Archive | 5 Questions with…

From a low-fat low-carb diet to high-fat all the way, meet Graeme Goode


I met Graeme at a friends Primal dinner party a few months back and he explained to me what a difference eating low-carb high-fat had made to his training and his life, so I thought I’d catch up with him and share his story. Graeme is into MMA and hardcore guy exercize stuff… that I don’t know very much about, but I always find it interesting how well this seems to work for super active people, so if you’re one of them, Graeme is living proof that high fat is sustainable!

1. How long have you been Primal and what was your primary motivation?

Since I met Donal O’Neill in late 2012 through Louise Knoop. I was eating a low fat, low carb eating plan (steamed chicken breast, steamed broccolli/veg 3 times a day, with snacks in between – very little fat. I was also training twice a day – early morning and late afternoon, doing Jiu-Jitsu and MMA training.

He had one look at me, asked a few questions regarding what my eating was and told me about Cereal Killers. This was a Sunday – Monday I went full high fat and I haven’t looked back. I needed strength, endurance and weight loss – plus the added health benefit. I got it all from this way of eating.

2. What is the most significant benefit you’ve experienced?

I’ve just got better looking – just kidding, I have noticed a change in all aspects of my life really. I sustained 2 relatively serious shoulder injuries from Jiu-Jitsu – 2 torn rotator cuffs. I stopped training for 2 weeks and then came back hitting the anti-inflammatories hard after the training sessions.

After 1 week of repetitive use of the anti-inflams I upped the fat content and was able to train and not have as bad pain as before…weird right? I can also surf without too much discomfort – the paddling before really made me ache afterwards.

3. Do you ever cheat and if so, how often?

I do – having a wife that has a sweet tooth does not help me! I cheat on the weekend – I don’t feel great afterwards but I think you need to break away and not prevent yourself from indulging once in a while. I don’t go completely mental but I do enjoy a few sweets.

4. What’s your favourite Primal dish?

I absolutely love pork belly on the Weber with cauliflower mash and LOADS of butter!

5. Random Graeme fact?

I take shot glasses of coconut oil and olive oil as often as I can. I also cannot resist eating butter on it’s own – yum!

Thanks Graeme, not so sure if I could stomach those shots without a smoothie mix, but they definitely seem to be working for you, so I may give them a try!


5 Questions with Carly Shankman


Carly is the owner of popular blog Peace, Love & Kale as well as a Certified Holistic Health Coach trained through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition & a member of AADP (American Association of Drugless Practitioners).

She believes that mental, spiritual and physical health are NOT exclusive of one another and that in order to reach optimal health, we must look at the WHOLE being; your relationships, work environment, spiritual practices, exercise patterns, relationship with food and the food we are selecting to fuel our bodies.

1. How long have you been Primal and what was your primary motivation?

I was a vegetarian with bouts of veganism for 7 years and according to conventional nutrition I should have been the image of ideal health. As a vegan, I initially saw huge benefits in my health; I felt connected to my body in a way I never had before. I was predominately eating food from the Earth and this allowed me to recognize what my cravings were – instead of sugar I realized I was actually craving high quality fat, water, a walk, a friend to talk to, or a list of other things my body (or heart) was asking for. I developed a deep and connected relationship with my body and I could hear the messages clearly.

I truly had an experience with knowing that my body can only perform based off the quality of food I choose to fuel it with. I lost the college weight, my skin began to glow, my spiritual practices were deeper, and I went from a love/hate relationship with my body to a love/love relationship. It was incredible, yet I was always a couple steps away from the goals I wanted to obtain in regards to my health and body.

I continued my vegan/vegetarian diet for many years, until I started to see my health and vitality deteriorate again – I had hit a plateau and was having dreams of eating meat.

In 2012, I decided to embrace good old-fashioned meat, and overnight, I added in animal protein and more fat than I ever thought was “safe” to eat – I feasted on chicken, pork, beef, coconut, raw dairy, eggs (yolk and all ::gasp!::), avocado, and butter. The effects were instant.

Within 2 days of eating meat again, I felt strong and grounded in a way I hadn’t felt in many years. I felt like all the energy literally drained from the constant swirl around my head and flowed evenly throughout my body; my head was clear and alert. I began rockin’ the body, energy, and level of vibrancy that I had never before experienced and I felt alive, inspired and radiant. I had found the level of health that had alluded me for so long! This, I liked.

2. What is the most significant benefit you’ve experienced?

Carly ShankmanToday, I follow more of a paleo/gluten-free/Weston A. Price/do-my-best diet. I simply follow the guidelines that work for me and discard the ones that don’t. Do I drink, yes? Do I eat quinoa on the regular because it’s easy, fast, and incredibly versatile and tasty? Yes. Do I eat too much almond & cashew butter, hell yes.

But I have a deep and respectful relationship with my body which allows me to listen to the cues and cravings to know how best to fuel and service my temple.

I know for the first time in my entire life, I have a healthy, respectful, loving relationship with food. I feel strong and confident in my body, I look forward to creating new and delicious meals in the kitchen, and I feel light, radiant, and clear.

3. Do you ever cheat and if so, how often?

Hmm cheat is a hard word because cheating is like I’m deviating from some set, strict plan when in reality what I’m doing is choosing foods that allow me to be the very best, most vibrant version of myself. Are there nights when I go out and drink beer and eat pizza, absolutely. But I know my body doesn’t thrive on that so when I want it, I eat it but the majority of the time I crave true nutritious food.

4. What’s your favourite Primal dish?

ANYTHING with eggs: frittata, hash, scrambled, baked, poached – they are a powerhouse of nutrients, so easy to make and extremely versatile. I also love spaghetti squash, bacon from the farmer’s market, and raw almond butter. As for a complete meal, probably this Luscious Lemon Butter Salmon.

5. Random Carly fact?

I LOVE to dance and sing! If I wasn’t so passionate about nutrition and wellness, my dream job would be to be on stage entertaining the masses with my (offpitch) voice and badass dance moves. You can usually find me rockin’ out in the kitchen while I cook!

Haha, awesome Carly, sounds like fun! I love the way you have such a deep understanding of your own body and what it’s asking of you – thanks so much for taking the time to share your story with us.


5 Questions with Cornelia van Breda


I mentioned in my 5 questions interview with Louise Knoop that I was the fattest girl in the Pilates class. Well, Cornelia was one of the sexy primal ones! Another inspiring primal Pilates coach, Cornelia resides in the beautiful Mossel Bay and runs her own Pilates studio called Reform. If you’d like to join her classes you can contact her via email.

1. How long have you been Primal and what was your primary motivation?

I’ve been primal for more or less 2 years now. My main motivations were that I suffered from IBS and always felt very moody and tired. Although I was never diagnosed with any specific condition, I suspect I was insulin resistant from years of following a “healthy” (bullshit) low fat, low sugar, wholegrain high-carb diet. I never managed to lose my pregnancy fat, I had skin allergies, breakouts and acne as a 30 year old, combined with horrible periods and mood swings.

2. What is the most significant benefit you’ve experienced?

I can’t pick one, everything improved! My sex life, energy, moodiness, overall health, mindset, skin conditions… there is just too much to mention. But the biggest benefit has been no more IBS. As long as I stay away from wheat, I feel ‘quality of life’.

3. Do you ever cheat and if so, how often?

Yes I do, maybe once every 2 weeks. If I really crave something out of line, a bite is almost always enough to satisfy the need. One of the most amazing changes the primal lifestyle gave me is that I lost my constant need for sugary food. But I really don’t see it as cheating. Living primal is not a religion. In this way I don’t feel deprived, but rather I see it as a choice. It’s A: Do I wanna feel like a sick person? or B: Do I wanna feel great? Then it’s easy.

So what do I cheat with? Mostly pizza and bread… BUT… there is a science behind cheating. If I really feel like a pizza, I’ll go for the best quality ingredients. As close to the primal way as possible. The same goes for bread, made with sourdough, no preservatives, no shop bread or wholewheat, and in very small quantities. Definitely NOT a large pizza or a whole loaf of bread. The great thing about the primal lifestyle is that you really need less food to feel satisfied and a little treat here and there goes a long way.

4. What’s your favourite Primal dish?

I’ve always loved meat, so a juicy rare fillet steak is still my favourite. Skaap tjops too, what can I say, I’m a South African girl! I also always keep stock of my homemade primal-granola nut mix with homemade date-paste and double cream probiotic yogurt. That is my go to food if I don’t have time or energy to cook. Oh and bacon… mmm… and slow cooked stew, I’m such a food nerd so the list can go on and on!

5. Random Cornelia fact?

I love food!

Haha, me too! Thanks Cornelia and if anyone is interested in Cornelia’s primal granola nut mix recipe, she has kindly shared it with us below.

Primal Granola Nut Mix Recipe:

1 cup nuts (almonds, pistachios, pecans, macadamia’s)
2 tbsp tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into tsp size cubes

Mix nuts, tapioca flour, salt, cinnamon & honey in the bowl of a food processor. Add in your butter, a chunk at a time, pulsing the food processor until you’ve created a rough, chunky texture. Even spread the mixture out on a lined baking tray and bake at 180 degrees for 12 minutes.


5 Questions with Louise Knoop


I met Louise at the start of 2013 while I was having a mini-quarter life crisis about my career. I had decided that web design wasn’t my true passion and I wanted to become a Pilates teacher. At the time Louise was running a Pilates course in Cape Town that sounded perfect, so I signed up…

I rocked up on my first day to find out that I was the fattest girl in the class. Lovely. I then had to spend 2 weeks watching Louise prance around like a ray of a light with endless energy, while I sat there trying to concentrate through the hunger and brain fog that was my life. After 2 weeks of this I decided that enough was enough and I asked Louise to help me ‘be more like her’! And here we are today…

1. How long have you been Primal and what was your primary motivation?

I primally embarked in April 2012 under the professional guidance of Donal O’Neill, the Cereal Killer! I was preparing for a Pilates presentation at an international conference. I needed energy, strength and lightness. In our profession we do not get too much time for meals and snacks and there is quite a bit of anxiety around calculating teaching hours and energy refueling. Eating during an 8 hour day of teaching and demonstrating on a course can “get in the way” logistically and physically. Eating fat took away this anxiety, producing REAL hunger, which only happens every 5-8 hours…freedom!!!!

2. What is the most significant benefit you’ve experienced?

I’ve been wheat free, dairy free and meat free at various points in my life but nothing has made me feel as strong and healthy as eating FAT. The lack of cravings, energy dips and insulin charged hunger cycles have made for a far freer, productive existence. I definitely still enjoy my food, but at a time that is convenient to me and my work schedule. My hunger does not rule me, I am fat fueled and free.

The hugest physiological benefit was beating a chronic inflammation condition… more about that very personal journey here…

3. Do you ever cheat and if so, how often?

Yip, sushi once a week. Otherwise I feel no need to ‘cheat’. Fat makes me very happy. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by conscious friends who are on similar paths so I don’t feel any social pressure, rather a sense of broad-minded community and understanding. I also do not mind being ‘different’ by being true to ME. Food fueling is important to me and how I feel in my skin so I make sure I am able to get what I need or I eat before going out.

4. What’s your favourite Primal dish?

Breakfast for lunch! Omelette, eggs, bacon! I have coffee in the morning and happily only eat after 11.30am so lunch is brunch… a healthily stuffed omelette or egg dish – just this morning Clarke’s on Bree Street (Cape Town) turned their hash eggs into cauliflower hash eggs for me… DO NOT be afraid to ask for adaptations to the menu. As Prof Noakes said this week “Not one human alive should be eating wheat.” This kind of brunch keeps me going until I have tea at about 3-4pm with a small snack (I make a mean seed ‘bread’) and then dinner.

5. Random Louise fact?

I put butter on my eggs, I put butter on my cheese! Out with a bunch of (self proclaimed) Pilates Nerds in Santa Barbara last month, I surreptitiously ate the (real) butter on the table while everyone ate the whole grain bread!!

On a more serious note, I’d always considered myself open-minded but eating this way blew the doors of my mind wide open. Owning the impact Pharma and Marketing had on our every day choices and how my instinctual understandings were more spot on than I thought led me to question everything around me and find bare truths for myself. This ran concurrent with a major professional shift and personal growth for which I am beyond grateful. My new business, Prime Movement cultivates and restores natural ability on the premise that the body KNOWS. This lifestyle shuts out the ‘noise’, allowing the body to do what it does best – heal itself.

Thanks Louise – I definitely believe that our bodies have the power to heal themselves too. Thanks for your time, for sharing your wisdom with us and for being my personal Primal inspiration!


5 Questions with Matt Cohen


Meet Matt Cohen. Matt resides in Cape Town, South Africa and is the Chief Product Officer over at – my favourite WordPress theme shop. He is a WordPress and web developer, musician and blogger. Lover of punk rock, innovation, business & 80s/90s television.

1. How long have you been Primal and what was your primary motivation?

The funny story is, I didn’t realise I was “primal” until I read your website. A few months ago (around November 2013), I made a conscious decision to start eating much healthier, exercise far more regularly (I’d been exercising maybe once a week, at most) and to really immerse myself in a healthy lifestyle.

I did this by using the tools I know to work for me (lots of reading, finding tech gadgets to motivate me, etc) and kick started this all.

When I read your website, it dawned on me that this is what I’ve been doing (eat lots of proteins and plants, move slowly, lift heavy objects). Finally, I had a name to call it! 🙂

2. What is the most significant benefit you’ve experienced?

Definitely feeling fitter. Regular exercise has helped my breathing a *lot*, which has always been difficult for me when exercising. I’ve also found that my body has begun to rebel against “bad food”, which is great! I love eating healthy food (salad, lean steak, vegetables) so that was never an issue. Now that I know my body will feel terrible after eating a bunch of junk food, or a really starchy (bad starchy) meal, I stay away from it (not entirely, but you know…).

3. Do you ever cheat and if so, how often?

To me, there’s no such thing as a cheat. “Cheat” implies that it’s something bad. This makes the person inevitably feel bad. Also, “cheat” implies that there is a strict “diet” involved. “Diet” is another one of those words. Being “on a diet” implies that one will eventually be “off the diet”, which isn’t really the point. I prefer to think of primal as a lifestyle, with “free” meals or snacks from time to time (“free” being the substitute word for “cheat”).

4. What’s your favourite Primal dish?

While I’m not sure if it’s 100% a primal dish, I love a good steak. No fancy sauces or anything like that. Steak, with steamed/roasted vegetables and (occasionally) some mashed potato/sweet potato. It’s a combination of a primal meal with the option to make it partly a “free” meal as well.

(That’s definitely 100% primal!)

5. Random Matt fact?

Well, I can add to the above that finding a passion, and spending regular time with it, makes the world of difference. I love music, and have been a guitarist for as long as I can remember (around 15 years or so). Spending time playing music, helps to create more life balance, which in turn affects one’s exercising and eating habits in a positive way. Spending time doing the things one loves (for me that’s music, coding, reading and exercising) helps to craft a sustainable lifestyle, instead of focussing only on “weight loss” or “healthy living” which can wear one down, over time (focussing on one task can become cumbersome, over time).

Totally agree Matt, some really good insight. When you know what makes you feel most alive in life, it makes it that much easier to harness that energy and express it in all areas of your life. Thanks for your time!