Friday, December 16, 2011

Frustration

I'm running daily towards my February 4th race goal, if you count from today...the first day I've run for weeks. It was so unexpected in my daily routine that my wife asked me accusingly where I had been for 30 minutes without telling her! That's pretty sad.

I feel a lot of stress mounting from the upcoming Christmas celebrations- my sister and her family are in town this weekend before Christmas and then we leave for the in-laws in New Hampshire. My hope is to use running as stress relief as much as possible, instead of letting it cause stress. Running in much colder climates should be interesting to this Florida boy. At least it will keep me away from the in-law stress for short times during the day to make a stress relief double whammy. 

Food-wise we've been eating out too frequently because the coupons from the last two weeks have been stacking up unorganized. Combine that with some traveling and you have some messed up nutrition. The good news is that we stocked up on vitamins a couple weeks ago so I've been getting copious Vitamin C and B, also good for the stress situation. I'm trying to closely monitor my sleeping and caffeine intake to keep myself  rested and avoid sickness during my extreme weather and schedule changes. I've been excited to go to work everyday because it's consistent and I know what to expect when I get there. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stress vs. Stagnation

Stress is ever present, but you can't shelter yourself forever. Since you can't eliminate stress, you have to learn to deal with it in an efficient way. Stress shapes who we are and how we interact with the world. All change is basically a form of stress and it's probably the most common source of stress in our modern, fast paced world. Correspondingly, we must deal with change as we deal with stress- efficiently.

As I embark on a hobby of running, I've been thinking about therapeutic properties of regular, aerobic exercise. I want to approach this as if I am building up my health, not breaking it down, recovering, overworking again, and cycling through pain and exercise to harmful extents. That's what I see in many of my clients who do marathons and triathlons, unless they take years to build up to that elite status.

That being said, I must start slow and steady- a little bit every day, so here I go for a short, peaceful run to build up some oxygen and pump up my heart for a long night of healing some folks who haven't found my blissful, lofty, take on stress relief yet.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm Pooped

As you were forewarned in the Benchmarks post, poop talk lies ahead...

I've been wondering, quite passively, but wondering, why I've been so regular whilst eating lots of animal proteins and very little fiber or vegetation over the last year. Vegetarians are SO proud of their regularity and frequently praise their lifestyle choice because of how poorly the human machine is fueled by meat. I agree with the theory that high fiber, live, raw veggies are incredibly helpful for health of the colon and more, but I'm still surprised with my personal experience here.

Thankfully my post title isn't true at all- I have plenty of energy and fairly vibrant health when I'm strict on the little to no carb diet. It's when I veer off course and eat half a sheet cake as a binge that I get all bound up inside and feel depressed and lethargic for a few days. That used to be the case when I ate beef. Kayla, being a meat eater was never inclined to be a vegetarian with me. Knowing what I know now, it would have killed her, most likely! She loves her steaks and I've tried bites here and there when she was raving about the tastiness of a particular slab of beef she was eating. I never cared for it at all.

I seem to be discovering that it's all about food grouping. As long as I eat JUST eggs and cheese and turkey sausage for breakfast with black coffee, which is a meal of almost zero carbs, I feel great. Not heavy or slow but sufficiently fueled for several hours. I generally have a predictable, comfortable bowel movement about an hour after that meal. When I change up that breakfast, like when I visit my mom and dad's house to have a breakfast that includes grits and biscuits with eggs and bacon, I feel fat, bloated, and exhausted for a couple hours after that meal. It's not really the amount of food either, since I eat 4 eggs and at least 2 servings of sausage every morning, which is a LOT of protein for one meal. Close to 40 grams I think.

I have not noticed much difference in my pooping with the inclusion of veggie juice. I tend to drink about a liter of freshly juiced juice at a time. I've read several reports of increased colon movement as folks detox on juice fasts, but maybe because I'm not fasting, things are staying more stable. I pee a lot more with the juice, but that follows if I'm adding more liquids to my day. I drink a lot of water as I work too, so hydration isn't really a key issue for my bowel movements either, since I'm already well lubed inside.

The moral of this story seems to be that I need to separate carb heavy meals from protein/fat heavy meals to be happy. That's the experience so far.

She's Not My Type

No really, my wife is type O and I'm type B. Since I've been reading Eat Right for Your Type regarding the blood type correlating diet, I've learned several interesting facts about why my vegetarian diet made me much less healthy than my current eggs and sausage fueled habits.



For example, my usual diet for at least a year and a half at DCF included pretzels dipped in peanut butter...and I mean a LOT of peanut butter consumption; corn chips dipped in salsa mixed with black beans; weekly trips to Cici's pizza buffet where everything is made out of tomatoes, wheat, and corn syrup; and finally copious amounts of oatmeal made with a big splash of cinnamon. Blood type B's list of foods to avoid includes all Wheat, Peanuts, Corn, Tomatoes, Black Beans, and Cinnamon. These ingredients agglutinate the blood and cause weight gain. Especially Tomatoes and Wheat! They're the worst!

Eat Right for Your Type also says that type B's do really well on a high protein, low carb diet including low fat dairy. My 30ish pounds of weight loss over the last year was accomplished by eating primarily eggs, turkey sausage and cottage cheese which are all "Highly Beneficial" to my type and encourage weight loss. So now, if I just tweak a couple things, like removing tomatoes and wheat from my diet as much as possible, I should have no problems. For example, switching from marinara sauce to cream based sauce will actually be better for me. I like alfredo more anyway. An olive oil, herb Pesto is a lower fat, higher nutrient option which can also be highly beneficial. I love rice and quinoa noodles so there's appropriate pasta alternatives to put it on.

With my quickly developing juice habit, I can incorporate plenty of the highly beneficial veggies from the book such as kale, beets, and cabbage. I've already juiced and enjoyed those several times. Almost all vegetation is either neutral or beneficial to me. I don't care for tomato juice anyway and even if I included that in my recipes, it would probably balance out with all the other good stuff.

Then there's the chicken issue. Chicken is one of the worst possible foods I can eat. Meat-wise I should stick to lamb, venison, rabbit, or mutton with beef and turkey as acceptable neutral options. The HB ones are either expensive or foreign to me, so beef and turkey are the staples for now. Of course, everybody thinks chicken is healthier than beef, but in actuality, at a fast food place, they're about equal- especially when placed on a fluffy white wheat bun! Or batter dipped and fried chicken- that's obviously a no-no.All forms of pork are out as well but don't we all know that bacon is bad for us? That's what makes it so fun to eat!

 It's kinda difficult to keep reading conflicting dietary advice, but it's nice to keep finding stuff that works for me too, so I'm not going to stop looking for the best dietary course of action for myself and my family. Since Kayla is a type O, several of the key avoid foods are the same, like wheat and corn. We can both have rice and oats, so we just have to shop for slightly different cereals. She's supposed to embrace her carnivorous side and excluding sweets made of wheat products should be an obvious goal anyway. High protein, low carb has worked so well for me so far I don't want to stop and that's the best plan for her too, according to the book. I guess we'll see what happens now that we have the app on the ipad for her to learn the finer details of her type as well.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Into the Deep End

I came up with some ideas for one of my LMT continuing ed class curricula I'm developing. The plan is to describe, in pain staking detail, the soft tissue of the human body in watery terms- oceans, the Indian River Lagoon, fish tanks and puddles. I have several hands on examples in mind in a Good Eats style demo. It's funny that even on a day with limited massage work time, I had more than enough time to formulate all these ideas...turns out being in a quiet, peaceful, comfortably active setting is good for brain waves...Who Knew?!?

Then I got sent home early because I was working an extra shift and nobody was busy enough to warrant an extra dude on duty, so I came home and enjoyed my first Breville batch of beet juice with GREAT results. I love that machine! And beets really tone down the kale and parsley while adding some sweetness. With all three, and some apple and celery, it was a rich, dark, beautiful, hearty juice. Very tasty indeed.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On the Run

My exercise routine restarted today thanks to some motivation from upcoming races. I had planned on running the 10k Turkey Trot in St. Pete on Thanksgiving day, but that's not going to happen with just two more weeks training time. There is, however, a race in Melbourne on February 4th, the day before my 32nd birthday, which has an 8k option. There are also live bands playing music along the way, which seems like an awesome plan!

I originally started my severely limited running hobby by aiming at the Gasparilla race in February 2011. That race comes around again March 3rd, 2012 and has a 15k option. That's my big goal for 4 months from now.

I walked today for about 30 minutes with a couple brief 2ish minutes of jogging. I'm going to alternate that with biking, Wii workouts and longer dog walking excursions. 15k is a bit over 9 miles and should take less than 2 hours. Most days of the week I can workout from 8am-10am and cool off with some fresh green juice. Then I'll have plenty of time to recover before work at 3pm.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Time Change Lag

So we just "Fall Back" -ed night before last and I still feel like I'm way behind the Sun. It doesn't seem to bother the Wifey though since she had such a busy day yesterday.

I'm waiting for her to wake up so I can crank up the juicer. I bought a couple of "pie pumpkins" from Publix and read some recipes for pumpkin juice recipes online. Despite being an avid Harry Potter fan, I'm not really going for any magical brews, just some healthy juice. The Universal Studios version seems to be pumpkin, apple, pineapple and honey, which isn't bad at all, but I think I'll skip the spices. I don't have any pineapple, whole or juiced. I do want to add ginger and lemon to brighten it up, because I'm afraid typical fall spices like nutmeg and allspice and clove will be really heavy tasting. Being a Floridian, I need to keep it light and cold. If I were living someplace where a "cold" day meant way below my current 65 degrees, I would consider heating it up.

Pumpkin and its juice is supposed to be good for me because it contains:

"...anti-oxidants and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a vitamin that can be converted by the body into vitamin A. This helps the body in its process of regeneration, slowing down the aging process. Pumpkin pulp contains vitamins, especially pro-vitamin A, vitamins E and C, salts and minerals, carbon hydrates, and proteids. The seeds contain oil, proteids, resines and enzymes with antihelmintic properties. The pumpkin's core contains lecithin, tyrosine, peporesine, phosphorus and vitamins B and A." According to this site: http://www.liveandfeel.com/medicinalplants/pumpkin.html

 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Side Effects

My wife has started selling Pampered Chef products and was practicing slicing veggies with their various implements the other day. I took a bunch of those leftover veggies last night, threw in some eggs and made a delightful zucchini, red onion, mushroom, and tomato fritata. That's an excellent side effect of her new business!

I think I'm feeling some side effects of juice too. I keep getting little spells of lightheadedness that pass in a few seconds. Kind of like getting a real slight buzz on beer. That's the most drunk I've ever been, so I can't compare it well to that. No other blood flow related scary problems like arm or leg numbness or racing heart beat. More like low blood pressure as if I stood up too fast after sitting a long time.

It  started after I discovered that using the stick blender to liquefy kale and cilantro in water before adding it to the juicer juice was very effective and "greenified" my juice greatly. With that process I get  more fiber and waste none of the dense nutrients. I need to slow down and drink my concoctions less quickly and maybe I won't get as buzzed! The other night at work was the first such incident of dizzy/wobbly feelings and I hadn't eaten anything but a huge cup of juice for lunch. These side effects happened at about 6pm...I blame low blood sugar and high blood nutrients...a swift kick in the cellular metabolism if you will.

Too much coffee that day too so now I'm going to ween myself back down to decaf only for a while. With the cooler weather coming on, I don't want to give up my morning comforts just yet, but one cup a day will be fine.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Smoothies?

The juicing is both good and bad because I'm making healthful, tasty beverages, but spending a lot of money in the experimentation process. I am saving money however, by juicing produce that was on the edge of going bad, such as a half eaten watermelon. By adding some mint leaves and apple to the mix, I made one of the best juices yet!

I just spent $20 more at Publix in the produce department but I think I'm paying more for convenience than quantity. I need to get on the local farmer's market scene sooner rather than later.

I read an article about making smoothies and how it can be a better application for leafy greens than plain juice. I don't really know the difference except that one is made in a blender. We don't have an upright blender, but do own a  stick blender that seems to handle any kind of fruit well in a single serve smoothie setting. So...what if I blend some leafy greens in water before adding them to my Breville-ized juice? Parsley and Cilantro were specifically mentioned as difficult greens to juice, but invaluable with health benefits, like some of the most potent dosages of Vitamin C available outside of a pill.

It's only been one day but I feel good and haven't had any adverse affects. I also had a Thai massage today which felt great as usual and definitely helps Tom Heal!

Arrival of the Breville

While writing my post yesterday, my Breville 850 watt Juice Fountain Plus was delivered to my doorstep. It is a factory refurbished unit that looks and feels just like new to me. Cost "used" from Amazon.com was $129 plus $11 shipping- it took about a week to get here (Land o Lakes, FL) from Oregon by UPS.

I rushed to Publix to buy some produce. Kale is high on every juicer's list as a very dense, powerfully nutritive food and I specifically bought this model to handle Kale with other leafy greens. Naturally, I bought some kale along with apples, lemons, celery, parsley, mint and ginger. I read a recipe for "Green Lemonade" which used some of those ingredients and then my wife wanted a fruitier juice too which explains the others.

The Breville is dual speed, meaning there is a low and a high speed. Low is supposed to be for leafy greens and soft veggies. I cranked it up, put in a handful of the pre-chopped kale in the top and it all went straight in the pulp catch, providing about a half teaspoon of juice. Confused but not yet frustrated, I tried the parsley which was on nice crisp stalks. It too bounced off the blade and flew into the pulp catcher virtually unscathed. Just to be sure, I emptied the pulp back into a mixing bowl and tried it again- packing the parsley and kale bits tighter together as they went down the chute. This resulted in a pretty green shrapnel that launched all over me, the counter and the floor!



Several juicers on you tube videos talked about putting hard fruit in right behind leafier bits. One such juicing video maker named Dan the Life Regenerator never changed speeds on his juicer even though I'm pretty sure he's using exactly the same unit I have. I turned the juicer on high speed, put in half an apple, which kind of sat on top of the spinning blade, but wouldn't go through without pushing. Then I put green stuff on top of that, another half apple, and stacked it that way. The process seems to be working but I ran out of time to experiment more before work.

Another note...even the smallest piece of ginger was overpowering and I don't get how anybody can stand it in their juice- and that's coming from a pretty big fan of the stuff!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Benchmarks

How do I measure my wellness success?

I used to be a Quality Assurance Analyst for a state government call center. Needless to say there were pages and pages of standards and benchmarks in place to measure the quality of work that was done by the employees. It seems to be even more complicated to come up with a matrix of what is healthy for the average human. Generally speaking, I have always been of the opinion that each person is very unique health-wise. So, I will make a list of what I think is important to measure, which is all going to be highly subjective.

If you hang around nutritionally minded or vegan folks for more than five minutes somebody is going to talk about poop. Let's get that out of the way first. I would like to have two bowel movements that I subjectively consider to be healthy every day. When consuming veg juice, colon health and food transit time should greatly improve due to the high water content combined with more fiber. One of my massage therapy teachers was also a colonic irrigation therapist who referred to love handles as "poop handles" because that area of the torso is really a bulge of the lower intestine. My waist size in inches should go down correspondingly with my colon cleansing behavior. As more mucous buildup is flushed away, my waist should narrow.

Weight in pounds is misleading when I'm trying to build muscle to replace fat in my body. My target weight for my height, according to the Wii Fit is 165. That's too low if I have a decent amount of muscle mass. A stable, toned 175 will be a long term  weight I can be happy with, but I'm not going to get hung up on some slight fluctuations. 5 pounds either way is a trip to the Chinese buffet which leads me to ignore what the bathroom scale tells me (I don't even have one actually).

Don't we all need some sexual healing. At 31 years old I shouldn't be reaching for viagra or any other more  natural supplements to improve my "performance". I think I'm in pretty average shape so if this is average, I can understand why our society is so sex consumed all the time. In fact, I got blood tested for some life insurance in the last 6 months and my status was "preferred plus" putting me ahead of the curve. Again, I don't know how to get good measurable, quantifiable data  about sexual performance since it's about the most subjective situation anyone can have. I suppose I'll know improvement and consistent vitality when I achieve it.

Circulation is closely related to the previous benchmark but separate. I have had varicose veins in my right lower leg since age 16ish. It's clearly genetic judging by my father's legs which look remarkably like mine. Several veg juice recipes are supposed to improve blood quality, circulation, and arterial health. Juice fasts have been known to lessen or even eliminate varicose veins anecdotally, so it's worth some hope in my mind. Otherwise, as I start jogging and biking, my overall cardiovascular health will improve. Exercising a cleaner, more efficient body should produce better oxygenation throughout, right? I'll be paying close attention to my  visual vein size, shape, and inflammation to judge my progress with the juice.

On the topic of juice...I consider money spent on veggies and fruits to be progress. Incorporating any tasty plants into my diet at this point is progress. And it's really easy to measure if I put my money where my mouth is.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Let Food Be Thy Medicine

Healing could be defined as a progression from an unhealthy state towards a healthy one. A journey, so to speak. This is the story of my journey towards personal health, so that I can provide healing to others. I feel that I am beginning my journey from a neutral point- meaning I am neither sick nor vibrantly free from all ailments. Likewise, I provide better than average healing to my clients, in the form of massage therapy, but I am not healing at the best, highest potential. These factors are interconnected and I aim to improve myself in several different ways over the next year.

Every time I turn on my GPS for directions, it first has to find some satellite signal and figure out where I am in the world. That's exactly where I am now...assessing my current situation...getting my bearings. At 31 years of age I can see quite clearly my family's genetic and environmental challenges and I spend a lot time trying to be proactive about those issues. First and foremost I have to be vigilant daily about obesity. Over the last year and a half I have lost about 35 pounds, which puts me at 180ish at 5 ft 11 inches. I did that by severely limiting carbs and by changing from a sedentary desk job of 5 years to being a full time massage therapist. For a couple months I've been lazy, however, and feel myself becoming less fit daily.

The super low carb diet has me eating lots of animal protein and a fairly high fat content, when I do it strictly. The consume almost no fresh fruit or veggies, so I must be low on vitamins, minerals and all the other micronutrients.  Being a vegetarian from age 23ish-30ish did more harm than good, I think. By never getting enough protein to keep from being hungry, and by subsisting on pasta, bread, and oatmeal, I found myself gaining weight and still malnourished due to lack of veggies.

Sugar is bad. I discovered my "meat fast" over the last year has kept me gastronomically satisfied, kept food related mood swings to a minimum, and kept my weight in check. As my very diabetic mother can tell you, as well as her parents before her, sugar is bad. It's an addiction to us, just as destructive as alcohol or crack are to their victims. It killed my grandparents and it's not so slowly killing my mom. Which brings me back to being proactive instead of reactive. How do I get enough nutrients along with a high protein staple diet?

Veggie Juice is good. I watched the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix one night a few months ago. It resonated with me, because I like his laid back intensity about the process more than any personal connection to his specific ailments. Juice seems so natural, obvious, and is loads cheaper than modern medicine, which seems to be going in any direction but nutritional healing.  So a couple days later I stumbled upon a little dinky juicer at the Goodwill thrift store for $4.95. I bought some beets, apples, and carrots, knowing that I couldn't process leafy greens in my new little gadget, and set off to make some fresh, raw, nourishing, healing juice to drink. Good taste...not too sugary...I feel good when I drink it...no adverse, crazy detox effects...So far so good! The downside is the aforementioned dinky-ness of the juicer. I could only make a couple cups of juice before disassembling everything to empty some really soggy pulp to make room for more really soggy pulp.

Naturally, I got frustrated with the hassle despite the influx of tasty nutrients and went back to my habitual diet.After reading more about "rebooting" my life with a juice fast, I discovered that they used a Breville model juicer in the movie, which costs about a hundred and fifty bucks more than my thrifty find at the Goodwill store. I learned this around the end of September and kept it on the back burner of my mind through most of October, due to birthdays, anniversaries, and trips all over the state. A state of the art juicer just wasn't in the budget, yet.

I have to explain that big ticket items, meaning over $20ish are REALLY hard for me to rationalize into my budget unless I get plenty of positive research and find stellar reviews of that product. The Breville Juice Fountain Plus with all of its 850 watts and dual speeds fit that description- I'm pretty sure I haven't read anything bad about it anywhere, aside from the price tag- but it seems that you get what you pay for when you're talking kitchen appliances.

During this same month or two, my wife dropped down to part time at work and consequently lost our "health" insurance coverage, but saved us hundreds of dollars a month. I decided that for less than 1 month's cost of insurance, we could buy a juicer. Then, if we actually consumed a couple hundred bucks of fresh, raw veggie juice over the next month, we'd actually be building health into our lifestyle instead of paying money to a major corporation to feed us pills if we happen to get sick. A hundred bucks buys a lot of Kale.

The Breville juicer is shipping as we speak and should arrive in the next couple of days. I have several recipes ready along with several sources of fresh fruits and veggies from local produce stands and markets. I can't wait! This is a major step in the right direction for me- physically, mentally, professionally, and perhaps even spiritually. I'm not sure if the Wife is anywhere as committed as I am to this health boosting juice consumption, but I hope to lead by example.

I plan to update this blog with my progress with both juicing and my upgraded exercise habits. Exercise will have to wait for another dedicated entry because it's time for me to waterpik myself- yet another entry!