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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. Iโ€™m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything weโ€™ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 06, 2010

Grokfeast in Cape Coral, Florida

By Mark Sisson
45 Comments

On September 8th I asked my readers to host picnics and to send me the results. The following is one of 27 amazing submissions, the best of which will win an entire cow, courtesy of US Wellness. Vote for your favorite on October 8.

When I saw this contest description, I knew that I had to get my kids involved. By ‘my kids’ I mean my 4th grade class. From the beginning of the school year, they’ve listened to me talk about just eating fruits, vegetables and meat and this contest was my chance to demonstrate a good time, Old-School err…. Primal-School. The parents think I’m a bit nuts, but they’ve seemed to embrace, or at least can’t deny, the nutritional value of eating more fruits and vegetables (I always mention organic of course). Several have thanked me for my influence on their kids eating habits already. As such, 9 families embraced the spirit of the event and joined the fun, each bringing primal-styled foods.

We started off by hunting for twigs and sticks to get the fire going, picking up pokin’ sticks and spears along the way, of course! The natural lump charcoal fire had to be contained in the State Park’s grill, but a stone slab provided the primal cooking surface. As the adults worked on the fire using some rendered chicken fat I’d brought for the accelerant, the kids began their hunt for shells (see photos for shell-usage). Once the fire under the slab was blazing, we started cooking the skewers and the shrimp, which are great for temperature gauging. I brought an all natural, grass-fed bison hot dog for one little girl that only eats hot dogs – she ate it with glee! After these foods were cooked and consumed, I brought out the TEST: seasoned, ground cow heart. All but two of the kids tried it and of those, all but two had extra helpings! One brother-sister team had to be stopped by their parents from eating it all!

During the meal I explained various aspects of Primal eating to the parents and told them of my efforts and success. I’m happy to say that I’ve lost 30 pounds in 6 months without hardcore exercise and have recently begun going to a Crossfit gym. After eating our main meal, it was time to play. We went to the beach to have bear crawl and crab crawl races – the winners receiving precious drops of Organic Agave Nectar on their fingers, which I explained, would have been the Prize of Prizes for a Paleolithic Champion (then, of course, they all got a taste). All in all, it was a great day at the park. The kids had a good time and I think they will remember it for a long time – which is, of course, my goal as a teacher – learning while having fun!

The Feast

Raw foods enjoyed:

  • Tropical fruit salads (2)
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Lettuce (for wraps)
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Mango

Cooked foods:

  • Venezuelan tuna antipasta (no pasta, of course)
  • Cuban scallop ceviche
  • Veg & beef skewers
  • Juice marinaded vegetables
  • Shrimp with salt and lime
  • Cow heart

Recipe: Seasoned Cow Heart

  • 2 lbs. cow heart. The key is the double grind. The butcher can do it easily. It’s a really tough muscle.
  • 2 tsp of Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp fresh ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp of fresh nutmeg
  • 1 lime

Mix well and set overnight. Why overnight? So that it’s already prepared in the morning! There may be some flavor absorption during that period, but I can’t verify that. For the sake of the kids’ palates, I kept the seasoning light. Personally, I would have added some heat.

Pre-heat a scrubbed clean, hardware store bought, stone slab to 500+ deg. How will you know it’s hot enough to cook on? Toss a shrimp on it. When it starts to change color, add another to see how fast it starts to cook. Once the shrimp start cooking quickly, you know it’s ready. Add a lump (~tbsp) of coconut oil, spread around and then add the meat. I chose to break it up into smaller chunks rather than burgers so that the kids would have small options available. Cook until desired doneness is achieved. Squeeze fresh lime over the meat.

For those that have never had beef heart, it is one of the beefiest beef flavors you’ll ever have. Adding just a little to a soup or meatloaf or burger or whatever – it adds a great amount of flavor!

The Tribe

  • Matt Halstead (MDA member, organizer, bald)
  • Brady family (4)
  • Bowman family (3)
  • Riepe family (4)
  • Llanes family (2)
  • Baptista family (3)
  • Ogden family (2)
  • Durepos family (3)
  • Mars family (2)
  • Talavera family (2)

Total: 26

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45 Comments on "Grokfeast in Cape Coral, Florida"

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anzy
anzy
5 years 11 months ago

Awesome! Glad there is a teacher out there spreading the Primal word…gives me some hope for the future.

Peggy
Peggy
5 years 11 months ago

“teach, your children well…”
Awesome concept!! Oh, & yummy looking heart recipe, btw…

Matt
Matt
5 years 11 months ago

I can’t say enough good things about the heart meat. I’ve served it numerous times over the past couple of years. Everyone loves it – until they find out what it is… Give it a try!

Melody
Melody
5 years 11 months ago

Why weren’t my teachers this cool?

Funkadelic Flash
Funkadelic Flash
5 years 11 months ago

I’m jealous…that beach looks like too much fun! ๐Ÿ™

Katt
Katt
5 years 11 months ago

That looks fabulous! Grok on!

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

You’re not just a teacher, you’re the tribe wise-man teaching the children the things that will help them (and the tribe)to THRIVE! Keep up the good work. More tribes could use wise-men like you.

tara tootie
tara tootie
5 years 11 months ago

The recipes for Venezuelan Tuna and Cuban Ceviche would be aweosme!

*Nice tip on the double grind. I wonder if I could find a butcher to do that for me with a pastured one…?

Matt
Matt
5 years 11 months ago

~ extended pulses in a food processor might do the trick as well.

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

You used your class?! I must say, as a fellow teacher, that that’s awesome!!

Robert
5 years 11 months ago

I love this, I wish one of my kids teacher took the effort to bunk the system. Good for you guys.

Lisa Stanton
Lisa Stanton
5 years 11 months ago

This is terrific! Your students will carry the memories with them forever (still remember my first taste of papaya from our 5th grade Luau), plus you planted the seed of good health in 9 different families.

kevink
kevink
5 years 11 months ago

That is fantastic. I hope my kids’ teachers are so cool. Fantastic idea cooking on a stone slab – where to source one?

Matt
Matt
5 years 11 months ago

Home Depot. I went looking for natural stone. Now it’s got a really nice seasoned look to it. It’s living in my oven now. You might give it a try!

Kris
Kris
5 years 11 months ago

Hot rock = primal stove?

Congratulations on your health improvements, and your efforts to make sure the next generation is well prepared!

Mark
Mark
5 years 11 months ago

Now go after the school lunch program.

Matt
Matt
5 years 11 months ago

Thanks for all of the kudos!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the styro trays replaced with bio trays by next year.

Elaine Hoffman
Elaine Hoffman
3 years 11 months ago

Hello, my name is Elaine and I have been eating primal for about a year, as well as, doing CrossFit. I live in Riverdale, not far from the Cape. I would love to join your tribe.

noah216
noah216
5 years 11 months ago

those are some lucky 4th graders

Cindy Hanna
5 years 11 months ago

Cow heart is amazing. Love that you included it!

JB
JB
5 years 11 months ago

I am getting my cow in a couple weeks (organs included) and was looking for something to do with the heart.

Ben
Ben
5 years 11 months ago

Oh my, a feast on the beach sounds too good. Especially with beef hearts! Yum

Deanna (Diana Renata)
5 years 11 months ago

Oh wow… what a great idea, using Grokfeast as a chance to demonstrate to non-Primals what Primal eating is. The kids must have had a blast! Good job spreading the fire. Who knows who will pick up the torch. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mason
Mason
5 years 11 months ago

Get ’em while they’re young! The produce looks absolutely amazing. I love the idea of cooking on a big stone slab, makes every meal more primal.

Bet the kids had a ton of fun crawling around!

mike
mike
5 years 11 months ago

that’s awesome some of the parents were open minded enough to allow their kids to have fun

Anthony
5 years 11 months ago

Nice! Cape Coral is my hometown.

christie
christie
5 years 11 months ago

Awesome recipe for cow heart! Have to try that.

Marti
Marti
5 years 11 months ago

what a great lesson plan!

Mary Adams
Mary Adams
5 years 11 months ago

How refreshing to hear of a teacher encouraging healthy eating! My son gets frustrated because his football coaches say “no pop, no pop, no pop”, and then after games and at all cookouts, the league only provides pop to drink. Sounds like an awesome field trip and a great way to teach people.

JRM
JRM
5 years 11 months ago

That’s great. I’m going to have to try the beef heart recipe.

Jenny
Jenny
5 years 11 months ago

I couldn’t be more proud of this guy. Aside from the amazing experience described here, his forward-thinking teaching methods never cease to amaze me.

Chris
Chris
5 years 11 months ago

This is a great, engaging assignment! Keep up the good work!

Hanako
5 years 11 months ago

This is my favorite post so far, how else would Groks tribe have passed on knowledge, teach the young ones!

Sharon
Sharon
5 years 11 months ago

What a great idea for a primal picnic. Your students are very lucky to have you for a teacher.

Now, if I can just make myself try beef heart….recipe looks good…..maybe….

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

I love heart meat. Delicious and dense without being too chewy. I also love the picture of the kid wielding the “spear”. Good job on hosting an educational Grok feast. Hopefully some of your students will carry the lessons you taught for the rest of their lives.

Julie
Julie
5 years 11 months ago

Oh, I love that you got your students involved! My MIL is a teacher for 4th graders in a school that uses a lot of experiential education, and I’m going to tell her about this. Nice job!

Chipdogwa
Chipdogwa
5 years 11 months ago

What great fun! Bet all the kids had a great time.

Pat
Pat
5 years 11 months ago

Awesome. By influencing how they eat you’ve made a difference that will last a lifetime. A longer, healthier lifetime at that!

Liz Toll
5 years 11 months ago

What an awesome idea! Sounds like the ultimate field trip and lots of fun.

Fatkid
5 years 11 months ago

More Floridians! AAAHHHH!!! Who would have guessed there’d be so many?!?!

Whitney
5 years 11 months ago

Beef heart on the beach?! Sounds perfect.

carol
carol
5 years 11 months ago

I like cooking on the stone and the menu was great!

gilliebean
5 years 11 months ago

That’s amazing!! I love that you’re so fearless as to share this all with your students and their parents!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tom Halstead
Tom Halstead
5 years 11 months ago

Setting aside the biases of an enormously proud father, I can add that while spending 10 days or so with Matt earlier this year I enjoyed abundant heaps of his fabulous cooking – and lost four pounds! Grok on, Matt; you make the world a better place.

Mary Ann Baridon
Mary Ann Baridon
5 years 11 months ago

WOW…what a gifted teacher you are, Matt! Having fun while learning is a tool we use for life. What a wonderful way to show your students what that looks like. And after reading this…I just may…maybe…will try that beef heart.

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