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

 

 

 

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“Blue Blocker” Sunglasses

A Pair of Sunglasses

 

Excuse me, what?

This is a relatively unknown topic related to modern living that is getting more and more attention these days.  Like sitting at desks, eating processed foods, and sitting in bad electronic pollution; we are finding another caveat to our modern lifestyle.  Enter “BLUE LIGHT.”  Light itself has its own complications, but blue light seems to be more problematic.  What is blue light?  We are talking neons.  We are talking the blinker lights on your wireless routers and television screens.  The glow from the alarm clock.  The blue LED nightlight in the bathroom.  It is hard to escape this stuff in a modern household.  What is the problem?  Our bodies have evolved rhythms revolving around the sun for thousands of years.  It isn’t just light for us.  It literally stimulates the production or restriction of certain hormones in the body.  Sun comes up, wake up, move around, think, exercise, etc.  Sun goes down, slow down, sleep, recover, rest.  What happens when these hormones get tricked?  

More and more research is piling up suggesting that light (especially blue light) interferes with our bodies own mechanisms for producing or inhibiting hormones.  A big one is melatonin.  So logging onto your email at night may end up keeping you awake.  Is your insomnia actually from looking at your computer or television screen late at night?  Can you not fall back asleep because you check your cellphone at night?  Maybe that blue light in the bathroom wires you back up.  The problem is that we are only subtly aware that these things are happening.  So what is an average “JOE” to do?  Surely you don’t want us to sell or give away all of our technology, ask us to turn the T.V. off, and check all emails before 7 at night RIGHT?  Correct =)

Enter “Blue Blocking Sunglasses.”  These are inexpensive.  They are effective.  They don’t interfere with our lives much at all.  What are they?  Basically just plastic sunglasses that have strong filtering technology.  They are specifically designed to filter out 100% of that specific light spectrum.  Keep a pair or two around the house for work at night.  Just pop these babies on and go about your business.  This is even more important in the winter when the sun goes down early.  

BENEFITS?  Better sleep.  Improved mood.  Deeper sleep.  Easier to “unwind” at night.  Better recovery from exercise and stress.

That’s it guys.  Simple.  Other tips?  Replace as many “blue” or LED lights from your living space as possible.  Switch to old-fashioned night-lights and battery or wind-up alarm clocks.  Try to get as much computer work done before bedtime as you can.  REST WELL.

-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

“ACTIVE” RELAXATION.

Dandelion wind

You REALLY should relax man!  Take a deep breath.  Find your center.

Is taking a small break from our stressful lives really all that we need?  A moment in the midst of calamity can do wonders, don’t get me wrong.  But are we actively unwinding our clocks on a regular basis?  Stress winds us up a lot.  We don’t usually take much time to just BE and RELAX.  This is especially true if we are going through stressful events, rough jobs, health problems, bad relationships, problems with children, etc.  Add to that bad food choices and malnutrition.  It is so easy to wind up and never unwind.  Enter “Active Relaxation.”

ACTIVE RELAXATION:  This is something you set aside time for.  It can be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour or longer if you wish.  10-20 minutes would seem ideal for most people.  What does active relaxation look like?  It can look like anything you want it to.  The main ideas?  SLOW your breathing, relax, and let go of tension.  Some good examples of activities that promote active relaxation of the body would include tai-qi and qigong, some slow yoga, very slow walking, belly breathing to meditation music, laughter, slow spiritual reading, or plain old meditation.  Affirmations is a great way to relax as well.  Repeating phrases with our breathing can help rapidly calm the system.  Phrases like “I unwind and relax with ease,” or “I deserve a breather” are great.  Affirmations can be anything you want them to be.  Anything that helps put you in a state of deep calm.  For most of us, we only realize how stressed we have been when we truly relax.  It is unfortunate, but most of us rarely reach the state of true relaxation.  We let the worries and stresses of the day wind us up more and more, then we get stuck there!  So let’s learn to un-stick ourselves and practice a little “active relaxation.”  I can’t help but share the 5 principles of “REIKI” with my readers.

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL NOT WORRY

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL NOT ANGER

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL DO MY WORK HONESTLY

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL HONOR ALL LIVING THINGS

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL COUNT MY MANY BLESSINGS

Enjoy =)

-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