Set Higher Standards by Ravi

Ramblings from a 30-something ultra-marathoning yogi with a day job.

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Organic Food is Worth the Cost

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Yesterday I watched a great documentary called FRESH about the merits of organic farming and the issues with the modern industrial food complex. You can stream it on Netflix. I highly recommend that you do so before you eat your next meal.

Organic food is worth the cost. Organic produce has 40% more nutrition (on average) than conventionally grown stuff. There are studies that demonstrate how medium-sized organic farms can out-produce large-scale industrial farms over the long-term – with higher profitability for farmers and healthier customers in the process. The health and environmental issues with conventional industrial farming practices are too big to ignore. The animal welfare is another thing…..I’ll save that for another post.

Before I paid attention to what I ate (college days!), I would cringe at the notion of paying $0.50 extra per pound for organic bananas or $4+ for a dozen organic eggs. Now, it is a no-brainer. Even better, buy local AND organic.

I order my groceries through SPUD. They make it easy for people in the Seattle area to buy fresh, local, organic products – with the added convenience of home delivery and the gas savings of not having to drive to the store all the time (they deliver ~100 orders at a time via their trucks which is far more efficient).

Every dollar you spend is a vote in favor or against sustainable food production. Vote wisely!

Written by Ravi Raman

April 20, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Posted in Nutrition

Paper vs Goodies

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What would you rather have, a stack of paper money or a cart full of goodies?

I pay whatever it takes to get high quality organic goods whenever I can. I can’t think of a better thing to spend money on. My health and well being depends on it. Some people are terrified to spend a few bucks extra for this stuff.

Just watch people in line next time you are at the grocery store. Instead of being excited at a cart full of goodies most people have this expression of despair on their face!

I’d rather have the cart full of goodies than a bunch of paper any day.

Written by Ravi Raman

November 13, 2011 at 9:37 am

How to Make a Dietary Change

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The biggest insight I’ve ever had in making a dietary shift, is to not focus on what you are taking away (e.g. fried food, processed sugar, etc.) but instead to focus on what you are adding (e.g. more water, fresh fruits, greens, etc.).

Focus intently on what good things (or habits) you are adding and then you will find that the bad things will naturally have less room to fit in and you’ll lose appetite for them over time.

My afternoon snack a work yesterday, an MASSIVE organic nectarine from a family farm in eastern Washington. I get a weekly delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables from this farm and the quality is incredible http://tinysorganic.com/

Written by Ravi Raman

September 14, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Posted in Health and Fitness, Nutrition

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The World’s Perfect Smoothie

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The ingredients for the world's perfect smoothie!

I’ve been enjoying this smoothie for about 3-5 days per week for a long time. I tweak ingredients every now and then but the recipe below is a good standard approach THAT WORKS. I use it for breakfast most days. Sometimes I’ll use it as a recovery drink after a bike ride or run (as I am doing right now!).

The ingredients:

  • 1 banana: very ripe and ideally frozen (peel before you freeze!)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons vegan protein (I custom order from Trueprotein.com with a blend of non-GMO hemp, rice and pea proteins. You can also try Life Time’s Life Basic Blend or Vega’s Smoothie Infusion).
  • 2 tablespoons Udo’s Oil
  • 1 level tablespoon Garden of Life Perfect Food green powder (any brand or powdered greens will do)
  • 12 ounces of water

Blend everything together and enjoy.

The final product, it tastes really good, ignore the color (unless green if your favorite!)

This recipe will yield:

  • 500 calories
  • ~20 grams of high quality vegan protein
  • ~30 grams of high quality fats and fatty acids
  • ~30+ grams of carbohydrates, with plenty of fiber
  • Boatload of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in a highly digestible form

If you’re first reaction is “holy crap that’s a ton of fat…there’s no way I’m gonna drink all that fat!”…don’t worry. I challenge anyone to consume this drink on a regular basis and gain any extra fat on their gut or behind. In fact, chances are you’ll shed a bunch of pounds. High quality fats are high quality fuel. Udo’s Oil is some of the best stuff around, and they recommend taking 1 tablespoon per 50 pounds of bodyweight daily. I use just 2 tablespoons in my smoothie and try to get other good fats in through whole foods (coconut butter, avocados, etc.). If you have an especially brutal training day or work day ahead of you, add 1-2  additional bananas to give you the extra fuel to power through (make sure they are super ripe to ease digestion).

Things I bet you’ll notice after consuming this drink regularly:

  • Fewer hunger cravings – especially if you drink it in the morning
  • Stable energy levels and no “afternoon crash”
  • Better endurance
  • Better skin, hair and nails (I’ve seen a noticeable difference)

Give this smoothie a shot – try it three days in a single week at least, ideally in the morning – and drop a note in the comments to let me know how you feel.

Written by Ravi Raman

February 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Nutrition, Smoothies

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How to destroy a perfectly awesome salad

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Salads are the single healthiest type of food/cuisine to eat. They are also easy to absolutely destroy. In fact, while sitting here I’m munching on an entire head of organic green lettuce. Some choose potato chips,  I prefer lettuce!

A perfect snack while blogging!

Most restaurants are trained in the art of destroying a perfectly good salad. Case in point are Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad at a whopping 709 calories & 25 g fat and Taco Bell’s Taco Salad tipping the scale at 906 calories and 49 g fat! Can you imagine eating a salad that has more calories and fat that a Big Mac? It’s not just the chain restaurants at fault, practically all places make it easy to ruin a salad if you aren’t careful with what you order. Here are the top methods one can use to utterly destroy a salad:

  • Douse it in salad dressing (a few spoons of dressing can have 10x the calories and infinitely more fat than the entire salad!)
  • Cover it in cheese
  • Coat it in crunchy stuff like croutons, fried onions, etc.
  • Use handfuls of roasted nuts and seeds (full of fat and salt)
  • Put a bunch of fried and roasted meat or other garbage on top of it

I prefer to eat my salads raw. Usually just a bunch of lettuce and some carrots or radishes I’ll munch on before eating dinner. If I am having only a salad for a meal, I’ll sometimes use plain olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a light dressing, and top it with grilled tofu or some beans, bell peppers, radishes and avocado. The amount of avocado and other “heavier” stuff I use depends on how much I’ve been training that week. I use a TON of greens (really, my salads are ginormous – usually a whole large head of organic romaine).

Written by Ravi Raman

October 27, 2010 at 2:14 am

Posted in Health and Fitness, Nutrition

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Epic5 – When One Ironman Just Isn’t Enough

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Jason Lester and Rich Roll in their attempt to complete 5 iron-distance races in 5 days!

As if one Ironman wasn’t enough, these two ultra-endurance athletes did 5 Ironman-distance efforts over five days on five different islands in Hawaii in May 2010. Jason Lester and Richard Roll are also fueled by 100% plant-based nutrition. I like seeing people performing at a super-high level on vegetarian or even vegan diets. It just shows what is really possible if you work hard and chose not to take any short-cuts.

Written by Ravi Raman

September 16, 2010 at 5:38 am

Interview with Vegan Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke (Part 2/3)

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Here is part 2 (of 3) of my interview with Vegan Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke. You can see part 1 of the interview here.

In this segment, we cover:

  • Robert’s story of transformation from 125 pounder to 200 pound vegan bodybuilder
  • How to gain weight on a plant-based diet
  • The importance of a journal – keeping track of your goals and training progress
  • Tips to staying motivated and achieving goals

Enjoy!

Written by Ravi Raman

October 12, 2009 at 6:52 am

Find a Spring for the Best Water Ever

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Lynnwood Aretesian Well - at 164th Street

Lynnwood Artesian Well - at 164th Street

I have been reading up on water. First a great book, “Your Bodies Many Cries for Water” by Dr. B. Then a bunch of videos from Daniel Vitalis about the importance of finding good and clean sources. Our bodies are over 70% water. While many of us spend plenty of time worrying about what we eat, we are far better off first thinking about getting access to and drinking the best water ever!

I am lucky to live in Bellevue, WA (near Seattle) which is home to some of the cleanest water around. In fact, our tap water is rated to be among the best municipal water in the country. I also live in a fairly modern urban environment – so don’t worry too much about rusty and old pipes or other potential issues in getting water from source to tap.

However, the water is treated with Chlorine and other things, and there is also the potential structural impact that overt processing has on water. If you have not checked our Masaru Emoto’s work, you must. His book “Messages from Water” will transform the way you think about water – and your own way of being. Water that has been processed, stored and taken out of its natural environment is spiritually and energetically dead. If you don’t buy the whole “spiritually dead thing,” that is OK…the scientifically proven health benefits of fresh and clean water is enough of a reason to care.

Water from Fujiwara Dam   before offering a prayer

Water from Fujiwara Dam before offering a prayer. From http://www.wellnessgoods.com

Water from Fujiwara Dam   after offering a prayer!!!

Water from Fujiwara Dam after offering a prayer!!! From http://www.wellnessgoods.com

There is also the reality that Chlorine and Fluoride can kill off beneficial bacteria in our body, and cause other long-term health effects. I think that in most cases clean city water is OK, but this blog is all about finding even better ways of being and improving our standards of living – so seeking out an even better water source just makes sense to me.

I also think that consuming water that is more natural and less processed just makes common sense, so I decided to seek out the best way of doing so. There are of course so many different types of water out there, which made my search more complicated than one would think for a substance as simple as water. The following are some of the types of water you can find (according to DS Waters, one of the largest home and commercial water distributors):

Artesian Water: Water from a well that taps a confined aquifer (a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand) in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.

Spring Water: Water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth.

Purified Water: Water that has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, or other suitable processes.

Distilled Water: Water that has been vaporized into steam, then cooled to re-condense it back into water. The water’s minerals are left behind, leaving only pure tasting steam-distilled water.

Mineral Water: Water that contains no less than 250 parts per million (ppm) total dissolved solids (TDS).

Sterile Water: Water, also known as sterilized water, that meets the requirements under Sterility Tests, in the United States Pharmacopeia, 23d revision.

Carbonated water products (soda water, seltzer water, sparkling water, and tonic water) are considered soft drinks and are not regulated as bottled water.

I started going to Whole Foods and my local Co-Op and purchasing filtered (reverse osmosis) water. I figured that was a good place to start – at least the stuff is free from contaminants and Chlorine. There is some debate over distilled water. Some think it is healthy, while others think it actually strips the body of minerals…so I have decided not to consume distilled water. It is really meant for teas and other medicinal purposes (or potentially for a cleans/detox program).

What I really wanted was natural spring water…but didn’t want to pay and arm and a leg for bottled spring water (which sits around for a long time in plastic bottles on store shelves). I also wasn’t sure where to find a good local spring.

Just today, however, I discovered a fantastic site – Find a Spring.com. This site lists public springs where you can fill up on totally natural and unprocessed water, for free! There was only one spring listed near Seattle, so I headed to the store, bought a massive 5 gallon jug and headed up there. I really wanted to use some large glass jugs, but didn’t have any available (I’ll need to hit up a recycling center and find some large house wine bottles to use).

Several others had the same idea as me!

Several others had the same idea as me!

The spring was super-easy to find (in Lynwood, just 10 minutes north of the city). There were about 6 cars there when I showed up (on a sunny Saturday at noon). Looks like my secret discovery is no secret to those that live in this area outside Seattle.

At this spring, the Lynwood 164th Street Well, there are two spouts, each flowing 5 gallons per minute of crystal clear and ice cold natural artesian well water! This well is tested several times a month and is completely clean and open to the public (there is a little parking lot and a shelter over the well spouts. This particular well is 400 feet deep and tops out at 120 feet. The city drilled down to 200 feet to access the water.

I strap the jug in like a passenger to keep it from moving around. Just make a loop with your seatbelt over the spout!

I strap the jug in like a passenger to keep it from moving around. Just pull your belt so it locks into place and make a loop over the spout!

The water tastes really good and I’m so lucky to have finally stumbled upon such a find so close to the city! I highly recommend that you check out Find a Spring.com and look for a spring near you.

My spring water setup at home. I bought the ceramic base and polycarbonate 5-gallon jug from Whole Foods. Total cost was $50. Water was free though :) .

My spring water setup at home. I bought the ceramic base and polycarbonate 5-gallon jug from Whole Foods. Total cost was $50. Water was free though :) .

Written by Ravi Raman

August 22, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Raw Food Challenge – Day 20 Update

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Wow, time really does fly by! It seems like just a few days ago I was contemplating this little experiment. It really has not been anywhere near as challenging as I thought it would be. My food cravings for cooked foods have diminished even more as I’ve gotten smarter about eating more total calories and also eating the right types of foods.

Over the past week, I’ve started to experiment with some new foods and recipes, and have started to cultivate a keen taste for my morning fruit smoothies and evening veggie soups (un – cooked of course)! I actually look forward to these!

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Written by Ravi Raman

May 17, 2009 at 2:41 am

Raw Food Challenge – Day 11 Update

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Today is Day 11 of my Raw Food 30 Day Challenge. I really didn’t expect it to be this easy. I feel absolutely fantastic and have absolutely no detox symptoms to speak of. In fact, this transition from my vegan diet to a 100% raw food diet is easier than my transition from lacto-ovo vegetarian to vegan.

I think difference is that I am both far more educated and also have connected into a support system of people that I have learned a ton from – from various raw food online forums like Give It To Me Raw and 30 Bananas A Day, and through a few friends (like Darrick) who have been walking down this path for a while. I’ve also been reading a ton of books and online resources (including Dr. Doug Graham’s 80-10-10 and David Wolfe’s Sunfood Diet).

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Written by Ravi Raman

May 10, 2009 at 12:09 am

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