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I love ALL food

19 Oct

I am interested in maintaining this blog in spite of the fact that I am not in the same place I was when we began back in 2012.  Last year, it seemed it was about time we took it down, because I think we posted about twice all year, but something kept us from it.  I like it here, I feel like this is where I can spill my mind to the public without blowing up people’s Facebooks.

Every time The Prime Pursuit posts something non-food related, we lose followers and that makes me sad.  I know with blogging we are supposed to have a niche and stick to it.  But, it turns out that while my passion for telling people about primal food has waned, my enjoyment of getting my thoughts on “paper” is still there.

The bottom line is that I just don’t want to be put in a box one way or another.  I still eat healthfully as much as I can reasonably manage it in a house of seven people.  I am sorry, but I bristled at being “the paleo lady” because I just don’t want to be restricted by any labels.  I love ALL food.  You’re going to see me downtown eating a fat cheeseburger with fries, because food categories and amounts don’t own me.  One really nice thing about the Army lifestyle is leaving the old labels behind and starting fresh.

So here I am.  I have five kids now.  I have lots to say about that, and I want to discuss healthful living, intuitive eating, getting back on track with exercise after two back-to-back pregnancies, and the daily-discipline of sorting priorities.  I hope you’ll stay with us in spite of the fact that I declared myself free from food-related trademarks.

I think we can keep our blog title, because don’t we all desire to remain in the prime of life…?  I will still share primal recipes as I find them but will you forgive me if I post a cake recipe that has been made with AP flour?  I have a good one, you need it in your repetoire!!

With humble honesty,

The Waiting

2 Feb

“40” from U2’s War album has been on repeat in my head for the past few days.

How long to sing this song?
How long…how long…how long…

I am in a time of waiting.  Waiting for things that I presume shall fulfill my immediate longings and bring clarity and order to my life.  Some of these things have been in the queue for months, and others for years.  These desires can’t simply be forgotten.  They are woven into my personal journey.

Waiting.  Waiting.  Day after day after month after month after year.  How long will I wait?  At this point, I am emotionally folding my arms, stomping my feet, and pouting like a 5-year-old in a corner!!  I recognize this in myself, and it’s finally driven me to the question: How can I wait well with grace, poise, and dignity? 

Compare the words of Isaiah 40:30-31 alongside those of David in Psalm 40, (which just so happens to be the “40” Bono is singing). Isaiah says that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, etc.  Pssshaw!  This all has not sat well with me.  In my time of waiting, I haven’t felt exhilarated.  I don’t feel strong, and I certainly don’t feel renewed.  Waiting’s exhausting.

There’ s one keyword in these passages I’ve been glossing over: I’m weary because I am not waiting on the LORD….I’m waiting on the THING!! 

So back to my question: how do I go about waiting well?

For one thing, the object of my desire simply cannot be a condition that defines my success.  Consider the differences between a goal and a desire. Goals are achievable with hard work.  Desires are different…think: aspirations, wishes, longings.  They are arrows aimed at targets.  We can do everything to set up perfect conditions for the arrow to hit that bullseye, and then we have to keep our fingers crossed that a rogue gust of wind doesn’t knock it off course.

I want some things really badly, but in reality, I have no control over whether they come to me.  How much power am I giving those desires in my life?  I don’t know.  But it helps to identify what’s in my power to accomplish, versus what I can only cross my fingers for.

Secondly, I have recently noticed a few steps outlined in Psalm 40.  I have to share, because it provides a little more clarity on how to wait, with excellence.  

1.  Choose patience in word and action.  Though the waiting is at times a desperate feeling, our actions don’t have to be desparate.  Feelings often catch up.

2.  Believe He hears, upholds us and is our firm place to stand.  No matter how long.  He will deliver us from this, through this, or to something else.  Belief is very empowering, and can carry us through times of uncertainty.

3.  Get a new song in your mouth.  (Sounds better than the 5-year-old whining I default to).  The scripture says He puts it there!  It doesn’t come from willpower!  This new song is a hymn of praise for God and the beauty in creation that surrounds us.  Honestly, it’s much more beautiful to everyone’s ears.

4.  From a place of speaking, believing, seeing beauty…we are able to openly share the story of His goodness.  What a place from which to encourage others!

Waiting, with his grace…


Heart Satiety

10 Mar

I haven’t posted anything in quite a while.  I’m riding a long wave of creative apathy and straight-up boredom in the kitchen.  I have been making the same things over and over; I am not creating new foods over here, and really not searching for any either.  In fact, Heather and I have contemplated turning the blog off because we have nothing new to tell you about.  Besides, everyone who eats a primal diet appears to have started a blog about it, and with much better photography!

In terms of food-spiration, I have nothing.  I know how to employ a clean-diet, it is a great tool.  I feel sad, because I have seen the paleo/Whole30 community take a turn to the obsessive side over the past few years.  Orthorexia is a thing now.  For heaven’s sake, have we not just swapped out one crazy for another?  All the blogs, and food pics and pins, and humblebragging on social media.  Craziness.

The saddest thing is when my own friends feel like authentic failures if they have a month or two, or twelve, of bad eating.  It is a crazy-cycle.  Feelings of tremendous success and pride after accomplishing a month of clean eating, which are subsequently chased away by “failure” (eating some bad food).  It becomes ridiculously mentally consuming.  Are we equating failing at life with eating sugar/grain/dairy?

There is so much talk about “satiety” after meals, and striking that perfect macronutrient-balance, which supports activity but not body fat.  That is a great place to be.  A clean diet provides plenty of physical benefits, but it offers zero relief for the emotional hunger we endure.  That emotional hunger will eat us alive if we do not respond to it properly…we will scratch for anything to fill the void.

Heart Satiety is what we need.

Isn’t heart-satiety what we are all chasing after, above and beyond the satiety of the stomach?  Where can we find such satisfaction of the soul?  I have a hint: it starts at taking the focus entirely off of self, and meeting people’s needs with no abandon.  That might sound harsh.  But tirelessly giving back will never make anyone’s day feel worthless.

Take on only the good of the clean-diet lifestyle.   Good food and the workouts serve ME, and not the other way around.  This mindset is freeing, and makes clean eating all the more enjoyable.  There is a general trajectory of good health-choices, which include a healthy social life, and systematically serving others.  Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1).  Relationships are more important than food!

In the trenches too,




I don’t really agree with this.  And, I am not attracted to Ryan.


The Love Pursuit

23 Jan

I never really checked on my Azerbaijani neighbor, Ruslan, all year.  He is a Shia Muslim, a man of few words, and he lived without his family, in Kansas, for the entire year.  I had excuses like, he probably doesn’t want to talk to women…he wouldn’t want to eat any of my wacked-out paleo concoctions…and I will ask him too many ignorant questions about his country.

In a gesture of generosity, he once left a bag of 5 dying catfish on my doorknob that dripped a pool of blood onto my floor.  I thanked him, assured him we would enjoy them, and chalked it up to a cultural miscommunication.  I should have returned the favor.  With brownies.  We always said hello, but I never really reached out to him, revealed true American hospitality, or made sure he didn’t need anything.  We just said goodbye forever on Monday, and I felt a tremendous amount of shame for not loving him well during his time here.

What a missed opportunity for both of us.

I’ve been mulling the concept of real love.  It’s such an overused and undervalued word loaded with varied meanings!  I continually pursue optimal nutrition, fitness, and even spirituality…but I haven’t given extra thought to the concept of love.  What is it good for?  After all, it’s the second greatest commandment!  It’s more than fondness, or admiration, or saying “I am sending good thoughts your way” (or its Christian cousin “I’ll pray for you”).

Love–the kind that impacts lives–has another name: charity.  Charity is not a word we use very often in our culture.  It seems faceless, institutional, and connotes throwing money at someone else’s problem.  But after a brief word study, I can see that charity is simply LOVE in ACTION, altruism.  That’s what it is good for.

After my disappointing past year, I’ve been stalled in this area.  But I have to be very careful not to let this legitimate hurt turn into the devil’s playground.  This hurt–and lingering disappointment–impaired my vision to extend charity to my neighbors; and  honestly, I hadn’t consciously recognized it.  Until Ruslan left.  It hit me that day like a ton of bricks: we are supposed to love well during our disappointing times.  That is hard to admit publicly.  If the enemy can take our eye off our brother, then he has completely succeeded in snuffing out our positive influence upon our world”  Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters.

While I was waiting around to feel whole again, my external influence became stagnant water.  Truth is, I will never be whole in this world–too many disappointments.  I was living with the mindset that once I am whole, then I will be able to love others well.  But iChristcharity can overflow now, because I WILL be whole again one day…and soon. 

The race to achieve self-fulfillment is the religion of our culture, which is like trying hold water in a sieve.  What if our culture instead began to practice systematic charity right outside our front doors?  Our neighborhoods would burst with vibrance and vitality.   And I imagine all of our hearts would be much fuller.  Join me in looking out for opportunities to meet a need.  It just might be the grace someone needs for their moment.  


A few examples of relevant charity:

Encouraging words (Hebrews 3:13, Ephesians 4:29)
Standing in the gap for those who have lost/are separated from loved ones.  (Deuteronomy 10:18)
Keeping your schedule fluid enough to be available for people.  (Psalms 82:3-4)
Taking initiative to meet others’ needs (Galatians 6:2)
Being a reliable neighbor (bloom where planted)
Offering a patient, listening ear to someone hurting
Sharing possessions (Acts 2:45)
Keeping negative comments quiet (Psalm 141:3)
Welcoming people into your home. (Romans 12:13)

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
1 Corinthians 13:12-13 KJV.  I just love this verse in that translation!

Honestly reflecting,

Getting Back on Track

30 Dec

tracks01 It’s that time of year! It’s so predictable.  Americans have officially established a final holiday tradition–and it seems participation is almost obligatory.  To close out the season, we vow to clean up the diet as soon as that ball drops.  It’s become faddish–especially in the functional fitness community–to regularly schedule a “Whole 30” or a no-cheats paleo/primal eating challenge.

 The jumping-off point can be a place of dread or anticipation.  Take heart!  Hitting the reset-button will be easier by establishing a new frame of mind.  The rewards of a clean diet are worth the trouble.

Our 10 tips for pulling off a successful paleo or primal eating challenge:

1.  Stay calm.  It’s not that hard.  Don’t focus on restricted foods, and don’t think about weight loss.  This is not about weight loss alone.  Remember the objectives: reset sugar sensitivity, establish true hunger signals, and achieve optimal nourishment for overall wellness.  Do some research, start with the “why”, and solidify personal goals.

2.  Be thankful.  Isn’t it wonderful to have the ability to enjoy so many clean food options?  We live in a time where we have access to any fresh food we desire–there is no lack of variety.  This is a time to get creative, a little adventurous, and have fun with it.

3.  Get some Tylenol…especially if this is your first time.  Don’t try to do the cold turkey thing without ammunition!  My first 30-day challenge was…well, challenging.  I was shocked to have withdrawal detox headaches for the first week while my body readjusted to a normal, balanced, carb/protein/fat ratio.  I was THAT hooked on sugar–to the point that I experienced physical pain.  Ridiculous.

4.  Minimize the coffee habit.  Grazing on coffee all day (even black) has been shown to keep blood sugar elevated, thereby throwing off true hunger signals.  Allow good food to do its work by energizing and replenishing the body.  Afraid of residual headaches?  See #3.  Can’t give it up? Opt for decaf past noon. The aroma of coffee brewing is energizing in itself.

5.  Be prepared.  This will be extra work.  Real food is not prepared or processed in advance.  Be smart about prepping ahead: chop all your veggies for the week, portion things out ahead of time,  and have portable snacks readily available.  The freezer is the new pantry.  It is possible to grab-and-go, and still eat clean.

6.   Double batch everything.  It is so convenient to have food on-hand for later.  Whenever it’s time to get out the knives and food processors and pots and pans, go ahead and double it up.  Freeze a whole batch for a dinner next week, or portion out servings for breakfasts and lunches.  Don’t be afraid of leftover curry chicken for breakfast!  This will help you out of the “eggs again” rut and keep you from resorting to old cereal habits.

7.  Keep it simple.  Pick a few tried-and-true recipes, and stick to those.  Heck, there is nothing wrong with cycling through a set selection over the course of the month.  I could eat these 7 over and over, and really not feel bored:  Butter ChickenPastelon (over sweet potatoes), Lamb MeatballsKheema,  Fresh Roast ChickenPulled Pork, Paleo Pad Thai.  These are fast, flavorful, and they go far.

8.  Don’t go hungry.  It’s the fastest route to discouragement…and forgetting the point.  No one feels stronger, faster or more motivated after eating a 3 oz steamed chicken breast and a cup of broccoli.  Eat healthy fat at every meal/snack for true satiety:  avocado, nut butters, coconut, plenty of healthy oils…every time.  It’s all about balance.

9.  Sugar doesn’t love you back.  Don’t lament it that much.  Good food works to improve health: to replenish, rebuild, and repair.  Crummy, glucose-spiking food works in the opposite manner, and the body must work hard (on the cellular, hormonal level) to compensate for the toll it takes on us.  Put a stake in the ground and don’t look back.

10.  Relationships are more important than food.  (Romans 14.)

Bonne Santé!  We hope 2014 overflows with refreshing times, laughter, and a renewed resolve to work hard in all areas of life!

Leigh and Heather

this is not a deprivation!

this is not a deprivation!

benefits More favorite clean eating recipes and resources:

Who is Sick of Eggs for Breakfast?

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Barbecue Sauce

Unwrapped Gyoza

Thai Green Curry


A Few of My Favorite Things

17 Sep

I love stumbling upon new ideas and things to try. Since I have not yet allowed myself to wander into the Pinterest world, I rely on articles from my hubby, suggestions of friends, and a few blogs I follow. I feel like a jack of all trades constantly trying new things, but once in a while something new really sticks. Here are a few of my newest favorite things:

1. The oil cleansing method. I wanted to blog about this immediately after I tried it, but I waited a few months to make sure I was a devoted follower. In an effort to detox, I ditched most of my skin care products after discovering they didn’t score very well on the EWG cosmetics database. I searched for safer alternatives and came to the conclusion that I could either spend WAY too much money on a fancy organic skin care line or I could go back to the basics. I chose the basics. Try this: Pour a large dollop of castor oil and another large dollop of your favorite oil (I like avocado or jojoba) in the palm of your hand. Rub hands together to mix oils and apply to face in circular motions for a minute or so. Take a hot wash cloth, ring it out, and let it set on your face for a bit to let your pores open and oil soften. Repeat, and then gently wipe remaining oil off with washcloth. Go to bed. Wake up to skin that feels amazing. Repeat every night. The pain of washing washcloths and taking a little extra time quickly wore off for me. Now, I look forward to it nightly because it has been so beneficial. I no longer need a separate moisturizer and my face does not look shiny by 10am anymore! For more detailed instructions, read here.

2. Dry brushing. I’ll admit I came across this after searching for natural “cellulite” remedies during swim-suit season. While I’m not convinced of that benefit, it is amazingly invigorating and makes me feel just plain good. It is also the cheapest and easiest way to exfoliate, stimulate blood and lymph circulation, tighten and tone skin, stimulate oil and sweat glands, improve nervous system function, aid digestion, and prevent premature aging. My routine includes first thing in the morning to wake up my body, and then again post workout before I hit the shower. Here is a how-to video and further reading.

3. Liquid Castile soap. This has been my go-to soap for many things: face wash in the shower, body wash, and kids shampoo/body wash. I like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and Dr. Woods Liquid Castile soap (most grocery stores at least carry Dr. Woods).  It can be used full strength for skin cleansing, and diluted for shampoos, household cleaners, and laundry detergent! A little goes a long way, which is an added bonus for the budget. Plus, combined with dry brushing, the need for lotions and moisturizers afterwards is almost non-existent. Organic soaps and oils aside, I’m certainly far from all-natural elitist–just taking steps towards a less toxic life. I too spent a half an hour sampling all the new pumpkin scents at Bath and Body Works the other day and buy my kids funky character themed soaps, because sometimes things like that bring worthwhile smiles.

4. Protein packed coffee. In a perfect world I have eggs or some type of animal protein for breakfast every morning with a handful of nuts, but busy mornings happen more often than not. Try this: In a to-go coffee mug mix 8oz hot coffee, a splash or two of unsweetened almond or coconut milk, and a serving of your favorite protein powder. I stick my blender bottle insert in my Contigo travel mug, shake it up, and it’s perfect. Yum. It makes a great pre-workout breakfast, plus coffee IS very beneficial!

Here’s to trying something new!


“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” ~F.D.R

Getting Enough Me-Time

14 Aug
picture courtesy

picture courtesy

As the summer comes to a close, I realize how the chaos around me has reached a crescendo.  I need a routine and order to bring some sanctity to my life.   School (or for us, homeschool) provides the structure that brings predictability and measurable progress. I often get a comment that has pricks my curiosity, strikes a nerve, and ultimately inspires a lot of introspection.  It goes something like this, “I could never homeschool my kids.  I need my me-time.”

I feel like answering this common question publicly.

When my children were preschool-aged, I regularly sent them to hourly childcare and part-day pre-school.  I would also call babysitters on days I needed some more help.  Then, whenever my hubby was free, I was happy to leave them with him.  This was my pattern.  If I am being honest, my existence as a mom began to resemble something from a Bravo Housewives episode, revolving mostly around me-time activities: gym, shopping, lunch with friends.

Yet, even after hours of being away, I would come home to the kids, and quickly get irked at how they’d get in my way and distract me from doing the things I really needed (er, um, wanted) to be doing.  I was becoming unhappy–begrudging them and my days.  Where was that peace and refreshment the me-time was supposed to replenish?

Here’s the thing.  No matter how much me-time I rack up during the week….it never feels like enough.  The more I get, the more I crave.

It sounds like I don’t love my kids.  I do.  I just had a warped idea of what my life was supposed to look like.  By the grace of God alone, I’ve recognized my shameful pattern.

Over time, as my outlook on me-time has transformed, I’ve become a lot more relaxed in the day-to-day operations.
The me-time that I DO get to myself, I deeply savor.
It is less frequent, but far more satisfying.  That paradigm shift also helped me have the courage to go ahead and venture into homeschooling.  So, yes.  I am with my children daily.  (So is Heather now!!)  We all have to go to the grocery store together, and I often attend appointments with all of them in tow…completely inconvenient.  But on the other hand we experience ideal days, with full freedom to go to Barnes and Noble for reading and warm drinks, or on a bug hunt to fill their watch-a-bugs. 🙂

Have you thought about what is going on in the world all around us?  Togetherness is a privilege.

It has been such a blessing to change my expectation of my me-time needs.  This is all a delicate balance.  Life’s chaos ebbs and flows regularly; embrace the crazy instead of fleeing it.  :)  Hear me out—we do need periods of solitary retreat to recharge our batteries from time to time.  But ultimately, we need to look daily to the One who came, so that we may have life and have it in abundance. (John 10:10)  He spelled it out very clearly:

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
Matthew 16:25.

Enjoy your journey!

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