Browse Category: Health

WHO DRANK COFFEE THIS MORNING?

If you are anything like the majority of the adults in this world, you did.

And if you did, it was probably bad coffee.

Here’s why:

  1. Once coffee beans are roasted, they become alive. And with this (like all living creatures), they slowly lose their freshness and “life”.
  2. Within 7 days, roasted beans are considered fresh and living.  After this time period, flavor and aroma (and life) are pretty much gone.
  3. Most coffee being drank today (whether from starbucks, a folgers can, or a keurig machine) is 6 – 12 months old.
  4. Conclusion: You are drinking dead (bad) coffee.

Thankfully, there is a solution.

==> Roast your own beans

Be your own coffee god and give life to some good beans.

Unroasted / Roasted

It’s a fairly easy process.

1) Buy some unroasted beans. (I bought some Costa Rican beans from Amazon that Asher recommended)

2) Roast them. (Either on top of the stove in a skillet or in popcorn popper)

That’s it.

Since roasted coffee beans can lose up to 40% of its life and potency after 24 hours, Asher recommends roasting new beans every 3 days. If you do this twice a week, it should take no more than 20 minutes total.

Throw in some MCT/ Coconut oil and you’ll have one hell of a fat burning treat.

Enjoy.

THE 3 STEP PROCESS TO YOUR LOWEST GROCERY BILL EVER

how to save money on healthy food

“HEALTHY EATING IS TOO EXPENSIVE”

I’ve been there.

I, too, use to believe I had to spend X amount of dollars a month on “healthy food”.

After years of research (and periods of mandatory experimentation), however, I found that this health game has much more to it than what we put in our body.

Variables such as “how much we sleep” and “our outlook on life” should be improved long before we even think about purchasing organic blueberries or the finest cut of meat money can be. And even then, there is not a clear cut answer to whether purchasing these foods is worth it.

Like you can thrive without a gym, you can eat healthy on your own terms. For the past four years, I have done so with a $80-100/mo budget. In some instances, I even managed to drop it down to $50 (or under $2 a day).

Now, I am not a couponer.  Nor am I just loading up on ramen noodles. I buy what I want to eat and here’s how you can too.

cooking 1 1024x529 The 3 Step Process to Your Lowest Grocery Bill Ever

STEP 1: LEARN HOW TO COOK

To be honest, I could not survive on a fast food diet. It’s just too expensive. Consuming all my meals at McDonalds would, at the minimum, triple my budget.

Cereals and packaged goodies? Yep, those are out of my price range as well.

If you really are broke, you cannot afford to “eat like shit”. There is just no room for it. Instead, you must 1) figure out what foods are the cheapest in bulk (and are actually good for you) and 2) learn how to cook them so they taste good (and you actually like them).

Here’s my breakdown (in order of overall consumption):

green lentils The 3 Step Process to Your Lowest Grocery Bill Ever

Lentils = nutrition powerhouse

  1. Green lentils*
  2. White rice*
  3. Coconut oil
  4. Coffee (plus cream and stevia)
  5. Quick oats*
  6. Broccoli*
  7. Onions, garlic, and ginger*
  8. Potatoes*
  9. Reverse osmosis water*
  10. Magnesium citrate

* less than a dollar a pound

Some notes:

+ The top 3 foods meet my requirements for protein, fiber, carbs, and fats (this is important).

+ High carbs because: I am active and have muscle. The less you do/have of these two, the less you can probably get away with this. When it comes to cheap food, it pays to be active.

+ No fruit because: I am very sensitive to citrus (which is telling me something).

+ No meat because: Unless you spend a lot $$, you are getting crap (loaded with hormones, antibiotics, and grain). Best to stay away most of the time if you cannot afford the “grass fed, free range” variety.

Kitchen Talks Eating on the Go The 3 Step Process to Your Lowest Grocery Bill Ever

STEP #2: LEARN HOW TO EAT

Cooking is a luxury and not everyone has the time/energy for it.

Thankfully, getting health from food has just as much to do with how we eat it vs. what we eat. Reality is, you are going to run into “bad foods” and situations that are less than optimal.

Here’s some ways to get the most out of those times:

  • Option 1: Fasting (for chaos and celebrations)

So you know you are going to overindulge at tonight’s corporate dinner? Prepare your digestive system, create a caloric deficit, and fast leading up to it. Or maybe you need to resist those 3 boxes of donuts that your co-worker just bought in this morning at work? Coffee fast until lunch. Now it’s not as easy telling someone to fast who has never done it (you’ll need experience here), so I recommend you play around with it a little bit so you’re ready for when that time comes.

  • Option 2: Low carb (for traveling)

 So you’re on the road today for 8 hours? The gas stations won’t have many options. It will generally come down to processed high-carb goodies (like burritos, candies, and chips) vs. less processed low-carb ones (like cheese sticks, jerky, eggs, and nuts). This latter group should keep your blood sugar (aka mood) more balanced, which will in turn keep hunger in check.

  • Option 3: High carb (traveling again)

I initially left this off because I am not a fruit fan but if you are, traveling should be a breeze. Simply load up on bananas, apples, and oranges.

  • Option 4: Prepare in general (for the day-to-day energy swings)

So you just worked 12 hours and don’t feel like doing more work over a stove? I don’t blame ya. Rather then wait until you’re at your lowest point (and vulnerable to any kind of naughty food), however, I challenge you to prepare when you are at highest (before work or on your day off).  At this time, shop for and cook/prepare the food that you will want to  have to eat once your willpower goes out the window.

Note: If you have to eat out, my vote is for Subway. Yes, it’s “carby”, but that’s your incentive to move.

lion1 The 3 Step Process to Your Lowest Grocery Bill Ever

STEP #3: LEARN WHAT HEALTH IS

So how do we know if this food is making us healthier or not?

Short answer: Look to your bowel movements.

If you are constipated, have diarrhea, and/or way behind on your poop schedule – these are all signs that something is not quite right. Meaning, your body is overly stressed and it’s response has left less resources available for digestion.

Now why are we stressed? It could be the food, it could be the sleep, and it could be even your thoughts. Your job is to play around with the variables to find out what is “off”. Failure here prevents the garbage (aka feces) from being taken out on time. Just like a real garbage, some bad things can happen when this occurs (like attracting pests called parasites).

Unfortunately, this is not as easy as “just eat healthy food”. If you have an allergy or sensitivity, a food that is organic, “natural”, or has an awesome nutritional profile will not make any difference.  You have to go with your gut on this one (literally).

Here’s how:

  1. Choose unprocessed foods
  2. Add one at a time (so you can see its effects)
  3. Pay attention to your poops

On this last one: If your insides are dieing, this is will you’ll see it first.

no fast food 1024x1014 The 3 Step Process to Your Lowest Grocery Bill EverCONCLUSION

Chill.

Eating is only like 1/7 of this health game.

There is little reason to spend thousands on organic food  if we are skimping on sleep and exercise. Along the same token, we can spend considerably less if we acing other areas of the test (like I do).

In the end, be judicious with your time, money, and energy. They are all the same thing, more-or-less.

 

THE BEST SUPPLEMENT FOR GETTING BACK IN SHAPE

the best supplement for getting in shape

It’s not fish oil.

Or protein.

And probably not that caffeinated pre-workout you use that promises “gratuitous amounts of energy” (although, lets be honest, those rock).

Sure these may all help, but if you are not deficient in them then they are unlikely to make that big of wave.

The main purpose of supplementation is to first fill in holes caused by our lifestyle and genetics. These holes (or deficiencies in “building blocks”) can leave us without the means to not only perform optimally, but may leave us unable to perform entirely (aka shit just doesn’t work).

When it comes to getting fit, it is critical for our lungs and breathing to keep up with our ambitions.  If you have a “hole” here, however, exercising will be the last thing you want to do…

magnesium The Best Supplement for Getting Back In Shape

THE MAGNESIUM HOLE

For the past +6 years, I’ve had a slight magnesium deficiency.

This deficiency isn’t really debilitating and if I go about my normal day, it’s hardly noticeable (aside from worse quality poops and sleep). When I exercise, however, the devil presents itself.

What it looks like when I do anything with moderate intensity:

  • My breathing power gets cut in half (and the “wheezing” starts)
  • My recovery (aka “catching my breath”) goes from minutes to hours
  • My workout ends early (because hey, this sucks)

In short, it feels like I have asthma.

This makes sense as magnesium  is actually used to treat asthma and low levels of it are associated both with decreased lung function and accentuated allergic reactions.

Some sources indicate that 50 – 75% of us are deficient in this mineral (higher if your an athlete), but not everyone will have it to the same degree. This will depend on how “stressful” your life is.

Here is list of stressors that deplete magnesium:

  • Allergies (to pets, mold, and food)
  • Sugar and other processed foods
  • MSG
  • Coffee, Alcohol, and other drugs
  • Exercising
  • And a host of other things that trigger cortisol release

That’s just the icing on the cake. Since Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body and because it is used in over 300 reactions, it is likely that a lot more other food stuffs, drugs, and  thoughts are using it up.

anxiety depletes magnesium The Best Supplement for Getting Back In Shape

HOW TO FILL IT 

So you think that “getting in shape” is supposed to suck (which it is a little bit), but maybe it’s possible that you have a magnesium deficiency as well?

2 options if you do:

  1. Eat more magnesium rich foods
  2. Supplement with it

Now, obviously it would be more beneficial if we didn’t have to rely on supplements and could just eat the food. Through my own n=1 experience, however, it doesn’t work. Some say it is because our soil is depleted, others say it’s because certain chemicals in plants (see: phytates) prevent it from absorbing, but I say it’s because our life is just too stressful.

Mine is anyways. If your in the same boat (allergies + avid exerciser), then this advice could benefit you:

But Magnesium Citrate, through capsules or powder (I prefer the latter).
Take 3 capsules or one spoonful right before bed.
Combine with Zinc Citrate for positive synergistic effects, but do not combine with Calcium (they compete).

Give yourself 2 weeks.

If you don’t see any positive effects within this time then you probably don’t have a deficiency.

If you do, however, man will it feel good…

WHY WE CRAVE SUGAR

why do we crave sugar?

Brace yourselves, the time when everyone bans sugar from their life is coming. Before you do this (and before you eventually give in and eat truckloads of it again), here is what you need about this delicious little guy.

  • Sugar is in more than just cakes and pies (see: bananas, potatoes, breads, milk and rice).
  • We crave for a reason and if we only address the symptom (and not the root cause), we’ll be right back where we started eventually.

Read on.

2 REASONS WHY WE CRAVE

1. We get bored, sad, and scared (emotion)

I think this goes without saying.

2. We are stressed

When we stressed, our body goes into “fight or flight” mode. When this happens, blood is shuttled away from our organs and instead, to our skin and muscles. This is smart move by our body as it recognizes the need for us to seriously kick some ass right now.

In the short term, we are fueled by hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. As the stress turns more chronic (and the fight doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon), our body realizes that it needs caloric sustenance.

Because we are still “fighting”, we need fuel that doesn’t need much digestion (remember: digestive organs are on lock down). Again, being one smart cookie, our body makes us crave that which can pass through our system easily (like simple sugars).

Now while we only seem to think as stress as something that happens in our heads, here is a short list that will cause us to crave sugar:

  • Lack of sleep (sugar is a easy decision for zombies)
  • Allergies and sensitivities to our environment (things like gluten and mold)
  • Bad gut bugs (humans being 99% bugs, they have more of a say than we do)
  • Intense or too much exercise (sugar, aka glycogen, is your muscle’s fuel)
  • Sugar (yes, it begets itself)

TAKEAWAY

Want to know the ironic thing? No or low carb diets are inherently stressful.

Since carbs are our preferred source of fuel, our body “takes a hit” when we go without them for too long. In the beginning, this is awesome feeling as the stimulating hormones that our body releases gives us a little “high”. With time, however, the hormones deplete themselves and we crash harder than 10 cups of coffee.

It’s for the best when we do, though. Typically, our system has taken such a big dump that we need this sugar rush to get our hormones and brain chemicals back to normal.

In closing, I am not saying you should eat tons of sugar, but you shouldn’t run away from it either. Sugar is needed and if you find that it is “needed” a little too much for you, address what is behind the scenes (and not the sugar itself).

The weed always grows back…

HOW TO GO THE F*CK TO SLEEP

Most people do not sleep enough (shocking, right?).

While I think this mostly has to do with priorities, there are still a lot of people who do not know why this could be sabotaging their goals.

Rather than  jump into the science of it or provide a million links for “proof” (go test it yourself), I am just going to say this:

Before going on a diet or starting an exercise routine or creating any new habit for that matter, we should focus on getting enough sleep first.

Here is a post to help you with that.

HOW TO GET MORE SLEEP

The Basics

Your sleeping environment should be:

  • A little cold
  • Dark (as can be).
  • Floor or mattress, neither not too soft or too hard.
  • And maybe some white noise (I prefer a fan).

The Activities

1. The Brain Dump

We spend all day – whether conscious or not – taking in information and different stimuli. This information then has sex with our prior knowledge which produces little babies called thoughts, ideas, and plans. If we do not have a crib for these babies (which are very stimulating stuff), they will keep us up at night. Notebooks, whiteboards, and tape recorders all work as cribs.

2. Choose Boring Things

Makes sense, right? Here is what works for me:

Video

I cannot watch The Walking Dead right before bedtime. No way, no how. It’s just as powerful as a cup of coffee. What does work  (and I actually do like) is Ancient Aliens or Through the Wormhole:

 

Magazines on various topics or fiction books.

Music

Light stuff such a Chillstep, classical, meditative, and Pink Floyd.

The Drugs

Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants generally have a half-life of 4 – 8 hours. So that means if you have a cup of coffee at 4 pm, then half that amount is still in your system around midnight. Think this will affect your sleep? You’re right.

So, if your sleep is a bit off, try having a cut-off  time for stimulants (mine is 1 pm).

Now if your sleep is still wack, it could be that emotional stress is just too high. If you are having trouble changing your perception of it, you may need to look towards relaxants.

My favorite of these is ZMA. One of it’s chief ingredients, magnesium, is nature’s valium (ie, it helps us cope with stress). Other ones that work well are L-theanine (found in tea), 5-htp (by raising serotonin), and valerian root.

If you really, really cannot sleep, you may want to give melatonin a shot. While long-term use is not recommended, it may help coax your body into developing a better habit.

[ For more on these, refer to #6 in “Supplements: Why, What, When, and How”]

The Others

Here are some more things that may help:

  • Early morning sunlight (to raise serotonin levels)
  • Sex (for guys at least)
  • Warm baths
  • Moving exercise to the mornings
  • Completely exhausting yourself
  • Blue Blocker sunglasses after sundown
  • Using lavender oil (place some behind the ears)
  • Trying different food combinations

The Point

==> Sleep is the game changer.

This is the most important part of the health and fitness game.

Without it, eating nutritious foods will become that much harder. So will the act of adopting a positive mindset. And exercise? Good luck trying to see gains when you take away the recovery time.

Only a very small % of the population ( <5 ) will be actually able to function optimally off 6 hours or less of sleep a night.

Are you one of them? You will have to see what it feels like to get 8 – 9 hrs a night first.