The $5 a day Poverty Paleo Diet

I’ve been eating Paleo since 2009, and have even written a book on living a Paleo lifestyle. I’d say the question I get asked the most from friends and readers alike is..”How can I eat a Paleo/Whole Foods/natural diet without breaking the piggy bank?” So I’ve created a Poverty Paleo Diet that ..

  1. Costs around $5 a day
  2. Gives you 2000 calories (you can alter based on gender/size/weight goals). Most diets that are cheaper, like the ones that claim 1.50 a day, give you a measly 900 calories. Those are scams.
  3. Meets all your essential vitamin and nutrient needs.
  4. Contains enough protein to lift like Arnold.
  5. Has a limited amount of ingredients, so you don’t have to a super chef or waste time cooking. This is for the cheap and lazy!

Your Shopping List.

Sweet Potatoes


Spring mix lettuce

Chicken Thighs

Chicken Liver

Canned Tuna/Sardines

Canned/Frozen Pink Salmon


Chia Seeds

EVOO + Vinegar

Pork Chops

Broccoli/Carrots/Cauliflower – Frozen in one bag, or fresh



Sample Meal Plan


3 egg scramble with onions, spinach and salmon. Side of sweet potato


2 oz Spring mix salad with chia seeds, EVOO + vinegar and 1 chicken thigh and couple pieces of chicken liver.



2 Pork Chops

Sweet Potato

1 cup mixed veggies (broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower)

This sample meal plan meets all essential vitamins and nutrients, gives you 158 grams of protein, is super high in Omega 3’s, relatively low in saturated fat, and high in fiber. You can switch up your meats and fishes on different days, add some nuts and berries if you want to spend a couple extra bucks.

Let me know if you have any questions. Also, if you are able to make an even cheaper version, please let us know!

Breast Milk With an Order of Healthy Bacteria on the Side


I have fond memories of my children as infants – the coos, the cuddles, the cuteness, and the overwhelming love. That fondness does not extend to the shared bodily fluids – like the stream of urine in the face when changing a diaper. (New parents quickly learn to cover up the offending bazooka.)  Nor does it extend to the runny poop that seeps out of usually absorbent diapers – once on a pair of white pants I was wearing while visiting friends. Nor to the vomit and the spit… Wait! It turns out I was wrong about the spit. Saliva, when properly placed actually plays a role in communication. I am not talking about dissing someone by spitting in their face. The spit chatting  I am referring to occurs while babies are nursing.

A plethora of recent studies show the importance of our gut biome.  Now it seems, that mother’s milk, once thought of as sterile, is teeming with bacteria that colonize the infant’s gut.  And those bacterial help the baby’s growing immune system and metabolism. Breast milk also affects the oral microbiome of newborn infants. 

Dr. Sweeney from the University of Queensland, Australia noted that the make-up of newborns’ mouth microbiota is created by the mixing of breastmilk and babies’ saliva and the combination is a significant factor in health and wellbeing.

“Changes to these bacterial communities in newborns have important implications for infection or disease early in life,” she said. She also believes that the antimicrobial activity seen in the mouth may also continue within the baby’s stomach and intestines.

The saliva is essential because it turns out that pumped breast milk does not carry the same proliferation of beneficial bacteria.   Dr. Azad from the University of Manitoba claims that when the mother nurses some of the baby’s bacteria enters the mother’s breast. Biologist Katie Hinde of Arizona State thinks this backwash of saliva may actually cause the mother to “create made-to-order immune factors that are delivered back to the baby in milk.

So, nursing moms- next time you are wiping off all that spit, don’t think ‘ugh’, think wellness.

How Badly Do You Want Awakening? The Most Hardcore Thing Culadasa Ever Wrote


There are plenty of good reasons to meditate that have nothing to do with Awakening. These include stress reduction, improved concentration, and an uptick in your overall sense of well-being. To get these results, you don’t have to meditate all that much, even as little as ten minutes a day will get you there.

 But what if you want more? What if you want Awakening? And what if you want to get there as quickly as possible? What does that entail? What sacrifices will you have to make?

John “Culadasa” Yates is a very popular meditation teacher and former neuroscientist, who just happens to looks more than a little like Yoda. He’s generally low-key and agreeable in his demeanor, but this old post of his shows just how hardcore someone should go if they want to maximize their time and reach Awakening.

How To Maintain Practice in One’s Daily Life

Some of my favorite quotes:

“First is your level of dedication and commitment, the priority that you give to practice as compared to the rest of the things that occupy your time and attention. To bring your practice into your life 100% of the time with maximum effectiveness, it has to be the single most important thing in your life.

Be mindful of your motivation. Review it often. Penetrate it deeply. If you find yourself thinking, “I want to experience Awakening”, ask yourself Why? Awakening from what? Awakening to what? What do I really know about how to do this? See what the Buddha and others have to say, then look inside yourself. What is it that you really, really want, and why do you want it. Especially, why do you want that rather than anything else the world has to offer? Whenever there are pressures on your time to do other things, which there always will be, never miss the opportunity to review and ask yourself, “How important to me is this, really? What am I willing to change or sacrifice?”

When others start to describe you as obsessed, then you know you are on the way to 100%. Even 50% is admirable, but don’t cut yourself short. Do you want admiration or Awakening. Go for it!

Richard Hamming had a lot to say about that as well: “The great scientists, when an opportunity opens up, get after it and they pursue it. They drop all other things.” This is absolutely necessary. Do you read the newspaper? Do you watch TV? Do you read fiction? Do you golf? Do you attend movies, sports events, plays, or other entertainments? Do you volunteer your time to organizations for social, political, environmental, charitable, or humane projects? Do you socialize with people who are not involved in the Dharma?

Becoming a full-time Dharma practitioner has a radical effect on a person’s social life. They find they have less and less in common with most of their friends and family, and many of the interests and activities they used to share with those people are no longer important. The relationships they maintain and the time they invest in these relationships becomes more a matter of loving-kindness, compassion, and the practice of fully-conscious, full-minded awareness being applied to the understanding of desire, aversion, delusion and dukha. In other words, the relationships that continue become a part of your practice. You will most likely find that many of your old friendships fade away and are replaced by new ones that are more Dharma related. This can be difficult for some people, and there can be a period of alienation and loneliness before becoming involved in a supportive sangha of fellow practitioners.”

So how about you good folk? Have you made Awakening your top priority? Have you cut off most of the trivial things in your life?

How hard are you really going for it?

If you are going to be meditating for hours a day, you better practice a style you mesh with. Click on this link to my course “Find the Right Style of Meditation for You” and get 50% off.

Study: People Who Exercise Have 40% Better Mental Health

A recent study  published in  The Lancet  with over 1.2 million participants has confirmed my exercise recommendations in The Awakened Ape.  In this post I’ll show the answers to some interesting questions about exercise and mental health.

How do the authors define mental health?

The variable for mental health was the number of days in the last month where you experienced stress, depression or had other emotional problems.

The people who exercised had 40% better mental health. But what does 40% better mental health mean?

People who exercise had 40% less days where they felt stressed, depressed or had other emotional problems.

The What, When and How Often of Exercise

What is the best type of exercise for your mental health?

Popular sports is #1 and cycling is #2. In The Awakened Ape I said that playing sports is the most natural form of exercise as it mimics the reasons why our ancestors exercised. They hunted and gathered with a common goal and as part of a team.

And cycling is just awesome. Also, the balance required for biking activates areas of the brain that is similar to a mild meditative state.

How long should one exercise for?

The above chart shows the number of bad mental health days per month on the vertical axis, while  the time in minutes exercising is on the horizontal axis. The lower the line, the better your mental health.

The sweet spot for exercise is 45 minutes. People gain the most mental health benefit for exercising for this duration unless you are playing popular sports, where 100 minutes is the best or cycling which reaches its peak at 45 minutes and stays there even if you bike for up to 3 hours. Recreational activity just keeps getting better the longer you do it.

How many days a week should you exercise?

The authors claim that 3-5 days per week is the sweet spot. Less than 3 days a week and you aren’t doing enough, and more than 5 days a week and you might be burning yourself out.  5 days a week seems to be the perfect amount for all but water sports.

This coincides with hunter-gatherer data as well, they didn’t exercise everyday but took a few days off a week to relax and recuperate. Too much exercise can actually raise your cortisol level and exercising everyday appears to be as bad for your mental health as not exercising at all.

How does exercising compare to other variables when it comes to mental health?

Huge effect.  40% fewer bad mental health days is a giant reduction. Compare that to living in poverty (17% more days of bad mental health compared to people making more than 50k per year). It’s much better to live in poverty and exercise than to make a lot of money but not exercise. So if you are choosing between putting in that overtime work or joining a rec league, you now know what to do.


Meditation For People Who Swear They Can’t Meditate

New Course: Meditation For People Who Swear They Can’t Meditate

Coupon for 50% off.

You know meditation is good for you. Hell, all of your friends can’t stop raving about it. Even your favorite celebrities have a 20-minute-a-day meditation habit. So you tried it. You sat down and expected all your troubles to vanish into the ether as you floated on a cloud of bliss. Who knows, you might even be reborn as the next Dalai Lama!

But that’s not what happened, right? Instead of having this peaceful mind, you noticed your mind was more distracted than ever! Within seconds you lost track of your breath and began to think:

“Why am I thinking so much, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just clear my mind?”

“I don’t have time for this, I have better things to do, like check Instagram.”

“Ugh, I’m just one of those people who can’t meditate.”

Don’t worry, these doubts are common. They come from common misconceptions about what meditation is. Here’s a popular one: The goal of meditation is to clear your mind.

Nope, trying to clear you mind directly is impossible. Instead, any reduction in thoughts, any zen-like calmness that occurs, is a side-effect of doing what you are supposed to be doing — focusing on the breath.

This course is about clearing up these misconceptions and other obstacles that keep you from developing a meditation practice and reaping the rewards of a calm, balanced, and focused mind.

In this course you will learn:

*Proper Posture

*How to make meditation a habit that you will look forward to, and not a chore

*How to do mindfulness of breathing

*How to do walking meditation

… and much more..

Link to Course and Free Preview

Find The Right Style of Meditation For You

I have created an online guided meditation course called “Find the Right Style of Meditation For You”.     Click on the link to try three free guided meditations.

Not everyone has the same favorite food. Not everyone enjoys the same workout program or has the same taste in music. Why should meditation be any different?

Test out a variety of meditation techniques to find your favorite.

If you are new to meditation, you might be overwhelmed by the marketplace of different meditation techniques. Should you be practicing mindfulness of breathing? Should you have your very own mantra? What on earth do those Zen masters mean when they say “Just sit”?

Or maybe you have been meditating for quite some time but haven’t found the success you hoped for. You may be thinking that the style of meditation you have been practicing doesn’t actually work, and that there is a better technique out there.

So what should you do?

The truth is, there is no right answer as to the best way to meditate. Just like there is no right answer as to what the best sport to play is. It depends on the person. If you are seven feet tall, you are better suited for basketball than gymnastics. The same principle applies in meditation.

The key to success in meditation is to find the right technique for you.

To help you out I have created an online course. This course contains ten guided meditations culled from a variety of traditions for you to sample. Among the techniques you will learn are:

  • Metta, or Loving-Kindness Meditation
  • Walking Meditation
  • Mindfulness of Breathing
  • Body Scanning
  • Fire Kasina

And many more…

By finding the right style of meditation for you, your practice will become fun, easy and you will make rapid progress in improving your concentration and decreasing stress.

As an added bonus, here is a coupon to take the course at 50% off. This means, the course will be super cheap. Only $9.99.  There is only a limited number of coupons available, so don’t miss out.

Average NBA Player Victor Oladipo Goes Paleo, Becomes an All-Star

This past summer Victor Oladipo was traded from the OKC Thunder to the Indiana Pacers along with Domantas Sabonis for the Pacers All-Star forward Paul George. The entire world thought this was a horrible,  lopsided trade. NBA writers were proclaiming that Sam Presti, the general manager of the Thunder, had pulled off a coup.

And who could blame them? Paul George was clearly one of the best 15 players in the NBA. Meanwhile, Victor Oladipo had throughout his first four years in the NBA, a very average career.  His numbers last season included a PER of 13.6 (NBA average is 15.0) and  a WS/48 of 0.85 (League average of 0.1).

But Oladipo was determined to reboot boot his career. He hired personnel trainer David Alexander of DBC Fitness, who informed Victor that his nutrition was lacking. Oladipo had been eating a high-carbohydrate diet with lots of processed food.  Alexander told Victor that “If it didn’t come from earth, you can’t eat it. If it didn’t swim, crawl, run, or grow, you can’t eat it.” So Victor cut out flour, gluten,  and refined sugars.

The results came quick. Here are the before and after photos. After only 3 weeks! These aren’t Photoshopped!

The on-court results have been just as impressive. Victor has an RPM of 5.41, that ranks 4th in the entire league behind only Steph Curry, James Harden, and Jimmy Butler.  And now after only a few months of being that laughable joke of “One of the worst trades ever”, Oladipo is outplaying the player he was traded for, and is slated to make his first ever All-Star appearance.

How Pleasurable Can Life Be? The Enigmatic Writings of Omega Point

A few years ago, a poster with the handle “Omega Point” started showing up on meditation forums.  No one knew who he was in real life, but he claimed to be a physicist and an advanced practitioner in Tantric Buddhism, including heat yoga and sexual practices.

He’d often start a post saying things like he just got back from a year – long retreat and had much work to get to, so would only have a brief moment to write his (actually he wouldn’t say “I”, but referred to himself as “this mind” )thoughts and then drop a treatise of text, that was at the same time brilliant , erudite, and inscrutable.

Sentences such as the following were par for the course

“One needs to become absorbed in the chest area heat with non-conceptuality and/or altruism if/when any of the blisses are causing outward emissions, both regular ejaculate and prostate fluid itself..”

He would talk about having such powerful orgasms that it would cause cessations (a state where consciousness shuts off).

“Other phenomena of the many include an energetic orgasm built from the mingling of the blisses (even if not great blisses). Generally from a point behind the testicles, upwards a great orgasmic swooning that upon reaching the head, will cause varying blissful emptinesses. Often becoming extinguished by the gaiety into the emptinesses including the cessation of perception”

He talked about creating blissful pleasure paradises from illusion, that one should have such control over their consciousness that one could look at a cow and turn it into a dog within one’s own mind, of having to be careful while doing certain practices lest you kill yourself changing the flow of your hormonal system.

But it wasn’t all about tantric practices, he once wrote an entire book-length essay on the complete path from beginning to mastering dzogchen (In Tibetan Buddhism, dzogchen is known as  the Great Perfection, and is considered the pinnacle of the Buddhist path).  He would randomly break into a historicity of the early Buddhist texts and their formulations, setting the stage for his criticisms of the famous Burmese Mahasi noting method of meditation.

He lamented the weak shamatha (concentration) of modern practitioners.

“To this mind, it appears that in many instances both a degenerated samatha and an overemphasis on vipassana persists in modern practice. For example, there is a tendency to reinterpret the qualities of jhana in some cases totally leaving out listed qualities and having a “good enough” attitude; an over-willingness to bend the descriptions of the qualities in favor of one’s experience, to exaggerate aspects of one’s experiences of samatha/jhana to fit the listed qualities, even if they are but an extremely weak shadow or imitation of the actual quality in question; and thus to iterate, an overall tendency for complacence, a settling for a weak and generally unstable samatha that one self-soothes oneself, in quite a deceptive and gullible fashion, into thinking that it instead is a strong samatha or at least qualifyingly enough. However, instead it might be considered that the lengths of mastery described in the texts, that of unshakable stability and of such penetrating concentrative absorption that if sitting by a muddy road and having a large assembly of merchant carts and animals loudly stomp and roll by, splashing mud at one, and that one doesn’t notice such a circus in the slightest, is not merely an exaggeration, but an accurate representation of what expected mastery entails; “

He also criticized the pragmatic dharma movement, saying we don’t practice nearly enough, that we engage in behaviors detrimental to meditation a mere hour after meditating and the we had very low bars for our attainments. The guy was hardcore..

” In the beginning one should use all of one’s free time for practice, every minute needs to be utilized to its fullest…It is essential to be able to let go of everything, including subtle identifications and concepts of humanity, being human, and social niceties etc. Maintaining awareness and guarding against unawareness must take priority over all else, including the destruction of one’s reputation, disappointing others, and ‘ruining everything’. “

So how advanced was this guy?

Someone once asked if anyone had gotten rid of all negative states of mind and then listed every negative state you could think of from worry, to apprehension to butterflies in the stomach, to disquietude and pain. Here was Omega Point’s response.

To make clear for those who require the most explicit, my direct experience of the “knowledge of destruction” bestows the destruction of above termed experiences at their root. Further, my direct knowledge and experience of the immediately following “knowledge of non-arising” bestows a certainty as to the future persistence of non-arising of the above termed experiences. Beyond merely ending I-making, as recently mentioned, there is no reification of property, sexual territory or social contracts or relationships and no false views or unpleasantness related to death of family etc. The advanced practices have lead this mind to the special extinction via bliss and the resulting perpetual union of liberation and bliss. Further, increasing modification and domestication of bodily pain and fatigue, hot & cold, and even the subtle signs related to effort into bliss or cessation.

What I think he was claiming here, was that even beyond eliminating all negative mental traits, even in the case of a death of a family member, he could even turn even pain/hot/cold/fatigue into bliss.

I can hear your skeptical brain churning. I know mine is. What else do we know about this guy? Unfortunately, not much other then what he told us about his life.

At the age of 11 or 12, he found a book on meditation that claimed it could help one develop psychic powers. This of course, is pretty fascinating to a 12 year old and he began meditating between 30 minutes and four hours a day. Obviously, the psychic power  thing was nonsense, but the meditation practice brought him great joy and exhilaration as well as social benefits and spent his teenage years:

” rather devoid of all but pretty slight arisings (brief and very uncommon uneasiness, nervousness, anxiousness etc; a great much less than what could be observed of others) & felt nearly all social situations were in the palm of my hand (low self-grasping lead to extremely fluid social dynamics; ‘people were easy’). 

To clarify, a ‘young love’ break up of a few years surely had the capacity to influence negatively, as I had rooted a pretty deep attachment and suffered a few weeks before moving on (including the standard sexual territory evolutionary programs males are ‘blessed’ with).

In college he delved into, you guessed it, psychedelics. During one trip, after taking a radical amount of some substance, he saw a wrathful deity, that grew large and consumed his entire vision. The encounter left an indelible mark on him.  

A few years later he became interested in studying Buddhism and meditation, and the relationship between the states he had experienced on psychedelics. It was then that he first saw a Buddhist drawing of a wrathful deity,  similar to the one he saw while on drugs. How to explain the coincidence? He supposed that the deity was some Jungian archetype buried deep in the unconscious human mind. This led him to take his practice more seriously and he travel to Asia to meet and receive instructions from yogis, monks, and hermits. He also searched out and intensely studied rare texts and exotic traditions. He claims that mastering these practices not only leads to the end of all kinds of unpleasant feelings, but that one “can also experience various orders of the supreme all-encompassing primordial orgasm if wished.”

His scholarly essay, “The Art of Nakedness” outlines the path of meditation needed to get there, although it’s not an easy read for those without a strong background in Buddhist philosophy and terminology.

So where is Omega Point now? Who is this guy and how can we verify if his claims are true? Unfortunately, solving this mystery will have to wait, as over a year ago he left for a long retreat, leaving us with this note of advice…

Tomorrow I will leave to visit a spiritual friend for 4-5 days who herself is back from retreat for a month. After which I will resume long retreat.

My central message to fellow practitioners, sincerely from the bottom of my heart, is to stress the importance of retreat. The dharma cannot be rewritten to accommodate one’s great attachment to modern daily life. The only way forward to great realization is to rewrite one’s daily life to accommodate the great dharma.

This stock of fleeting moments we call life can be easily wasted. We should recognize the mistake of conflating the wisdom of working within our circumstances with actions predicated on our great attachment to modern daily life.

This great attachment, with all its sweet sounding rationalizations, is nothing more than a mara. A mara intent on making this blessed life unsuitable for the great dharma, and so transforming it into an obstacle like that of the devas. If you truly seek the flower of Dzogchen this life, then now is the only time to totally abandon this obstacle.

-May all sentient beings be free from suffering, and may all practitioners of Great Compassion be unobstructed on their journey to dharmic omniscience.


Tips For Getting Into the First Pleasure Jhana

I just did a 17 day retreat at Bhavana Society in West Virginia, working mostly on the pleasure jhanas. Whether you are a dedicated meditation practioner with enough concentration to reach jhana (and that means a lot!) or simply curious about jhana, you might find these following tips useful.


Pleasure Jhana: An advanced state of meditation where one becomes completely absorbed in the object of meditation. There are 8 levels of jhana, but in this post we will focus only on the first one. In the first pleasure jhana, one becomes so absorbed in pleasure, that pleasure takes up the entire mental bandwith of experience.

Access Concentration: A state of meditation where you have sufficient concentration to access the first jhana.

Recognizing when you are ready:

My concentration on the breath at the nostrils gets very good, no subtle distractions and I’m fully concentrated on the breath. The sensations of the in and out flow of the breath get finer and finer until the breath disappears altogether and is replaced, usually, by intense electrical pulses. Like dit-a-dit-a-dit-dit..just popping off around where my nostrils would be. Now this might not happen to you, you might not feel anything at all (in that case make sure you aren’t in dullness!) or still have feelings of the breath, but they’ll be so sharp as to be painful, or have some other weird thing going on.

I also start experiencing illumination phenomenon. It is as if you looked a bright LED light on the ceiling and then closed your eyes. And it begins to blanket your vision (in the suttas they describe it like being covered by a white blanket). When I can maintain this state for 5-10 minutes I know I am in access concentration.

The goal now is to focus on a feeling of pleasure somewhere in the body. If at this point I’m not already smiling, I will intentionally smile to generate a pleasant feeling. If smiling isn’t sufficient, I will do a bit of metta practice.  I imagine people with down syndrome filled with joy. When I am no longer able to generate this image, meaning when I try to visualize a person with down syndrome leaping into the air with joy,  my brain won’t produce the image. Instead, all of my attention remains focused on the feeling of electrical pulses pounding around my nostrils. Now I am I ready for jhana.

I start focusing on the pleasure. The pleasurable sensation will usually be around my mouth where I am smiling, or down in my hands. As I focus on the pleasure it begins to grow in waves. Now, this is very important, do not try and make it grow. Do no think “hey I’m getting jhana”, do not even have desire to reach jhana. All of that will kill it. Instead just focus on the pleasure. Just that.

Jhana is a state of not wanting. If you want it to happen, it won’t. Eventually, if you just focus on the pleasure and nothing else, the pleasure will fill your entire body, and your conscious experience becomes totally absorbed in this pleasure. Other thoughts, sounds, and feelings rarely intrude. It’s just pleasure. You have reached the first jhana.

If you have never experienced jhana before, this will be most joyous experience of your life.  You will be saturated with joy and happiness. In fact, it’s almost too intense, like a “I did way too many drugs and I better go lie down” kind of intense. But don’t worry, jhana practice is perfectly safe. Still, the first jhana has a very strong bodily feeling. It feels like you are trembling. It’s kind of overwhelming, to the point where eventually you have enough of it and want to move on to the later more peaceful jhanas.

How do you know it’s jhana and not simply joy? In jhana you are not in control and you can’t do anything. It’s a bit like being in a trance. If you tried to think a thought, the first word or two might come up and then the jhana would shut it down. Any intention that comes up, gets shot down. You are consumed in the pleasure. You are just along for the ride. Generally, the only thoughts that you can think and stick are related to the current experience of jhana, such “Now I want to move on to second jhana” or “It’s time to get out of this.”  When you do get out of it, you will kind of pop out and back into reality.

Lastly, don’t do the jhanas late at night. The jhanas, especially when you first start doing them, are so intense in the body that energy remnants will keep you up most of the night. During the retreat their was no way I was falling asleep within 4 hours of doing a jhana. Although this does get better over time and with more practice your body gets a bit more accustomed to it.