PRIMAL ZEN asks the question, “What can I intuitively know about our collective importance as human beings?”

The idea for this blog came from two ideas or philosophies (Zen Buddhism and Ancestral Health) that I wanted to blend together in order to achieve a lifestyle that was congruent with my endless quest to reach optimal health for my mind, body and spirit.

Primal Zen is a blog geared toward finding balance and simplicity in our eating habits. Learning to grow your own food and become sustainable is compatible with the art of Zen. Now I realize that most people wouldn’t think of putting Primal/Paleo in the same sentence as the word Zen because it seems like they would be incompatible. I don’t think the two ideas, like Science and Religion, should be mutually exclusive. Incorporating simple, healthy, whole foods and consuming only what our body needs is, in fact, harmonious with the Zen lifestyle. For when we eat processed, dead, packaged food, we are not honoring our bodies and our minds. When we eat processed foods loaded with chemicals such as HFCS, sugar, and gluten, it poisons our bodies and robs us of necessary nutrients we need to live and thrive. Eating those foods also causes us to crave more, which means we will over consume. Over consumption of food is incompatible with Zen philosophy.


I have suffered from insomnia for as long as I can remember. It could be attributed to psychological factors, but more than likely it was due to inadequate nutrition and a lifestyle of substance abuse for many years. Now that I am clean, adequate sleep is very important to me.

According to blogger Leo Babauta, “Along with sleep, what you eat is likely the biggest determinant of how healthy you are. Not exercise. Not supplements. Sleep and nutrition.”

Having said all that, Primal Zen features stories on living an active, healthy life and keeping things in balance. You’ll see topics on Home & Garden that feature bold, exciting landscapes as well as beautiful homes that adhere to the philosophy that “less is more” thereby functioning as an extension of ourselves. Our homes should be uncluttered, simple yet elegant with bold colors that speak volumes.

Most of all, stories will focus on eating healthy, nutritious, whole foods from Mother Nature.


I hope you will visit often to see what’s new. I will be posting lots of fun recipes you can try your hand at! This is a learning process for me, too. I am by no means a Guru or a Zen Master, but I do strive to become the healthiest me I can be.



10 thoughts on “What is Primal Zen?

  1. Rebecca Russell says:

    Hi Heather! Love love love the new blog! Great concept! As a vegetarian, I highly appreciate what you’ve put together. I’m just getting back to blogging myself, so if you have time, jump over to my page. xxx


  2. Betty Hill says:

    I just discovered your blog and want you to know how much I enjoy it! It is focused and consistent…..if a reader is interested in ANY small portion of your blog, then that reader will most likely be interested in ALL other portions of your blog as well!

    Even though the subject matter is fairly specific and therefore limited, the content of this blog isn’t boring or predictable. Many bloggers hope to keep readers interested by loading their blog with so much content that keeping up becomes overwhelming, or they have a hard time choosing a theme and sticking with it! You seem to realize that quality is more important than quantity, making your blog a credible and reliable source for information about my health interests.

    This blog is devoted to very specific areas of mental and physical health that remain somewhat obscure and unexplored by mainstream media, but it still offers a wide variety of new information and explores topics that are of interest to it’s readers. I feel as though I can depend on you to search for select the articles I want to read and the information that’s important to know so that I don’t have to!:)

    I have never liked or hated a blog enough to comment. I don’t really let myself form opinions about things on the internet because if felt the need to share my opinion, I would not be satisfied using this anonymous and impersonal forum to do it. But this blog compelled me to let it’s creator know that I appreciate the thought and effort that she put into it. It’s not “amazing” or “remarkable”….but in a world where so many things are done poorly, something that is simply done well does not go unnoticed and deserves a high-five:)


    1. Pepper Culpepper says:

      Thank you Betty! I also have a blog you might enjoy at, please check it out. I just wrote a couple of pieces you might find interesting. I’m so glad you took the time to comment. It makes a difference when people reach out to tell me they appreciate my work. Thank you!


  3. Betty Hill says:

    You mentioned having problems in your past that I’m assuming I can relate to, and am in the process of over-coming now. I have a weird feeling that it would help me immensely for you to know my situation. No pressure or anything, but I think you are going to know the perfect things to say, and have practical advice and suggestions for me:) I accidentally found your blog, and since then a strange comfort has come over me….for the very first time since I officially began this mission in June….I know I am capable of doing what I need to do, and that’s a huge relief!

    I’m not really sure what the point of this message is, I just need to do things sometimes and then I find out why later. I’m not overly spiritual or psychotic, but when I have “hunches” I have learned to pay attention and do as they say, so then I benefit by either having a random learning or much-needed experience that I would have otherwise missed, or by avoiding a catastrophic event or miserable situation that I would have otherwise walked straight into. Ignoring it is like walking past a sealed envelope and not picking it up….if you pick it up you might get a bunch of money, or maybe you see that its important and return it to it’s owner who is so grateful he takes you out for drinks and now your married to him! Or it might just be an advertisement for cereal but that reminds you that you haven’t seen your sister for awhile and you decide to visit her immediately. It might have been a voter registration form and you’ve been meaning to fill one out anyway:) But if you don’t even pick it up at all, nothing happens and you will never know what you missed. I can tell when my feeling is forced and I’m making it up, because those times I hear my voice telling me what I want to hear, convenient! But, when it’s real, I know because its a FEELING…..I couldn’t even put it into words if I wanted to.

    This hunch is not an epic one….not like Im about to meet my soul-mate.. or win a new car… or discover I have a long lost twin. This hunch is simply telling me that I can stop doubting myself, and the hard work I have done will not be for nothing because I am still on the dirt path that is taking me where I want to go. And it says that soon it will be paved, and there will be no more bumps so I can have a smoother trip! Cheesy analogy…sorry. But I have been suffering for months and then something clicked tonight…it was my when my hand clicked my mouse and led me here! I did not plan to say that, but I couldn’t resist:) The hunch tells me that I should reach out to a stranger, if she is for some unknown reason connected to my new-found positive outlook, just to see if there is something I’m supposed to see or get or something else I need to do. Maybe my writing this is all that’s supposed to happen…just please understand I dont have grand expectations…everything is something.

    The hunch came over me after I clicked to your blog, but before I read it. I don’t really like it when people assume other people enjoy receiving information from them, and am predisposed to snobbery when it comes to social media. It’s a bad quality, but it sounds a little better with a more elaborate explanation, I swear! But no time for that now. I think that most people are really only paying attention to themselves, and others reaction to them. Arrogance is unappealing. Does that make me arrogant? Anyway, I had a feeling come over me and was unaware what caused it..I scrolled around your blog for a minute fully expecting to lose the interest that I never even gained, and move on to my next internet moment. But then I was reading about dark chocolate, and though my eyes only grabbed a few randomly located sentences, I liked them. Low attention span, bored of the chocolate, but wonder what else this girl is into. Why? I HAVE NO IDEA! So what if you like chocolate! I have that in common with at least 60% of the female population .And i can assure you that if some lady started a conversation with me about chocolate, I would not be thinking “I’m so glad to know about her love for chocolate! She seems fascinating….must know more! I simply cant wait to hear about all of the other things she loves! I am going to cancel the plans I had for the rest of my day so that I can hear whatever else she has to say!” But in a way, that’s how I reacted to your blog. I didnt realize it then or I would have felt like an idiot and put an end to it, but it’s obvious to me now. Next I landed on this blog and read about you and stuff you wrote and my attention didn’t stray. I was mildly interested! Your attitude was mild and pleasant, your opinions weren’t forced upon me, but mentioned so playfully and casually that I felt as though I didnt have to take them seriously,,,,but I did because in reality they were usually an integral part of the context,….and I agreed with them.

    This is getting to be too long, especially considering it has no actual purpose. Well, actually it does….I’m hoping you will agree to become a new friend of mine and take on the load that my actual friends wouldn’t be able to handle. I am honest in general, but I dont tell the people who care about me how scared I am and how bad I hurt cuz they will just worry and want to help, but there is no way they can..

    What Ive gathered about you….You are an author that primarily mostly writes articles about nutrition and health for magazines (Belle). You love dark chocolate and know alot about it. You eat according to the Paleo diet….me sister does as well so am well-informed and considering it for myself. You gained weight and lost it, your very pretty, You are spiritual and love life. You struggled with substance abuse in your past. You know 17 (awesome) ways to eat an avocado. You live in Florida. See, I barely read it…but got a great vibe from what I did read. Honestly, even though you volunteered the info and thats the point of a blog, I feel weird knowing things about people I don’t know.

    Some things about me……Im 37 years old, no kids, never married. Haven’t met the right guy, and beginning to think there isnt one. I have one sister, a bro-in-law and four parents. I live in Portland, OR. I just got a Paralegal degree. I’m recovering from heroin addiction. Clean for 2 months and experiencing major post-acute withdrawal. I am hoping you are willing to give me nutrition/sleep advice and……just kinda be an extra source of encouragement. Hope this isnt freaking you out. I’m an artist and want to show you my website but need confidentiality. Please don’t let this appear on your blog. If you send a message that says “Thank you, Betty” then I will give my email. If not, I had fun writing this anyway:)


    1. Pepper Culpepper says:

      I’ll take it down. Although you would be amazed at the healing properties of dark chocolate. Find something with 70% cacao and have a little with an apple each morning. Dark chocolate contains flavanols and also releases serotonin into the brain, a much needed neurotransmitter in the case of people in recovery.


      1. Pepper Culpepper says:

        I prefer Green & Black’s 85% dark chocolate. I eat it with organic, natural peanut butter and an apple for breakfast every day. Apples have fiber and contain lots of vitamins and minerals. Plus they have a low glycemic index. Plus, dark chocolate is high in polyphenols, which, according to one abstract on PubMed, “There is an exciting prospect in the discovery of natural polyphenols as therapeutic agents in the treatment of major depression.” The best advice I can offer you is to get lots of exercise and build muscle. This will help you sleep better. Avoid wheat, dairy and processed sugar. use coconut sugar instead and only in the a.m. Eat as naturally as possible. Eat a diet high in omega 3’s. Spend lots of time in nature. Yoga, meditation and prayer have helped me. As far as the dark chocolate goes, here’s a good read:


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