CROCKPOTS

English: Chef Pepín Slow Cooker

CROCKPOTS have to make my top 5 list for tools to make healthy living easier and more practical.

 

Is there anything these things can’t do?  Besides tasting amazing, what are some of the benefits of having one of these things lurking around your kitchen?

 

1. GOOD FOOD COMBINING and GOOD DIGESTION:  Cooking low and slow for hours creates an even “mixture” with whatever you decide to put in it.  Food is best eaten in simple combinations.  Often it is best to eat one food at a time, by itself.  However, cooking with a crockpot allows the food to “work out their differences” inside the pot.  Carrots, peas, chicken, onions, and garlic TRANSMUTES into “crockpot chicken and vegetables.”  This translates into better digestion.  Also, cooking things at a low temperature for hours is almost always better than quick-heat methods.  Cooking things (especially proteins) at very low heat is the best way to go.  This way, everything softens up for your digestion to go to work.  Ever have a burnt grilled chicken breast?  Not very appetizing to me.

 

2.  PRACTICAL:  These things are probably the most practical tool to have around the house.  Cooking and cleaning require little work.  There is no guesswork on timing.  They are super easy.  Instructions?  Chop up whatever vegetables sound good to you and your family.  Optionally throw in a piece of meat.  Set the timer.  DONE.  If you are fifteen minutes late from work or class?  Doesn’t usually matter.  Also, this is the perfect way to cook for large families without messing up the entire kitchen.  If you are single or in a small family, leftovers usually abound.  This is a great way to plan two days worth of food in a one time cook/clean job.

 

3. SAVES MONEY:  How many of us throw out old vegetables?  How about those rough cuts of meat we screw up?  This is a great way to start saving all that stuff.  Got some veggies that are starting to go bad?  Throw them in the crockpot.  Some cheaper cuts of meat are usually tough and chewy.  We can soften them up with the crockpot.  People have been doing this for thousands of years.  This is especially true of rough red meats and/or game meat.

 

There you have it folks.  I would recommend getting a LARGE crockpot.  It is better to have more room than you need to cook.  Sometimes we use ours to make giant meals with plenty of leftovers.  Other times, it can be used for simple vegetable dishes.  It depends what we are in the mood for.  Don’t be afraid to leave it on your counter.  It is easy to get hooked on the “crockpot meal.”

 

Happy Hunting =)

 

-JOE

 

 

 

Foundational Health Building

GM Sky Scrapers

What do I mean by foundational health building?

We build houses.  We build skyscrapers.  We build cars and trains and buses.  We build computers.  We build countless different things in our country.  What do they all have in common?  They have FOUNDATION.  They have a structure that has to be in place before the other stuff can be added.  Health and our lives are no different.  We simply cannot have healthy lives or bodies without having some foundational support first.  Without going into too much detail, what are these foundations?  Let’s take a quick look.

ENVIRONMENT:  This is step number one.  Make sure your living environment and workspace are good.  Clean air, low stress, good lighting, etc.  Hectic, stuffy environments just will not work long-term.  Taking in fresh air, clean water, sunlight, and grounding are great foundations.  These are the basics.  

NUTRITION:  We have physical bodies guys.  We simply need good nutrition for our bodies to perform optimally.  This is like having the right parts and tools to build your house.  The directions may be great, but if the materials are not there it just doesn’t work.  Different people have slightly different “parts required.”  This may be akin to different genetics, and why people tend to do best on different diets.  Focusing on super-foods and fresh local food is best.  Fruits, vegetables, organic animal products are great.  Let your body guide you.  Cutting out the junk, as always, is a good step as well.

GOD/SOURCE:  This is a super-deep topic that is beyond the scope of this post.  Ultimately, you need to personally figure out who or what GOD means to you.  Is he a good guy?  Is he a bad guy with a whip?  Does he owe you something?  Are you thankful for him in your life?  Your view of God is HUGE in your personal life.  This may be one of the most important foundational principles to work on.

FAMILY:  Family is big as well.  Having healthy family relationships is paramount to a healthy life.  When we are running around with conflicted relationships, unresolved issues, and unspoken resentments; things don’t tend to work out too well.  Focusing on fixing these damaged or broken relationships is challenging work.  However, working on family issues is critical if you want to have solid foundations.

MOVEMENT:  Life is movement guys.  We were born to move.  Not to sit at desks all day.  We don’t need much.  Anything helps.  Light cardio, jogging, biking, swimming, kayaking, mini trampoline, strength training, hiking, walking, bodyweight stuff, whatever.  Anything you will stick to is great.

SLEEP/R&R:  Sleep is where we recover.  It is where we integrate our day.  Dreaming is where our unconscious mind comes out to play.  Are you sleeping enough?  Are you relaxing enough?  Sometimes we are relaxed but don’t get enough sleep.  Sometimes we get enough sleep but we can’t relax.  Both are foundational to health and healing.

Those are the big ones guys.  Everything else comes on top of these.  Let’s fix the foundations and build from the ground up.

-JOE

Doing Enough?

Uptight.

Are YOU doing enough today?

Are you doing enough at your job?  I’m sure you could be doing better.  What about your health?  Your eating clean.  But are you exercising?  Are you getting daily sun exposure?  Are you working on your emotions?  Are your kids happy?  Is your wife happy?  When does it end?  Most of us are taught something here.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS DOING ENOUGH!  There is always something else we could be doing better.  There is always something we could be resolving.  So where do we find a balance?  Many people are truly not doing enough.  Many of us are trying to do too much.  So how do we figure this out?

PRIORITIZE:  Create priorities for your life.  We tend to focus too much on the things that don’t really matter and not enough on the stuff that really matters.  The ironic thing here?  When we focus on the stuff that REALLY matters, we find that we don’t strive so much on the little things.  What are the things I would advise working on?  Focus on the big things in life first.  GOD, FAMILY, HEALTH, RELAXATION, PASSION, PURPOSE, INNER PEACE AND HAPPINESS, FRIENDSHIPS, etc.  Don’t stress so much about how clean your car is, how much you can bench press, what your “macronutrient” ratios are, what you are NOT doing, etc.  These just are not important.  In fact, when we find ourselves focusing too much on TRYING to be perfect on superficial things; it often tells us that we are not listening to something bigger going on.  Why do you feel the need to vacuum your house every day?  Why do you feel like you have to defend yourself against what people think about you?  Why do you change the channel to avoid viewing something uncomfortable to you?  We need to build our houses with the proper foundations.  Tomorrow I will discuss the proper way to do this.  In the meantime, remember you’re a human being.  Remember that most of us are doing the best we can.  Often, it is WHERE we are putting our efforts that is the problem.  Remember to take time to rest and relax.  Remember you ARE doing enough in a lot of areas in your life. =)

-JOE

Metabolic Typing

Mixed salad leaves with candied bacon, crouton...

What is “Metabolic Typing”?

Honestly, this is just a fancy way of categorizing the way we eat.  Ever wonder why there seems to be so many different diets out there that people SWEAR by.  There are vegans.  There are paleo people.  There are starch eaters.  There are low-carbers.  They all think that their way is best.  Are they all right?  Are they all wrong?  What is going on here?  Enter Metabolic Typing.

METABOLIC TYPING:  In my own words, metabolic typing is a dietary theory that leaves room for differences in genetics, ancestry, climate, age, and location.  We come from different areas of the planet.  Our ancestors ate different things.  Humans have traveled the world and filled the globe.  We are all human, yes?  Yes, but we all come from different places.  We are in different phases of life and do different activities.  Trying to fit EVERYBODY into the same box just seems a little arrogant and crazy right?  Ultimately, there are infinite numbers of metabolic types because we are ALL different and unique.  For the sake of sanity, most people break down the types into three main categories.  Let’s take a quick peak and give a few tips on how to succeed as each one.  Keep in mind that your metabolic type can and often does change with the seasons, age, activity levels, and so forth.  Listening to your body and eating real food is always a good guide.

PROTEIN TYPE:  This is the realm of the “modern paleo” diet trend.  Lot’s of meat and fat.  Regardless of what vegetarians or “vegans” tell you, some of our genes require meat and fat to do well.  How much?  It depends on the person.  Protein types are usually people who feel best having some sort of animal protein a few times a day.  They usually crave dark meat, rich meats, eggs, butter, fat, full fat cheese, etc.  Nuts are often sought after as a snack.  This person is usually inclined towards strength-training and doesn’t do quite as well with cardio exercise.  They need a bit more sleep than most to feel good.  What gets this type into trouble?  Overeating.  Especially on crappy food.  These include all pasteurized dairy products, grilled or heavy cooked protein foods, fried eggs, too much bacon or preserved meats, roasted nuts, etc.  How to balance this type?  Focus on QUALITY over QUANTITY first.  Get yourself good quality, grass-fed meats, fish, fats, and eggs.  If you kilter towards animal foods, go with raw cod liver oil, raw butter, raw or lightly cooked eggs, rare fish and other meats, bone marrow, etc.  If you kilter towards plant foods (most don’t), go for the avocados, olives, coconuts, raw nuts, etc.  Another pitfall for this type is eating too many carbs or sugar.  They will usually crash if eating a lot of sugar by itself.  An example would be drinking a LARGE glass of orange juice first thing in the morning without anything else in your stomach.  People naturally slide more towards the protein type on the scale in the winter months.

MIXED TYPE:  Ah, the mixed type.  These are the “middle-of-the-road” people.  They are usually the least picky of eaters.  They can get by on pretty much everything as long as it is fresh, real food.  Cravings will shift often.  Sometimes we want some juicy rare lamb.  Sometimes we want a big bowl of vegetables or some fresh juice.  Maybe I didn’t want any fat for lunch, but boy does it sound good at dinnertime.  Mixed types are exactly how we sound.  Everything in moderation right?  The best foods for you?  Fresh fruits and vegetables as they feel right.  Some fresh juice in the morning maybe.  Moderate amounts of animal foods.  You may find a super heavy breakfast will weigh you down.  For example, a mixed type usually will do better with a lighter breakfast, as opposed to a big plate of eggs and sausage links.  The mix between preferences for animal and plant foods usually is mixed as well.  Sometimes animal fat does the trick.  Sometimes plant fat hits the spot.  Keep a wide variety of foods around and choose what feels best at the time.  This type usually likes some bodyweight exercise as well as cardio.  Problems?  It is easy to go off-balance.  Sometimes we eat too much protein and fat and get bogged down.  Sometimes we eat like the carb type and get jittery or anxious.  This all has to do with learning your own bodies preferences.  As usual, things change with the seasons and activity levels.

CARB TYPE:  The carb type eh?  This is usually where vegetarians lie on the scale.  Personally, I believe that most people need SOME high-quality animal products to be healthy long-term.  There are few people who do well in a cold climate on a carb diet.  My guess?  Most CARBS and heavy sugar fruits grow in tropical climates.  Some of us evolved in those regions.  Others evolved in colder regions.  So what are the characteristics of the carb-type?  A little hyper.  Quick to move.  Quick to think.  Usually favors cardio exercise.  These people often get cold easily in the winter, but LOVE the summer months.  Sometimes they are mixed types in disguise.  (If I eat a ton of sugar I will be very FAST for a while also.)  The difference?  This type of thing sustains the carb-type during the day.  What are the best foods for carb types?  Primarily fruits and vegetables.  Relatively little meat and fat here.  These types usually prefer plant sources for the bulk of their protein and fat.  Maybe a few eggs or some white fish or chicken here and there.  An example of a BAD meal for the carb-type would be a giant breakfast with a lot of rich meat, butter, bacon, or fatty fish.  Being a carb-type is NOT an excuse to go eat a bunch of “junk-food.”  Just as the protein type has to be wary of bad fats and overcooked proteins, the carb-type needs to watch it with the processed starches and sugars.  Things like potato and corn chips.  Granola.  Cereals.  Sweets.  “Healthy junk.”  Gluten, processed foods, and sugar are best avoided by everyone.

So those are the types guys and girls.  As a general guideline, you will slide more towards a protein type in the winter and when you are doing strength training, or are under stress.  You will usually slide towards the carb type in the summer months, doing a lot of mental-activity, and doing more cardio exercise.  Don’t “LOCK” yourself into any one category.  We change just as the seasons change.  Let your body be your guide.  Metabolic typing can be a good system to help you figure out where you are on the scale and adjust accordingly.  Happy hunting =)


-JOE

ILEOCECAL VALVE?

English: A Globe Valve. The valve body is colo...

HUH?

I seem to be on a digestive kick guys.  What is the ileocecal valve?  Like hiatal hernia problems, this little guy goes relatively unrecognized.  His importance plays a big factor in our health.  Most people haven’t heard of the ileocecal valve before.  So what is it?  

ILEOCECAL VALVE:  This “valve” is a small, golf ball sized part of our lower digestive anatomy.  It connects our small intestines to our large intestines.  The point of this valve?  To keep the sewage from the large intestines separate from the stuff happening in the small intestines.  With unhealthy lifestyle choices this valve can get stuck open or closed.  This is a problem folks.  What do you get?  You can have sewage flowing into the area you are supposed to be absorbing your food.  You can also have waste not properly able to flow out.  Let’s look at a few reasons the valve gets stuck and what we can do to fix it.

CAUSES:  The culprits always seem to be the same don’t they.  These are a little different, yet still similar.  Processed foods are among the worst.  Gluten, pasteurized dairy, improperly prepared grains and cereals, sugar, etc.  Roughage can also irritate this valve.  Too much raw salads, raw carrots, or under-ripe  fruit can cause this valve to spasm a bit as well.  EXERCISE, or lack thereof is a huge issue as well.  Our systems are all PUMPS.  They are designed to be PUMPED!  Digestive system, detox system, circulatory system, lymph, etc.  Most of these systems have their own pumps.  But they are designed to have help.  Exercise stimulates digestion big time.  Mixing it up is always a good idea.  Bicycling may be especially good for this problem.  Stress is a big one too.  When we are stressed, we don’t digest our food properly.  What does this lead to?  A “back-up” in our bodies.  Traffic jams.  This is no good.  We want to be relaxed and well rested when we eat.  Ultimately, removing the sources of your stress is a big help with almost all problems in the body.  So what can we do about this issue?  There are a few simple steps.

SOLUTIONS:  The first solution is to remove the causes.  Clean up the diet.  Eliminate the roughage foods for a little bit.  Focus on soft stuff.  Try eliminating gluten, most grains, hard veggies, and irritating spices like hot peppers, etc.  Going off  these things for a few weeks can help calm this valve down.  Exercising more regularly, deep breathing, sleeping more, and getting rid of stress all will do wonders.  As with the hiatal hernia, sometimes our parts like a little help to regain proper functioning.  There are several techniques that you can do on yourself that help get this little guy back up and running.  There is another valve on the other side called the “Houston’s valve.”  The principle is the same.  Let’s look at how to find these valves and I will post a short video on massaging these spots.

LOCATION:  The best way to locate your ileocecal valve is to imagine a line connecting your belly button to the front of your hipbone.  Find the midpoint of that line with your fingers.  Next, go down an inch or two until you find a small, tender spot.  This is likely your ileocecal valve.  Most people have soreness or tenderness in this area.  The same is true of the Houston Valve.  So let’s look at a quick clip on how to fix this up.  Keeping your digestive system and all of its parts happy and healthy is a great defense against all types of ailments.  Let’s get the system back up and running on all 8 =)

VALVE CLOSING

-JOE

FOOD COMBINING.

Brown bear (Ursus arctos) feeding on salmon, t...

FOOD COMBINING.  What is that?

Food combining is an ancient technique.  It is really pretty simple.  How do we get healthy?  We follow nature.  We follow what our ancestors did for thousands of years.  Enter food combining.  The “Modern Paleo” movement needs this one big time =)  Mixing walnuts, carrots, eggs, oil, “nut flour,” maple syrup, raw honey, and butter may TASTE DELICIOUS. The principle is that different foods take different times to digest and require separate digestive processes than others.  For example; a potato takes a different type of digestive enzymes than a steak.  A piece of fruit is different from either of them. Let’s look at a typical “meal” at Olive Garden.  I have nothing against Olive Garden.  It is delicious in fact.  Following are some meals other animals or our ancestors may have eaten. 

OLIVE GARDEN FOOD COMBINING:  Salad, bread sticks, and soup for appetizers.  A course of baked salmon with bruschetta bread.  Finished off by a desert tart made with fruit.  All the while slugging down water, coke, or tea.

Is this a normal way to eat?  Is it feasting and is it fun?  Sure it is.  The point here is not to remove all our days of extravagance.  It is to improve our health over time by following these simple guidelines “most of the time.”  So what are these guidelines?  What is the best way to eat for energy, digestion, and health?  We are all different.  We have different digestive strengths and weaknesses.  Things are also determined by the health of our bodies.  There are some simple rules that everybody can achieve success with.  Let’s take a look.  This is in order of time it takes to digest.

WATER/JUICE:  There really is no digestion time here.  How quickly can your body absorb the liquid?  Usually about fifteen minutes or so with water.  You may give yourself a little extra time with juice.  Drinking liquids fifteen minutes before meals is great.  Drinking a lot WITH your meals is not so great.  A lot of liquid dilutes your own digestive enzymes and makes it harder to assimilate your food.

FRUIT:  This is probably the biggest one.  Fruit digests very quickly.  In a healthy body maybe half an hour to an hour.  Especially the good kind.  Juicy, plump, and soft.  So what happens when we eat fruit after other things?  It ferments.  It gets slowed down.  All the sugar stays behind.  It is generally best to eat fruit early in the day before we have eaten too much.  Eating fruit 2-3 hours after a meal is ok too.  The main idea?  Have an empty stomach with fruit.  I will admit this guideline makes me sad because this man loves trail mix =)

PROTEIN/STARCH:  Protein requires an acidic medium to break down.  Heavy carbohydrates a different one.  What is the result?  Unfortunately, our favorite foods go out the window.  Steak and potatoes.  Burgers and fries.  Pizza.  Wings and beer.  Mixing these types of food is generally not a great idea.  Protein is fine to eat with non-starchy vegetables.  Things like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, summer squash, etc.  Stewing foods or crock-pot meals tend to blend the lines here.  “The foods tend to work out their differences in the pot,” was a line from a book “Healing With Whole Foods.”  This is why crock-pot   meals are so tasty =)  Starches mix well with non-starchy vegetables and fats as well.  Soups are a great way eat most things together.

MONO-MEALS?:  What is a mono-meal you say?  Basically, just what it sounds like.  A mono-meal is eating one thing for a meal.  This is imitating nature at it’s best.  Look around.  All the other animals tend to eat ONE thing at a time.  There are no three-course dishes out there unfortunately.  This is something to be eased into.  Mono-meals is a completely different style of eating than most of us are accustomed to.  So what are some examples of mono-meals?  A bowl of blueberries.  An avocado.  1/3 pound of juicy lamb.  A big bowl of broccoli, zucchini, or peas.  Are mono-meals always needed?  I think it is a great thing to ease into.  Often times, mixing foods can actually HELP digestion.  What are some examples of this?  Adding healthy fats or broth with cooked meats will aid in digestion.  Using herbs with meals will often help as well.  Adding healthy fat to vegetables is great.

So in the end, we are all different.  We are working with different equipment.  The best analogy?  Think of your body as a conveyor belt.  What happens when something quick-moving gets stuck behind something slow-moving?  Traffic jams result.  Try to let your workers process the food you just ate before moving on to something else.  They need different “tools” for different jobs.  The way we eat in this country puts enormous stress on the entire person.  Let’s make our jobs a little easier and start implementing FOOD-COMBINING into our lives.  Oh, and don’t forget to break the rules every now and then =)

-JOE

 

 

INDIGESTION?

BK Meal

What about INDIGESTION?  Does it happen to everybody?  Do we even know what it means?  Maybe it is something most of us experience, yet view as a normal part of life.  Does it sound normal to you?  INDIGESTION?

I would wager to say that it is NOT normal.  It is not something to be experienced on a night out with the guys or date night with the girls.  What does indigestion really mean?  Well, it means what it sounds like.  Your digestion is not properly digesting, assimilating, and eliminating your food.  We can run into trouble at every step, but it really is all the same.  Where your system is weakest is where the chain will tend to break down.  So what is going on here?  Why do we “in-digest” and how can we fix it the natural way?

CAUSES:  We need to look at the causes of indigestion first.  Most of these aren’t too hard to guess on, but some are a little harder to avoid than others.  FOOD is obviously the primary culprit here.  Simple put?  WE EAT THINGS WE WEREN’T DESIGNED TO EAT!  So that puts us at a disadvantage already.  What are the worst offenders?  As usual; gluten, pasteurized dairy, processed foods, sugars, most quick-prep grains, overcooked food, “instant-food,” etc.  Surprisingly, high-fiber vegetables and fruit can be offensive as well.  Eating large amounts of high-cellulose salads, raw veggies, and unripe fruit can cause problems for people as well.  Add on to this the sheer BULK of food we eat at one time.  We often eat gigantic portions of food.  Usually we eat them in horrible combinations as well.  Do we really think a burger, fruit salad, french fries with cheese, and a large coke is a good thing?  You can add stress to the list of causes as well.  Eating while anxious, stressed, in a hurry, or emotional can all cause indigestion.  So what can we realistically do about all of this?  There are a few simple remedies that will keep indigestion at bay and keep you free from OTC medications.

DIET:  As usual, the diet is the biggest factor for most of us.  Cut out the offensive foods.  Eat smaller portions more frequently.  If roughage veggies and fruits bother you; don’t eat too much of them.  Juicers and blenders are great here as well.  Try to follow good food combining.  This is a post in itself (maybe tomorrow), but there are some easy things to remember.  Eat fruit alone on an empty stomach.  Fruit digests quick and will ferment and produce gas if it is eaten after a major meal.  Don’t mix heavy starches and proteins together at the same meal.  Unfortunately this cuts out most people’s favorites.  Mashed potatoes and steak.  Burgers and fries.  Pizza.  The list goes on.  Those are the biggies.

STRESS:  Figure out where your stress is coming from and try to eliminate it.  Don’t watch upsetting news or stimulating movies while eating.  Don’t argue with your spouse or children.  Try to create relaxed mealtimes.  Having family time and blessing your food is a great habit to get into.  If possible, don’t rush yourself.  How are you supposed to digest anything well when you are already somewhere else in your mind?  Plan ahead, cook in bulk, etc.  Do what you need to do to be able to have relaxed, pleasant mealtimes.

CLEANSE:  For most of us; some form of cleansing will be necessary to completely fix the problem.  Why is the diet not good enough?  Maybe it is.  Maybe it isn’t.  How clean are you willing to go?  The problem is that most of us have YEARS of bad habits behind us.  Think of adding up all the cereals, the cheese, the bread and pasta, the pizza, etc.  You get the idea.  So you end up with a big job on your hands.  Cleansing can speed up the process for most of us.  Simple things like herbs can really help.

So there you have it.  INDIGESTION.  As usual, eliminating the causes is the most important step.  The body will always heal itself when given the opportunity =)

-JOE