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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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

OUT WITH THE OLD / BEING PRESENT

English: My closet

OUT WITH THE OLD.

The old standby right?  Sometimes the only way to take in new in our lives is to get rid of the old.  This doesn’t necessarily mean throwing things away.  It can mean altering things.  It can be a new frame of mind.  It can be getting rid of old habits.  A lot of times we think of throwing out old junk.  Well let’s look at different types of “junk” we carry with us.

STUFF:  This is the one most people think of first.  It is an important one as well.  Physical “stuff” weighs us down if we let it.  Extra furniture.  Clothes we never wear.  Gadgets we have long forgotten.  Maybe a bunch of spare books lying around.  It is very hard for us to let go of our “stuff.”  We are taught to accumulate things in this country.  To save things.  To build up your stuff.  But does that really do us much good?  Look at the other animals in the wild.  They are not burdened with stuff.  They move wherever they go.  For most people, moving is a big deal.  Moving when you are young, energetic, and have relatively few belongings seems simple.  As we get older, less vital, and accumulate more; the idea of moving becomes a lot bigger challenge.  Take inventory of what you really need and get rid of the rest.  Often times, getting rid of old things makes room for new things that we actually need in our lives in the present day.

WEIGHT/BODY GUNK:  Gross I know.  But this is the case with many people.  Our sedentary lives and eating styles cause us to gain weight.  In my opinion, it isn’t just the weight that is the problem.  It is the toxins, gunk, and clogging that come with it.  We get bogged down.  Our livers, kidneys, and colons get clogged up.  We feel heavy after eating.  All of these things bog down our lives.  We can’t go through life with much enthusiasm or energy when we have all this stuff in our bodies that is not supposed to be there.  The answer?  CLEANSE.  IMPROVE THE DIET.  Cutting out processed foods, gluten, and pasteurized dairy is a great place to start.  Doing some simple herbal cleanses can make a world of change as well.

EMOTIONS:  We have emotions for a reason guys.  When we stuff them down, they just come back later.  Have you cried lately?  Hit a punching bag or some pillows?  All of us accumulate this stuff.  We hold frustrations towards people, God, ourselves, life, etc.  If we want to be truly present in our lives, we need to let these things out every once in a while.  

MENTALITY:  This is a tough one.  Is it worthwhile?  You bet.  Sometimes the biggest thing holding us back isn’t our weight or our stuff.  It is our mentality.  Do you think you will never get ahead?  Do you worry all the time?  Maybe your view of yourself, God, or society isn’t a good one.  This isn’t so much about removing bad mentality as it is about reframing your own view on things.  This is a basic problem for all people.  It is hard to change our mentality.  We are taught to think a certain way.  Usually, changing our mentality means facing resistance from ourselves, friends, and family.  Sometimes changing mentality will lead to big changes in our lives.

FEAR:  This is the big one guys.  All of these things usually boil down to a fear on some level.  Why are you afraid to let go?  What is the underlying issue really going on here.  Look at what you are afraid of eye-to-eye and face the tough stuff.  When you can start truly facing your fears of your own past, present, and future; you will be on the path to living in the moment.

Ultimately, removing the old from our lives is one of the best ways to make room for the new.  Don’t all of us want a little new in our lives?  New clothes, new jobs, new vacations, new LIFE!  Our old baggage, unhealthy bodies, and fear usually is what stops us from living our dreams and passions.  Let’s learn to constantly take out the “used” and make room for the PRESENT.

-Joe

GROWTH Vs. PROTECTION?

Worried

ARE YOU GROWING? OR ARE YOU PROTECTING?

 

 

Bruce Lipton, author of “Biology of Belief,” asks this very question.  Honestly, I haven’t read the entire book.  I have skimmed portions of it.  It got a little too much into the science of everything than I wanted to go at that time.  So what is the idea?

 

 

There are two main modes for animals (including humans) to be in.  Growth and Protection.  Let’s look at a few characteristics of each of them.  There is no good or bad here, just observations.

 

 

GROWTH:  Anabolic, building, healing, repairing, relaxing, recovering, digesting, eliminating, love, joy, laughter, etc.  This is the phase most animals like to be in.  It is one of peace with the world around us.  It is one without fighting, fear, or striving.

 

 

PROTECTION:  This is the realm of fear.  Fighting.  These are mechanisms in place that help us defend against “threats” in our world.  These threats can be real or “perceived.”  The belief is what truly makes it real for you.  Worrying about work.  Worrying about our children.  Fear of getting in car accidents.  Fear about the economy.  Fear about our lives.

 

 

Now, I don’t want to criticize protection mode here guys.  I believe it has its uses as well.  But you have to take an honest look at your life and figure out which one you are living in most of the time.  This is not a black and white thing.  More like a scale.  The greater your level of protection, the less your level of growth and healing will be.  Most people do not have to worry about being too stuck in growth mode.  But what happens when we get stuck in protection mode?

 

 

On the short scale we may worry about the little things.  Will we be late to our appointment?  Did we forget to check the mail?  Maybe there was something that NEEDED done that we just couldn’t remember to do.  This scale unfortunately progresses.  Are we making enough money to feed our family?  Will our child survive his health challenge?  Will we be able to comfortably retire?  Is our mate going to be happy with who we are?  Will the people in my life accept me with all of my faults and flaws?  These are all questions that tend to provoke protection reactions in us.  These reactions are a bit more severe.  They tend to focus on LONG-TERM SURVIVAL NEEDS.  As humans, we have the ability to look into the future with greater accuracy than animals (for the most part).  As such, we plan more.  We worry more.  This has it’s benefits and drawbacks.  Finally, there are SHORT-TERM SURVIVAL NEEDS.  These are those which immediately snap us into protection mode.  This is the realm of PTSD.  Of trauma.  Of terrible accidents.  Of health crisis.  Of war.  These are things that we cannot ignore “for the day.”  Hostage situations, torture, mauling by animals, and terrible car crashes all fit into this category as well.  These are actually scenarios that often demand protection mode.  I would hope that if you were getting attacked by a grizzly bear you would not be in healing mode =)  So what is the problem?  In nature, these events are not meant to happen for long.  But what happens when they are continuous?  War veterans.  Serious health challenges.  Our energy and psyche tends to get so locked in fighting for survival that it can get stuck there even when we are through the trauma.  So what is going on with all of this?  WE GET WOUND UP!

 

 

We get wound up so tight in the modern world.  When is there a day that goes by that we don’t worry about something?  We worry about work.  We worry about our families.  We worry about bills.  We worry if we are doing a good enough job with taking care of ourselves.  When does it end?  This is not about ignoring the issues of our modern world.  It is about learning to live in harmony WITH them so that we don’t take the burden of living in protection all of the time.  Is there anything we can do?  There is always something you can do =)

 

 

INVENTORY:  This step is often the most painful.  It requires us to take a good, hard look at what we are afraid of.  Are we worriers?  Are we living in the past?  Do we have unresolved emotional trauma or conflicts that are keeping us locked in protection mode?  Maybe an old scar from a past relationship.  Maybe some health problems that have plagued you for years.  Did we not have enough food or money at a time?  Looking at your fears means looking at yourself.

 

 

DECIDE:  Decide on the things that are WORTH being afraid of.  The problem with our modern world?  There are a lot of small things that we let ourselves get wound up about.  Most of them have nothing to do with SHORT-TERM SURVIVAL.  Decide on the things that you can let go.

 

 

WORK:  Often the things most worth doing take the most work.  This may mean taking a good hard look at the “man in the mirror.”  Are you trapped in an abusive relationship?  Are you fearful for your health?  Maybe you are a war veteran with PTSD.  This stuff is not easy.  It’s like a muscle that has been holding on for a REALLY LONG TIME.  It gets really tired and probably cramps up a lot.  The way to fix it?  Massage, unwinding, meditating, rest, etc.  I would like to point out that sleep and rest are related but different things.  You can sleep in a very stressed out state.  True rejuvenation comes when we blend the two together.

 

 

TOOLS:  Use tools to help you work through the tough stuff.  This doesn’t happen over night.  Often, we need tools to work with to help us along to our goals.  There are no right or wrong tools here.  Whatever helps you unwind.  Good tools may include massage/bodywork, meditation, affirmation exercises, EFT, self-care, water-work, laughter, joy, love, etc.  Anything that makes you SIGH RELIEF afterwards is probably a good thing.

 

 

ULTIMATE SOLUTION:  The ultimate solution is to realize every day that we have limited power on this planet.  We REALLY don’t like that do we?  We want to be able to control all the little details?  Why?  Because we were taught that this was the only way to control the outcome.  But is it really?  Is living in fear really the way to go?  Most people I know live with some level of fear in the background at all times.  Maybe not death-fear.  But fear.  Figure out the things you can let go of.  You may find that you need to make some changes in your protection mode along the way.  There are many people blissfully unaware of things they are doing that thwart their long-term survival, health, and happiness.  Listening to the universe is the correct step to figure out where we are off-balance with it all.  Protection mode has its place.  For most of us however, its “place” has become the norm.  Let’s scale back on the protection and move back into growth where we belong 90 percent of the time =)

 

 

-JOE

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, New YOU!

 

English: Independence Day fireworks, San Diego.

2013 HUH?  WE MADE IT.

 

 Hopefully it was a good year for you.  If not, it is time to rejuvenate.  It is time to rethink your life.  It is time to make peace with the old so that you can more efficiently let in the new.  Our past has a bad habit of tying us down and holding us back.  Our past wants to be resolved.  This could be anything.  It could be past emotions or trauma.  It could be a sick body.  It could be a gunked up computer.  It could be a messy apartment or an old wardrobe.  Look at things in your past (present) that are affecting you today.  Is it really in your past if it actively affects your present?  We all want to evolve.  We all want to grow.  To heal.  To learn.  So what are some simple steps we can take to get moving on it?

 

INVENTORY:  Take inventory of things you don’t need anymore.  Only keep the things you can honestly keep out of LOVE.  Maybe that means taking a hard look at some feelings or thoughts that should be let go.  These could include grudges, conflicts, traumas, resentments, fears, etc.  Maybe you don’t particularly want some family heirlooms that were passed on to you.  Maybe you really want to improve a damaged relationship.  Maybe you really don’t ever wear those clothes, use that cologne, or put on those shoes.  Do you read those books ever, or do they sit on your shelf?

 

DECIDE/COMMIT:  Decide to let go of the things you don’t need.  This is really the hardest step.  Most of us keep at least an unconscious inventory of our “stuff,” or our “baggage.”  Deciding to let this stuff go is often the step that trips us up.  Letting go of books, old magazines, clothes, fitness equipment, etc isn’t too complicated.  Letting go of long-standing emotional issues may be a lot more challenging, but can also be some of the most rewarding decisions you will make.  Committing to following through with your decisions is an important part of the process.  Often this means going up against resistances.  Resistance usually comes from inside ourselves.  It can also come from outside.  We have to be brave enough to pass through these to achieve our goals.

 

WORK:  Do what it takes.  This is a tough one as well.  Sometimes jobs are easier than we thought.  Sometimes they are harder.  It can be like writing a short paper or it can be like writing an exhaustively long book.  Taking out some old clothes or books is one thing.  Selling off some old furniture may be a bit more challenging.  Dealing with long-standing emotional traumas or faulty thought patterns may be yet more challenging.  Do what it takes.  Commit to the things you really want to change.  We all have ideas in our heads about the things we would like to change.  Sometimes these are external things like our “stuff.”  Sometimes these are internal things like our feelings or thoughts.  Which is more important?  Honestly, I would take a look at the inside first.  Internal processes are what is going to have the biggest impact on your life.  Is it the most visible?  Maybe not in the beginning.  We are constantly reminded in our country that what is on the outside is what matters.  What can be “seen.”  I think outside success is great, but it usually comes from inside first.  Let’s do the work it takes to create new OPTIMIZED INDIVIDUALS.

 

-JOE

 

REAL MEN SERIES: TIME OFF

Slow Time in Wrist Watch on Dry Leaf

REAL MEN TAKE TIME OFF.

This does not mean avoiding our problems or being lazy.  These are entirely different things.  So what am I talking about?

Time off.  Taking a personal day.  Taking time off of work.  Taking time off of “accomplishing” things.  Taking time off of thinking about the future.  In our modern lives, many of us find it difficult to just BE.  We are raised to keep climbing the ladder.  There isn’t really an end point in mind.  So what do we do?  We keep climbing.  There isn’t really time to enjoy WHERE we are in the moment.  I try not to bring religion into this stuff, but the idea of a “SABBATH” is very important.  I am not talking about “Christianity,” “Islam,” “Buddhism,” or any other form of religion.  What I am talking about is the idea that as human beings, we should dedicate at least a day a week to being present with our lives and taking a break from all the work and happenings that we participate in.  Many of us spend our “days off” accomplishing jobs that we couldn’t get done during the work week.  Maybe we are running errands.  Maybe we are doing our taxes or finances.  This doesn’t quite fit the bill either.  There are certain things that need to be done, but many of us allow the list to pile up so high that we never can quite relax.  We are meant to enjoy our lives.  To find the balance between striving for the future and loving where we are in the present.  It is a difficult balance to strike for sure.  I definitely haven’t found it yet.  What does time off look like?

TIME OFF:  My definition of “time-off” means enjoying the present moment in whatever you are doing.  The deciding factor is whether or not there is an end-goal in mind.  Time off is simply enjoying life for the experience and not for the outcome.  Turning off the “job-brain,” or as Joe Robinson calls it; “The Performance Identity.”  Read a book without expecting to learn anything useful.  Take a hot bath.  Shoot pool at a pool hall without trying to “win” or “improve your game.”  Watch a funny movie just to LAUGH.  Give somebody a hug.  Read the bible, Tao Te Ching, or other spiritual texts.  Take a big nap or meditate in the middle of the day.

Some of us are very yang.  We tend to want to keep pushing forward.  This is great and all if it comes from a place of LOVE.  When it comes from FEAR it isn’t so good.  Taking time off is a great way to rediscover WHO you are inside.  Let’s reclaim that time off.  The ironic thing about all of it?  OFTEN BY TAKING TIME OFF WE ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISH MORE!

-JOE

Emotional Release Series: WRAP UP

Fear Yourself

Wow.  Did not expect this long of a series guys =)  Hope it was helpful.  I have a few remaining tips to help manage all of this stuff and perhaps avoid some common pitfalls along the way.  Let’s see what they are.

RESISTANCE:  We need to figure out and conquer any resistance we have towards working on our emotions.  This usually is a fear of some kind.  It is up to us to figure out what this fear is.  Maybe it is a fear of being vulnerable, a fear of losing control, a fear of failure, etc.  Sometimes resistance comes in the form of addictions to food, drugs, or sex.

VULNERABILITY/TRUST:  In the end, we need to become vulnerable.  Most of us are taught to never enter into this state.  Just remember that it is part of the work.  In fact, it feels good to be vulnerable and find out that you don’t fall apart.  Relying on friends, family, and God are all good ways to do this.  God is a good place to start if you feel uncomfortable talking with others.  This ultimately involves trusting yourself and others and providing a “safe space” for this stuff to come up.

FORMALITIES:  Drop the “formalities” guys.  There is no right formula with this stuff.  The goal is not to do it perfectly  We need to let go of the performance mindset and allow things to come how they come.  We are taught to be able to control everything.  Well, sometimes being “out of control” in a safe and constructive way is how to accomplish our goals.

CONTROL:  Usually this stuff builds up because we hold on to this control so much.  Most of us are afraid to ever lose control.  We are afraid to lose control of time.  We are afraid to lose control of our relationships.  We are afraid to lose control of ourselves.  God forbid that we have a slip up on our diet, someone sees us being emotional, or thinks that we don’t “have it together.”  I have a little secret.  There is a huge difference between having it together and maintaining the APPEARANCE of having it together.  Most of us are trained to keep up appearances.  Sometimes underneath there is a different story going on.  Your body carries and tells that story for you.

LOVING YOURSELF:  This is the ultimate goal guys.  People that respect and love themselves do not ask their bodies to carry the weight of this stuff.  Being human and alive is to be emotional.  It is part of who we are.  It is a major reason why we see so many disorders and health challenges that seem so resistant to medical treatment.  When you love yourself on a deep level and begin to FOLLOW love, instead of thinking that WE know best, amazing things start happening.  All of a sudden things make sense.  You let go of past hurts and grudges.  You see yourself in a new light.  You see other people in a better light.  When you love yourself, all of the other “barriers” will be dropped down on their own.  There are only two true emotions in this world; LOVE and FEAR.  Which one is running your life?

-Joe