by MJ

AIR  ~  Movement of the Day:
Day 88 of the 100 Day Challenge! Knee Tucks. This full body movement is especially helpful for core strength. From running, to carrying your groceries, core strength in general is invaluable for all the activities you do during your busy day, so keep it strong! [Click here for additional Workouts]

FUEL  ~  Dish of the Day:
A good reminder today to keep your plate balanced! Every meal (and even snack!) should contain an element of Plants, Fats and Protein. [Click here for additional Recipes]


SPARK  ~  Thought of the Day:
Quote of the Day:  When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge. ~ Tuli Kupferberg

Essential Element: Most people cannot readily describe what they want – what they would like to experience, become or create. This is exactly why most change efforts fail.  [Click to read Spark Insight: 'Creating Change'].

Journal:  You have no idea what your missing. It’s that thing that hasn’t happened yet, that non-entity waiting out in the spaces of the coming days to be created.  What is it? How will it taste? Feel? Look? Envision in your journal the specifics of that vague idea you continue to dwell on in the realm of your health and well being. You know you want it more than anything. What must you start doing to make this a reality? What must you stop?  [Click here for additional Journal exercises]


by MJ

AIR  ~  Movement of the Day:
Day 37 of the 100 Day Challenge and we’re back to an old favorite! Burpees! Enjoy your movement today and remember, the discipline you are exhibiting today will serve you so well tomorrow and every day to come! [Click here for additional Workouts]

FUEL  ~  Dish of the Day:
Having trouble ‘balancing’ your lunch plate? Take a look at what Dr. Paul’s having! His Plants, Fats and Protein dish will have you feeling great! [Click here for additional Recipes]


SPARK  ~  Thought of the Day:
Quote of the Day: It is not that love is blind.  It is that love sees with a painter’s eye, finding the essence that renders all else background.  ~ Robert Brault

Essential Element:  Unconditional Love is the purest expression of genuine acceptance.  It’s important to differentiate that Unconditional Love does not imply unconditional approval.  We should reserve the right to disapprove of another’s behavior, yet, without judgment, accept them and love them unconditionally  [click here to read Spark Insight: Unconditional Love].

Journal: All of us have people with whom we very much disagree. We couldn’t be more different, and don’t’ see eye –to-eye, at all. They may in fact reside within our extended family!  The mark of a healthy mental attitude on the deepest level is being able  to accept these people unconditionally – rather then letting them get under our skin. Is there someone whom you very outwardly disapprove of? Jot them down in your journal –  then write down how you will outwardly choose to demonstrate your love for them this week.   [Click here for additional Journal exercises]

Hormone Balance and Food Combining: How Proteins, Carbs and Fats Affect the Body’s Behavior

by drpaul

Balance your hormones by balancing the things you put in your mouth.  I don’t mean weighing your food or putting them on the scales of justice (although you should justify what you do eat based on how you will feel, both physically and mentally, POST consumption, NOT pre-consumption).  This is more about balancing the types of foods you eat.  That’s right:  the foods that you do or don’t eat and the combinations of them play a major role in the types of hormones that are released in your body.

The western (modern) diet basically tells our bodies one thing hormonally…GROW.  Yep, if you eat like the average American, you are eating a diet that gives you no chance at being healthy or having a “magazine-like” body.  And we’re not talking Cosmo, People or Muscle Media, we’re talking Shape or Women’s/Men’s Health, or any other magazine that depicts people who at least appear healthful.  You see, the average American eats roughly 50% of their calories from carbohydrates, and most of them come in the form of processed grains, sugar and corn syrup.

If you compare this to our ancestors’ diets, you will see a large difference in both the amount and the type.  About 25-40% of our ancestors’ diet was comprised of carbs, and those were pretty much exclusively vegetables with some fruit (not a lot).  This plays a huge role in our hormones and in our size.  Now, it is safe to say that nobody wants to be fat, but from a physiological perspective on the way that we eat in this country, it sure seems like that is the goal.  Not only are we eating tons of these processed carbs, but it is also the way that we eat them.  You see, different hormones are released, based on the food combinations that we choose.

Food Choices and Hormonal Response
What is a typical breakfast in the States (if it is even eaten)?  Cereal comes to mind, along with pastries, pop tarts, packaged waffles, bagels or toast right?  We’re not sure how mainstream media switched the good ol’ fashion steak and eggs to a sugar slap first thing in the morning, but it has happened.  Eating like this is just like a slap or a punch to the pancreas, telling insulin to be released and telling the body to grow, grow, grow.  We would have never eaten that high a sugar content or anything remotely like these foods in our hunter-gather days.  And remember, we are the same – our genes haven’t changed much, if at all, in the last 40,000 years.

You may be wondering what you should eat for breakfast; we have some ideas.

Carbs are going to spike our insulin, no matter what; however, we can curb that spike to some degree if we eat some protein and fat along with the carbs.  We are in no way recommending a high carb, high processed food diet.  It’s important to take it one step further when eating fruits and veggies.  It is best when we eat a balanced diet by consuming protein, fat and healthful carbs together at every meal.  This is the basis for The Zone Diet prescribed by Dr. Barry Sears.  Where we at Bonfire Health differs from Dr. Sears is when it comes to quality of food.  He goes into this somewhat, but we want you to focus on eating natural foods (from the earth, not processed), as well as balancing the macronutrient content (protein, carbs and fats).

By eating healthful carbohydrates (fruits and veggies), you will dramatically decrease the insulin released, which will decrease your body’s message to grow and store fat.  By going a step further, eating a small portion of lean protein (grass-fed beef, turkey, chicken, etc.) and fats (avocados, nuts, seeds) along with those carbs, you will in fact be balancing your hormones, which will keep you healthy or move you toward health!

For more info on balancing hormones through foods, as well as other great nutritional info, visit:

What is The Zone Diet

Crossfit Nutrition

The Paleo Diet

Robb Wolf

Wiki on Hormones


by MJ

AIR  ~  Movement of the Day:
Back Squat. It’s important to focus on your form during this Olympic Lifting move. And once you’ve got it down, the squat component will translate into several more of your Bonfire exercises! [Click here for additional Workouts]

FUEL  ~  Dish of the Day:
By now, we’ve hammered home the importance of Plants, Fats, and Protein at your daily meals. Take a look at Dr. Paul’s beautiful, balance lunch today!  [Click here for additional Recipes]


SPARK  ~  Thought of the Day:
Quote of the Day: Early morning hath gold in its mouth. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Essential Element: Get out of your rut. If your morning routine looks more like survival of the fittest and a race against the clock, it is time to take back your morning[click here to read Spark Insight: Morning Rituals]

Journal:  What does a typical morning look like for you? Use your journal to map out your current wake-until-departure time – in 15 minute increments. Then circle the segments that currently create stress in your morning. What could you change within each of these trouble spots? Envision how you can distress the time and grant peace to your morning.  [Click here for additional Journal exercises]


by admin

AIR  ~  Movement of the Day:
Slide Unders are a fantastic way to switch up your standard exercises and put a little excitement into your day! Easily scalable, you can add weights while you’re ‘sliding’ to take it up a notch.  [Click here for additional Workouts]

FUEL  ~  Dish of the Day:
Looking for a colorful, protein packed dinner tonight? Look no further and turn up the oven for Classic Stuffed Peppers! Not only will you and your family enjoy this dish straight from the oven, you’ll also be able to take these satisfying leftovers to work the rest of the week!  [Click here for additional Recipes]


SPARK  ~  Thought of the Day:
Quote of the Day: When a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it. ~ Edgar Watson Howe
Essential Element: We must seek opportunities to fulfill our and others’ innate needs and deliberately fill them. [click here to read 'Spark Insight: Connection]
Journal: You know that person who is struggling? That friend who just can’t seem to catch a break? Put yourself in their shoes – feel what they are feeling. What would you want someone to do for you? A phone call, a drop off, an offer to take your kids? Now – go do it for them.  [Click here for additional Journal exercises]

Micronutrients vs. Macronutrients: The Secret to Understanding Food Breakdown

by admin

Grandma was right:  you are what you eat.  Literally.  Your body has the amazing ability to take the foods you eat and turn them into you.  How incredible is that?  Whether you eat an apple, a steak or a kale salad, your amazing body is able to break that food down into its chemical parts and reassemble those parts into your cells and the energy you use all day.  That is miraculous.  Outside the plant and animal kingdom, there is nothing else that can do that!

Here is the catch:  your body is only as amazing as the material it has to work with.  The quality of the food you put into your amazing body has a huge impact on your health.  An apple is not just an apple, nor is a steak just a steak.  As stated above, your body is able to break those foods down into their chemical parts, like macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients are the structural and energy-giving caloric components of our foods that most of us are familiar with.  They include carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Micronutrients are the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that are essential for good health.

The quantity and quality of these nutrients vary greatly, depending on not only what types of food you eat, but also the quality of those foods.  Processed foods tend to have more macronutrients than natural foods at the expense of micronutrients.  This is because processing food strips the foods of many of the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals and gives the food a longer shelf life.  So cereal grains, breads, candy and sweets, dairy products, much of fast foods and other processed foods give you tons of calories without much micronutrient content – and that type of eating is responsible for many of the lifestyle diseases that are killing 75% of Americans.  At Bonfire Health, we recommend eating a natural diet, packed with micronutrients similar to our hunter gatherer ancestors.  So, switch to eating high-quality, natural foods from the earth.  Skip the stuff that comes in packages that can sit in your pantry for months and not spoil.  Eat lots of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and meat.

It is important to keep in mind that there is a difference in the quality of those foods as well.  Earlier it was stated that an apple is not just an apple and a steak is not just a steak.  Depending on where your food was grown, or how your meat was raised, the quality of its macro and micro nutrients can be incredibly different.  Focusing on local foods ensures that you will get the most bang for your buck in terms of fruits and veggies loaded with micronutrients.  Focusing on eating healthfully-raised animals like grass-fed cows and free range chickens will ensure that the meat you feed your family was ethically raised. It will have fewer antibiotics and hormones, it is better for the planet, and it ensures that you and your family are building your bodies with the best possible components.  If you are interested in thriving and not simply surviving, the types and amounts of these nutrients are critical.


The Importance of Protein

by admin

Did you know that aside from water, protein is the most abundant compound found in the human body?  Protein is found in every cell and tissue, and along with healthy fats, protein plays many critical roles in keeping you alive and healthy.

Most of our bodies’ proteins are structural. The most obvious proteins that most of us would recognize are muscles.  Muscle tissue attaches to bone, and when they contract they allow us to move.  There is also specialized muscle that controls organ functions such as your heart contractions, digestive movements, and elimination functions.  Although bone is predominantly calcium, the mineral is held together with protein. Nerves are mostly fatty compounds, but protein is the framework that holds nerves together.  Blood vessels, our organs, and our skin all have structural proteins.

The importance of protein intake for humans has been known for a very long time.  Without it you would lack the building blocks needed for all tissue repair, critical enzymes and hormones you need for all of your metabolic functions, and antibodies that help your body defend against infections. Proteins are vital to all living processes and undertake a wide range of functions quintessential to sustain life.  Thus, proteins are one of the most important nutrients required by your body and must be consumed in adequate quantity and quality in your diet.

What are Proteins?
Proteins are large molecules that are made up of smaller chemicals called amino acids.  Humans need 20 different amino acids in order to produce all the proteins that your body requires.  As it turns out, your body can make adequate amounts of 10 of the amino acids on its own, but in order to get enough of the other 10, you must get them from the food that you eat.  This is why consuming protein is essential by definition.

Proteins in food fall into two categories:

1. Complete proteins: These proteins come from animal products such as chicken, fish, beef, bison, venison, duck, turkey and pork, and they contain virtually all the essential amino acids needed to help keep our bodies fit and healthy.

2. Incomplete proteins: These are found in plant foods such as grains, nuts, beans and vegetables, and provide a limited array of amino acids. Incomplete proteins must be eaten in larger quantities and combinations for you to obtain all that is needed for optimal health and function.

Obviously, animal products are your best bet for adequate protein intake, but this does not mean that if you are a vegetarian you will die of protein deprivation. Vegetarians may get enough protein by combining foods such as vegetables, beans, lentils, and brown rice, to name a few. However, it typically does take more overall caloric intake to get adequate amounts of protein if you rely solely on a vegetarian diet. This can be problematic for attaining ideal weight, blood sugar management, and optimal health. That being said, the quality of animal proteins is VERY important and therefore, being careful and knowing the source of any animal protein you consume is critical to avoiding the adverse health effects associated with grain-fed, hormone-, antibiotic-, and chemically-laden meats.  Remember, whatever the animal was fed is what you’re eating and what ultimately ends up as a building block for your body.

Dietary Sources of Protein

Bonfire-recommended/approved animal sources (complete proteins):

Naturally raised, pastured/grass fed, organic  beef, pork, lamb, goat, bison
Wild meat: venison, elk, turkey
Free range organic poultry, duck, turkey
Eggs (from healthy chickens)
Wild caught fish

Bonfire-recommended/approved vegetarian and vegan sources of incomplete proteins include:


Other sources of protein are certainly out there. However, dairy, grains and products produced from them such as whey protein are not ideal because of the inflammatory effects of these foods.  Stick to the excellent, healthy sources of protein listed above whenever possible.

How Much Protein Should I Eat Every Day?
There is no one size fits all recommendation for every single person, although more research is being done on this topic.  In the U.S., adults get an average of 15 percent of their calories from protein. For a person who requires a 2,000-calorie-per-day-diet, that’s about 75 grams of protein. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, in healthy people, increasing protein intake to 20 to 25 percent of calories can reduce the risk of heart disease if the extra protein replaces refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, or sugary drinks. Cutting back on highly processed carbohydrates and increasing protein intake improves levels of blood triglycerides and HDL, and so may reduce your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other forms of cardiovascular disease. It may also make you feel full longer, and stave off hunger pangs.


Week 3 Fuel Insight: Getting the Right Protein

by admin

ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Getting the Right Protein

Critical Concept:  Essential Amino Acids
An over-riding narrative in Bonfire is the promotion of a genetically congruent diet-style in the context of an overall lifestyle.  It is not accurate to have a stand-alone discussion of diet as a singular entity.  The essence of a holistic approach to health is in the understanding of the interdependence of all three of our lifestyle domains:  how we eat, how we move, and how we think.

Your genes dictate your needs.  If these needs are met, you have the greatest chance of experiencing optimal health.  If these needs are not met, you will express sickness.  Your ancestors enjoyed an incredibly active lifestyle that included a diet rich in fresh plant foods and wild game and fish.  Anthropologists are now able to decipher remains found in ancient villages like a modern CSI crime scene unit.  Geneticists decode our genome and read it like an owner’s manual.  Science can now tell us exactly what our cells require to express health.  If you want to improve your future, know your past.

There is no evidence of our ancestors ever experiencing chronic disease.

If you want to live like the healthiest humans to ever walk the earth, look to your hunter and gatherer ancestors.  You have inherited a gene that specifically requires and expects a diet rich in wild plants, game and fish.  There was no industrialized farming, no feed lots and no anti-biotic and hormone-laden, corn-fed beef available.  The game was wild, grass-fed, and all natural.  A diet-style that includes high quality protein and nutritionally dense calories not only supports an active life, but also provides great satiety as well as a thermostatic effect for those interested in “becoming lighter.”  Protein also plays a critical role in the hormonal balance of your metabolism – a major lynchpin in our current obesity and chronic disease epidemic.

Beyond the obvious dangers associated with chemically-raised beef, poultry and farmed fish is the distortion in fat content and Omega 3: Omega 6 fatty acid balance.  Grain-fed cattle are extraordinarily higher in fat than the range-fed animals that our ancestors ate.  Compounding this threat is the unnaturally high concentration on Omega 6 fatty acids.  This creates imbalance in the body and leads to the silent inflammation that is at the root of atherosclerosis (heart disease).

A best practice in the Bonfire Ideal Dietstyle is to secure a reliable source of high quality, lean cuts of grass-fed or wild meat and fish. Talk to your local grocer or butcher, join a local CSA (Community-Sponsored Agriculture) or maybe just start hunting!  All of the Bonfire Ideal Dietstyle recommendations are made within the context of an Ideal Lifestyle.  All factors interact.  This is the true essence of Holistic Living.  We do not live in a vacuum.  We must look at the totality of the lifestyles of our ancestors for guidance, and not reduce their behaviors into separate categories for our reference.  If you want to eat like a hunter and gatherer, you must live like one too.  Eat like one – lots of wild plants and animals, nuts, seeds and berries.  Move like one – move, sweat and pant – every day.  Think like one – reduce your chronic stress burden, build a bonfire and dance just to celebrate surviving another fantastic day.