Yael’s Variety Hour: Be a Ninja, Support Female Leaders & Fight Kidney Trafficking (All In One Place!)

You Probably Think This Post Is About You. Don’t You? Don’t You?

Health, Fitness, Nutrition & Lifestyle Gems

  • Experience Life’s Fit Body Column. Jen Sinkler’s June column is out! She answers questions about grip strength, increasing max pull-ups, improving running speed and intermittent fasting.
  • Tav Byerhoff of Ritual Fitness is a ninja. Seriously. This video proves it.

Food For Thought

A Good Cause If There Ever Was One

Shameless Self Promotion

  • I’ll be teaching a 6 week class, From Query To Print: Magazine Writing Basics, in St. Paul, MN. It’ll take place on Wednesday mornings starting on September 12th. I’ll post more details soon–but for now, please just mark your calendars if you’re interested.

Yael’s Variety Hour: Applied Science, Insecurity

Welcome to my weekly variety hour, where I briefly describe my favorite posts from the past week, and list any recent articles or projects I’m working on.


  • Success Dysmorphia Viewing success through someone else’s mirror leaves you feeling grossly inadequate–how do we find new ways to define and celebrate our success?

Applied Science

  • The Scale Of The Universe is an awesome sciencey site that allows you to “zoom from the edge of the universe to the quantum foam of spacetime and learn the scale of things along the way!” Enlightening and fun.

Shameless Self Promotion

  • For Shimer alums, Mike Anderson is writing up  travel logs. He briefly mentions meeting up with me in Milwaukee.
  • The new issue of the Performance Menu is out. It includes a piece I wrote on the top ten strategies for dealing with injuries. There’s also an article on pain management, a piece on the power phase of weightlifting and and a wonderful piece on the lessons of physical culture history, written by Chip Conrad of Body Tribe. The entire issue is yours for five bucks.






Yael’s Variety Hour: Wheelin’ Deals, Overtraining, Bacon & More

This week’s Variety Hour features links on overtraining, making deals, getting annoyed and whether or not that waitress was actually hitting on you. There’s also a recipe and links to two pieces of mine: an article on adapting BJJ for self-defense and a blog post on this really awesome BJJ gym I visited in Milwaukee. Check it out.

Links o’ the Week:
  • Sweet potato, Bacon and Egg Salad. My boyfriend made this, and I ate so much that I had to make more. Definitely the recipe of the week. Doubling it is a good idea.

Shameless Self Promotion

  • For those of you who live in the Twin Cities, BodyTribe will be doing a Brutal Recess clinic on the 31st from 1-3:30 at the Athlete Lab on 3225 Country Drive in Little Canada. $40 fee. Be there!
  • Stay tuned to this site for some really great information on search engine optimization (SEO). We’ll first discuss SEO for brick and mortar businesses (those with physical locations) and then expand into SEO for online businesses. I’ll be offering a big discount on SEO consults as well. Make sure to keep checking back.

My Whole30 Recap

It’s finally over. After 30 days of the strictest diet I remember being on, my caveman and I broke the fast, so to speak. We had some foods we’d been missing during our program, but didn’t find the same appeal. My bacon seemed a bit sweeter and not as satisfying as I’d remembered. A single piece of gum hurt his teeth. We went out to dinner with friends, where I ate polenta with my meal and he drank a beer with his. And for dessert, we both ate a dark chocolate truffle torte, complete with port cherries, chocolate meringue and izzy’s chocolate ice cream.

We both got very little sleep and had upset stomaches. 🙂 We both got very little sleep. I think part of this is from the minute amount of caffeine in chocolate, and some (for me, anyway) is from the sugar rush. I didn’t realize how big of an effect it would have on me. I’m not saying I’ll never have sugar again, but I am looking at it in a whole different way now. I like the way I felt and performed on a strict Paleo diet and, while I don’t think it’d be healthy to fanatically stick to it 365 days a year, realizing how much non-Paleo food throws me off both physically and emotionally definitely will make me hesitant to fall back into old patterns. I will just have to think–what do I crave more right now? A rush, or a feeling of well-being? Another question to ponder: how close do I need to stick to this diet to see such great results?

And since many people are more interested in body comp than health and performance and everyone’s asking: my overall weight loss was about 6.2 lbs. of fat. I’m definitely a lot leaner and lost that fat right where I wanted to–belly fat, back fat, etc. (In comparison, I lost 7 lbs. of fat in *6 months* on the Lean Eating for Women program.) 6 pounds in just 30 days is an incredible amount of weight for me since I didn’t feel like I had that much to lose and you can definitely see the difference. My caveman has also leaned out considerably and was already quite lean to begin with. We’re both definitely looking at food differently than we were before the program…

Yael’s Variety Hour

Welcome to the weekly variety hour, where I compile the most interesting, amusing or thought-provoking posts I’ve gathered from around the internets for the past 7 days.

Rest In Peace. 🙁



For Self-Reflection

Shameless Self-Promotion

  • The May issue of the Performance Menu is out. Although I didn’t write anything for this issue, rest assured that it is seriously awesome. There’s a great shoulder prehab article, strength training and Olylifting material and a sample chapter from Gary Taubes’ newest book, Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About ItYours for $5 (or $29.95 for a year’s subscription.)

Feel free to leave your favorite links from the past week in the comments! Otherwise, I’ll see you next week!

Whole30 Recap: Three Weeks In

My caveman and I are about 75% into our Whole30, and here’s some new thoughts I’ve come up with since my mid-program recap.

I’m not craving junk food nearly as much as I expected, and most of what I’m craving is based on timing and location. Like a habit I’ve had of eating jellybeans while watching UFC. Or popcorn at the movies. Or buying ice cream bars once a week at the grocery store. Or going to the health food store every day I have a deadline so I can get a quick caffeine/sugar/chocolate fix. I’ll have momentary glimpses (or scents, or memories) of specific items and miss them, but it’s not nearly as bad as I’d thought it would be. I am not even counting down days or anything!

Paleo works much better with exercise. This probably seems like a no-brainer, but my last 30-day experiment was right after I’d finished an intensive 16-week powerlifting program and I didn’t really work out very much. I didn’t see anywhere near the results I am now. Some of this might be because Whole30 is a bit stricter (we added a chocolate bar or two a week the first time), but I really think working out plays a large factor. (However, working out without changing one’s diet is pretty ineffective.)

Meal plans are not for everyone. I’m getting tired of following a strict meal plan. Super glad that we agreed to do it, but I’m looking forward to a bit more flexibility. However, before the Whole30 there was a bit too much flexibility. We planned out dinners, but not lunches or breakfasts or snacks. This made it easy to say there was nothing to eat and go to the corner store to pick up junk.

Improvements continue! My recovery time, overall mood and body composition continue to improve. The changes are less dramatic than at first, but still happening relatively quickly. It’ll be interesting to see when this plateaus and how it changes over time.

Yael’s Variety Hour: Reading, Spyware and Buying Useless Stuff

Welcome to the weekly variety hour, where I compile the most interesting, amusing or thought-provoking posts I’ve gathered from around the internets for the past 7 days.

Reading and Books

Come on, Apple!

Lead her away from Acting, but not all the way to Finance.

Shameless Self-Promotion

  • I just finished two large projects and have some time in May and part of June to take on a couple more–if you need writing, editing, proofreading or SEO work, now’s a great time to contact me and we’ll get started.

Whole30 Recap: 7 Revelations At The Midway Point

We are on day 15 of the Whole30, and we’re still kicking! Here’s some revelations from the past week or so.

  • We do not feel deprived. Although there’s foods I’ll eat when this program is over, they no longer seem to have that same hold over me that they previously did. I don’t feel attached to them. It’s hard to consistently crave junk food when your diet is comprised of nutrient-dense foods such as these:
  • Strict Paleo really does provide an increased sense of well-being. I can’t describe exactly what I mean by this. Going into week 2, I’ve become more adjusted to improved digestion and the notably absent sugar-induced highs and lows (read: mood swings). But it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what I mean by increased well-being. I just feel more settled. Something feels right about it.
  • Whole30 makes you hott. Part of the Whole30 entails not stepping on a scale for 30 days, but I’ve leaned out way more than I’d imagined in just 2 weeks and so has my caveman. It’s kind of addictive.
  • Eating Paleo improves recovery. I’ve worked out a lot harder in recent weeks than I’m used to, and although I still get some DOMS, it’s WAY better than it should be.
  • Whole30 is probably more difficult socially than anything else. Going to brunch and having to explain why you can’t have one of those delicious-looking brownies. Packing a cooler before a seminar and hoping you won’t have to sit in your car while everyone else goes out to some diner during the lunch break. I’m lucky in that I’ve found myself not exactly getting invited to restaurants everyone’s meeting at, since I’d have had to turn it down anyway. And who knew everything in Chipotle is cooked in soybean oil?
  • Lots and lots of dishes! Strict Paleo is definitely time-intensive. Although there are some good quick meals, and the Everday Paleo cookbook is great about providing time estimates for both prep time and cooking time, there are days when we feel like all we do is cook and do dishes. Splitting the sink in half may be one solution to this, and trying to plan meals (in the future) based on how much time we’ll have would probably be one way to minimize this.
  • We may want to hunt and gather twice a week. When you cook ALL your food, don’t go out to eat and don’t grab quick to-go meals on the run from the corner store… it’s a LOT more food. Instead of spending an hour compiling ingredient lists, going to the grocery store for an hour, cramming so much food in the fridge it’s impossible to see it all and letting some of it go to waste..it might be easier to only shop for 3-4 days worth of food at a time, a couple times a week. We’ll be experimenting with this.

Yael’s Variety Hour: Fitness Lies, Edible Weeds, Grapefruit Essential Oil and Distraction

Welcome to Yael’s Variety Hour, my weekly list of links and posts that caught my attention, made me laugh or got me thinking. There are over 20 links this week, so let’s get to it!

Health and Fitness

  • 12 Ways To Improve Recovery. If you’re like me, you’re always looking for a way to increase recovery (or lessen recovery time). Mike Robertson’s list might be a useful resource.


  • FastPaleo is another user-friendly site allowing readers to view or upload Paleo recipes.


Food For Thought

  • Jesus ‘healed using cannabis’. I’m not a marijuana smoker, but since it’s 4/20 I figured I could include this. Did Jesus really anoint people with cannabis oil? Documents suggest this may have been the case…

Housecleaning Item

Shameless Self-Promotion

  • I am currently writing proposals for some writing workshops–both in person (in Minneapolis) and online. If you’re interested in search engine optimization or nonfiction magazine writing, or any other topic, please let me know through the contact form or by posting in the comments.

Have an excellent week! I’ll catch you next Wednesday.

My Whole30 Experiment: Week 1 Recap

No sugar? No bread? No beer?! I wrote last week about my decision to do a Whole30 after attending a Whole9 Foundations of Nutrition workshop in Minneapolis. Since that post, I’ve been inundated with e-mails from people wondering how I was feeling, what my energy level is like, any results so far, etc.


Our food selection has been delicious. We couldn’t be happier with the meals in Everyday Paleo. They provide great variety, flavor, etc. in addition to being nutrient-dense. Our meals are incredibly yummy.


Last time I went Paleo for 30 days, I added chocolate once a week or so. And I’m not going to lie–my brain tells me I could really use a chocolate ice cream bar right about now. Sugar elicits the same response as dopamine, and it’s unrealistic for me to expect these desires to just disappear after seven days. However, I am noticing my taste buds recalibrating. Foods I normally wouldn’t have thought of as sweet (like almonds, or celery) now seem very sugary and I look forward to even a small bite of fruit (which I’ll admit I normally would’ve wanted to put whipped cream on). Feeling full and satisfied after meals helps with this a bit, and trying to find protein or fat-rich foods instead of sugary ones is helping a bit.


So far the cost has not been too over-the-top. My caveman and I have been spending an average of $80-$90/week (each) on groceries. This is lower than it could be since we already invested in a freezer full of grassfed beef, but higher than it could be since we had to buy some staples, like olive oil. As mentioned, we’re following the meal plan from Sarah Fragosa’s Everyday Paleo cookbook. Were we actually making all of our own meals rather than using the meal plan, we likely would include less of certain ingredients we don’t have around (but it may not taste quite as good.) We’re also buying organic produce whenever possible. $340 for a month per person (or $680 for a couple) seems a bit steep, but we are saving on eating out which can easily run $200-300/month if you go out once a week.


One of the first things I noticed on Whole30 is that my energy has been pretty steady (as well as my digestion). I did notice some lethargic feelings at the tale end of the week, likely resulting from a quick drop in carbs. This is pretty typical and goes away after a week or two once the body shifts from carb-burning mode to a more efficient fat-burning mode. But I’ve been sleeping more (and better) and have not had the energy rollercoaster ride I get from quick sources of energy (like junk food).

Effects on Performance

I just started a new training program, so it’s too soon to judge. I’m on a conditioning cycle and my conditioning definitely still needs work as I’m feeling a little sluggish. I do expect things to even out soon, though, especially after reading a post on low carb Paleo Crossfit. I will keep you posted.


My recovery is actually surprisingly good. I did about 7 hours of BJJ last week in addition to my conditioning workouts, and I’m pleased to say my bruises and sore muscles healed up quicker than I’d expected.

Body Comp

I haven’t noticed any changes yet, though my caveman insists I’m a bit leaner.

Assorted Observations


Part of it is probably a nervous habit, but I’ve been having a very hard time without chewing gum. I’m sure part of this is due to the sugar/dopamine fix, but I also get really paranoid about having bad breath–so I’ve been brushing my teeth extra. Nobody has said anything to me so far, aside from one person asking me if I just ate curry! I guess I can deal with that…

Butter and Bacon and Jerky, Oh My

I don’t mind cooking with coconut oil and adding olive oil to salads, but sometimes eggs in butter are pretty tasty. I kind of miss the flavor. We have not been able to find bacon and jerky that’s Whole30 compliant in our stores, so are doing without. (I know there’s some available by mail order, but it’s spendy, and then you have to wait for shipping.) So this is one of the hard parts right now–missing out on some flavors I like.