Primal Skin Care- Dealing with Acne

Since I was 16 years old I have been using Proactiv. It’s an acne product made with Benzoyl Peroxide. It’s pretty harsh on your skin in the beginning, I had very dry and sensitive skin but after a while my skin got used to it and it started working quite well. It should be noted that this was around the same time I started taking birth control pills.

I started the paleo diet about a year ago, and a few months later I started thinking about not only what I was putting in my body but the products I was using on my body. I took a big step and stopped taking the birth control pill, and after that my skin started getting bad again. And I continued using proactiv for a few more months but it wasn’t helping much. My acne had changed, it was on the sides of my face, my jaw line and hairline, they are deep and painful, not like they used to be.  I figure it’s hormonal.

I did the 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane San Filippo hoping that this would help my acne. It didn’t. I also completed the Whole30 and saw improvements after around day 35.  (sometimes you need a Whole60 instead of a Whole30)

I stopped using Proactiv in November 2013 and decided to try Primal Life Organics Paleo Skincare The concept is basically that using natural oils on your skin will not dry out your skin and therefore your skin won’t produce as much sebum, balance out your normal skin pH and therefore less acne. The products are also supposed to reduce inflammation and bacteria.

It was pretty expensive, but I figured it would last me a couple of months and I really wanted to see if it would work. It came with a face wash, toner, serum and moisturizer. I have to admit, they were really stinky. I didn’t even think I could use them again after the first time. But they did feel good on my skin, made my skin feel very soft, and the moisturizer was very effective. After a week I thought I saw a difference in my acne, and after a night of sleep with the serum on my face I thought I could see the acne disappearing before my eyes… unfortunately this did not last.  I continued to use it for a few more weeks but the acne continued and even got worse, the pimples were deep and painful.

Sadly, I returned to Proactiv and even considered going back on birth control.

A few people have suggested that I keep it simple. You know… those people who can wash their face with any soap and never have a pimple in their life (oh, except when they get a tiny little white head that they have to point out for you to see and its the biggest zit in the world*sigh*). But anything is worth a try at this point. I tried the pH balanced “Spectrum” gel with no avail. I also had people tell me about just putting coconut oil on your face… but I was skeptical about that.

I started seeing more and more posts about coconut oil and its benefits, especially for the skin. It’s antibacterial and antimicrobial benefits… I also started looking into the healing benefits of Vitamin E, and how it smooths and protects the skin. I found a recipe on pinterest for whipping together coconut oil and vitamin E to apply to the face and I decided to give it a try.

I have to say I saw some improvements after only 2 days.  I am putting it on morning and night, after washing my face with soap, all over my face and neck. Some of the discoloration on my face from acne scars have started to diminish, my face always feels moisturized, never dry, and I have not had one new zit since started to use it a week ago. I hope the benefits continue! It’s only been a week but I’m going to keep going!


Paleo Lasagna

Over the weekend I went to a cottage for a bachelorette party. Our Saturday night meal was lasagna, which can be all kinds of bad for me and my stomach. In order of worse to less worse symptoms; #1 being cheese, #2 being pasta, #3 being the garlic bread that is usually served along with. SO I decided to do some research and try to make a lasagna without cheese or pasta.

I found the following recipe:


Coming out of the pan it looked like a pile of mush. It was more than edible, and I had more than one serving which means either I was really hungry or it was pretty good. The cashew nut ricotta cheese was pretty awesome, and the zucchini noodles were pretty successful. I probably wouldn’t make this for non-paleo guests, but I’d say it’s worth a try!

Beef and Kale Frittata

Looking for an easy breakfast that’ll give you some leftovers for a day or two? Once a week I usually make a quiche or frittata that will last me for a few of my night shifts so I have something to eat when those early morning cravings hit or when I wake up with hunger pangs there’s something ready right away for me to eat. I usually put bacon in my quiche or frittata… but since I am doing the Whole30 and can’t find or afford sugar and nitrate free bacon I’ve been experimenting with different meats. Ground beef makes a yummy frittata! (Can you tell I love the word frittata? count how many times I use the word frittata in this post)


You will need a cast iron skillet for this frittata recipe.


1/2 pound lean ground beef (grass fed if you can get it!)

1/2 sweet onion, chopped (I like to use sweet onions in my recipes because they don’t make you cry as much)

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 large zucchini (shredded and drained of excess liquid with cheesecloth or paper towel)

A few kale leaves (washed, dried and cut up)

10 large organic eggs

1/4 cup coconut milk 

2 tbsp ghee, divided

salt and pepper to taste


Place the cast iron skillet on medium heat, melt ghee. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add garlic and onion to pan and fry until onions are translucent. Then, using your hands, crumble the ground beef into the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until you can’t see any more pink. Drain the fat. Place the beef in a bowl.

Add a bit more ghee to the skillet, and sautee the kale and zucchini for a couple of minutes, until the kale is wilted. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs together in a bowl with the coconut milk and sprinkle with salt and pepper and whatever other herbs you like. 

Then place the beef back in the pan. Then pour the eggs on top. They should just about cover the beef and kale. I don’t usually stir it at this point, but if you want to spread things out you can. Decrease the heat and leave on the element for about 5 minutes, don’t stir, to let the bottom set, until you see the edges are about cooked and the eggs are bubbling a bit in the middle. Then use an oven mitt and place the entire cast iron in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then slice it like a pizza and enjoy your frittata!

Whole 30 Week 2 Beef Stew

Every week since the beginning of the Whole30 I try to make one large meal each week that will last me a few leftovers for my shifts so I don’t have to sacrifice sleep to have a good meal to take to work! Week 1 was a roast, I also made a Shepherd’s Pie, and week 2 is a beef stew. Week 3 will be a paleo pad thai, and week 4 will be Chili!

Jasmine’s Whole30 Beef Stew

½ butternut squash, chopped into cubes
1 small rutabaga (turnip), chopped into cubes
2 large carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 large parsnips, chopped
1-2 lbs beef hip stew cubes, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 box of organic beef broth
1 small can tomato paste
¼ cup tapioca or arrowroot flour
Heat pan to medium heat, melt 1 tbsp coconut oil, ghee or other fat.
Turn slow cooker on low.
Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and brown the beef on all sides in batches.

Transfer batches to slow cooker. Once all the beef is browned, place garlic and onions in pan and stir until onions are soft. Add ½ box of beef broth into pan and stir, adding tomato paste and stir for 2 minutes. Add oregano, basil and thyme.
Place all chopped veggies in slow cooker and stir, then add broth/tomato mixture on top along with the rest of the beef broth and stir again. Cook on low for 6 hours.
Turn the slow cooker on high, take a tbsp of the liquid from the slow cooker and whisk together in a small bowl with the tapioca or arrowroot flour, when well blended add to the slow cooker and stir. Leave on high for about 30 minutes, this will thicken the stew.

Then it should be ready to consume!!

Paleo Pork Schnitzel

Adam made a request for some schnitzel.

As a child, I lived on the Canadian Military base in Germany for four years with my family. I was a very picky eater as a child, but I remember schnitzel being one of the only things I would eat! I was very excited to make a paleo version of this.

So here it is!


5 Pork Chops (tenderized, pounded, fat cut off)

1/2 cup tapioca flour with salt and pepper (in a bowl)- I believe arrowroot flour would also work

1 cup almond flour with salt, pepper and paprika (in a bowl)

2 eggs, whisked, with 1/3 cup coconut milk (in a bowl)

1 cup melted coconut oil


Place coconut oil in a pan and melt at medium-high heat

Heat oven or toaster oven at 300 degrees and have grill pan ready to place pork chops on after frying in coconut oil.

Place bowls side by side, first the tapioca flour, then the egg mixture, then the almond flour mixture.

Dip the pork chops in the tapioca flour, make sure to cover, then dip in the egg mixture, then dip in almond flour, then place in melted coconut oil in frying pan. Fry each side for 4-5 minutes each, then place on grill and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat process for all 5 pork chops.




I served it with some cauliflower rice and made the delicious paleo mayonnaise (added some dill and lemon juice) from the NomNom Paleo Cookbook


Paleo Beef Butternut Chili

Winter is officially here! Brrrrrrr. It’s time for Chili!




1-2 pounds lean ground beef

8 strips of cut up bacon

1 small butternut squash, diced

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can crushed tomatoes

1 cup home made bone broth (I used chicken because that’s what I had)

1 small sweet onion, diced

3 cloves minced garlic

2 large carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp paprika

Sea salt



Set slow cooker to low.

Cook the 8 slices of bacon in a frying pan, add onion and garlic and cook until onions are soft. Then add ground beef, sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1 tbsp chili powder and cook until browned.

Drain fat from beef, add beef, bacon and onion to slow cooker. Add diced butternut squash, carrots, celery, peppers and add all spices on top, along with more salt and pepper. Add diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes on top and bone broth. Stir until well combined. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add slices of avocado on top when ready to serve.

If you want a shorter cook time you can roast the butternut squash, carrots and celery in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes before adding it to the slow cooker.

I just had two huge bowls and I’m so full!

21 Sugarless Days

Well. Here we are. I finished off the 21 days with a huge salad with grilled chicken and avocado.

When I started eating “paleo” cold turkey last winter I saw major differences right away. I had everything from the withdrawals in the first week (intense headaches, fatigue and sore all over),  but eventually saw weight loss, better skin, headache improvements, better immune system and even better nails. Perhaps because I saw such differences when I made those changes I thought that I would see even more improvements with the 21 Day Sugar Detox. I believe I set my hopes too high and wound up disappointed. I also believe that my stress levels were too high during the 21 days and I worked way too much so I didn’t see any differences in my sleep (my sleep patterns are way off) or acne.

However, I’d like to be positive about this. Due to the amount that I worked and the sleep that I lacked I’d like to think how much worse off I might have been if I had been eating sugar. I didn’t get sick in the height of the flu season, when many other people in my workplace (a HOSPITAL) were getting sick. Okay I might be jinxing myself now.

I did learn a lot about my diet in these 21 days. I probably don’t eat nearly enough vegetables. Yes I had a lot of salads and squash, but I could definitely do with a wider variety of vegetables and more of them. I eat a heck of a lot of eggs and bacon. But also staying positive, I eat probably 100% more vegetables than I ate this time last year.

I decided to do the detox in November because I thought there would be less temptation. But in hindsight I believe that the spring or summer might be a better time to do the 21 DSD. Much more fresh and local produce, farmer’s markets and likely cheaper as well.

In any case, It’s over now. I may try the detox again next summer or spring. It was a learning opportunity and I love experimenting with new recipes and different ingredients. The 21 Day Sugar Detox book by Diane Sanfilippo was very helpful and I made many of the recipes from the book that will now become regulars in my meal rotation.