How would you like to build a thriving business around your passion?
Well, the good news is that you can. You can make that happen.
There is a lot of confidence that comes when you start to do your own thing. And we have a wonderful example on the show here today.
Helen Marshall is a certified primal health coach and founder of the grain-free food company, Primal Alternative. Helen hosts the Primal Alternative podcast on the Wellness Couch which is the #1 ranked health and wellness podcast station in Australia.
On this show with Helen, we’re chatting about:
- How to create a business doing what you love
- How delicious cookies can help a new diet stick
- Overcoming fears around what we think we’re capable of
- How to feed your kids a wild diet
- Why we should be growing a veggie patch
- And tons more…
Let’s go hang out with Helen.
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Helen Marshall: How to Feed Your Kids & Reach Your Goals
Abel: Alright, folks, Helen Marshall is a certified primal health coach and founder of the grain-free food company, Primal Alternative.
Helen hosts the Primal Alternative podcast on the Wellness Couch which is the number one-ranked health and wellness podcast station in Australia.
She is a motivational speaker on grassroots community-centric change, overcoming limiting beliefs and creating an exceptional life.
Helen, thank you so much for joining us today.
Woohoo, it is so cool to be here. Thank you, Abel.
Abel: Absolutely, well, we’re doing a little podcast swap, and it’s a lot of fun to talk to people who are in different parts of the world.
And one cool part of the ancestral health community is how many Australians are into it and have been into it for awhile.
So, I would love to hear just your take on what it looks like over there and also how you got involved.
Sure, okay, well, I think we’re kind of on a par. Usually Australia is following behind whatever trends are happening in America.
I think we’re kind of on a par with regards to this clean living, real food movement. And there’s lots of really exciting things happening in Australia, lots of change-makers, thought leaders, really putting it out there and getting it mainstream.
So, in most shops and stuff here in Australia, you can get your hands on the kind of cool foods that we now all want to get our hands on, like your sauerkrauts, and your kombuchas, your grass-fed meats, spray-free veggies, which is really, really cool, as well as some of the Paleo products, grain-free products.
And you do think, “Oh, yeah, it’s really going mainstream,” but then you remember that you actually live in a bubble with your tribe and your people.
And when you step out of that, say if you’re going to the regular supermarket, the bigger supermarkets, you’re very confronted with the fact that, that’s right, we are in a serious global health crisis.
So that’s kind of where we’re at, in terms of the country.
Abel: That dichotomy is fascinating and extremely scary, but one of the exciting things that’s happened, at least since I started my podcast and this whole thing, is we’ve seen a lot of people who get very much into the movement and the message, and also happen to be somewhat of entrepreneurs.
So, as the years go by, you see all these people popping up and starting their own companies, like you.
Hey there. Who’s that?
This is my daughter, Millie.
Abel: Well, hello.
We’re just recording a podcast now, darling. Do you want to say hello? This is going out to everyone across the world.
I’ll come and see you in a minute. Dad’s making you breakfast.
Abel: So cute.
I just love that. You can have this great business from home.
And I think that people, like myself, you get into this way of life and then you start to look at all of the other aspects of your life.
So for me, where I was working in a corporate job, and I was getting up with an alarm clock.
Getting up early to have these couple of interviews with you over the last couple of days has reminded me of that alarm clock situation.
I don’t know if we have an alarm clock anymore.
Abel: That’s so funny, sorry about that.
It’s actually been quite nice. I’m in my outdoor shower at the sunrise. I mean, I’m not complaining at all. It’s nice.
It’s better than getting up for work, going on the train, into the rat race, into the commute.
And really, that kind of work environment is not very primal, and doesn’t really serve you when it comes to having kids.
I know there are a lot of very clever people that manage it, but for me, I wanted to create something that I could have, I could do from home, I could be there when the school bus arrives at the end of the driveway.
Yeah, so it’s so cool. It’s perfect timing that Millie arrived.
Abel: Yeah, perfect timing, and also a really exciting part of that is your ability to literally feed other people by believing in this message, working it into your own life.
You’ve started to put things out there and be creative in the field, in a sense, and start contributing that way.
I’ve been so excited to see people like you and a number of others, start up these companies that are feeding us those exciting foods that you were talking about, whether it’s kombucha, sauerkraut, grain-free goodies, all these things.
It can be overwhelming if you want to do all of this yourself, so we kind of need to help each other out and specialize in our different ways, where our talents and interests lie.
Yeah, that’s so true. So, I’ll give you a bit of a background as to how it started, if you would like me to go there.
How Helen Changed Her Life
Abel: Yes, please.
Cool. Well, I was a food pyramid victim, as you were. And I tried all my life to be healthy, seriously.
We remember seeing the low fat message in the UK where I was born.
If you’re trying to work out, “where the heck is she from?” Originally I’m from the UK.
I remember the advert that the government was running with a frying pan with some saturated fat that had gone cold, and someone had written the words, F-A-T.
And I don’t remember if you had a similar campaign running in the US.
Abel: Similar, yeah.
But that was very confronting. The message generally was if you ate fat, you’re going to die.
So I avoided fat because I was only 14 at the time, and really wanted to live a long life.
And so I completely avoided fat, wouldn’t even so much as have avocado in a salad, wouldn’t put olive oil on my salad because that’s fat.
So the amount of fiber that I’d eat because you can’t absorb the nutrients from that salad, unless there’s some fat in there.
As you know, Abel, and your listeners will know. Just a little squeeze of lemon juice is disgusting, chewing down the most unsatisfying salad ever.
And the other part of the message was exercise. So, I was exercising a lot, probably up to 10 classes.
I used to do classes. I used to teach aerobics as a personal trainer, group instructor, worked in gyms, and really pushing that message of move more, eat less.
It was mainly women that I worked with. And all their goals were, when it came to their health, were to lose weight and tone up.
That was it. There was no connection between food and mood, food and chronic health issues, food and resilience. Nothing.
It was just, “What do I look like? I need to crash diet to get into this bikini that I’m going on holiday.”
So, I thought I was doing all the right things.
I went on to have my two babies. You’ve seen one of them.
So, when I was at the age of about 38, I just was sitting in this complete hole of a health crisis.
It was just hideous. Nothing too serious, I didn’t get an autoimmune disease or anything like that.
But I went to the doctors, and the doctor said I just probably had irritable bowel syndrome. But there wasn’t a pill for that, so I could go and see a psychologist, I might be depressed.
And that was it, “Au revoir,” yeah.
So, my shopping list of disasters was chronic headaches.
I’d like wake up in the night. I couldn’t go back to sleep because my headache was so bad from, I guess, the inflammation and the food allergies.
And I popped Nurofen to go back to sleep, which obviously as we know, it really is damaging for the gut.
And that was just kind of feeding the whole problem.
I had really bad reflux, some heartburn, so I had some Rennie antacids by the side of my bed. Which, the content, a lot of calcium which can inhibit the uptake of iron which meant I was anemic.
So, this kind of just all keeps feeding into itself, had chronic nausea, couldn’t go the toilet, and I just had really serious phobias.
I just got this really weird phobia about flying.
So, even though I’m from the UK, I’ve traveled the world, I didn’t fly anywhere for 10 years.
Yeah, I just thought that was a part of getting older and losing your confidence a bit as you got older.
But I also developed a real phobia around my kids getting sick. And every mother or father doesn’t want their kids to get sick, but this was obsessive.
I couldn’t stop my mind from going down, “Oh, I hope there’s no gastro bug in town.”
I’m thinking, “This isn’t me. I’m bubbly and positive.”
And it wasn’t anything I could slap an affirmation on. It was really, really dark.
So, in my kind of dark night of the soul, I was sitting on the couch and talking to my husband about how awful I felt and when was I going to feel better.
It was so bad that I’d be shaking from the, I guess, it’s one of the toxins in my system, and sweating and shaking, just feeling so, so horrible and so, so sick.
I said to my husband, “I think I’m going to have to go see a naturopath, but they’re so expensive. And anyway, they’re probably just going to tell me to go gluten-free.”
It was this real kind of intuitive bolt out of the blue to ditch the gluten.
So, I put it on Facebook that I was going gluten-free because I had no idea what had gluten and what didn’t.
And one of my friends mentioned at the time, “Well, if you’re going gluten-free, why don’t you go Paleo?”
And I was like, “What the heck is this Paleo?”
And so, I was like, “You’re kidding, no legumes, no alcohol, no sugar, no grains?”
Just like, “No dairy? What the heck am I going to eat?”
So I just started researching, which I know is very similar to what you do.
It’s like, “Well, what do I do?”
So, I listened to all the podcasts, wasn’t long before I found yourself.
I found Mark Sisson of the Primal Blueprint, and that really, really transformed my life.
I seriously couldn’t believe what a quick hack food can be—transformative in the space of a few days, a few weeks, right?
So, I was feeling a lot better and people were coming up to me.
I was sharing my story on Facebook which is kind of like, I guess a blog of sorts.
People were coming up to me, and putting their hand on my arm and saying, “Oh my god, I’ve taken anti-nausea tablets for five years. What can I eat? What shall I do?”
The health and fitness instructor in me really felt like I needed to go back and say, “Sorry, got it wrong, flawed advice. I’m sorry that I shared this advice with you. And let me help you with this new message, this truth.”
It feels so good.
Who knew that just by swapping out the kind of meats that you got, getting rid of all of the garbage in your diet, and just filling your plate with nutrient-dense whole foods.
And quitting my gym membership, Abel, and just getting down, doing some sprints on the beach, and just doing some functional body movements that took literally all of 10 minutes to do.
And prioritizing sunshine, not so scared of flip flop flapping. Australia was so terrified of the sun, but I’m like, no, getting some sun on my body, prioritizing sleep, connection, all of these things.
So, I qualified to be a Primal Health Coach with Mark Sisson‘s Primal Health Coach Institute. Brilliant course, recommend it to everybody.
And the people that I work with gave me kickbacks.
They said, “Look, this is all very well. We feel great eating plants and animals, but we’ve got real full-time jobs. I’m a firefighter. She’s a teacher. We can’t make the sauerkraut. We haven’t got time to do the broth.”
Like, “I have to soak my nuts before I can even eat them? We’ve got to make friends with our farmer. We can’t just go out to the supermarket and buy the meat anymore.”
“We need to make friends with our farmer, make sure the animals are happy and eating the right food?”
And it is so time-consuming and so overwhelming, so I just literally said to my clients, one day, “Well, do you want me to make some food for you?”
And the uptake was like three people said, “Yeah, I’ll get a loaf of something from you. Yeah, that’ll make it easier.”
And so I did. I made some bread for them.
And it turns out, you can only make so many foods from a home kitchen, if I wanted to do fully cooked meals.
Turns out, that’s illegal. You need to do that from a commercial kitchen.
And I wanted to do this from home because of the children. Like, this is brilliant.
I can be at home, they can be here. I’m in the kitchen anyway. This makes perfect sense.
So, it was a blessing in disguise because it just meant that I had to work with these low-risk baked products, which meant I could really specialize and just really nail a range.
So, in the range, I have breads, pizza bases, cookies, wraps, low-carb bagels, pastry.
You think of anything that was a real comfort food or a staple in your previous life, there is an alternative that you can have.
And I know that you share the same philosophy, that why don’t you just have the foods that you’ve always loved, just make a healthier version of them.
And that’s how it started, yeah.
Abel: Very cool.
Bit of a long story, but thank you.
Abel: It is a long story. It’s a lifetime is what it is, right?
We all come to this, in our own way, at our own time, and you won’t get there unless you’re ready for it.
You have to be open to hearing a new way of going about pretty much all of this, and you don’t hear that message from traditional media. You just don’t.
You hear the opposite, and you hear that all these people are quacks on the other side. And all these people are nuts and full of it.
But you know what? If anyone’s figured it out, it’s some of the people in the ancestral health community.
I mean, look at Mark Sisson.
That dude is, I dare to say, not young anymore, but just an example of health for everyone, and energy and getting a ton of stuff done.
I’ve had the great fortune of getting to know Mark, and having him on the show, and meeting him in person a bunch of times.
And there are a lot of great examples doing excellent work these days, and it’s so important.
But one thing I want to talk about a little bit is—a lot of people talk about how you need to be totally 100% Paleo, and there’s no cheating anywhere.
And there’s no bread. And there are no flour tortillas. And there are no delicious things anywhere.
You just got to eat plants and animals, as boring as possible.
So, that’s kind of one way of going about it, and it certainly does work for some people.
But as you said, my wife and I, part of the deal when she came on board with the way that I was going about this, she’s like, “Alright, but we got to have cookies. We got to have a way to eat pies. We need to make delicious things.”
And so that’s kind of how we got started, cooking together, and taking all these old family recipes and subbing different ingredients that we knew would serve us a bit better, and kicking out the processed sugar, the processed flours, the different kinds of junk oils, and then making it with real food.
And even using dates, sometimes to sweeten things instead of processed sugars, and using little bits of fruit or getting creative with it.
It was really fun, and we got to also experience a lot of foods.
Like when you make pizza from scratch for the first time, or when you try to make a tortilla. Man, it’s hard.
There’s a lot of tinkering that needs to get done. What’s the trick?
What’s the trick? Well, the trick is a lot of trial and error.
And it’s so funny because when I said to my husband, Mike, I said, “We’re going Paleo,” his reaction was exactly the same as Alyson.
Abel: Is that right?
Yeah, yeah. He says, “I’m not doing it.”
And I was like, “Right.”
So he’s from New Zealand, and he was like, “Oh, okay, deal, so long as we can have cookies, we have to have cookies.”
So, I took my family tried-and-true recipe, took out the margarine and substituted it for organic butter, took out the white sugar, added coconut sugar, and substituted the compound crappy chocolate from the supermarket and added 70% cacao chocolate.
Oh, my goodness, it was like transformation. These are the best version of the cookies I’ve ever made.
And it was just so liberating to think, “Okay, well, we can still have our cake and eat it,” if you like.
It’s not like a diet where you can’t have those. But I think the key is trial and error.The key is trial and error. @primalalt Click To Tweet
I have definitely made a lot of mistakes. Luckily, we’ve got chickens.
The chickens, or the chooks as we call them over here in Australia, the chooks get the scraps and then they return it for eggs, which is more ingredients to try again.
Abel: Wow, yeah, very cool.
Yeah, yeah, it’s a great little system, but the key for making it doable and replicable, because for my business, the thing that I love the most about Primal Alternative is that it’s not pumped out in a factory.
What I did was, after I produced a range successfully, and people in my community were telling me how life-changing it was, like it just meant that they could stay on the wagon.
Because, like you say, most of the time they were having plants and animals, but on those days when they just wanted a hot piece of buttered toast or a cookie or a pizza night, and they didn’t want to feel like the one that just has to sit in the corner and pick at a salad.
So these products are there for them.
As I cleared up my health and all the brain fog went, and I had all this energy, it really became this clear channel for inspiration.
And I was literally inspired to share this little business with other women across Australia who, they also had a passion for clean living.
They were on their own health journey.
Because part of my story as well is that I was a recruiter for a big recruitment firm in the city, that was my corporate job. So I’d seen women who had families.
They were really struggling to find a job that was from half past 9:00 ’til half past 2:00, everyday, five days a week, with 10 weeks school holidays because that’s, 10 weeks annual leave, because that’s what school terms are like.
It was really hard to find something like that.
There’s a lot of risk of starting your own business and reinventing the wheel and starting from scratch.
Whereas, if you’ve got a tried-and-true model, then it’s a lot easier just to hit the ground running. So, that’s what I did.
For me, the secret would be to keep the recipes really replicable.
Otherwise, you’re not going to have this consistency.
So, I can pick up a cookie here in Western Australia, and I can have one in Sydney, New South Wales, or one in Iowa, or one in Yorkshire in the UK, and they’re all the same. Which is incredible and so exciting.
Abel: It takes a lot of work to get the recipes that dialed in.
Yes, and some people don’t really fully appreciate it. Because if you’re into this way of life, you like tinkering in the kitchen, generally. You’ve probably got a few recipes under your belt.
Maybe you want to do a cookbook, or maybe you want to start your own food business, get a stall at the farmer’s market, that kind of thing.
But it really takes a lot to take it from an idea, as you know. There you are with your books behind you.
It takes a lot to get it from this little idea that you have over dinner one night, to actually making it a thing and creating a brand and following it through. And that’s the difference.
How to Make Your Dream a Reality
Abel: What would your advice be there? Because I know a lot of people are listening to this and they’re passionate about this way of living.
But as you said, that’s a big thing to get over is taking it from that idea into making it into action and really implementing all of this is a whole different beast.
So what would your process and advice be there?
Well, I’d say become a Primalist. Oh no, I’m joking.
Primalist is the nickname that I’ve lovingly given the Primal Alternative Producers because that’s a bit of a mouthful.
But you would probably say Primalister, as they tend to say in the US. Primalister, which sounds really, really cute.
But I think it’s cool to be able to find a vehicle to get you from where you are now to where you want to be.
So, if it’s a book, maybe you could get a book coach who’s going to hold you accountable and help you work through all of those things that come up.
When I wanted to license my business, I didn’t have a clue about the licensing industry or the food industry.
I’m just a mum with a few recipes.
I’ve got no idea about business and online marketing and websites and SEO, and all of that kind of thing.
So, I think you need to just have this vision of where you want to go. And say if it’s a book, then it’s like, right, well steps one and two might be brainstorming the skeleton of the chapter.You need to just have this vision of where you want to go. @primalalt Click To Tweet
Or if it’s a health-coaching business that you want to do, maybe it’s a case of thinking more, “Who do I really want to serve, who would be my ideal client?”
And then just taking the step from there and facing all of those blocks that hold you back.
Because we’ve all got them, it’s usually, “I’m not good enough,” like the imposter syndrome.
“I don’t know enough. I’m not good enough, I don’t look the part, who’s going to take me seriously?”
It’s just about getting all of that shizz out of the way and moving forward fearlessly, anyway.
Because we’ve all got the music in us, and I really think that when we get into this way of life, we remove that brain fog.
We remove that distortion, that pain that just keeps us stuck, and we suddenly become clear channels.
We’re inspired, we’re energized and we’ve got that little bit of a, “What the hell, let’s give it a crack anyway.”
So as I say, just do it. It’s a perfect time for anybody to do anything with technology.
You can publish your own book, you can have a best-selling book on Amazon. You don’t need a publishing deal.You don't need a publishing deal. You can do it yourself. @primalalt Click To Tweet
You can just get it. You can do it yourself.
You can get a post to go viral. You don’t need to be in the newspaper.
It’s an exciting time. So my advice would be, “Get yourself out of the way and just get it done.”
Abel: I like it. Now that’s easier said than done though, right?
So, I would add to that, when it seems overwhelming, which it will, when you get to those times in your life and in your journey, just try to break it up into smaller pieces.
And then take those little pieces, even if it’s the tiniest little piece of doing something, like writing a sentence of a book.
I like to do it analog, offline, just into my journal. And write just for 5 or 10 minutes in the morning, little things like that so that you’re not abusing yourself and overworking yourself.
Because you need to also figure out a way of getting a governor of your energy going.
You need to find a way to make sure that you’re not going too far to the other side. Because like you said, you get all this energy and all this passion and you really want to go for it.
But I’ve seen a lot of people flame out and burn out over the years too, so it’s really important.
Crash and burn.
Abel: Yeah, crash and burn. So you’ve got to be in this for the long haul, and part of that is really not abusing your own energy at the beginning, I find.
Absolutely. So two of my favorite, I guess, quotes or taglines spring to mind there.
So, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, action is the antidote to overwhelm.Action is the antidote to overwhelm. @primalalt Click To Tweet
So, like you say, even if it’s just five minutes of writing a book, instead of just that like that suffocating feeling of overwhelm. You can just take a baby step of some action.
And also I really love remembering your why, like, “Why am I doing this? What’s in it for them? What’s in it for the people that I’m serving and then what’s in it for me?”
What’s in it for me is that I get to create this exceptional life.
We live six hours away from that city where I used to work in the corporate world. We live in the wilderness.
I get to be with my kids. I get to have a massage on a Thursday afternoon.
I get to do Pilates on Tuesday morning.
All these sorts of things that are so important to me, that’s what appeals to me, that’s my why, and reconnecting to that can really kind of recharge you.
And also my second tagline would be, “Boundaries don’t make you a b!tch.”
Or in your case, I don’t know, I can’t think of a horrible word.
“Boundaries don’t make you a baddie,” I guess would be a good one.
It’s so important to have really clear boundaries around everything, around your work.It's so important to have really clear boundaries around everything, around your work. @primalalt Click To Tweet
Especially if you’re self-employed, like you and I are.
It’s really important to be able to say, “Right, laptop down, offline, airplane mode, family time.”
Otherwise, yeah, hello burnout.
And I want to do this, I don’t know about you, Abel, but I want to be doing this. I want to rock out on this farmland ’til I’m dropping dead. This is my blessing.
I don’t want to burn out when I’m 45, you know? Well, that’s not much fun.
What to Feed Kids (and Dubious Husbands)
Abel: Now what about kids and feeding them? Because that can be a challenge.
Their metabolisms are totally different and sometimes unpredictable.
So, are their cravings, and what they do want to eat, what they don’t want to eat.
So, how do you manage dealing with all of that and also making sure that they’re healthy in one way or another, especially considering what we’ve talked about?
Yeah, sure. Well, my kids were little when we went paleo, paleo/primal.
I said primal because it’s hard to say paleo because of my accent. So I say primal, or wild, I can say wild.
Abel: Yeah, wild is easy.
We went wild when the kids were little. So for them, just having meat and veg for dinner every night isn’t a big deal.
I’m not a big one to give parenting advice on what to give your kids, because how you do your parenting is so personal.
But in my experience, and my kids are getting a bit older now. When they were little, it was so easy to be really in control of everything they had.
They didn’t know about Coca-Cola, and all of the other things that are now marketed at them so much, and with their peer group and that kind of thing.
But as they’ve got older, I find that being anal and, “You mustn’t have this, you can’t have that,” just really will lead to them being completely rebellious.
That’s not what I want to do.
So, for us, eating this way is easier than the old way because it’s very simple, it’s just meat and veg.
We’ve got a whole freezer full of Primal Alternatives.
The great thing that I love about most of the range is that it’s kid-friendly, and it’s also dubious husband-friendly.
Abel: Dubious husband. I love that.
Yes. Or in your case dubious wife.
You’d be like, “Well Alyson, we’re going to go paleo, and eat some cookies and pizza.”
She’d be like, “I’m in.”
This is the easiest way to get to people’s hearts, is through their tummy, right? It’s an easy win.]The easiest way to get to people's hearts, is through their tummy. @primalalt Click To Tweet
So yes, that’s my philosophy with the kids.
Make food that they’re actually going to enjoy, make them feel like they’re not deprived, they’re not missing out.
And then once in a while, crazy things like Advent calendars, Halloween, knock yourselves out, have some crap.
And it’s really good for themselves to really learn how they feel.
And they’re like, “I just, I feel a bit sore in the tummy.”
Or, “I feel a bit sick,” or, “I’ve got a headache,” or, “I’ve got cold sores, because I’ve eaten this food.”
So, I would rather them develop their own relationship than Mum telling them, you know?
Abel: Right, of course.
Because when you’re into this, you’ve got to be careful that you don’t get too obsessive and too serious.
Because, well, I don’t think that’s healthy either.
Abel: Is there any way that you can encourage that self-empowerment in your kids where you’re helping them in some way to link those negative effects that you were talking about, after eating, binging on sugar or something else like that?
Is there a way to help them link that, especially when they’re young?
I think just by the simple act of asking them, “How do you feel? How do you feel now?”
Or they’re so in tune. I know when I was growing up, I was told to clear my plate.
There was this big fear. You have a hangover from the depression years, everybody was just doing their best.
There’s real hangover from that era when there wasn’t enough food.
So, you better eat all you’ve got now because you don’t know when your next meal’s coming.
Whereas, if we can not pass that on to our kids, and really keep them in tune with their hunger and their satiety signals, their Leptin and their Ghrelin, then from an early start they can push their plate away and say, “I’m full.”
So, they don’t lose that connection with their bodies that we’re all born with.
A breastfeeding baby never pigs out, it just pops off the boob when it’s full, eats when it wants to.
When hunger ensues naturally, he wants more food. And as long as we don’t have these crazy regiments.
We have the house full of great food and my kids can help themselves to whatever they want, whenever they want.
Because sometimes 7 o’clock dinner time, that might be too late for them. They might be starving when they get back from school.
So, I just let them knock themselves out.
They do their own lunch boxes. I really want them to have this ownership. And kids don’t get to control a lot in their lives, right?
They’re at school, and then they’re at home, and, “Go to bed at this time, get up at this time, do your job.”
So, to be able to control what they eat and have a say, when they’re done, is very empowering I reckon.
Abel: Yeah. Is there anything that surprises you about what they have craved or what they like?
I think the biggest surprise that I’ve had is that Kid Number One, you do everything by the book.
And I was getting organic vegetables and pureeing them, and making little ice cubes, and feeding him separate foods.
And then Kid Number Two, we just did baby-led weaning, which was basically, “I can’t be bothered anymore to do this silly puree thing.”
So, I think the first solid thing that she had was a chop.
She just got a chop off my plate because she used to sit on my knee while we ate dinner, and just sucked the chop.
And actually that is what kids need, they need the iron.
After six months they need the iron. That’s the thing that’s the most depleted, and just sucking the juices from meat is actually way more nutritious for them than let’s say some rice cereal, which is the first food that you’re meant to feed babies, right?
So, I guess I’m just really surprised at how when you let nature take its own course.
So that kid now, Kid Number Two, the cute one that came in before, she’ll eat everything. She’s got a really mature palate.
She can tell what spices are in certain foods and what ingredients are in certain foods. She’s only nine.
Whereas Kid Number One, everything has to be separate, he’s quite fussy, won’t try new things. So it’s just really interesting.
And I guess the way to manage that is just to honor those different preferences, and it’s so easy to do.
You can just cook one meal but just have a few tweaks around the table to keep everyone happy.
Abel: Yeah. Now to shift gears a little bit, because I think this is so important too, especially when raising a family.
As I understand, you’re on over 100 acres of land and wilderness in the bush there.
So why is that important and what does that do for your family?
Well, I grew up in the UK. There’s like 66 million people in this tiny little island, it’s very, very busy. It’s busy.
Land’s at a premium, and there’s no way you could own 100 acres of land in England, you’d have to be landed gentry.
You’d have to be really, really wealthy and rich.
And I always just thought, I just thought there was something wrong with me actually, Abel, because I was so noise sensitive.
The traffic would drive my nervous system crazy, and the barking dogs. And I just hated it so much.
And then when we moved to Australia, there was more space but there’s still this suburbia.
And it was my husband that said, “Well, if we’re going to move again, it needs to be in the country.”
So we came far, far away to a beautiful peninsula in between a little hippie town and a city.
And yeah, we just literally, we couldn’t see anything, it was just bush.
Just like, “Well, just 100 acres of that.”
There was no power, there was no water, there was nothing.
And we moved in a little caravan, just Millie was literally four weeks old, Sam was two, it was quite a testing time but we’ve slowly developed.
We built a little shed, then we turned it into a house, and been here 10 years now.
But for us, when I was a kid, I never really loved my home, but the kids say to me all the time how they love being here.
It’s just so peaceful, you really get to experience all of the seasons, all of the weather.
It’s a conservation zone so we protect the land. It’s a, what do they call it? Land for Wildlife.
So we’ve nominated this 100 acres, that we’re not going to turn it into paddocks, we’re not going to subdivide.
This is a place for the native, the kangaroos. We have kangaroos bouncing through.
Abel: Do you really? That’s so crazy to imagine in my mind, just kangaroos bouncing around.
Me too because I’m not from Australia and I’m like, “I really live in Australia, check it out.”
We’ve got the snakes as well, but obviously they’re not as aggressive as everybody assumes.
We’ve got deadly spiders. We don’t have crocodiles down here, but just the birds and wildlife and the art. Yeah, just what a place.
It’s a really awesome place to come and recharge, and you can fly to the city and you can get on a plane.
You could be at PaleoFest, you could be at all the cool events in Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, UK, you can be wherever you want.
But this is home, this is where we recalibrate and spend time together, it’s really cool.
Abel: I like what you said about snakes, too, because I know Australia is one of the most dangerous places to be when it comes to spiders, snakes, and other things that can kill you.
But where we are especially around the southwest when we were living in Texas, we would see rattlesnakes all the time.
And I mean, rattlesnakes are dangerous and a lot of snakes are, especially where you are, raising kids and that sort of thing, that can be pretty freaky.
But like you said, I’ve never seen aggression from animals like you see on all those TV shows, where they’re just snapping at each other and fighting and drawing blood.
Real nature is very cooperative, don’t you think? All these animals, you rarely see them have any beef with each other.
They’re kind of just chilling out, doing their own thing, being a snake, being a bird.
Thankfully, not being a crocodile where you are, because those are really dangerous, right? Saltwater crocs.
Yeah, you wouldn’t want to go swimming with a crocodile.
I don’t know much about crocodiles but with snakes, I think the Australian people really push the message of the poisonous deadly animals because they like having all of this space.
If everybody hears how awesome Australia was, there’d be too many people here.
They’re like, “Yeah, yeah, there’s too many snakes,” or, “The weather’s bad.”
We always say the weather’s really bad down here so people don’t move down from the city.
But the reality is, of course, the snake doesn’t want to spar with you.
I go on bush walks, and I was on a bush walk the other day and this snake was coming toward me like this, to get a frog, and the frog was squeaking and the snake was coming towards me and I was like, “Ah, what do I do?”
You just stamp your feet and they’re like, “Holy moly, there’s a human,” and they’re out in the bush.
And you’re like, “There’s that fight or flight thing for real.”
Abel: Oh, that’s a real one.
For a real purpose, not just because I got my credit card bill.
It’s like, “Okay, this is good, I’m alive.”
Abel: Yeah. It was so funny watching my dog get that the first time with a seven-foot rattlesnake.
She just knew immediately, and probably because as soon as we spotted it, she could tell that Alyson and I were just on point, on alert. We’re not kidding around anymore.
But I think it’s really important to be raised that way.
I grew up in New Hampshire where there were bobcats and my brother even saw a mountain lion back there.
But we would see bears all the time, and people are just like, “Aren’t you afraid of the bears?”
See, that’s scary for me.
Abel: And it’s like, “No, they just want your trash, really.”
They want to chill out most of the time, they don’t want anything to do with you, and that’s how it should be.
I think there’s something that you can learn about your interaction with nature, because there’s a deep respect that animals have for you and often have for each other, as well.
And there’s a lot to learn there, especially if you’re raising a family and the kids get to see that. That’s such a special thing.
Because as we learn, if you try to shield your kids from every sickness as they grow up, they’ll get sick when they’re older, because they have no antibodies.
Similar thing with nature exposure.
When you take your kids out, you see a bear, you see a poisonous snake, they’ll never forget that. And that’ll be a huge lesson and also give them confidence, I think, later in life.
And the same with any kind of childhood risks, you know, climbing on top of the roof or swimming in the ocean, or all of the things that they are inevitably going to come in contact with.
Well, maybe not climb on the roof, but you know, just risks in general.
Think if you’re like, “No no…”
If you’re helicopter parenting then they’re going to take those risks when they’re drunk when they’re 21. Because we all did it, right?
We’ve all stood on a box of tipply-topply boxes in the shed to try and grab something, and you know.
You’ve got this knowing of, “Yep, this is secure, I could make this.”
Or, “No, this feels dodgy, I’m not going to do it.”
So, when do you develop that?
I mean, kids these days, they don’t get out enough, they don’t spend enough time outside.
And don’t get me wrong, my 13-year-old, all he wants to do is be on his iPad. So it’s back to the boundaries that make you a baddie.
It’s about having those, “Yep, you can play on your iPad but when it’s dinnertime it’s family time. And then after that there’s no tech and you need to spend time in nature.”
And all of the other things that we know work for growth and are so important for our kids. Even more so, I reckon, when they’re growing up.
Abel: Yeah, and it’s less about, they can have zero iPad time or zero phones and all of that, and more like, you’ve got to balance it out, right?
You can have your iPad time and participate in that part of culture and that part of the age, but also you’ve got to get some nature in there, too.
You’ve got to get your meat, but you’ve also got to get your veg. They come together.
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I agree. So true.
What We Should Pass on to Our Children
Abel: We’re actually coming up on time, but what are some other things that you think are important as a part of culture that should be passed on?
Because it feels like our cultures, wherever we are in the world, are kind of getting more and more fractured.
But building families, building communities with shared values is more important than ever.
So, I’d just be interested in hearing your take about that, especially living in a different country.
Yeah, sure, sure.
The thing that all of us are wanting to have as humans is growth, contribution, and experience. And to have a sense of feeling part of something that’s bigger than we are.
So, just having that feeling that it kind of all makes sense, and this fulfillment, you’re learning new things and you’re being able to contribute in a meaningful way, whether that’s raising your children the way that you want to raise them, or contributing to the household income, contributing by having a veggie patch, growing your own veggies, or recycling.
There’s so many ways that you can contribute that can make you really feel part of something.There's so many ways that you can contribute that can make you really feel part of something. @primalalt Click To Tweet
But the thing that I really love about Primal Alternative is the community that we’ve created.
So, we’ve got this international network of home bakers who all come together.
It’s like, when we get together for an event somewhere, these women have never met each other, but we’ve all got this common shared value.
And I think really that’s what the root is of any kind of community.
Coming together, it’s like old friends meeting, and I think that this is what I love so much about technology.
We might not have that immediate connection right where we happen to live, but we can go out and we can find it.
Whether it’s through a podcasting community or a Facebook group community or a sporting community, there’s ways to feel part of something.
And I really think that if I’ve spent a lot of time really feeling quite isolated and lonely and, “What’s the point?”
But once you put yourself out there, you need to make the step to get yourself out there and be part of that community, then there’s this greater sense of connection. You know what I mean?
It’s like that same sense when you look up at the stars or you look at the ocean and you’re like, “Oh yeah, it all makes sense.”
It just gives you that real feeling of belonging, and I think that’s kind of the next step.
We all start with the food, right?
“The food, yeah, we’re on the food.”
And then we start to look at all the different aspects of our lives, and I really believe that total health isn’t just how you look and how you feel.
There’s really 12 different areas of your life. And I did a bit of a workshop on my different 12 areas of balance, is what I call it.
Have you heard of Mindvalley and Vishen Lakhiani?
Abel: Sure, yeah.
From Mind Valley. You have, yeah?
Abel: Yeah, of course.
And have you done the 6-Phase Meditation, as well?
Because I was thinking when I interviewed you yesterday and you were talking through all these steps of what you do, you throw some gratitude into your meditation and that kind of thing, I was thinking, “I wonder if he’s done the 6-Phase Meditation?”
Have you heard of it?
Abel: I’ve heard of it, but I haven’t done it, no. I’m familiar with their work and I’ve met several members of their team over the years.
You have to do it.
Abel: But yeah, as you were saying, I see this as we’re all on the same team and we need to help each other out as a community.
Because if you just go par for the course and you look at traditional culture, it’s lemmings jumping off a cliff.
Right now people are sick, people are dying. Kids, adults, elderly, everyone in between.
And so for us who are actually really interested and passionate about self-improvement, not just of the self but also of everyone.
Kind of like, all improvement, let’s lift everyone else up, it’s more important than ever I think, to band together and try to work all of that out.
So even though I haven’t gone through their course, I probably kind of have.
We’re all kind of stewing in the same soup at this point, which is really cool.
Yeah, yeah, you hear of them just through the people you talk to, yeah, the people that you speak to.
But the area in my life that was really lacking was the social. Like I was nailing so many things, but it’s actually the social.
We do so much online, but actually just to get out into the community.
I went to a bush dance and just things like that, just to, “Wow!”
Abel: That sounds fun.
That real in-life community is very important, as well.
Abel: Yeah, absolutely. Once again, it’s all about balance.
Now before we go, Helen, please let us know where we can find you and your work and what you’re working on next.
What’s coming up?
Where to Find Helen and Primal Alternative
Sure. Thank you. Well, you can find everything about me at PrimalAlternative.com.
So, you can check out our entire range of products, you can see what the ingredients are.
They’re all thumbs up—Paleo/Primal Approved, Low Carb. We’ve got some Vegan options, as well.
You can also find out how to become a producer.
So, if you’re thinking, “Oh my goodness, this is the thing I didn’t know I was looking for,” then check it out.
Because in 2020 I really, I want a producer in every town across the world, so we can make this way of life easier.
So it’s just like that, having that home-cooked goodness, and just bringing enterprise into the community and giving people a new purpose and passion.
So, that’s my plan for 2020. It’s so exciting.
We’re doing really cool things here in Australia. We’re working with Pete Evans who is like the Paleo guru in Oz.
We make a bread and some wraps for him, and he donates all of his royalties from the products to our Help for Health, which helps indigenous Australian people with their health crises.
Abel: Very cool.
Because our indigenous people, since we came and screwed up their diet, they’re in a serious way.
So that is really, really cool. And we’re also working with Jo Whitton from Quirky Cooking, who is one of the cooking goddesses of Australia.
And so we’re doing some really cool things together and I’m really excited as to how we can make this community ripple effect go global in 2020.
So, exciting times.
And you can connect with us on Instagram @primalalternative, Twitter @primalalt, and on Facebook, as well.
Abel: Right on, yeah, we need more people at home baking up a storm, wherever they may be. That’s where the solution comes from.
Well Helen, thank you so much, this has been a blast. Really appreciate your time.
Thank you so much and thanks for listening, guys. It’s really cool to be here.
Before You Go…
Quick announcement. We recently wrapped up our Wild30 Challenge. Thank you so much to all of you who joined in the fun.
We shipped out a giant box of goodies to the giveaway winner, including Wild Superfoods goodies, books, Kettle & Fire bone broth and even a 14-inch Bacon Plush to our first place winner, Christine.
And I wanted to share the note that Christine sent back to us, because it’s especially timely these days. She says…
Hi Abel and Alyson,
I received my package, and it was like Christmas! Thank you so much, this is amazing!
I love the Future Greens, I have a smoothie every day and these are wonderful!
I work nightshift, I’m an ICU RN, kind of a stressful job right now, and I take a smoothie to work with me. I get teased a little about my “green” shakes, but it helps me get through my shift.
I gave my old copy of The Wild Diet to a friend at work. She is allergic to corn, so she has been struggling. She was so excited to see some recipes she could use, and has been reading your book. Maybe we have a convert!
Side note, both my boys, age 30 and 31, have each lost 30+ pounds on The Wild Diet. They are doing so good, I’m so proud of them.
Thank you again, take care and be safe,
Christine, thank you so much for this note. It literally made me tear up the first time I read this.
And Alyson and I were just like, “Oh, this is why we do this.”
Especially, you know, it’s wonderful and incredible that you’re a nurse.
As long time listeners know, my mother is a nurse practitioner and author who wrote books about using herbs and plants to heal.
So this is very much involved in the family for me. On my dad’s side, they were dairy farmers, doing it pretty much the organic way long before organic was a thing. My brother is a farmer up in New York.
So food and medicine, and especially nursing are very close to my heart.
Especially, hearing that not only you, but both your boys are doing so well is wonderful.
So please give your family our best and thank you once again, Christine.
And if you’re out there and you have a similar story that you’d like to share, please do. We need to get in touch more than ever.
And along those lines, I have a very exciting announcement about launching a new community outside of social media, outside of all of that, and as well, launching a way for you to support us directly, and for us to give you free access to our library of audiobooks, books, exclusive ask me anythings.
And for a limited time, I’m going to be doing one-to-one virtual coaching, as well, to see how it works.
So if you’re interested in any of those things, please visit our brand new spot here on FatBurningMan.com—the Tip Jar.
And if you want, you can even just drop a few bucks in the tip jar and buy me a coffee, which is very, very helpful.
I need to be well-caffeinated these days, and I appreciate it. Even a few bucks helps a lot.
And in exchange, we have a couple of free special gifts just for you.
We’re at a new place now that has excellent internet so far, so we’re able to get in touch with you virtually with this wonderful new place that we’re in.
So, if you’d like to support us as well as get access to our new and booming community, please visit the Tip Jar.
Now, truth be told, one of the ways that we’re making all of this happen is by starting up a Patreon channel, as well as a channel on Discord and a few other places that we haven’t really dabbled in before.
So if you’re already on Patreon especially, look up Abel James or Fat-Burning Man and you can find our uncensored videos there.
And I’m just going to say, that’s one of the biggest reasons that we’re doing this, is because our content has been labeled as alternative health and sometimes that goes against the mainstream talking points or whatever.
And so often we’re censored and you can’t find our stuff. Or we can’t even get in touch with our own subscribers.
So to get around all that and get back in touch with you in a more direct way, we’re trying very hard this year. We have a lot to look forward to.
So, look us up, Abel James or Fat-Burning Man on Patreon and wherever else you watch videos and listen to podcasts.
And don’t forget to share with your friends as well. It literally helps us keep the lights on, quite literally these days.
Now here’s another way you can support us if you live in the States.
Christine also brought up Future Greens in her note, and although she’s made fun of at work for drinking her delicious and nutritious smoothie, as many people are made fun of, it’s more important than ever to get nutrient-dense foods in, and finding fruits and veg is also harder than ever.
So, we’re really thankful that we started camping and doing a lot of disaster preparedness many years ago, because we saw the need for something like Future Greens, which is a greens powder with both fruits and veg, and other superfoods and digestive enzymes. And it lasts on the shelf so you can take around with you.
You can just add it to water, or add it to your smoothie and it’s ready to go.
So if you’re interested in any of that and as well getting our next deal on Future Greens, please check it out on WildSuperfoods.com.
You’ll save even more when you hit the Subscribe & Save and you also start to unlock access to all of these cool communities and new technologies we’re using to get in touch with you and help hook you up with the exact information, coaching, recipes or whatever else you might be needing right now.
Save Over 20% Off Future Greens when you Select Subscribe & Save
We’re here to help and I mean that sincerely. We all need each other, especially right now.
So, as a special thank you as well, there are many freebies when you sign up for our free newsletter.
So even if you are beyond broke, as many of us are, then you can get some freebies by joining the newsletter.
We all need to help each other. And the good news is 95% of our content is completely free here on FatBurningMan.com.
We couldn’t do any of this without you. Thank you once again.
What did you think of this conversation with Helen Marshall? Have you ever considered becoming a foodie entreprenuer? Drop a comment below!
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