My wife and I met with an old friend (by “old” I mean elementary school days) in Hayward for brunch the other day. It was past one in the afternoon and neither of us had eaten. We were all eager to get something to eat, but not suffering from hunger.
In passing, we brought up the fact that both of us often train on empty stomachs. For both of us, it was common that a good workout happened without food for several hours. When I say good workout, I mean a focused, energy-steady, and positivity-surging session of training.
I mentioned to my friend that without eating, I am able to maintain steady focus and get a lot of work done. As long as I have a task at hand, I feel just fine. If I have nothing to do, though, it’s common that I get hungry sooner in the day. He agreed, saying he thought it was the distraction from food that enabled us to drive forward without it.
I don’t think it’s necessary to gloat over the fact that I can go through the day without food. I’m not an ascetic, I eat a lot, especially at night, and I love love love food. But I think it’s important to see what’s going on with each of our own selves in the realm of hunger, satiety, productivity, focus, and overall effectiveness and quality of life.
If we can master the knowledge of our needs and our natural ebbs and flows of energy, we can position ourselves to be effective at the time we are needed and rest ourselves when we are not. We can consume our resources when they are most effective to our minds and bodies, and we can set them aside when they’ll have little to do with the outcomes of life.
I speak to the short and long term for myself in terms of food and eating. On a short term, day to day basis, I’ve reduced my eating to twice a day. I have butter coffee in the morning, and a large dinner at night. As for the long term, I’ve been living with this eating schedule for the past four years without any sign of energy deficit, malnutrition, or chronic illness.
The only significant break from this has been my three and half month long travel this year. There have been differences while I was overseas and backpacking. I’ll get more into this in another post. I want to focus on long term pattern and effects here.
People have asked me if I don’t get stomach problems from eating so much at night. In fact, I’ve never felt better since having fats in the morning and eating all of my food at night. My stool is regular, my energy is regular and full, and my body is well-toned and responsive. As long as I follow this well-fitted pattern of eating and nutrition.
The truth is, I’ve always had digestive issues. Since I was a teenager, I’ve had bad gas and upset stomach much of the time. I remember so many nights out with friends, during deep talks, where I was just dying from the struggle to hold in my farts.
Looking back, and with my present knowledge and experience, most of this had to do with what I ate. So much wheat in the form of bread, pasta, and sweets, bad fats, and milk were among the culprits. I had energy when I did, and I forced energy when I had none. I was often exhausted at night and in the morning.
This unnatural living created a deficit that continues to suck energy from me today. I’ve found the gaping holes and leaks and stopped the flooding, but I’m still getting leaks of energy here and there. Enough with the analogy.
At thirty years, I’m at a sort of turning point. I know what’s good for me. I’ve discovered it. During my mid to late twenties, I went to all ends to capitalize on it. I did everything I could, within my means, to make myself better. I had to with the circumstances I was in, but I also wanted to.
Now I’m at the tail end of this stage of awe at what has been discovered. Many, many other people, including you, have also found out that we’ve been in a matrix version of the truth about nutrition and eating. And you’ve also come to navigate your way through the webs of lies spun around us. Something was not working but everyone was trying to ignore the skips in the beat. The glitches.
The thing about our world, as opposed to that of the Matrix, is that even though we’ve been out in the cold, hard reality, and have found how to light the fire and thrive, the webs continue to spin around us. Just go to the nearest “health foods” or “farmer’s market” store and see how many gluten-free and paleo products line the shelves. They’ve simply taken the spotlight from cereals, which are still the next aisle over, and they’ve become the new idea of healthy eating.
The matrix of this world continues to expand. We’ve definitely torn away the webs at the fringes and made our way out, but it’s more like Harry Potter’s Triwizard Tournament hedge maze. It keeps growing, changing directions, and trying to engulf us.
What to do? Remember that the prize lies within you. I have to keep the focus on me. I have to remember, day to day, and year to year, that the ultimate goal with eating, food, and wellness is my own self. The closer I can get to fulfilling the center of me, the further I stay from the web of the food matrix.
Yes, there is truly good stuff out there. You can find good food. Clean veggies. Happy meat. People who give a damn, who want you to share in the wellness of their products. People who do the high level research to find more of the truth to share with us.
We’ll find it, we’ll invest in it, it will grow, and truth and goodness and thriving will overcome the lies and suffering. We’ll keep guiding each other, and the universe will fill in the gaps.
The key is to stay true to yourself. Seriously, that’s all.
Live powerfully, eat powerfully,
P.S., a big thanks to my friend for coming out and sharing deep thoughts. If you read this, you know who you are.
I was going to the gym today but almost canceled on myself.
I had made the wretched choice of eating a donut last night. When I do such things, I didn’t give enough credit to the consequences. Sure, I get some after effects, I told myself. Little achiness, brain fog. Funny how time befuddles memories.
It was an inflammation bomb. First came the wheat coma. I was reading and had to drag myself to bed, it was so bad. I fell into instant sleep for an hour, and woke feeling hungover and tender. My trap and shoulder blade area were tight in a knot, so I rolled it out on a lacrosse ball.
Did some deep breathing, drank my vitamin C and magnesium mix, and tried to sleep. No go.
My stomach was upset. I got up and had some kombucha. I thought of taking charcoal, but didn’t want to absorb the magnesium that I had already taken. Lesson learned next time.
It took me a few hours of reading to get to bed. When I woke this morning, I still felt hungover. Butter coffee and some eggs helped. I was determined to go to the gym today, and I gave myself a couple of hours to warm up.
Well, when I went outside to check my squat position, I was surprised to find myself so kinked up. Thus it was:
This was class one tightness, inflammation to the max. Everything felt rusty and I could barely get down into the squat and hold it.
Feet splayed, torso wrapped over my knees. And really, really tight in the hips. It was time for some major mobilization.
First the hips. I’m jamming down with my pelvis to get into the tight areas and loosen them up. I also extend my front leg to get in deeper on the tissue near the knees. Try and you’ll feel it:
Ankles flex through the calves. So I work on the calf and achilles tendon. Keeping my leg rigid at the knee and hip, I lean hard and hold for a minute or two. Sliding over to either side helps to mobilize in more directions.
I did a squat retest at this point, meaning I got down in the squat to see if there was any difference. The first photo shows me holding my hands up overhead. I’m doing this to test my shoulders, to see if they are mobile enough for me to hold this position. Pretty tight here, as you can see I’m not holding them in line with my torso:
My hips were feeling smoother, and I was able to get down with feet straighter forward. My torso was more upright, but there was still a bit of tightness holding my midback in a curve.
I addressed my shoulder mobility to open up the chest and torso. This can help with keeping the upper body straight during the squat. I’m doing an exercise called shoulder dislocations here:
Geez was I tight. At this point I was about to push my training session back one day. With bad mobility, heavy lifting is not advantageous. Better to wait until I’m able to get into good positions. Squat retest after shoulder dislocations.
Functional squat depth for weight lifting, side and front:
And a full squat:
I wanted to test my weightlifting position, in addition to the full squat. I don’t go all the way down when I’m loaded with weight.
You can see I’m able to get down with my feet pointed forward. My torso is not perfectly upright, but it’s much more mobile and no longer glued to my knees.
After much tweaking, I actually freed myself up enough to train.
Add me on Snapchat to hear about the training session. Yea, the picture’s silly.
The best butter coffee is hot, creamy, and well blended.
To make it hot, you have to blend it when hot. Hot coffee will emulsify better with butter. So it has to be steaming from start to finish. It just won’t turn out well if the coffee cools down by the time you blend in the butter. The key is timing.
I had the chance to cruise up to San Francisco the other day. Sun was shining, the air was crisp, and Gary Vaynerchuk was hammering home some life lessons through the speakers. Best of all, the butter coffee we sipped was creamy, hot, and reviving.
Way back, my first few tries at butter coffee didn’t turn out so well. I was adding all of my ingredients after I brewed the coffee. I had to cut butter, scoop powders, and measure out the MCT oil. Sometimes I would forget the night before to take out a new stick of butter from the freezer to defrost. That meant I had to wait for it to soften up enough to cut.
By the time I was ready to blend, the coffee had cooled quite a bit. I didn’t get nice and hot, smooth butter coffee. It became a lava lamp after a few minutes. Not tasty.
Eventually, I turned the process around. I got all the ingredients into the blender before brewing the coffee. Even better, I took care of the ingredients while the water was boiling. It made all the difference.
When I was done putting in the chocolate powder, vanilla bean, MCT oil, and grass fed butter, the water was hot and ready for brewing. And once the coffee was brewed, I got straight to the blending. It came out steaming, foamy, and satisfying every time.
I use a Hario dripper for pour over brewing. I set the filter cup on top of the opening in my blender lid, so the coffee drips down right into the ingredients. It’s a good way to melt and dissolve everything too. You can go through these detailed steps on brewing butter coffee.
Using the French press is a little trickier. If it takes a while for you to add all your ingredients, you may want to heat water and brew at the after it’s all ready. I found it was possible to start the water, start adding the ingredients, and then add the hot water to the French press when it was boiled. The last four to five minutes of brewing time were enough to finish up the ingredients.
If you’re using a coffee maker, it’s still better to get the ingredients into the blender while it’s brewing. You’ll have enough time before the coffee’s ready, and then pour the brewed coffee into the ingredients to blend.
Whichever way, figure out how to keep your process hot and concise. Cruise through your city with nothing but the best, creamiest, most satisfying butter coffee in your mug. Let me know if you try one of these or another method, and how it goes.
It was necessary that I get outside. Yesterday morning I was tired. I haven’t been able to use my earthing mat during the night. Long story. So I ripped off my shirt and soaked in some sunlight.
It’s amazing what a few moments in the sun can do. I watered my head down with a hose, barefoot on the concrete, and squatted for a bit.
UVB rays hit the skin and spur it to make vitamin D and cholesterol sulfate. Basically, it makes me feel good and high on life to bask in the sun. If you’re feeling drab, flat, low, it might be time to get out under nature’s heat lamp of joy.
Just try not to overdo it. Too much time in the sun and I start to feel dizzy, tired, spent. And I get skin damage. But leave the sun block behind.
From the research I’ve read, our skin needs the sun to come through to get the boost. So I go bareskinned. Feel it out for yourself. Wait until you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Let yourself bask. And when you’ve had enough, remember that there’s another day to get more.
It is the year 2016.
I stand barefoot on the ground and listen.
A four hundred thousand kilogram vessel of shining metal soars through the air above me. It’s so far up I barely make out the glint of light and whisper it makes as it passes. The jumbo jet glides ten kilometers above ground at 900 km/hr.
My mind travels further up, past the stratosphere, where another four hundred thousand kilogram structure swings past the plane. The International Space Station zooms 400 kilometers above ground at 27,000 km/hr. It’s been circling this planet since 1998.
My kind, Homo sapiens, have forged technologies that allow us to roam the skies and beyond like no other creature can. Michael Faraday made the electric motor in 1821. The term “electricus” was coined in 1600 by William Gilbert upon studying static electricity. The ancient Egyptians wrote of Thunderers of the Nile, electric fish that held the power to shock. Earliest record dates to 2750 BCE.
From the gargantuan, we humans have developed down to the miniscule. There is a microrobot in development to insert into and operate on a diseased human eye. Others can crawl through a blood vessel to visualize and treat exact deficiencies.
I turn my attention to ground level, to the oldest and most sophisticated technology available to us. Within the cells of my body, and even closer, to the proteins that form these cells. When wet, these proteins allow electrons to flow. The entire structure of my physicality consists of proteins that are interconnected and surrounded by water.
The earth’s electrons are pulled through the protein complex that makes up my skin, muscles, bone, and even cells and DNA at the tiniest level. Every bit is connected by semi-conductivity. The protein complexes allow electrons to flow because of the water that surrounds them.
There’s an electron reservoir within my body. My tissues can hold a “full charge” of electrons that are used when there is oxidation. If I don’t step outside, I’m depleted of my electron source. I must then draw on other sources. Antioxidants from my diet and body synthesis can only go so far to fight damage. When these are depleted, especially with a life of stress, my immune system weakens.
So I bring my body, this formulation of ancient technology, out to connect with the earth. I renew my supply daily. I have had to engineer a life that allows me to step outside, barefoot, every day. I’ve rediscovered the way to more fully harness this technology. There’s more, I’m sure of it. So much more to discover. Yet, I’m quite certain it’s already been known, by someone, somewhere, some time in the past.
I bring my attention back out to the world, and I take pride in the amazing accomplishments we humans have made, zipping by, humming deep below, and silently providing comfort in every way.
I love earthing. It calms me down and helps me recover from exercise, infection, and anxiety. Here’s a scientific stance on earthing as it relates to inflammation. Read this great research paper for the nitty gritty.
Our bodies respond to exercise, infection, or injury damage by immune response. The immune response sends oxidative bursts that clear damaged tissue at the site of injury. This makes room for building healthy tissue. Think muscles getting bigger after training. Or you feeling amazing after all the coughing, sneezing, green yellow snot, and fevers from an infection. There’s a breakdown, then a buildup. Same response, different concentrations.
It’s called “oxidative burst” because agents are produced that have reactive oxygen molecules. The molecules have open-ended electrons that react with other molecules that make up the cells in our bodies. A common one made by our immune systems is superoxide. Contact with these molecules is called oxidation, and it leads to cell death. That’s why you don’t want to eat “oxidized fats”. They’re damaged by oxygen in the air, UV, and overcooking. The damaged fat’s free radicals will react with your body if you eat them.
The problem with the oxidative burst cell clearing process is that it affects surrounding healthy tissue. Oxidative bursts are not sniper shots. They are more like shotgun sprays in the general area. So what should have been protection for a tiny cut can become a whole swollen limb, if your immune system is not held in check. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.
Now for the experiment from the research paper. A group of people were subjected to soreness from calf raises. They were divided into earthed and non-earthed groups for the recovery period. Half of the subjects were given earthing mats and patches on their calves, and the other half were given placebo treatment. According to this research, swelling and muscle pain lasted longer for those who were not grounded. The subjects who were grounded experienced quicker resolution of swelling and pain. They also saw quicker white blood cell clearing from the repair areas. The ungrounded subjects had white blood cells lingering much longer.
So what’s the connection? Grounded means Earthed. Earthed means connected by bare skin to the surface of the Earth. The studies conducted regarding tissue inflammation and Earthing used grounding mats (example). These are semi conductive mats or patches that are attached to a person’s skin and plugged into the ground. The electrical connection to the ground brings the person to about the same voltage as the Earth.
That’s because they are connected to the earth’s electron supply. And electrons are antioxidants. Antioxidants diffuse oxidation within tissue. Remember that an oxidized molecule has a free electron, or free radical that makes it harmful. So a free electron from the earth or a donated one from vitamin C can stabilize the oxidant and stop the killing process.
So when you’re hurt, your body sends the immune response. White blood cells go there, and start clearing out dead tissue or killing off pathogens with free radicals like superoxide. The oxidative products from this cause inflammation at and around the injury. If you’re earthed, the balance comes from free electrons from the earth. They quickly subdue the killing, swelling, and pain. It’s nature’s balance.
If you’re making contact with the ground, an unlimited supply of free electrons from the earth are passing into your body. They are stored throughout your tissue and can eventually be used at the site of an injury, to resolve an inflammatory immune response.
If you’re not grounded, you don’t get that influx of electrons. Sure, there are antioxidants from foods and chemicals like bilirubin and vitamin C. But these are limited supplies, especially if we are not feeding ourselves with antioxidant-rich foods. Not only are we not eating enough nutritious foods, we are also eating oxidized fats and keeping the balance tipped toward inflammation.
When earthing, think electrically. Anything that doesn’t conduct electricity between you and the ground blocks that flow of free electrons. Rubber, wood, plastic, floor finish, glass, you name it. Dirt, grass, water, wet sand, and even concrete, with water molecules throughout it’s structure, are conductors and semiconductors that will allow earth’s electrons to flow into you. You don’t need much. Our bodies are hyper sensitive to electricity. The minuscule flow of electrons from the ground is enough to help us.
Without free and mobile electrons from the earth, inflammation lasts longer than it needs to. Swelling gets bigger than necessary. And sometimes, even if the initial hurt subsides, the inflammation never really goes away. Not only are we experiencing inflammation from injury, exercise, and infection, we are also getting it from environmental toxins and the food we eat.
The key is to keep the balance tipped in favor of quick healing and minimal inflammation. Earthing will keep your supply of electrons full and push you toward thriving.
Visiting Taipei was a wonderful end to our first escapade into travel. We got there in the afternoon, bused over to the city, and explored the main train station. On the ride there, I realized that Taiwan was a tropical island in climate and culture.
The mountains along the road are furnished with the lushest of green trees, the air is moist and exciting, and the people are watercolored with that sense of ease that only comes from being surrounded by the environment of the sea and forest.
The main station is gargantuan. It goes down several floors as an underground mall, and the central hall towers several stories above street level. Windows up the height of this building let natural light pour down onto hundreds of youngsters, families, and travelers lounging on the expansive checkered floor below.
As we approached this hall, something caught my eye from across the atrium. A shadow slowly descended from the ceiling. Just as I made realized it was a man in black, struggling with rope attached to a harness, he suddenly swung himself head first. Not even a moment after this startling flip, he plunged. I gasped.
This strange, dark figure flew toward the floor. The velocity was constant until he halted, face a few feet from the ground. The man flipped right side up, feet meeting the floor, unhooked and disappeared into the crowd.
As I collected my jaw from the marble floor, I searched the crowd for this guy. My wife and I rushed toward the scene, but couldn’t find him anywhere. There was a section squared off with orange cones where he had landed. By the time we got there, everyone had dispersed and the man was nowhere to be seen.
Following the black nylon rope up with my eyes, I saw that it came from a section of the wall that was opened up near the ceiling. I didn’t have time to figure out the circumstances of this strange performance.
When you see something different like that, done boldly, it causes discomfort and awe and questioning. It reorients your perspective and acclimates you to things outside the norm.
I would never have thought someone would rappel down from the top of a train station. But now it’s possible and I think, what a great use for all that space up there!
Whatever new or unconventional thing it is that you’re discovering for your wellness, just remember that there’s always a first. It’s either going to be you or someone else.
I was one of the first people in my former workplace to drink butter coffee. At first I was shy about it. I thought people would think I was dangerous and weird. So I drank it in a covered mug so no one would see. Eventually I was so convicted with the results that I started telling people closest to me.
A few years later, it was so common that there was often Kerrygold butter in the office fridge. Someone had even brought a Magic Bullet blender, and I learned that there were occasional butter coffee making sessions.
Be different and be bold.
I am tired.
We flew in from Taipei last night. It was a full day of plane rides, bus station exploration, hot spring bathing, and more plane riding. I’m fatigued, jet lagged, and sore throated.
I stayed up for most of the overnight flight. In Pacific time, it was morning when we took off. But since it was 11:30 p.m. in Taipei, I had to pull two full days of wakefulness. Even with the exhaustion, sleep didn’t last too long last night. I meditated and had magnesium before bed, which helped. But I woke up around 5:30 a.m.
Although I was tired, I didn’t want to struggle back to sleep to wake up late in the afternoon. So I stayed up and slowly awoke. I made butter coffee with a blender for the first time in weeks. I was also able to add cacao butter and vanilla powder, two ingredients I sorely missed during travel. The resulting concoction was heavenly.
My game plan is to take vitamin C throughout the day, stay up until bed time, exercise, and take a good dose of magnesium at night. The C is going to help with my throat and also with my general well being. After all that traveling, with sweets on the plane, and lack of sleep, my body really needs the extra antioxidant boost. Now that I’m home, I have my powder form of vitamin C. Just mix into a glass of water. It’s my favorite way to take it.
Earthing is also key to recovery from jet lag. I got outside as soon as I woke and spent some time with the dogs, barefoot on the concrete. Later in the afternoon, I had a barefoot squat session. Reconnecting with the Earth’s electromagnetic field is essential to healing. Getting good sun time also feels magnificent.
I can’t wait to get up refreshed tomorrow morning.
Why is it that making a change for ourselves has to involve everyone else we know and love?
Because what you do, I care about because it affects you. What I do, you care about because it affects me. And we all have ideas about what is good and what is bad for us. And we don’t want each other to be hurt.
So when we try to do something new for ourselves, especially in terms of health or wellness, we get a lot of resistance. It hasn’t been tried much. Media hasn’t caught on fire with it. Doctors wouldn’t approve of it. Or just don’t know about it. So naturally, our loved ones are going to question, bug, and all out resist what we try.
Sometimes, the clash ends well. We reach agreements, understanding, and most importantly, we see positive results. And the new stuff becomes commonplace, and we all return to eating egg yolks.
Sometimes, it’s not going to end well. We are just too deeply rooted in something. We’ve been told for so long one way, and we can’t begin to accept the other way. And we end up divided, some eating breakfast as the most important meal of the day, and others skipping it. Hopefully, everyone still sits together at the table to talk.
I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum. And sometimes, I make compromises. One of the most effective diet changes I’ve made was to eliminate wheat for six months. Depression, mood swings, and joint aches all just vanished. I treated bread and pasta like rat poison. This caused surprise, anger, arguments, silent treatments, awkward situations, and all sorts of emotional turmoil for me, my family, my friends, and even my coworkers.
I spent hours thinking of what to cook, how to cook it, and how to pack food for lunch at work. Lunch with my boss and coworkers became less frequent, and lunchtime became a solitary ordeal. Visiting family often involved heated talks about food. It took a lot of work, a lot of effort, some pain, and tons of thinking to make a wheat-free diet happen. And the results were priceless. Just from that strict period of avoiding wheat, my mind, my body, my life changed for the better.
I still eat bread and desserts once in a while, knowing it’s gonna hurt. And it does. I know my limits. In the long game, I know where I’m headed. And I have to avoid wheat for my wellness. But it’s my decision moment by moment, even after the struggles I overcame. So I move forward.
Here’s the thing. Change comes when you try something new. Or when someone else does. And then, a dialogue opens. One person expresses interest, disgust, excitement about what the other is doing. And from there, it can be a long road to mutual understanding. For that to happen, you’ve got to be willing to share. What are you doing, why, and how.
Sharing means to open yourself up to critique. People get the chance to say things about what you’re doing. And you might feel vulnerable. But it’s the catalyst for change. And if you really believe in what you’re doing, because it’s changed your life, or it’s brought real benefits, or it’s made you a better person, remember the utmost important thing.
To keep on going.