A movement designed to join ancestral health with modern culture

My Struggle with Positive Dog Training

Eric SteinComment


I’ve been torn lately.  Stuck on the fence. And it’s my dog that’s doing it.  He’s...fiery...I guess we’ll call it.  We’ve been trying to follow a positive reinforcement training model which calls for rewarding good behavior in an attempt to push out bad.

Speaking of bad, during a recent training session, to my lack of surprise really, Theodore (our 15lb Maltese Poodle) bit my finger, hard, when I tried to take something from his mouth.  So hard he looked like a football 50 yards out, down by two, one play left. He’s slightly bigger than a football, but still very kick-able.

I felt the anger rise, but let it go, and we continued. As I recall the event, he had something of mine I tried to take back, then he bit me, and I backed away.  There was no punishment or repercussion for this violation. To him, that probably seemed like a success. He snapped at me, defended his territory, and I stepped away.  He’ll probably do it again. I mean, why stop what’s working?

The problem is that it’s NOT his territory.  If he has something I want in his mouth, that’s my territory.  Time to give it up. Period. The part that really gets me is that our trainer can pull anything out of his mouth.  He’s putty in her hands. (She’s super badass btw check out Conscious K9). But when I go in I catch a puncture wound.  WTF.

So why am I torn?  

Little Theo LOVES to run ahead on walks, pulling the leash, almost choking himself out.  It’s like the area next to me is hot lava or something. The positive reinforcement model says to treat him while he walks next to me and to stop/slow when he pulls ahead.  We’ve done this for a while, with some progress, but far from where we want him.  Holly said she’s not made it down the street a few times because there’s so much stopping.

Ultra annoying.

Recently I took my son and dog for a quick walk to a tree by our house that’s firing out avocados, one of nature’s most super foods (a fruit with fat...yum!).  I pushed Rory in his little blue car with Theo in tow on leash. As we headed to the tree, Theo darted ahead per usual, and without thinking, I went rogue on positive reinforcement.  I had a wooden fruit picker in hand (Google if you’re curious), and as he jumped ahead, I popped him on the head with the wood side of the picker. There wasn’t an ounce of anger with it, just a nice little “hey, get next to me” smack, and kept walking.

After that something weird happened.  He looked at me differently. Not scared, more shocked if anything.  I know it rattled him because I know what a broomstick to the head feels like, not the funnest experience in the world.  But I kept walking like nothing happened. We get to the end of the cul de sac and he’s glued next to me. Good dog.

Another street down and he pulls ahead again so I give him a pump fake with the picker.  Enough said. He’s back to my side. Two weeks later, and he’s still much better.


On one hand, I always lean towards positive reinforcement to navigate life.  You know, build people up, praise, forgive, love, etc. Being angry at someone feels silly when you understand they are simply another manifestation of yourself, walking around in a different meat suit.  And this has been uber successful with my two-year-old thus far.

On the other hand, I’m staring in the face of results.  My concern is this method of training can create fear in the dog which may manifest in other ways, so says the positive reinforcement peeps. But he’s already cool with biting me...could it really get any worse?  

My Dad always joked about rolling up a magazine to show him who’s boss.   Maybe there’s merit in it. Maybe there’s a middle ground?

On a walk today Theo pulled ahead, I gave him a quick smack with the leash, and he was glued to my side after that.  The rest of the walk I praised and showered him with treats.

Ancestral Junkie is all about blending modern life with ancestral fundamentals, maybe this middle ground is what will work for Theo?

18 Uses For Your Fermented Veggie Brine

Fermented Foods, Holistic Living, Body, Weston Price and NT, Whole 30Holly SteinComment

I'm all about zero waste...and that includes the brine from our homemade sauerkraut.  If you're looking for a way to use that brine, check out 18 different uses below!  

  1. To soak grains for proper preparation (in lieu of whey or apple cider vinegar)
  2. Add a splash to bone broth or hot soup for a fun kick
  3. Use it in deviled eggs when mixing up the yolks
  4. Mix a little into hummus
  5. Add to potato salad for a zing
  6. Use as a marinade for meat (similar to vinegar, it tenderizes)
  7. Put some in your bloody mary.  Enough said.
  8. Add it to your homemade mayo
  9. Mix it in a dip for veggies
  10. Drink it straight!  Or dilute it with flat or sparkling water
  11. Use as a salad dressing (treat as you would vinegar and add some oil, spices, etc.)
  12. Pickle some hardboiled eggs
  13. Add it to your cold soup base 
  14. Add it to egg salad 
  15. Speed up your compost (I can't wait to try this one!)
  16. Add it your fresh veggie juice
  17. Use it it to saute your greens (it will the probiotic, but the flavor will be delish!)
  18. Feed it to your chickens (I wish I had chickens!)
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Natural Cure For Mastitis

Babies and Kids, Body, Holistic Living, Pregnancy and Post PartumHolly SteinComment

About 7 weeks post partum I got mastitis.  I had heard about how awful it was and I was so sure I wouldn't get it.  I made sure to massage my boobs often for the first several weeks, and then I got a little lazy.  I went to bed one night feeling a little sore, so I put a heating pad on my boob.  The next morning I woke up and felt a little flu-like and in more pain.  I immediately texted my midwife, Lauren (Wholistic Women's HealthCare) because I knew she would know what to do!  She gave me the following protocol and told me that she hardly ever has to prescribe antibiotics anymore.  I followed this protocol for 1 day and it completely knocked it out.  I felt SO much better the next morning and continued to rest a second day as a precaution.


  1. REST.  Get in bed and do NOT get out.  Unless you have to pee.  Seriously.  This is non-negotiable.
  2. Drink as much water as humanly possible.  If you have grapefruit seed extract, put a drop in a glass of water.
  3. Eat raw garlic.  I ate a few cloves over the course of the entire day.  I chopped it up into tiny pieces and swallowed them like tiny pills so I wouldn't have to taste it.
  4. Take 5,000-7,000 mg of Vitamin C.  Go slow.  I took 7,000 mg over the course of the day.  If you take too much it can cause you to run to the restroom.
  5. Put heat on the affected breast and massage.
  6. Nurse on the affected breast as much as possible and keep it empty.  I also used a hand pump to keep it empty.
  7. Do as much skin to skin with baby as you can.

This completely saved me!  I really wanted to avoid antibiotics and this combination of things literally cleared it up in one day.  If you find yourself with a case of mastitis, give it a try!

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Ancestral Junkie Recommended Podcast Episode: Mark Sisson on Bulletproof Radio

Body, Keto, Paleo, PodcastsHolly SteinComment

This is an amazing episode for anyone interested in a low carb, keto diet and metabolic flexibility.  Whether you are new to the lifestyle or having been following it for years, it will sure to be on of your favorites!  Click below to listen.

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Fat Bombs

Body, Fat Bombs, Keto, Recipes, Sweet ToothHolly SteinComment

Get into ketosis in less than 60 minutes!

O.M.Geezy.  These fat bombs definitely rival our famous Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Fat Bombs.  They are SO rich and SO perfect for fall.


  • Fat Bombs:
  • (1) 8 oz. package organic cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbls grassfed butter, softened
  • 3 tbls sweetemer (Xylitol, Swerve or Stevia)*
  • 3 tbls organic pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice**
  • ----- 
  • Caramel Topping:
  • 3 tbs grassfed butter
  • 3 tbs organic grassfed heavy cream
  • 1 tbs sweetener (Xylitol, Swerve or Stevia) - you could honestly omit or decrease this!  It's so sweet!
  • 1/8 tsp organic vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp organic molasses


  1. Use a hand mixer to combine all of the fat bomb ingredients in a bowl (cream cheese, butter, sweetener, pumpkin, vanilla and spice).  Mix until everything is well combined
  2. Form into balls, or scoop in a silicone mold (the one I have shown below).  Put in the freezer for a few hours until firm.
  3. In a small sauce pan, combine all caramel topping ingredients.  Heat until bubbling and then turn off to let cool and thicken up.
  4. After fat bombs are firmed up, drizzle with caramel topping.
  5. Store fat bombs in the freezer.  I like to pull them out about 15-20 minutes before I enjoy them to let them soften up a little bit.

Shopping Guide:

*This makes a decently tart bomb, but I find the sweetness of the caramel topping works!

**Made of 5 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp clove, 1/4 tsp nutmeg 

Lemon Coconut Snack Bites

Body, Fat Bombs, Keto, Paleo, Sweet Tooth, Weston Price and NT, RecipesHolly SteinComment

I have to admit that doing keto and Whole 30 at the same time is challenging.  It's really eliminating the dairy that makes it tough for me...however I KNOW that I feel better when I lay off most dairy (aside from butter).  These lemon coconut bites are a great high fat/low carb snack that are also Whole 30 approved!  I modified a recipe I found from Happy Healthy Mama.


  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon
  • 2 tbls coconut oil


  1. Put cashews in the food processor until they are pulsed into crumbs
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until combined
  3. Form into balls (I usually get about 16-20 based on how big I make them)
  4. Store in the fridge

That's it!  Seriously, so fast and easy..and delicious too!

Estimated nutrition facts based on 16 bites:

  • Fat - 9.5 grams
  • Protein - 2.6 grams
  • Net Carbs - 4.25 grams
  • Sugar - 0.62 grams