Author: Russell Sparkman

Marybeth’s Crab Eggs Benedict

I LOVE my chickens.  Just ask my kids. And, Summer means EGGS on our farm.  Lots of eggs. More eggs than I know what to do with.

And on Whidbey Island, it means lots of Dungeness Crabs from our surrounding waters.

In August, one of my favorite ways to use our beautiful eggs is in Crab Eggs Benedict. For a Paleo version I use a bed of sliced tomatoes and bacon to replace the typical english muffin. Believe me, you won’t miss the muffin.

In this version, I place the poached egg on top of the tomato/bacon bed and then add warm crab and a generous drizzle of hollandaise. If  you don’t have access to crab meat, a ripe avocado is great in its place.

And, if you’re ever in Seattle try Portage Bay Cafe

Portage Bay Cafe was my introduction to a really good crab eggs benedict.

Still one of my favorite breakfast restaurants ever.

And, their motto is “Eat Like You Give a Damn- Local, Organic, Sustainable”.

Can’t argue with that!

August Crab Eggs Benedict

Ingredients and Preparation

3 egg yolks

1 ½ tsp dijon mustard

1 T lemon juice

¼ tsp salt

Tiny pinch cayenne pepper- more if you’re brave

½ c melted salted butter

  • Melt butter in the microwave or on the stove
  • In a blender, combine egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, salt and cayenne. Blend 10 seconds or so
  • Slowly add melted butter to egg mixture while blender is running
  • Pour hollandaise while warm over eggs, vegetables (so good on asparagus) or fish

Note: you can use more or less dijon or lemon juice depending on your taste

Delicious Paleo Recipes for your July 4th BBQ

Succulent, sweet, savory BBQ chicken leg and thighs and boneless pork ribs! I love having a combo of meat options in one meal and sharing a little bit of each around the table.

Summer greetings, everyone!

I hope wherever you are this 4th of July you can enjoy some time outdoors in the sun.

On Whidbey Island we are finally seeing some sunshine. For my family,
that means grilling almost every night and BBQ sauce is part of the mix.  I love the taste of any grilled food (meat or veggie) and a good bbq sauce is a requirement for my summer food experience.

Today we have included some Paleo-friendly options to spark ideas: a homemade bbq sauce recipe, if you’re feeling industrious, as well as a store-bought Primal Kitchen Paleo BBQ sauce you can trust that has clean ingredients and is low in carbs.


Paleo BBQ Sauce Options

Classic BBQ Sauce, Organic & Unsweetened

If you’re going the store-bought BBQ sauce route, we highly recommend PRIMAL KITCHEN’s Classic BBQ Sauce!

It’s organic, unsweetened, and ready to spread onto savory dishes with bold, smoky flavor.

Certified Paleo, Keto Certified, gluten free, and Whole30 Approved®, this sauce works as a marinade, a burger topping or a sweet potato fries condiment.


30 Recipes for a Paleo BBQ

A July 4th BBQ is synonymous with recreation and fun in the outdoors.

That’s why we like this list of Paleo-friendly recipes, which are geared toward spending as little time indoors on the day of your big cookout!


Recipe: Paleo BBQ Sauce

Here’s a Paleo BBQ Sauce Recipe that’s free of refined sugars and junky oils, and features 4 different renditions to customize to your tastes!

Written by Cassy Joy Garcia, author and nutritionist, this recipe will pair well with our own Primal Island Paleo-friendly margaritas!


Women in Business Series:
Finding Balance with Leila Dylla

Leila Dylla is a yoga teacher, wellness advocate, and spiritual mentor for women. She’s been working in this arena for 7 years. We recently reached out to Leila to ask her about how she navigates her work / life balance.

How did you come to be in this, as a business? What was your path?
I started teaching yoga when I was 19 years old, and I knew right away that this was what I wanted to do forever. It came naturally to me, and I was deeply inspired by the healing process, and transformation that can happen to those who commit their energy and time to self – discovery and inner awakening.

What’s been one of your biggest successes, that thing that helped you believe “I can do this?”
Watching my students and clients have “aha” moments. It takes so little to make the deepest part of who we are happy. My job is helping people remember what “that” is. When there is a breakthrough in understanding, a release, and joy filled freedom… it reassures me that this is my path. 

I like watching my students and clients have “aha” moments. It takes so little to make the deepest part of who we are happy.

Leila Dylla

What are your greatest challenges?
Figuring out how to actually run a business. I have had to really focus to understand how to do my taxes correctly, and how to enter into proper contracts with other teachers, and how to function the technical side of things. I am a creative and rebel at heart, so following the rules and crossing all the T’s is my challenge.

Another big one for me was understanding my worth, and setting boundaries to keep myself healthy and safe. Learning that what I have to offer is unique and valuable, and cultivating the courage I needed to charge for it. Then, learning to say no when needed (and scary), and YES when it’s needed (and scary). I suppose it all boils down to trusting myself. My abilities, and my offering. 

Of the challenges you’ve faced, tell us about something you’ve overcome and how you resolved the challenge?
Learning to do one thing at a time. Within my own life, and in the women that I guide, there is almost always a thread of “not enoughness”… and in that belief, we feel as though we must say yes to everything in order to be worthy, and in order to be seen.

Through my personal empowerment work, years of therapy, and guidance from mentors and teachers I was able to learn that what I have to offer is valuable, and that I actually am able to offer it to the world with more potency if I focus on digging one well at a time.

One of my teachers once told me, “you will eventually hit an abundance of water if you dig one well deeply, instead of digging ten wells, but shallow.” That stuck with me, and I remember it everyday as I apply myself to different avenues of knowledge that inspire me, and when I give my attention to my clients. I now only say yes to the things that light me up, so i can dig those wells deeply, and I am able to confidently say no to the things that are not for me. In this I have more power, and more love to share with those I’m working with… (this principle stands true for all areas of life!)

“Your body is your soul’s chance to be here. If it is not cared for properly, then you will not be able to share your purpose with the world in the biggest way.”

Leila Dylla

What are 3 things about being a Women in Business that you’ve learned that you’d like to share with other women?
1. Get curious about the things that make you compassionatly angry about the world. Then, get curious about what you can do about it.

2. Take care of yourself every single day. What you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Sit silently and breathe (meditate) every morning, no matter what. This creates space in your mind and inner world for the possibility for brilliant creativity to arise. Feed yourself real food, drink lots of water, and move your body. Your body is your soul’s chance to be here. If it is not cared for properly, then you will not be able to share your purpose with the world in the biggest way.

3. Slow down, do less, and Listen to your heart. Your heart is the home of your Soul. And, when we take the time to connect to this place, we cannot be led astray. Your greatest potential lies within you… just waiting for you to listen.

4. (Bonus!) Ask for help. You don’t have to be great at everything. There are people who love to do the shit you hate. Hire them, and build a team! 

Do you think that being a women in business confers upon you certain traits, ways of approaching things, and if so, what are they and how do they help/hinder your business
Being a woman in business has built my confidence in a grounded way. I used to have a hard time making decisions, asking for help, and speaking my personal needs to others. But as my business and I have grown together, I have learned to be impeccable in these areas.

It has afforded me poise, and peace of mind in my personal and professional life. It can be challenging at times, when a hard conversation is needed, or when It’s time to pivot and try something new… but I believe in what I have come here to do, and am grateful everyday to be my own boss! 

Stay Connected with Leila:


Build Colorful Salads with Edible Flowers

I love all things edible. 

And when it comes to salad, edible flowers are the “icing on the cake,” so to speak.  Growing vegetables alongside my landscaping and having edible flowers in the mix makes everything more beautiful and more tasty.

In the Pacific Northwest this time of year there are a handful of yummy and gorgeous edible flowers to choose from as well as copious amounts of lettuce. 

My favorites to use for garnish on salad currently are: calendula, nasturtiums, borage, pea blossoms and bachelor buttons. A few are pictured in the garden salad, above. 

The salad came straight from my garden as well and, not only includes various lettuces, but also includes, kale, swiss chard and beet greens.  The more variety the better for the palette and nutrition, I say!

And, in the end, I think every meal sprinkled with edible flowers is a feast for the eyes and stomach. 

Simple Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

½ c Olive Oil-make sure  the olive oil is not cut with canola oil

½ c balsamic

½ c grainy mustard 

Salt to taste (more than you think)

Pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a jar with a lid (I use mason jars).  Shake and done!  This will keep in the refrigerator forever so I often double or triple the recipe in the summer months when we are eating an abundance of salads.

And for additional Paleo Dressing, please see 9 Paleo Salad Dressing so You Know Exactly What’s Going into Your Greens.

More Edible Flowers

The photos below are several of the flowers I used in this salad. If you’d like to see additional edible flowers, please check out this blog post, Flowers You Can Eat.


Pea Blossom


“Keep it Simple” Guacamole and Salsa Recipes

It’s fashionable these days to take basic recipes for dishes such as guacamole and salsa and add all kinds of flavor enhancing herbs and spices.

But I learned from a friend that keeping it simple is the secret to a great “guac” and salsa.

Here are the recipes I use when I’m settling down to drink a Kombucha-Ritas or two with chips and salsa.

Primal Island Simple Guacamole

4 avocados 

¼ diced red onion

1 T cilantro (optional)

1 minced or pressed garlic clove 

Salt and pepper to taste

Mash avocados and mix all ingredients together.  Garnish with extra cilantro and red onions. 

If not serving immediately add ¼ lime or lemon juiced or 1 tsp lime or lemon juice (I highly recommend Santa Cruz brand).  Adding the citrus will keep it from turning brow

And if you’re looking for grain free chips, my favorite brand is Siete, which you can buy online.

Easy Roma Salsa

2 roma tomatoes, finely diced

¼ red onion, finely diced

½ tsp olive oil

1 tsp cilantro, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  Garnish with extra red onion and/or cilantro and enjoy! Simple, yet delicious!

2 Paleo-friendly Margaritas for Father’s Day

Bragg’s Limeade Apple Cider Vinegar Drink is the basis of a slightly sweet but very low carb Margarita. See full recipe below.

I grew up in Roscoe, Illinois. It was a small rural town where the only business was a truck stop that sold great pie and the only spices in our cupboard were salt and pepper, (as I remember – there’s a possibility we had dried oregano, too, but you get the picture!)

So, it was a big deal when, as a 16-year-old, I visited my older brother who was attending college at Texas A&M. There, I was introduced to such exotic foods as guacamole, salsa and chili con queso. I was also introduced to tequila via a concoction I was told was a “Margarita.”

Experiencing these new flavors left a lasting impression. To this day, I love making my own fresh guacamole, salsa and margarita’s, the latter with a definite Paleo twist. I call it a Kombucha-rita.

A Kombucha-rita is a tart, non-sugary alternative to the basic bar or supermarket mix variety of margarita.

Today, I’m sharing my two favorite approaches to making Paleo Margaritas, including one that uses an apple cider drinking vinegar to add a touch of sweetness. Enjoy the following recipes!

Low Carb Kombucha-Rita: Tart Version

1 shot favorite 100% Agave tequila 

⅓ cup GT’s original kombucha

1 lime

Salt for rim (optional)

  1. Salt the rim or your favorite glass.  (Does not need to be  a traditional margarita glass.  My favorite is the one pictured here with dragonflies on it).
  2. Fill glass with ice.  Add tequila, kombucha and lime juice.  Stir, serve and relax!
  3. If you prefer blended margaritas and have multiple imbibers, a pitcher of blended margaritas is a fun option. 

Very Low Carb, Apple Cider Vinegar-Rita’s: Slightly Sweet Version

1 shot favorite 100% Agave tequila 

⅓ cup Braggs  Organic ACV Limeade

1 lime

Salt for rim (optional)

  1. Salt the rim or your favorite glass.  (Does not need to be  a traditional margarita glass.  My favorite is the one pictured here with dragonflies on it).
  2. Fill glass with ice. Add tequila, Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and lime juice. Stir, serve and relax!
  3. If you prefer blended margaritas and have multiple imbibers, a pitcher of blended margaritas is a fun option. 

How to Buy a Healthier, Naturally Pure Wine

Healthier wine choices can be made by focusing upon red wines with 12.5% or less alcohol. These three were purchased at Star Store, a local purveyor in Langley, Washington, on Whidbey Island.

I like wine.

Scratch that. I love wine.

But as I got a bit older I realized my body was becoming less tolerant of wine.

I could no longer have a glass or two with dinner and not pay a price in the form of interrupted sleep, night sweats, hangovers and headaches.

I was on the verge of giving up wine when I stumbled across an approach to winemaking often referred to as “dry farm” winemaking. Stripped to its fundamentals, dry farm winemaking is a return to Old World approaches to making wines.

Then, coincidentally, I discovered an online seller of wines actually called Dry Farm Wines.

I began buying wine through their online store and it literally changed my life. It turned out I didn’t need to stop drinking wine, I just needed to begin buying the right wine.

Meet Dry Farm Wines

“In nature, you’ll find everything you need” is the philosophy of winemaker Claus Preisinger, of Volker Wine Co. in Austria.

Preisinger is one of a growing number of vintners focused on making certified biodynamic, sustainably-grown, natural wines whose vintages are the type curated by Dry Farm Wines.

Dry Farm Wines focuses on bringing to their customers wines that are from small, sustainable family farms that adhere to strict standards of healthy best practices. 

The list of attributes of wines in their selection is intriguing. From “dry” or no irrigation farming to reliance upon wild native yeast in fermentation, the wines are as “primal” as they get in their reliance upon nature’s fundamental influences on winemaking.

Perhaps more importantly, they lab test the wines they sell in order to maintain specific standards of purity.

They do this because wine is one of the few food groups that isn’t required to have a contents label. Yet, there are 76 legal additives that are approved for use in winemaking, taking what was once an artisan craft and turning it an industrialized, sterile shelf product.

When you buy wines from Dry Farm Wines you can be assured that they are additive free, sugar and carb free, with lower alcohol, lower sulfites, mycotoxin and mold free, and ideally fit for those choosing Paleo and Ketogenic diets.  If you’d like to learn more you can read a list of attributes of the wines they curate on their website.

Dry Farms Wines Alternatives

Buying wines online for home through Dry Farms Wines means you’re in control of what your drinking from your own collection.

But what happens when you’re away from home, in a restaurant, or simply seeking wine on impulse at your local market, to be consumed that night?

I’ve learned over the years to look for specific types of wines that come close to the Dry Farms Wines characteristics.

The most significant qualities that I look for are a red wine from France or Italy, with 12.5% or less alcohol. This gets you as close as you can get to a no carb, no sugar dry farm style of wine.

Marybeth’s Molasses Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies ™

For a cookie that plays the dual role of being decadent yet plays well with a paleo and keto lifestyle, try Marybeth’s Molasses Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookie ™.


  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten with whisk
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled (coconut oil can be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup monk fruit sugar (coconut sugar can be substituted) 
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/8 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 2 T blackstrap molasses 
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (we used Lily’s)
  • ½ cup  any Primal Island Granola-we used blueberry
  • Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk egg.  Add melted and COOLED butter (or coconut oil), monk fruit sugar, molasses and vanilla extract. 
  3. Next add in almond flour, coconut flour, ginger and baking soda, mixing well to combine and form a dough. Fold in dark chocolate chips and granola.  
  4. Use an ice cream scoop or large tablespoon to place dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Gently flatten the dough with a spatula or two fingers. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown. 
  5. Cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Makes approximately 12 cookies.

Great warm and gooey! 

Got Back (Pain?) Try Bird Dogs and Dead Bugs

Exercise regimens such as Functional Fitness and Crossfit are excellent fitness approaches for people observing paleo and keto lifestyles.

That’s why members of the Primal Island team have trained for years with Functional Fitness trainer Adam Fawcett, of Vibrant Fitness, on Whidbey Island.

We got together with Adam recently and asked him to share with us some easy-to-do core fitness routines that can be done at home. He recommended the following for strengthening your core, as well as for reducing or eliminating back pain.

To Get Started:
1. Watch the two videos below – Bird Dogs and Dead Bugs – to familiarize yourself with the routines.

2. Warm up with a 5 to 10 minute walk

3. Place your laptop or mobile device where you can see it while you do the exercises.

4. Do 2 sets of each exercise, based on the following reps per set:

• Bird Dogs – 15 to 20 reps
• Dead Bugs, 9 contra-lateral reps per side (contra-lateral is opposite arm-leg extensions)
• Dead Bugs, 9 ipsi-lateral reps per side (ipsi-lateral is same arm-leg extensions)

5. As a guideline, do the exercises until you feel significant fatigue or feel the burn in targeted muscles.

Additional Advice:

Adam suggests starting slow and easy at first, aiming to do these exercises every day for 3 to 4 weeks. Each time you’ve done them 4 days in a row, take a rest day, then resume. After 4 weeks, maintain core stability gains by doing the exercises 3 to 5 times per week.

Zoom Workouts with Adam Fawcett
Want to work out with Adam? Check out his Zoom Workout Schedule on his Vibrant Fitness website, or visit his Facebook page.

Primal Island’s Paleo Fruit Crisp

Looking for a delicious after dinner treat this summer? Or how about a little something sweet to eat anytime that’s still on the healthy side? If so, try this Primal Island Paleo Fruit Cup!


10 Cups of your favorite fruit combo – our favorites are apple, apple blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, mixed berries and peach blueberry

2 Tbsp Paleo flour (almond, arrowroot, coconut, tapioca, etc.)

⅓ Cup granulated monkfruit sweetener or other sweetener

Primal Island granola

Butter for coating baking pan


We love some added seasonings, especially for the apple, apple blueberry and the peach blueberry!

1 ½ Tsp Cinnamon

½ Tsp Nutmeg

Ice cream, whipping cream, or canned coconut milk for serving


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Lightly butter 9×13 pan

3. Toss fruit, sweetener, and flour and spread it in the pan

4. Bake on the middle rack for about 45 minutes, until fruit is tender, and let stand for 10-15 minutes

5. Scoop into individual bowls

6. Top with favorite Primal Island granola immediately before serving

7. Add toppings such as vanilla ice cream*, whipping cream, or a scoop of canned coconut milk (dairy-free)!

*If you’re on Whidbey, be sure to support Whidbey Island Ice Cream Co.!