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Hello all you wonderful Primal maniacs!  This is just a note to update you on our status and why things have been a bit slow lately with the material.

1.  I’ve been traveling quite a bit speaking and teaching.  Thus I haven’t been in my “studio” to get some material up and running.  I know poor excuse but it’s mine nonetheless.   🙂

2.  WE HAVE A NEW SITE!!!!  From now on this site will exist, but will be inactive.  To keep up to date on all of the new recipes, posts, forums and podcasts visit  It’s the same basic format, but cleaner and more importantly linked to iTunes.  Now you crazy cats can follow from the site and/or download materials from iTunes for Free (just remember the podcast is Primal Evolution.  We couldn’t get that name for the site due to Primal Evolution also being a video game and having rights to the name already).

Anyhow, thanks for your support and insight and don’t forget….
see you re-volvers soon 🙂


Dr. Jon


Forks Over Knives

I recently watched the film, “Forks Over Knives” and was asked to write what I thought of the movie being a paleo buff, but more importantly as an objective scientist.  I take that very seriously: in my practice, in my writing and in my podcasting.  In all honesty, if you’re staying healthy and receiving results from any lifestyle that isn’t entirely destructive I’m happy for you.  Don’t expect me to not point out any flaws that I think may be deleterious to you long term success (as I would expect the same from any of my aforementioned means of providing information.  After all, is that not how science grows?  Point out flaws and study them until they’re proven or disproved?).  With that being said, this is what I thought of the movie.

From a entertainment standpoint it was a fairly well done documentary.  The agenda of the movie was well covered, featured the “titans of the industry” so to speak and provided all sorts of heart warming stories of success.  Additionally, I thought the movie addressed some poignant questions, but that’s really where it ended for me.

As health care provider and as a scientist think of myself as a pretty analytical person.  I want to see results and I want to see results posted in truth: no data conveniently left out (i.e. Ancel Keys).  From a scientific standpoint this movie had tremendous holes in its application.  What agenda was the movie promoting?  Well to hear the narrator describe it, we’d call it “whole food plant based.”  But if we’re getting real, we’re promoting veganism.  I get why the film was careful not to include the words vegan or vegetarian in the title or throughout the content.  They wanted to be looked at more scientifically sound than to come across as promoting a dogmatic movement.  But in the end, this is exactly what the doctors support, it is what they have applied and it is what the movie is trying to support.  Again, I have no problem with a film supporting or marketing such material, but when you as Mat Lalonde says, “people that make or overstate their claims or make mistakes are treated to a question and answer period that makes a CIA interrogation look like a teenybopper interview.”  Now I’m not quite as well versed in the chemistry and science (yet) as Dr. Lalonde, but I know enough to call shenanigans when I see it .  And that’s exactly what this film does with meat, thus, you must expect that any respectable scientist will call you out for what you are promoting… sensationalism.  Now I could write forever and break down every piece of information I found fault with in this movie, but I have people to see in practice yet and not enough time to do so.  Good news however is that a wonderful writer Denise Minger has already done so for you!  If you want to read (and I suggest you block off some time, because this is IN DEPTH and really well done) then here is the link


What I wanted to discuss briefly was the overall theme of the movie and how the material is presented.  That theme: meat causes disease and is killing us all.   For starters, the china study has been widely discredited by the scientific community for its lack of sound referencing as well as its lack of specificity. For example, the study included 367 variables and made 8000 correlations. This is far from scientific and cannot accurately draw causal relationships as such. Which leads me to my next point.
Over and over again they narrator and Drs. Campbell and Esselstyn draw reference to the fact that countries that produce meat have higher incidences of many different diseases. There conclusion is that this simply means that meat is the cause of such problems. The problem with this is that it’s not scientific and it doesn’t even make sense.

For example, if I take 6 students and pair them up so that 2 students study for a test for 60minutes, 2 for 65 and 2 for 75 minutes. Lets then assume that scores for the test are 61, 64,75,80,86 & 92 respectively. From that data I can assume a correlation between studying more and a better test score, but I cannot prove that it caused it. Some of the students that studied more may have just been smarter, perhaps one of the students studying less has a learning disability or another was up until 3am. the morning before the test causing he/she to score lower.

There are too many variables to confidently say that studying less causes a lower score or visa-versa. The problem is that is exactly what this movie and the China Study in particular are saying. Without taking into account the many other risk factors that are associated with the diseases mentioned they just assume that meat is the single cause to these many problems.

There are many well intended points made in the movie and you can tell these doctors have great passion for what they do and are out to help as many people as they can.  To that extent I am very pleased.  They could easily be writing scrips for Lipitor and Linsinopril, etc…  Instead they are using their knowledge to help illicit the innate potential of the body through diet as a means to help people achieve health again.  In the end however, you cannot ignore the possibilities that are being limited by this thinking.  There are obvious benefits to meat consumption when done properly.  I hope that this explanation and Denise’s deconstruction of the science in the movie are helpful in your understanding of the paleo concept (seriously if you haven’t read her review yet do it NOW!!).

Poke the Beehive

How many times must one poke the beehive before they realize being stung is no fun?  For this guy I’m going to say once.  Yesterday and today have been enlightening to say the least.

Having been off the grain bandwagon and legumes (I have had sugar…that’s the hard one for me that continues to be a struggle to wean) I decided to conduct a little experiment yesterday.  I went to Jimmy Johns and had a sub for lunch.  Very basic and not too bad minus the bread (I had no mayo and a turkey sandwich with sprouts, onion and tomato).  Both my wife and I didn’t feel very well that night.  Since I wasn’t sure if it was the bread and preservatives or the lack of sleep we both had from our 6 month old the night before I decided to roll with the experiment and jump into the deep end…I went to the golden arches for lunch today.

Since I had a coupon for a medium fry and drink with a burger purchase I partook.  Let me just say, one of the worst ideas of my life.  I not only poked the beehive, I shook it, hit it with a bat and then rolled around in the aftermath!  I feel like crap right now.  My digestion has been horrendous (you’re welcome for not going into detail), my stomach is killing me, I feel jittery and I just want to curl up into the fetal position and rock myself to sleep.

Let my use of my own body as a Guinea Pig be a lesson to you all.  Make the transition and don’t look back.  There’s no need.

Breaking Up Isn’t That Hard To Do!

My mom would be so proud!  I remembered the title to one of the classic “oldies” songs she played all the time I was growing up!  But the truth of the matter is this:  Breaking up with my old foods hasn’t been nearly as hard as I thought.

The food I thought would be the biggest problem has really been the easiest: bread.  I thought there was no way I could get through breakfast, lunch and diner without bread being involved in some way.  Boy was I wrong.  I’ve not only found that it has been the easiest thing to eliminate, it has also provided the greatest gain in my eating.

I feel better without bread, my digestion has improved without bread and the flavors I’ve introduced to replace bread have been much tastier and far better for me nutritionally.  For example, last week I ran to the store and got a chicken breast, seasoned it and sanwhiched it between 2 slices of a portabella mushroom!  I added some cabbage slaw for crunch and had a side of carrot sticks wit it.  Fantastic!  I never would have done that before.

I’ve also found that I’m much more satisfied in between meals than before.  I did have an indulgence of some ice cream with my wife Saturday night, but I’m finding that regularly I have little to no cravings between meals.  Biologically this makes sense.

Bread is as carbohydrate as it gets (if that’s even such a thing).  It’s dense, refined and fortified with “vitamins and minerals” since the natural elements are stripped in milling and bleaching of making grains into bread.  Therefore, bread being a carb turns to sugar in the digestive process.  This happens fast with bread because it’s a high glycemic carb, which means it turns from carbohydrate to sugar rapidly in the body causing a quick spike in blood sugar.  This process gives a quick sense of satisfaction followed shortly by a crash leaving one hungry and seeking the pantry for refuge.

What’s worse, the introduction of the carbs such as these on a regular basis eventually makes your bodies mechanism of removing these sugars from your blood less effective.  That mechanism is insulin.  Eventually, given the right set of lifestyle circumstances your body loses its ability to respond to sugar in the blood…hence adult onset diabetes.  Certainly bread isn’t the only problem, but grains have other awful health implications I will discuss at a later date.

For now, just know that if you are starting the paleo lifestyle (or any other healthy lifestyle change) the things you feel will be the hardest to live without may very well be the easiest to leave behind.  Give it a try, you will probably be surprised.

Primal Hunt…Primal Rewards!

As I’ve previously mentioned having found the Primal Blueprint, Paleo Solutions, etc… excited me beyond belief as I felt as though I had found a lifestyle that really jived with who I am and what I love (for the most part, I really love ice cream!).  One of those things that connected the primal lifestyle to myself was that I am an avid outdoors man I was excited for the primal eating plan.  Because of my endevors in the outdoors my family eats a lot of wild game!  Perfect!  This time of year is big game hunting season in the Midwest (my favorite time of year) so I decided to embark on an ancestral hunt for a workout.

I have a membership to the local YMCA.  I wish I had a membership to a crossfit gym as well, but I can’t afford the luxury of both right now and having a 6 month old meant the YMCA won out so I could actually get some workouts in while she was watched over!  Here’s my workout and my harvest of that workout 🙂

Goal: Hunt down prey and return food back to camp in less than 1 hour

2 miles on the treadmill with a rolling hills workout – level 10 out of 20 and speed 7.8 out of 15 (7:45 miles)

2 mile jog/fast walk back on the treadmill carrying a 35lbs. kettle bell in a backpack changing bag positions every .25 miles.  Level 8/20 and avg. speed of 5.0 (about 15min/mi pace).

Goal accomplished!


Reward: Paleo Tuna Melt

1 can tuna

1 egg

teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 scallion chopped

1 clove garlic minced

pinch of sea salt

1 chopped carrot

fresh lemon juice

small sprinkle of cheese ( I will eat a very liberal amount of dairy in form of cheese every so often)

Mix ingredients together and sear in a frying pan over medium heat.  Serve over a bed of lettuce or spinach ( I had no spinach in the house today).

Today has been a good day 🙂

Starting is always the hardest part.

One thing I’ve always taught my practice members is that with any major lifestyle transition it is best to not let your ambitions get the best of you.  Far too many of us get very excited about a new workout, eating plan or any healthy activity in general.  Our ambitions and good intentions drive us to jump in feet first, but we often end up in water over our heads.

This over the top ambition ultimately leads to burn out, which leads to failure to comply in most instances.  Unless you are an extremely motivated and tirelessly dedicated individual going from 0-100% overnight can be too much to handle.  Besides we are after all creatures of habit so breaking an old habit to replace with a new is not an easy task by any means.  The key is finding consistency in places you know you can succeed.  Doing this keeps excitement levels high, provides continuous motivation and provides time for your body to experience the benefits making it easier to leave old habits behind.  In total this leads to complete transformation and total success.

This too has been my approach in the past few days with my paleo conversion.  I’ve lived 29 years without it and I realize that for me, transitioning in total will not be beneficial.  My first two days actually went pretty well.  I had not gone to the market so I did not have many vegetables or fruits left on hand so I mainly relied on turkey bacon and eggs (I’ve read mixed reviews on whether or not eggs are inclusive, but I like Mark Sisson’s take on it so I’m sticking with them), tomato burgers (no bun) and sushi (again I went with sashimi as to avoid the rice).  The diet as I say has been pretty good…until today.

I had a bit of a slip today.  I ran to the gym and got a solid workout in.  When arriving home I had some cabbage and turkey sausage (low sodium and it’s turkey breast meat) for lunch.  However, I felt an insatiable craving for chocolate chip cookies.  I gave in and made a batch eating 3 before turning myself in to my own conscience.  Now as I’m writing this I have quite the headache, whether that is attributed to the sharp spike in glucose levels in my blood and the corresponding insulin spike, who knows, but it seems too closely related to be mere coincidence.

Needless to say this has been a successful first few days.  Not easy days, but successful.  Stay tuned fellow primals.

And So It Begins…

Hello fellow primal enthusiasts, curious investigators and random readers alike!  My name is Dr. Jonathan Ploeger, I’m a chiropractor with a little bit different approach to everything that I do.  Today is the first of many posts and what I hope will be enlightening, educating, supportive and perhaps even inspiring as I begin a new venture into the world of primal living.

I first discovered the idea of primal living or the paleolithic lifestyle from my brother-in-law Kevin who also happens to be a chiropractor.  He had been dealing with the issues many doctors face coming out of school.  Being overweight, fatigued, crappy eating habits, inconsistent work out routine, etc…  His practice in Chicago focused on working with diabetic and thyroid disorders.  Through his clinical research he stumbled upon Mark Sisson and became intrigued.  Kevin decided these philosophies and statistics resonated with him and he began applying the lifestyle to himself.  Fast forward 6-8 months.

Kevin and my family are skyping talking about a trip we will be taking together to North Dakota in the near future.  In our discussion Kevin and I start talking shop as we usually do.  He mentions to me how great he has felt since taking on this new lifestyle and what it’s done for him.

What Kevin doesn’t know is that his story is now resonating with me.  For the past 2+ years I’ve struggled to find a lifestyle path I can follow.  I’ve been running marathons, but not running consistantly because the training is killing my body and I look at the workouts as obstacles rather than release (and I actually enjoy running).  I’m tired all the time and even though I’m in decent shape I’m getting sick two sometimes three times per year.  The bottom line is I’m just not healthy.  My body is not strong enough to overcome the stresses it faces on a daily basis.  This is even more troubling to me because it is what I’m teaching my practice members about health.  So here I am tired, unhappy, sick and frustrated.  Needless to say, what Kevin was laying down, I was picking up!

I’ve spent the past few weeks now reading books, blogs, listening to podcasts and researching some of the issues addressed by this concept and I have to say I like it.  In fact I’m all in.  This post is the first of many to come and what I hope will be an evolution.  The evolution will start with me and hopefully transfer to a clinical setting where I can positively influence the members of my practice and community in what it means to be intelligent with our health.

I hope these writings will be useful to you the reader as a way of relating in your own struggles as well as triumphs.  I promise to keep this raw.  I’m not the doctor that sugarcoats reality for the sake of feelings.  If I’m struggling I’ll let you know and hopefully you can help get me through, answer my questions and ensure future success.  Enjoy what follows, I’m truly excited to see what happens.