Why Did Steve Jobs Die?

I think this is an incredibly important article to read, especially in light of Job’s passing and his authorized biography illustrating what an impact his diet had on his persona.

According to Dr. McDougall, Job’s plant-based diet was not at fault for his cancer. On the contrary, it surely did enable him to live longer than would have been ever thought possible with such a disease.

http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2011nl/nov/jobs.htm

Having Fun with my New Breville Juicer

I’ve been wanting to get a juicer for a while. My Vita-Mix is awesome but I like drinking thinner juices and not just thick smoothies every now and then. Juicing is also a great way to power through a large quantity of vegetables in short order.

I also watched Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. I’ve seen it listed on Netflix for a while, but thought it would just be another boring story about why eating fruits and veggies are important. Today, I decided to watch it while laying in a catatonic state on my couch (after an epic morning of swim/bike/run training!).

Boy was I wrong. This documentary is really good. So good it motivated me to go out and buy a juicer. Calling around to a few local stores, they were all out of the model I wanted (the one featured in the documentary) – a Breville Juicer. I called Sur La Table and they mentioned that they only had 1 left, and that the entire chain was seeing a huge demand for them. They had new clue why…so I told them.

Anyway, I made my first juice today and it tastes awesome! So good, I’m going to make another right now 🙂

Ingredients (all organic)

  • 3 Dino Kale leaves
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 small piece ginger
  • 1/2 small lemon
  • 1/2 large cucumber
  • 3 large celery stalks

This made a tall 16 ounce glass of amazing juice!

Find a Spring for the Best Water Ever

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 www.wellnessgoods.com
Water from Fujiwara Dam   after offering a prayer!!!
Water from Fujiwara Dam after offering a prayer!!! From 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 🙂 .

Raw Food Challenge – Completed After 30 Days!

(Breakfast! 1 Whole Organic Honeydew Melon)

I’ve reached the final point in my Raw Food 30 Day Challenge. It has been a great adventure. While I experienced some incredible increases in my overall health and wellness, I was also happy to break the 30-day streak with a dinner at a favorite vegan restaurant of mine with some friends last night!

In my previous updates, I wrote about the benefits I was experiencing through this way of eating. Those benefits continued, and if anything became even more pronounced throughout the last 10 days of the challenge. I feel incredibly light. I think clearly. My skin is clear and I really feel great overall.

In terms of body composition, here is where that ended up. Keep in mind that throughout this entire challenge I had no intention to lose weight. I am already fit and slim enough. I also made a point to eat a significant number of calories (mostly through fresh, organic, ripe fruits!). My goal was to try to keep my caloric intake similar to what my previous diet was (roughly 2300 calories per day). I think I struggled to do this for the first 10 days or so, but then got the routine down and was eating plenty.

While I lost over 6 pounds in my first week of the Raw Food Challenge (I wasn’t eating enough), my weight stabilized for a few weeks and then started to rise a bit in the final 10 days. Overall, my bodyfat change shows a 2% drop. Given that I was already very lean at 11% to start, this is a big deal. To put this into perspective, this 2% drop in bodyfat means that I lost about 20% of the total fat on my body in only 30 days!

(Ingredients for my 100% Raw Sundried-Tomato Pasta Sauce)

This is staggering. Aside from the numbers, it is blatantly obvious to me that my body is far healthier. I am slimmer in the right places, my flexibility is far better than before and my skin is so much clearer. I have even noticed small scars on my skin, from long ago, starting to heal.

Perhaps the biggest shift for me has been around food in general. This Raw Food Challenge really gave my body and a mind a reset in terms of what I consider to be real nourishing food. I am now accustomed to eating large meals of just fruit or greens. I don’t need lots of grains or breads or other proteins to feel like I’ve had a meal. I’ve moved away from cravings for fried or spicy foods and my taste buds have become so much more sensitive. I am just so much more aware of what I am putting into my body.

(100% Raw Kelp Noodles w/ Almond-Cilantro Pesto)

Another thing I’ve gained from this experiment is that I’ve started to care less about what other people think about what I do. I’m far more comfortable to just be the way I am, and serve as an example for others – as opposed to trying to fit in. I guess when you sit down at a lunch table with a half-dozen bananas, you learn to stop paying too much attention to what other people think about you, and just do what you have to do! After all, which is better – a few bananas or a Big Mac? Why then do people gawk at someone eating a bunch of bananas but think nothing of eating half a cow? You just gotta laugh!

So, with all these benefits – Why am I not going to continue the 100% Raw Food Diet? Well, first of all I am convinced that eating a large amount of water rich, fresh, ripe and organic fruits and veggies is the way to go. I will absolutely continue to eat a very high percentage of raw foods.

(More 100% Raw Kelp Noodles w/ Sesame-Pepper-Ginger-Turmeric Pesto)

However, I do also enjoy the social aspects that food has to offer. I enjoy the vegan meals that my family will make on occasion and I do enjoy the occasional cup of hot tea or a vegan donut every now and then! I don’t feel like foregoing those things.

I am also aware of the stress that comes with trying to be 100% anything. That takes a toll on the body just as much as a poor diet or lack of exercise does. I don’t want to fall into another trap of trying to be an absolutist. Going forward, I’m going to enjoy as much raw food as I can – probably 50% or so of my diet – focusing on fresh fruits and veggies (as opposed to high fat raw foods), and see where that takes me.

Raw Food Challenge – Day 20 Update

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!

Continue reading Raw Food Challenge – Day 20 Update

Raw Food Challenge – Day 11 Update

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).

Continue reading Raw Food Challenge – Day 11 Update

Raw Food 30-Day Challenge

Starting tomorrow morning I will be embarking on a 30-Day Raw Food Challenge. I’ve done the raw food thing before, most recently as part of a 3-day fruit feast and also for a few months last year as well.

The issue is, last year I wasn’t 100% raw, I did cooked food meals now and then – usually at dinner time. I also wasn’t nearly as educated in terms of what to eat, and such ended up not eating enough calories or nutrient dense superfoods (like goji berries, cacao, maca root, acai, etc.).

This time I am more educated, more motivated and have experience at my side from past successful and not-so-successful experiments with my diet.

I’ll also note a few of the reasons why I am doing this challenge. At the end of the day, I am a big believer that the motivations for doing something are the true driving force for any positive and lasting change.

So why am I doing this 30-day Raw Food Challenge?

  1. There are numerous studies and articles that point to raw or mostly raw food diets as a key factor in positively impacting overall human health and longevity.
  2. I personally know several raw foodists that are not only surviving, but thriving on a raw food diet.
  3. During my last raw food experiment, while I had some breakthrough and positive experiences – right now I am much more well-informed and better prepared to not fall into some of the traps/issues I ran into last time.
  4. Primarily raw and water-rich foods are important factors in helping the body naturally cleanse and detoxify.
  5. My diet right now features a high percentage of raw foods – about 30-50% on most days. Moving to 100% will be a big challenge but is doable – and will help me dislodge some unhealthy eating habits that I have developed lately (eating too late, eating fried foods, eating too large meals, etc.).
  6. During past experiences with fasting or eating raw foods, I experienced a profound heightened sense of mental performance and a deeper ability to meditate and connect to the present moment. I am interested to see how the 30-Day Raw Food Challenge impacts my meditation practice.
  7. I am curious to see how my yoga practice is impacted through a Raw Food diet. In past experiences, I’ve noticed increased flexibility and a higher strength-to-weight ratio when eating a raw or mostly raw diet.

For reference, my current body weight is 142.0lbs and body fat is 11% (as measured by a Tanita-brand body fat measurement scale). I’ll be tracking this throughout the challenge.

So there it is. The journey starts tomorrow. If you have walked down this path before and have any tips, please do share in the comments! If you are willing to take this journey with me (even for a few days, a week or the full month) – that would be cool as well!

Green Smoothie

I’m now enjoying the Green Smoothie you’ll see in these pictures.

It never occurred to me to throw cucumbers or celery in the Vita-Mix, but after reading Anthony’s blog for a while and his comments about cucumbers being good for skin, I figured I would try it out. Celery is also a fantastic source for electrolytes, which is perfect for active folks like me. Especially with all the yoga I do (the room is heated to 95 degrees), I lose a lot of fluid through sweat every day.

This smoothie has a very neutral taste.I just finished a 7.5 mile run, and ate half a pineapple when I got home. After doing some things around the house, I was a little hungry and decided this would be a good way to get some of the micronutrients back into my body that I lost through sweat on the run.

As a bonus…I was dropping off a few things at the goodwill 1 mile down the road, and discovered a little farmers market tucked into a small park there! It has a whole bunch of local produce, including the pint of strawberries I had for breakfast, and the 1 medium sized cucumber and three celery stalks used in this smoothie.

I cut the ends off the cucumbers and the bottoms off of the celery, but that is it. I don’t peel anything. Especially not the cucs, you want all that green stuff in you!

Energize Yourself With An Alkaline Diet Plan

Do you need a cup of coffee in the morning to get yourself out of bed?
Do you find yourself craving food at odd times of day?

Does your energy seem to be waning with every passing month or year?

It’s time to take action!

Revitalize yourself and feel more energetic than ever by alkalizing your body. It is easy to do, doesn’t require any radical change to your diet, and will have a more profound affect on your well-being than any standard “diet” could ever have.

The acid-alkaline balance is a critical piece of your body’s chemistry

The human body is a very finely tuned machine. It is highly adaptable, to new environments and situations, but only when it’s internal environment is in balance. For example, the human body operates effectively when it is held at an internal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Above 104 degrees, or below 97 degrees, and you will experience some significant problems. Your body is even more sensitive to acidic conditions, than it is to temperature.

The blood in your body, which makes up about 8% of its total weight, is a key regulator and indicator of your overall health. The blood is the medium through which oxygen and other nutrients are delivered to each and every cell in your body. In order for the blood to do its job effectively, it needs to be maintained in a very specific pH range. Specifically, a pH of 7.36-7.44; which is slightly alkaline. Even a minor deviation from this small range can be DEADLY.

You may remember from junior high science class that pH (and alkalinity) is measured on a 14 point scale, from 0 to 14; where a low score is extremely acid ic (e.g. hydrochloric acid) and a high score is extremely alkaline. Pure water is neural, with a score of seven. You’ve heard about acid rain and environmental conditions that are causing death of all life in many of our world’s great waterways. Now imagine the same thing happening to the waterways inside your body, i.e. your bloodsteam. It isn’t a pretty story, but there is something you can do to fix it, RIGHT NOW.

The foods you eat have a major impact on your body’s acid-alkaline balance. Digestion of processed foods, for example, will create acidic byproducts that flow into the bloodstream. The more processed foods (sugars, refined carbohydrates, etc.) you eat, the more acid-byproducts will be created and the more acidic your bloodstream will become.

In fact, it is not just processed foods that are acid-forming. Many animal products (e.g. high protein foods) starches and grains are also acid forming. Nitrogen, a byproduct of protein digestion, is acidic. Caffeine is also highly acid-forming.

On the contrary, fresh vegetables and fruits (especially citrus fruits like lemon) are highly alkalizing to the body. The most alkaline foods are leafy green vegetables (wheat grass, spinach, kale, etc.).

How do you know if your body is acidic or alkaline? You can test yourself by measuring the pH of your urine or saliva (less accurate) using pH strips from any pharmacy. The most accurate method is to test the blood. Most clinics that do blood-work should be able to do this for you. Of course, there is an even easier way to know if your body is alkaline. Just think about your diet. Are you consuming a lot of caffeine or alchohol? How about meat? How about breads, pasta or other starches? If so, youre body is probably struggling to keep itself in an alkaline state. The impact on your overwell wellness is too great to ignore.

The impact of an out-of-balance body (too acidic usually) can be devastating

As I said before, the human body is highly adaptable. A mildly acidic condition for a short period of time will not have a big affect on your body. However, most people have extremely poor diets and highly stressful lives, which leads to chronically acidic conditions. This can be devastating to your body and overall well-being. Some of the negative affects include:

  • bloating and water retention
  • acne and other skin conditions
  • weak hair or nails
  • trouble maintaining weight
  • trouble losing weight
  • joint pain
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • cramps
  • indigestion
  • frequent colds
  • allergies

Weight gain and/or loss are some of the more apparent conditions. Are you having trouble losing those final 10 pounds? Or are you having trouble gaining lean muscle mass? Your body might be in a chronically acidic state.

Bloating!When the body is in a acidic state, it will do whatever it takes to protect itself. For some people, this means retaining water and fat close to the body organs to protect them from the acid. For others, this means flushing the body of water and excess weight to “purge” itself. If you are underweight or overweight, you could have an acidic condition in your body.

Furthermore, in acidic body environments, pathogens such as yeasts and bacteria will thrive in your digestive tracks. In fact, research has even shown that cancer cells thrive in acidic environments, but perish in alkaline environments. As these pathogens thrive in your body, they will steal away the precious nutrients and energy that should be going to your body! If you wonder why all the food you eat doesn’t seem to give you energy, here is your answer!

The body was created to hold a slightly alkaline state for a reason. It is in this state that it is highly disease resistant, capable of repairing itself and energetic. Luckily, you can take a few easy steps today to start the healing process.

Take action! Alkalize your body today with an Alkaline Diet Plan!

Alkalizing your body does not have to take a radical change to your eating habits. The most important thing is that you take steps to add highly alkaline foods into your diet. GREEN VEGETABLES are the most highly alkaline foods on the planet. If you are going to have a steak for dinner (which is a highly acid-forming food) be sure to at least start off your meal with a big salad (with no cheese and light dressing), and have some steamed or fresh veggies as a side-dish instead of the baked potato (also acid-forming). This will help your body to counter-act the acidic byproducts with healthy alkaline byproducts.

Another tip is to supercharge your body with an ALKALIZING DRINK.

LemonsAfter a long night’s sleep, your body is often dehydrated and craving nutrients. Drinking some water with fresh-squeezed LEMON JUICE is highly alkalizing and nourishing for the body. In fact, you can get lemons anywhere: in a bar, restaurant or even at work. Just chop one up and create a highly alkalizing beverage. I often take fresh lemon water in the afternoon at work when my co-workers are running for a Starbucks. In fact, I’ve cut coffee completely out of my diet. I’ve found that once my body has detoxified from all the garbage I was putting in it, my need for caffeine has gone down a lot. This is not only healthier, but easier on your pocket-book than a twice daily latte habit!

WheatgrassAnother way to super-charge your body, is to buy a GREENS POWEDER. There are many varieties out there, and most have dried greens from many sources, phytonutrients and lots of vitamins. You just stir a spoonful with some water or juice and you’re ready to go. I take 1-2 servings of a green drink every single day. In fact, I start off my day with one. I prefer to drink mine (I like the Greens First brand) on an empty stomach, about 1 hour before eating breakfast, right after waking up. Energise for life has a lot more information on produdcts for alklaine diets or general wellness. They also have a great blog with tips for getting and staying really healthy.

Lastly, if you are an athlete, you may be wondering how to keep the body alkaline while also getting in lots of protein every day. There are alkaline sources of protein, including tofu and lenils, certain nuts like almonds and brazil nuts and certain grains like Quinoa and Spelt. There are also some very good whole food supplements that are very high in protein. Personally, I take 1-2 servings of Vega every day. It tastes great, is highly alkalizing and is very high in protein (25 grams per 300 calorie serving).

In the end, I hope this article has peaked your interest in cleaning up your diet and really paying attention to what your body needs. Make a few small additions or changes to your diet to make it more alkaline, and you are bound to see some incredible changes over the long term.

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 ½ 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.