Your Perfect Meal

I’m really into my blender drinks. I start out every morning with one, before work and even on weekends. I’ll add anywhere from 8-10 ingredients…a real mess of things. It’s tasty, organic, cleansing, energizing, alkalizing, hydrating, satiating and yes….I said tasty.

My drinks get pretty crazy because of all the great stuff I throw in there. When in doubt….toss it in. My Vita-Mix does the trick every time. If you don’t have a high quality blender…get one… Vita-Mix is one of the best investments I’ve made. I didn’t think there was a difference between a $40 blender and a $400 blender….but now I know that there is. You’ll never taste a smoothie so smooth.

My blender drinks are perfect meals. In the morning, they are so packed with nutrition, that if this one drink was the only nourishment IĀ  had all day, I would be alright. Note that I said if, since I do eat several snacks and lunch every day.

I enjoy the process of eating, but modern day lifestyles make it tough to just sit around and chew all day. That’s why blenders are so valuable. They also take foods that might not taste great on their own (e.g. raw cacao, spirulina, maca root) and make them down right tasty when blended with banana, honey, dates, berries or other fruits.

Blenders also pulverize food to the point where your body can more easily assimilate nutrients. I typically have a second smoothie after my yoga practice in the evening, while I am preparing dinner. This will be lighter drink (about 3-5 ingredients).

I am a big believer that any craving for food is ultimately born from a craving for nutrients. We are so used to eating calorically dense foods are nutrient light. Pizza, pasta, rice, sandwiches, etc. Lacking the nutrients it needs, the body starts to crave more food. This causes us to eat even more calorically dense foods in a desperate attempt to get the right nutrition. In most cases, this nutrition is in the form of key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Unfortunately, our food choices rarely give us what we need. We get tons of calories but not enough real nutrition.

Blender drinks give you a way to consumer natural superfoods in a user friendly way. These superfoods (cacao, maca root, flax, goji berries and hemp are my favorites) are ridiculously nutrient dense. For example, cacao (raw chocolate beans) have > 5x the antioxidants of blueberries and is the top sources of minerals like sulfur and magnesium out of all food products. A high quality meal with these superfoods make food cravings a thing of the past. They make a perfect meal.

Oprah’s Going Vegan!

…for 21 days šŸ™‚

Read all about it on her blog.

She is on day 4. Go Oprah!

For her, it’s part of a cleanse that’s about cultivating a sense of more conscious eating. In addition to abstaining from animal products, she’s skipping caffeine, alcohol, gluten (wheat products) and processed sugar.

This is actually way better than just going vegan. It’s so easy to go vegan and then just go nuts eating over processed vegan junk food, like I did for a few years. She’s doing it the right way.

In fact, I recently had a food allergy test done and found out that I am (apparently) allergic to Bananas, Almonds, Peanuts and Navy Beans!

The first three I eat by the bushel….so I’m modifying my diet a bit to exclude them for a while to see how I feel.

I don’t apparently have a wheat allergy according to this test, but I was only tested using the IGE antibody test, which accounts for allergies that elicit a response through blood and typically impact the body after a few days (not immediately). However, I am pretty sure wheat doesn’t sit well with me, so I am excluding that as well.

As substitutes, I am going to be eating more cashews, pumpkin and sunflower seeds; and using apples in my smoothies instead of bananas. I don’t eat navy beans much at all so that isn’t a big deal to skip.

My Strength-Gaining Mission (Final Results)

I started this mission as a 30 day challenge. Through day 20, I followed the protocol. Then, things got very busy for me at work, and I did not have the time to even get in the gym for 30 minutes twice a week. I did my last real weight workout 20 days into the mission, and did another (abbreviated) workout 24 days in.

That said, I did continue to monitor my bodyweight and body-fat, and made a conscious effort to eat more high quality food even when I wasn’t working out. In a way, the last 10 days of this experiment were really about just letting my body recover completely and seeing how that would impact my stats.

In my last post, I did a recap of the strength gains I saw after 20 days on the program:

“So in 20 days, I’ve managed to INCREASE my Squat by +26%, Chest Press +10% with +3 added reps, Chest Fly +11%, Pullover +30% (with 1 less rep) and Leg Press +12% with 1 fewer rep.”

Throughout the month of May, I’ve seen my bodyweight and body-fat fluctuate a bit. I didn’t see much change during the middle of the month, but saw quite a lot of progress during the end of the month. What change did I make during the end of the month?

Quite simply, during the end of the month, I ate more <high quality food> and trained less <in fact, I didn’t do any significant weight training during the last 10 days>. While from a psychological standpoint I felt like I was getting slightly weaker, the stats showed that I was indeed getting stronger.

The net results showed that I had lost 3 pounds of body-fat and gained >5 pounds of muscle in a single month. <see chart above>

This is a big insight for me, that my body needs time and lots of rest to gain muscle mass.

I am going to keep up the High-Intensity training protocol for another month, but cut back my training to once a week and see what happens.

Seattle Experiment: Check-In

May 12 Check-In

I’ve been following a HIT <high intensity training> training protocol for the past 12 days. The routine, as mentioned on Tim Ferriss’s blog and outlined in The Colorado Experiment, calls for training less frequently, using very slow reps whereby you reach muscular failure in a single set.

Continue reading Seattle Experiment: Check-In

How to Gain 34lbs of Muscle in 4 Weeks

Tim Ferriss has another motivating post about how to gain a massive amount of muscle in a short period of time. It is almost too big a change to believe, but I’ll let you be the judge.

What’s the most weight (muscle or fat!) that you’ve gained in a single month?

For me: +10lbs. Back in 1998, after school let out for the summer, I had an internship in NYC. I went from running, swimming and biking a ton, to just lifting a ton (and eating a ton) and not doing much else. The weight came on pretty easily. After the first month, I gained about 2 pounds each of the remaining 2 months.

During my 12-week challenge last year, I managed to gain +10lbs of lean muscle in 12 weeks.

Gaining 34lbs in 4 weeks is crazy. Even 1/4 that gain would be tough. The kicker is, Tim did it while training only 8 hours a week! I need to learn that technique.

Increase Your Endurance and Reduce Stress With One Simple Technique

Hi there…I just wrote another blog post with some additional techniques for taking your physical endurance to the next level. Check it out here.

For the past three weeks I have been applying a technique that has had more impact of my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being than any other product, system or technique I have tried out in recent memory. It is incredibly simple. It is free. It doesn’t require any props or accoutrement’s. It doesn’t disturb or distract anybody. You can do it while doing other things. You don’t need any special abilities to start doing it. You don’t even need instructions. Oh, and did I mention it’s free? šŸ™‚

In my own experience, this technique has had a profound effect on my quality of life. My endurance throughout the day has skyrocketed. I rarely become stressed, and when I do, it seems to pass over me like a gentle breeze. My ability to focus on things that are important to me has increased significantly. I am less easily distracted. Do the benefits really match the claims by the title of this post? Yes.

Continue reading Increase Your Endurance and Reduce Stress With One Simple Technique

The Power of Raw Food

I’ve been on a 70% raw food diet for the past 1 week. I feel absolutely amazing. I have a lot to learn to get my diet really dialed in, but so far so good. I have no intention of keeping a 70% raw food diet forever, that seems a bit extreme for where I am in my life right now, but I do want to sustain a 30-50% raw food diet for the near term and see where it leads me.

Why am I doing this?

I have been lacto-ovo vegetarian for essentially my entire life. It was really the only diet I have known, and I suppose I have felt fine and am fairly healthy. A few years ago I was inspired to go-Vegan by a yoga teacher (Sharon Gannon) and after having educated myself on the issues of sustainable agriculture and mass-market egg and dairy farming, decided to give it a try.

During this period I lost quite a lot of weight, given the fact that I was already quite thin. I went from 145lbs to low 130’s. Many of my friends and family thought that I was getting too skinny. Looking back at pictures of me from that period lead me to believe them now, though at the time I was convinced that I was as healthy as humanly possible. I had insanely high energy levels compared to my vegetarian days, and completed two Ironman Triathlons and a few other ridiculous endurance events during the 1 and Ā½ years I was vegan. I was also working like crazy.

I eventually decided that vegan was not the best thing for me. The straw that broke my back was going to my sisters wedding, and feeling that I couldn’t eat any of the food (many Indian foods use clarified butter). I decided that I would be a responsible vegetarian, buying only organic eggs and cheese, and not stressing out if I had a piece of non-organic cake or some cheese pizza at Papa Johns.

That was about 3 years ago. It is amazing how subtle changes can cause major shifts over the long term. It had gotten to the point where I was really struggling to get back into good shape. Throughout the past three years, I have run a few half-marathons, and done some other long distance events (swam across Puget Sound), but I never really felt like I had the energy levels that I had when I was vegan.

Slowly reintroducing dairy into my diet had, over a few years, made me feel like crap. I gained about 20 pounds (some of it muscle as I was lifting) and while I felt much stronger, was more lethargic than I had ever been. Waking up in the morning seemed harder to do. I started drinking coffee to wake up and keep myself awake. I ate food but never really felt satisfied. When you start to think about it; if you sit down and have a Super Burrito at noon, should you really be starving by 5pm? Of course not. It just doesn’t make sense.

A few months I decided to make a change. I started to go back to yoga, and have been increasing the amount of aerobic activity I’ve been doing.

Last week, I made a radical change to my diet.

While I want to get back in peak shape, I want to avoid going to some extreme just for the heck of it. I want to eat in a way that gives me more energy than I have ever had before. I also don’t want to turn into a walking stick of skin and bones. I’ve been searching for the right answer to this question for a while. I don’t know if I have found it, but I feel like I am getting close.

Tomorrow I’ll talk more about the diet I followed for the past week, the effect it has had on me and the science behind it.