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

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

 

 

CHOLESTEROL?

English: Do you see? Pictures of my food? This...

 

 

What is the fuss about?  Cholesterol has been a big topic for quite a while now.  Don’t eat your eggs.  Don’t eat your meat.  You don’t want to raise your cholesterol right?  Let’s get those numbers down a bit.  Then you have the “paleo” people who tell you to eat massive amounts of meat and eggs without worrying about it.  Now I am no scientist, but I do know a little bit.  Is “cholesterol” the bad guy here?  Many animals in the wild eat loads of cholesterol all the time.  Meat, eggs, fish, etc.  Some animals don’t.  Looking throughout history, all cultures have traditionally consumed some animals products; usually rich in cholesterol.  In fact, the foods that were highest in cholesterol were usually regarded as “power-foods” or “delicacies.”  These were foods we were lucky to have.  Are fruits and vegetables great?  Of course they are.  But cholesterol is also great for our brain, nervous systems, and healing.  WHY ALL THE MIX UP?  Personally, I believe that consuming HIGH-QUALITY, properly prepared animal products is essential in almost everyone’s diet.  I believe that the misconception comes when we tamper with what nature has given us and turn it into something foreign to our bodies.  Let’s take a look at some common foods and why there is so much banter between these so-called “opposing” sides.

 

TRADITIONAL CHOLESTEROL: Rare or lightly cooked LIVER from pretty much any grass-fed animal.  These may include chickens, lamb, beef, duck, etc.  Raw or lightly cooked eggs (especially yolks).  Bone marrow.  Raw grass-fed butter and other dairy products if tolerated.  Lightly cooked, baked, stewed, meats.  Fatty fish contains a bit as well.  Things like sardines, salmon, etc.  Shellfish such as oysters and clams have a bit too.  People have been eating this stuff healthfully for generations.  They just prepared and ate them properly.

 

MODERN CHOLESTEROL:  ALL pasteurized dairy products.  Fried eggs.  Fried steaks.  Pretty much anything “fried,” especially in vegetable oils.  Pre-made sausages. most lunchmeat, etc.  Breaded meats would also fall into this category.

 

Can you see where the confusion comes from?  Cutting out “modern” cholesterol-rich foods doesn’t really have to do so much with the cholesterol as with the unhealthy way these “foods” are prepared.  The body creates cholesterol inside itself.  The body is smart enough to balance its own levels of cholesterol.  Honestly, when you eat the good stuff, you may find that you stop craving the bad so much.  A little bit of high-quality animal food goes a long way.  There are too many people out there that get scared off of ANIMAL FOOD for fear of raised cholesterol, clogging of arteries, clogging of organs, indigestion, etc.  This is just not needed.  Trust your body.  Trust nature.  This stuff gets screwed up because humans have modified and tricked our taste buds.  Eat real food and trust your own instincts.  A gorilla doesn’t need to be told to eat leaves and insects all day.  A lion doesn’t need to listen to a doctor tell him he can’t eat any more red meat.  We all evolved a little differently.  Humans are no different.  We have evolved to eat a wide variety of plants and animals.  This is apparent when viewing humans around the world.  Let’s stop trying to fit everyone into one “mold.”  Some people do best with high amounts of fruits and veggies and relatively little animal products.  Some do better on diets higher in meat and fat.  A lot of this depends on your ancestry, location, vocation, time of year, activity levels, etc.  Trust your bodies and let’s stop hating on CHOLESTEROL =)

 

-JOE

 

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

 

“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

BALANCE Series: THE BRAIN

Brain Hemispheres

Short series guys.  Life and health are all about balance.  Want to see where you need improvement?  Look at where you are out of balance.  Maybe it is in fitness. Maybe its in fun or love.  Whatever it is; it is usually about coming into balance.  So let’s take a look at a major piece of this puzzle here.  THE BRAIN.

Do we use our brains anymore?  We have a lot of technology that does some of the jobs we used to do.  We have GPS for the car instead of using maps.  We have sophisticated calculators and computer programs doing our math.  We use specialists instead of doing things for ourselves.  This is just for the left brain.  For the right brain, we are out of touch.  Often we don’t know how we are feeling, what we are passionate about, or how to interpret signs from the world around us.  It seems that a lot of us end up on autopilot.  Do I blame us?  Not at all.  This is just the way our modern world has evolved.  The brain however, suffers.  It suffers because it was designed to be used.  Like most muscles, when they are not used they start to atrophy.  They start to decline.  More and more studies are coming out discussing the problems we are having with the brain and what we can do to improve them.  Let’s take a quick look at 5 big factors that affect your brain.

FUEL:  Our brain needs fuel like anything else.  It is actually a pretty greedy organ.  The more we use our brains, the more fuel we need.  For most of us this often comes in the form of fears, worries, and over-analyzing the world around us.  What fuel do we need?  Dozens of vitamins and minerals, fresh air, clean water, protein and good fat.  Fresh fruits and veggies.  GOOD Fat is great fuel for the brain.  Things like avocados, olives, coconut oil, raw or lightly cooked egg yolks, bone marrow, raw butter, etc. Especially helpful are omega-3 in things such as cod liver oil, fatty fish, sardines, etc.  Amino acids from quality protein is also essential.  Eating junk will CLOG the brain over time.

CIRCULATION:  This is huge as well.  Our brain clogs up just like everything else. Exercise is critical to mental function.  What type of exercise?  Well there are several kinds of exercise that may help improve cognitive functioning.  Cardiovascular exercise is great.  This helps pump blood throughout your entire body.  CHIROPRACTIC and massage are excellent tools as well.  Your nervous system likes to BREATHE!  Let’s make sure all the wiring is fixed up.  Correcting pathways into and out of your brain is essential.  Most of us have poor posture, stiff necks, bad backs, and muscular tension.  Do we think this affects the way our brain functions? This negatively affects our the way our nervous system functions.  A good chiropractor can be invaluable in correcting these problems.  Another type of circulation is deep breathing fresh air.  Yet another is hot/cold therapies.  This is a topic in itself.  Basically you are relying on the bodies need for homeostasis and using it to your advantage.  When we take a hot shower and finish cold (especially over areas of stagnation), we dramatically pump the body to adapt to the rapid temperature change.  This breaks through blockages in the brain and body.

SLEEP:  This one is a “no brainer.”  Sleep is when our bodies repair.  Going to bed at a reasonable time and getting at least 6-9 hours of sleep daily are critical.  If sleeping is hard to accomplish, look at your nighttime routine.  Are you on the computer soaking up blue light disrupting your natural hormones?  Are you arguing or having stimulating conversation?  Maybe you have some emotional stuff you need to deal with.  Whatever it is; figure it out.  Sleep is critical for repairing and building brain function.  We can all attest to our thinking abilities after a few nights without much sleep.

USE IT LEFT:  Use it left guys.  We have two hemispheres of our brains.  They both need some work.  It isn’t too hard to figure out which side needs the most help.  The left brain is used primarily for tasks related to math and science.  This is where our logic, probabilities, calculus, statistics, and rationality come from.  When we lack on this side we have a hard time doing math, keeping up with finances, and generally have a distaste for stimulating math or science based conversation.  What is the answer?  DO SOME!  It doesn’t have to be much.  Pick up a book or two on a tough subject.  Maybe a little quantum physics?  Maybe an old math book.  There are plenty of puzzle books out there that are extremely challenging.  The key here is CHALLENGING.  It is supposed to be hard.  It is supposed to be stimulating.  If it makes your brain “hurt,” good.  After time what happens to muscles?  They get stronger.  Smarter in this case.

USE IT RIGHT:  The right side often gets a bad name in our culture.  Touchy, feely, emotional, intuitive.  These are some words that come to mind.  A lot of us are brought up not to use this side much at all.  Does it get us into trouble?  You bet it does.  A lot of us grow up suppressing who we are, what we are feeling, and where we want to go in life.  This translates into an unbalanced brain and being generally disconnected from what is REALLY going on in our lives.  This side is a little harder to work with when it has been neglected for a while.  Reading and thinking are not the specialties here.  FEELING is what this side is about.  This ties into the heart as well.  We have senses that some of us rarely use.  These involve energetically sensing what is going on in our environment, with our loved ones, and within ourselves.  INTEGRITY is the key here.  Own your emotions.  Listen to your “gut.”  This is a tool that needs to be worked on to evolve as well.  Any kind of ART or MUSIC are great for the right brain.  

There are several other factors that affect brain health.  These are some of the big ones.  Take a few minutes and figure out which categories you are deficient in.  Create a game plan to help create a “balanced brain.”  I believe learning a foreign language is one of the best ways to improve brain functioning.  Especially a language that contains characters or symbols such as Mandarin Chinese.  Hope you guys enjoyed.  The next in the series will be on the chakras.

-Joe

LOVE DAY?

Love for Arts

 

A love day huh?  What does that mean?  I’m just now beginning to understand it myself.

We work hard don’t we?  ALL of us work hard.  Whether other people “see” it or not, whether they understand, whether we understand it ourselves.  ALL of us are working hard at something most of the time.  Maybe it is raising children.  Maybe it is working to provide for your family.  Maybe it is having a health challenge.  We are ALL doing something.  Being healthy helps us to accomplish our challenges in an effective way.  Eliminating stress and anxiety is part of being healthy.  With so many responsibilities, how can we drop the fear for a while?  If we dropped the fear, maybe things wouldn’t get done.  Well I would like to advocate a love day.  This doesn’t have to be some “girly” take a bath with candles and listen to soft music thing.  This is just taking a day to LOVE yourself UNCONDITIONALLY without putting any attachment on the “outcomes.”  Do what you do instinctually.  Maybe that is watching an old-movie marathon with some friends.  Maybe its playing guitar by yourself for a while.  The idea is to completely unwind.  Maybe this means crying or screaming over whatever is going on in your life.  Figure out where you truly are at this point and give yourself a little credit.  That is the problem here!  We never give ourselves credit for how hard we work!  It is a never-ending rat-race for a lot of us.  There is never “good enough.”  I don’t care how hard you work, how hard you study, how much you work on your fitness; there will always be “another level” to reach.  In reality; it is just this mindset we have been implanted with to push and push.  Let’s take a minute to look at the basics.  Do you have enough food, water, shelter, family and friends, spirituality, love, etc?  Then you are OK.  What more can we really ask for?  Let’s take a personal day and just LIVE for the pure expression of LIVING!

-Joe