BLENDING

 

 

Veggie mix

Short one today guys.  What is all this blending about?  Smoothies, frappes, ice drinks, blended drinks, WOAH.

 

Juicing is all the rage today.  There is a reason for this.  It is an easy, simple way to get loads of living nutrition into your body that may not wind up there otherwise.  But what about the fiber?  No other animal “Juices” vegetables or fruit.  I think juicing is a great supplement to a diet.  But should we live exclusively off of a liquid diet?  I think not.  Imitate nature for the most part guys.  So we all know that chewing our food to a pulp is a good thing to do.  Less digestion, more absorption.  I think there is a benefit of eating a meal or two of “roughage” here and there to scrape the intestines and move things through.  Most people do not have the digestive equipment to break down large quantities of cellulose.  Enter Blending.

 

Now I am not so much talking about “smoothies” and concocted drinks that mix endless things together in horrible combinations and call it a health drink.  Sure, raw milk, berries, kale, nuts, and apples might be great by themselves.  But they are not to be mixed like that.  You will not find any of that growing on a tree or in the ground anywhere.  All other animals more or less eat “mono-meals.”  One type of food at a time.  That can get rather boring so we use food combining instead.  Mixing similar foods is ok for most people.  Blueberries and raspberries for instance can be mixed.  Pick foods that have similar digestion times.  So I for one am about saving time and energy; how about you? Enter Blending.  

 

What are the types of foods I am talking about here?  FRUIT.  NUTS.  Some salad vegetables.  Frozen blueberries blended up make a great dessert.  Nuts are generally hard to digest for most.  Making your own nut butters does a lot of the work for you.  Besides; you can season it to your liking.  Ask me for the maple cinnamon walnut butter recipe =)  Do you really feel like chewing all this stuff correctly?  Don’t get me wrong.  Every once in a while I enjoy a big salad.  For the most part though, I would prefer blending it up and save myself a lot of time and energy.  There really is no limit to what you can blend up.  There are a few cautions with this though.  If you find yourself needing to add a lot of water, juice, or milk to your blended foods to make them appealing; you may question whether or not that is a wise choice.  Try to avoid things that don’t go down smoothly.  In general, fruits, nuts, and certain salad veggies can be blended.  This is just raw food.  You can also blend cooked food as well.  It may not be the most appealing thing in the world but it isn’t so bad either.  Feel like a quick meal on the go?  Pulverize up some leftover crock-pot chicken and vegetables and throw it in a to-go cup. 

 

Many pureed soups are delicious.  You have to remember that your body breaks this stuff down inside anyway.  It all “goes to the same place” as they say.  There are a myriad of blenders and mixers out there.  Anywhere from 50 bucks to hundreds.  We use a “nutribullet.”  Inexpensive and does the trick.  What are your blending experiences?

 

-JOE

 

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“Comfort Food” MY ASS

Macaroni and cheese is an American comfort food

Ok, I admit it.  I have a small beef with “comfort food.”  I am not talking about real comforting, nourishing foods.  I am talking about the junk food that we have grown to label “comfort food.”  Don’t think that emotions don’t play into this as well.  Let’s look at some qualities of what most of us have come to think of as comfort food.  Soft, mushy, usually warm (except ice cream), starchy, fatty, etc.  Basically heavy, easily digestible, high-calorie fare.  Is that the whole story though?  More and more I begin to think there is a whole other side to this issue.  Are we simply eating for nourishment or is it more as a buffer?  What about the emotional side?  When did we eat comfort food?  Birthdays.  Christmas.  Thanksgiving.  Hopefully happy times right?  Cake, pies, cheesy potatoes, cookies, meatloaf, etc.  It is pretty hard to take a break right?  Let’s look at some traditional “nourishing foods” that serve the same purpose in the body.

FATS:  Raw butter, raw or lightly cooked egg yolks, coconuts/oil, olives/oil, animal fats, raw nuts, bone marrow.  These fats have been used for thousands of years.  They are rich.  They taste great.  They nourish the body.

CARBS:  Carbs are many people’s favorite “comfort foods.”  At least we like to think that is the case most of the time.  Is it really the carbs though?  Or is the “gunky stuff.”  The breads, the pasta, the cereals, lasagna, fried rice, etc.  Ask yourself which it is?  Nature has provided us with plenty of carbohydrates to choose from.  Root vegetables are particularly useful.  Parsnips, rutabagas, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.  Fruit can also be great.  I am not one for “whole grains” but unprocessed and properly prepared grains are a hell of a lot better than the processed stuff. 

PROTEINS:  Protein is often included in comfort food as well.  Favorites may include burgers with fries, fried chicken wings, meats on pizzas, cheese, fried steaks, and ribs.  I can’t lie; ribs are pretty damn TASTY.  So what are some good proteins?  Lightly cooked animal proteins would include egg whites, wild caught fish, and free range poultry and ruminant animals.  Healthy cooking options include crock-pots, baking, steaming, etc.  Frying or high-heat grilling is not recommended.

Now that we have taken a look at things, I will ask the question again.  Do we like the nourishment or do we use these things as a buffer?  I will tell people to eat as much REAL FOOD as they want.  Let’s compare a few nourishing meals versus fake food comfort.

PROCESSED COMFORT:  Most of us don’t have to think too hard on this one.  Pizzas, pastas, anything with pasteurized dairy, burgers with fries, cakes, donuts, cereals, pastries, latte’s, anything fried, etc.

NOURISHING COMFORT:  Most of us have not been introduced to these foods in the modern world.  Steamed sweet potatoes and broccoli with coconut oil.  Parsnips and peas with raw butter.  Lightly cooked eggs and avocado omelet with veggies.  Crock-pot meals with chicken or lamb mixed with vegetables and olive oil as a topping.  There are plenty of healthy treats as well.

So there you have it.  Give yourself a test.  Is it the calories and nourishment you are after?  Or does “comfort food” serve some other function in your life?  Looking at what types of comfort food it is hard to give up can tell you a lot about your internal state.  Do you crave fried fats and foods?  Or maybe for you it is the sugar.  What are you buffering against? It is great to reminisce about high school or times in childhood but we need to learn to separate the “good times” from the food that is associated with it.  After eating real food for a while, most cravings usually start disappearing if they are related to true nourishment.  Our modern culture has skewed what food we think we need to function.  So having said that, COMFORT FOOD MY ASS.

-JOE

DAIRY?!

English: A bottle of pasteurized milk. See the...

What is the story with dairy?  Most of us were brought up to believe that dairy was a health food.  It has calcium after all right?  Where did this “wisdom” come from?  Let’s look at a brief history of dairy and then discuss whether or not it is truly food for optimal human consumption.

Many cultures have been consuming RAW DAIRY for at several thousand years.  Did we always do this?  Probably not.  However, like grains; we have adapted to consumption of certain foods we may or may not have been designed to eat.  One thing you will notice in all “tribal” or “old cultures” is a reliance on techniques used for making these “foods” more edible for humans.  They understood that grains, certain nuts/seeds, and certain vegetables had to be worked with in order to allow absorption by the human.  Dairy fits into this category as well.  That said, there have been several cultures that have THRIVED with raw dairy products.  Not just milk.  But raw butter, cream, yogurt, kefir, whey, etc.  Most notable are northern Europeans and certain tribes in africa.  Enter pasteurization.  We started pasteurizing our dairy in the early 1900’s.  This was an effort to combat the unclean practices that contaminated some of the milk.  Pasteurized milk and fried cheeses begin to hit the shelves.  There is a big problem with these foods.  The enzymes are destroyed in the process.  Vitamins are destroyed.  What is left?  A product that humans have a relatively hard time digesting already becoming more burdensome on the system.  We just don’t really have the equipment on board to process this stuff well.  What about “milk alternatives” like soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, etc?  Are they better?  Maybe so.  But they are still not real foods.  Ultimately, most milk people buy in stores are processed and pasteurized.  So what do WE do about it?  PASTEURIZED DAIRY is one of two or three foods to eliminate when looking to jump-start your health.  The other two are GLUTEN and UNFERMENTED SOYBEAN products.  There is no doubt that these are addicting foods that are hard to “kick the habit” from.  Gluten and dairy literally connect with receptors in the brain making it extremely hard to quit.  Tell 100 people to give up bread.  Tell 100 people to give up broccoli.  See how many comply.  So what about the GOOD with dairy?  There has to be SOME good right?  There is.

Raw dairy products have been used for a very long time.  Some cultures actually rely on them.  In India, they STEER away from beef and are more vegetarian oriented in general.  However, they have consumed raw and fermented dairy products as a source of protein/fat for generations.  Raw dairy has been used by our country for a long time as well.  What are the benefits?  Raw dairy has a lot of beneficial things in it as well.  Raw butter can be a great source of fat and vitamins.  Kefir is valuable as a fermented beverage.  Raw milk can be great for people needing nourishment.  So what is the best way to find out if dairy is right for you?

Try eliminating ALL dairy (a little butter is fine) for 21 days.  If this sounds hard you may ask yourself who is REALLY in control of your body =)  After the trial period, try introducing some raw dairy products into the mix.  Raw butter is a good place to start.  Some people have found goat milk to be more closely related to human breast milk than cows milk.  Basically just listen to your body and allow it to guide you.  You may have great reactions from certain things and not from others.  I have a great reaction from raw butter.  Just see what works for you.  Cutting out the junk and focusing on the good stuff is always the first step.  Happy Hunting.

-Joe

REFLEXOLOGY

English: Foot reflexology is a "pressure ...

Who knew that it could be good for your health getting a foot rub?  Well it is.  Ancient cultures knew that there was a deep connection between the feet/hands and the rest of the body.  There are reflex points on the feet that correlate to the different organ systems and meridians in the body.  There is a lot of science and “specifics” in reflexology, but we are keeping it simple today.  You don’t need to go out and get treatments unless you feel like having somebody do this for you.  Ultimately, a short rub once or twice a day can do wonders.  There are charts you may purchase online or in health stores that will show you the different reflex areas.  Generally speaking, you want to focus on areas that are sore or stiff.  This is also a great way to figure out what parts of your body may need some attention.  All in all, reflexology is easy to learn, easy to practice, a good way to ground in the body, and good for you.

-Joe 

Can Health be FUN?

Horn of plenty (4239161486)

Can health be fun?  Does it conjure up images of boring meals, strict exercise routines, and an overall rigid schedule?  Maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.

I like to think of our ancestors a lot.  Ancestors and wild animals.  These beings were not necessarily trying to BE HEALTHY.  It was more called staying alive.  It just so happened that the very things that seemed to keep them alive were the same things that made them healthy.  What were these things?  A lot of fresh air and movement, a natural diet, no EMF in the environment, etc.  Did they have stress?  I would say most definitely.  But the ENVIRONMENT was a lot better for the most part.  I am more and more convinced that in times of old, humans lived a lot more off of fresh clean air and movement than today.  There seems to be a correlation between our health and our ability to sustain off of simple fare.  So can health be fun?  Do we have to follow boring routines?  Not at all.  The basics are the most important to have in place.  Some of the basics happen to be a lot of fun as well.

FOOD:  Does food have to be boring?  Boring plates of rice.  Tofu.  Canned seaweeds.  BLEUACK.  Are these even healthy things to eat?  A dog ravenously devours a plate of raw meat when you place it in front of him.  Is there any question if he enjoys it?  The food we eat is supposed to be enjoyed.  I believe evolution did a pretty good job of letting us know what we should be eating.  The problem?  When humans took over engineering our food supply.  We have learned to bypass our own natural tendencies and eating habits through the use of sugars, fried fats and oils, pasteurized dairy products, breads, chemicals and flavorings, etc.  Part of the problem is emotional eating.  Part of the problem is bad food in general.  How do we have fun with our food again?  It is relatively simple.  Get rid of the JUNK.  Replace your cabinets and refrigerators with whole foods.  It isn’t so important as to what these foods are.  What appeals to you and makes you feel good?  Perhaps in the summer this means a lot of fresh raw produce.  Maybe the winter calls for more high quality fats and proteins.  Focus on quality and proper cooking methods.  The rest will take care of itself.

EXERCISE:  Please do not spend countless hours on a treadmill staring at a wall or lifting weights on a machine mounted to the inside of a boring building.  In my opinion, the outdoors is the best place for this stuff.  Think of things you can do with friends and family members.  Hiking.  Kayaking.  Swimming.  Building or doing work outdoors.  Exercise does not have to be repetitive, expensive, or boring.  Mixing it up keeps things fresh.

EMOTIONS:  Is drinking a natural beer or a glass of wine bad for us?  That one is still up in the air for most.  However, if one drink gets you out and about with friends it is probably worth it.  We have such rigid “rules” within the health community.  I have come to believe that almost nothing is true for everybody in all circumstances.  Is it worth it to stay up late watching a movie with an old friend if it means blowing off steam and reminiscing over old times?  Probably.  Use your intuition with this one.  The whole key here is fun, love, and laughter.  Church groups, funny movies, practical jokes, pranks, love, kindness, etc.  We focus too much on food in general and less on emotions.

SPIRITUALITY:  This is a huge topic in itself.  The understandings that spirituality brings on an energetic level are enormous.  It is so interesting to start understanding our small role in this thing called life.  We are but one small person on the planet, yet we all have enormous power and potential.  Gaining knowledge in the workings of love, God, and the universe are often awe-inspiring and help us to view our own lives with more clarity and peace.

LEARNING:  Learning new things is fun.  Using our brains is fun.  Funny stuff on tv is great sometimes.  But what about new things?  What about getting off the beaten path?  Learning about art, music, science, math, the universe?  A foreign language is a great thing to learn.  Let’s keep learning and growing.  You usually can’t separate the two.

Key here is variety.  Variety is the spice of life right?  Don’t let yourself fall into a rut in the name of health.  Health is about so much more.  It is about being FULLY ALIVE.  It is about trying new things, meeting new people, traveling, and expressing yourself from the deepest core of who you are.  Let’s take back that right and start reclaiming the fun in healthy living.

-Joe

 

BALANCE Series: FIGHTING Vs. ALLOWING

yin yang futurist style

You need to get out there and work out more.  You need to get off of your ass!  Wait.  You need to relax.  You need to SLOW DOWN!  This is a tough one guys.  Life is about maintaining a balance between these two forces.  You could call them Yin and Yang.  You could call them fast and slow.  Recovery and work.  There is no wrong answer here.  The fact is that we need them both.  They are the two basic primal forces in the world.  All we can do is learn about them and figure out the best way to implement them in our own lives.  Some of us need to bring more YIN energy inside and calm down (guilty).  Some people need to cultivate more YANG energy and get moving more.  We are all born with a certain default mode.  It is then skewed by our lifestyles, mental attitudes, beliefs, and the people we spend time with.  Food affects it a lot as well but this topic is about the attitude.  Let’s look at people who could use more FIGHT.

NEED FIGHTING?  These are the people who have a hard time exercising.  It is easy to get distracted and stay on the couch.  Eating a bunch of junk does not help the problem.  Problems will include lethargy, sluggish mental functioning, lack of motivation, and a general lack of enthusiasm for life.  Changing requires a few simple steps.  We need to cultivate it like everything else.  Eat to boost your metabolism.  Cut out the fried foods, breads, pasteurized dairies, etc.  These will slug you down.  Fruits and vegetables may help you a lot to “speed up.”  Exercise will also help dramatically.  Exercise that will help this type usually include cardiovascular and calisthenics training.  The system is sluggish and needs a “jump-start.”  Choosing hobbies that get the energy moving are great here.  Sports, musical instruments, traveling, etc.  Cultivating willpower is also important.  This type tends to yield to confrontation, move around problems, and take the “passive route.”  Willpower and mental toughness can be practiced.  Let’s get some FIGHT folks!

NEED ALLOWING?  A topic close to my own heart =)  This does not have to be a literal “fighting.”  It can be a fight in the mind as well.  These people have trouble relaxing.  They have trouble slowing their processes down.  Maybe there is never enough time to get the things done that we want.  Maybe we jump into projects too fast and have a tendency of burning ourselves out and crashing.  Part of this problem can come from a genetic predisposition to FIRE energy.  It can also come from bad mental patterns dealing with perfectionism and an attitude that says “it is never enough,” or “it can’t get done quick enough.”  Usually there is plenty of willpower.  We are always taught that willpower is great, and it is; but there are limitations.  Sometimes we need to allow.  We need to allow the project to wait until tomorrow and unwind with some friends.  Sometimes we need to take a break and some personal time if we are exhausted.  We need fuel and activities that help calm the mind and body.  Art or slow music can help this type.  Fruits and veggies are always good.  This type however, will probably benefit with some high-quality proteins and fats as well.  These help balance.  Exercise can include qigong, light cardio, strength training, etc.  Figure out if your “YANG” is coming from the body or the mind.  These will require different interventions.

This is about balance guys.  There is no better way of going through life.  They both have their advantages and disadvantages.  Nature always strives for BALANCE.  Both types will benefit from clean food, water, and air.  They will also benefit from mild exercise and plenty of sleep.  We will always have our natural tendencies but we have the choice to bring those into balance with the world around us =)

-Joe