizon, trees are starting to turn orange at the corners and the morning is characterized by a parade of yellow school buses.  The sugar maple that I still think of as *your* sugar maple is positively glowing now!  Not fully turned, but just starting in from the edges.  Winter is coming, as they say.

    As you know, I’m back at work now and I’m finding the commute from Stillwater into Minneapolis is an absolute pleasure.  It’s quiet time between the bustle of home and work.  I’m by myself, and I love it.

    I also listen to audio books, and these days that’s just about the only way I get any reading done.  Progress on the Primal Blueprint Certification has slowed considerably, sad but understandable.

    I use Audible and I recently listened to Biological Anthropology: An Evolutionary Perspective, part of The Great Courses series. It’s wonderful!  I had realized that I’m all about being paleo, and reading up on it, but I actually don’t know that much about the evolutionary origins of humans.  Kind of central to the whole “paleo” idea, don’t you think?  So I loaded this up and got a really interesting grounding in human origins.

    The thing I most enjoyed is that this isn’t a paleo diet book.  It’s not trying to sell me on a way of eating and living, it’s just laying out what we’re pretty sure we know about our origins.

    I came away pretty comforted – I think that the paleo diet community has a pretty solid grounding in evolutionary anthropology.

    One of my favorite ideas that came out of listening to this book is the idea that evolution and diversity are different.  In particular, lactose tolerance is part of the remarkable genetic diversity of our species, but since it’s not representative across all (or even most) populations it’s not precisely “evolution” yet (or at least as I interpret from this audio book).  Just a very popular, successful, and useful genetic mutation.  It’s like skin color, or hair texture.  Makes me wonder where it will be in 10,000 years.  Will all humans have the gene?  Fun to think about.

    Makes for an interesting drive too!

    Miss you!